My name is Sujata Sanghvi, and I was honored to join the ShelterCare Board almost one year ago. One of the things that impresses me most about ShelterCare is how it continually tries to understand the needs of the community and create solutions. One such solution is the new Uhlhorn Day Services. Uhlhorn Day Service will provide needed respite care for families caring for people living with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, traumatic brain injury, or other cognitive and physical disabilities.
I know from personal experience how Adult Day Services can assist individuals to stay in the community, and in homes with families, delaying or avoiding a move into residential institutions. I live in Lane County with my husband, our daughter, and a couple of rescue dogs. We are lucky to live in a comfortable three bedroom home, which also serves as my office when I am not traveling for work. Last February, we brought my 83 year old mother-in-law, Mary, from Michigan to live with us. She had a medical emergency, and, in addition to frail health, it became clear that she was suffering from some degree of dementia, and could no longer manage live on her own. My husband flew out the next day, and two days later she had moved into our guest room. Initially, there was a lot of uncertainty, and we thought the only viable option was that Mary would need to move into a residential memory care facility.
Fortunately, she improved rapidly in our care. Home cooked food, rest, social interaction, and love helped her recover significantly. Despite her improvement, she had enough “loopy days” that it was clear that she could no longer be
independent. We wanted her to stay with us. But having her at home constantly made it difficult to work at home, and difficult to leave for work, as we didn’t want to leave her alone.
We tried at home care services, but it is an expensive option for every day and Mary didn’t like the idea of paying someone just to be a companion to her. A friend told us about an adult day care program for people with memory issues. Mary
now goes there two to three times a week from about 9 am to 4 pm. It provides a safe, friendly atmosphere with appropriate activities to help maintain her cognitive health and provide needed social interaction. I asked Mary what she liked about it and she said she liked knowing all the people and having a community there. We’ve noticed that Mary is more “with it” and smiles more when she attends.
Quite simply, the adult day services program has allowed Mary to stay at home with us. We were lucky to find the program, and to be able to afford it. Now ShelterCare is providing another option for people living with cognitive disabilities and, by accepting Medicaid, breaking down barriers to access the services. Located at Emmaus Lutheran Church at 1250 West 18th Ave., in Eugene, ShelterCare’s Uhlhorn Day Services begins operation on September 4th, 2018. The program is open to individuals on Medicaid, Oregon Health Plan, private insurance and private pay.
And to that I say, Hurray for ShelterCare!