Hope for living, loving and caring with no regrets!

Caregivers and Moms Share Similar Struggles/Solutions

Episode 40

This week, Rayna Neises, your host, interviews KC Schumacher.  Since before she graduated high school, KC has been working in the social services field.  She is drawn to helping others and is passionate about caring for adults and supporting family caregivers through her position at the adult day services at Catholic Charities.  She provides the following insights on this important work and this option for caregivers and families:

  • Adult day programs cost much less than other alternatives.
  • Day services are an option for a loved one to do something during the day so the caregiver can work or just have respite time.
  • Adding the option of day services builds the caregiving team with trained staff who can provide another set of eyes to notice health changes.
  • The caregiver/loved one relationship is improved with time apart.
  • Since the loved one is active during the day, he/she will be more tired and potentially sleep better allowing everyone to get better rest.
  • Activities offered:
    • memory exercises and trivia
    • physical exercise or range of motion (chair yoga)
    • arts and crafts
    • board games
    • bingo
    • socializing
    • outing to shop, eat or visit children in a daycare
  • Find a program:
    • In Kansas – Dial 2 – 1 – 1
    • Other – Google search adult daycare with your zip code

Transcript

*Transcript is an actual recount of the live conversation

Rayna Neise: 

Welcome to A Season of Caring Podcast where there’s hope for living, loving and caring with no regrets. This is your host, Rayna Neises and I’m excited to introduce to you today KC Schumacher. KC is doing work that is close to my heart in adult day services. And I can’t wait to be able to talk with her today about what they offer families to be able to care for their loved ones. KC has been working in the social services field since before she graduated from high school and has always been drawn to helping vulnerable individuals as an admissions and activities coordinator. KC is able to hear firsthand how grateful families and clients are to found an adult day program that works for them. KC is passionate about caring for adults and supporting family caregivers through her position at the adult day services at Catholic Charities, which is a licensed day program for seniors and adults with disabilities, their services provide encourage independence, socialization, wellness, and community connections, and an environment that supports and involves the participants. The program serves adults 18 years and older with developmental delays or disabilities, physical disabilities, Alzheimer’s/dementia, and seniors. Welcome KC. I’m so glad to have you today.

KC Schumacher: 

Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here today.

Rayna Neise: 

Well, let’s start off KC sharing a little bit about what exactly are adult day services?

KC Schumacher: 

Our program’s a little different, but basically adult day services are some type of planned program usually with a group setting, that provides services that help seniors or people with disabilities, either improve or maintain their health functioning, and then also provide activities, and social interaction for those people while they’re there. And then some programs may offer, social activities along with nutrition, personal care, health services, transportation, it kinda will vary from program to program.

Rayna Neise: 

So my experience with adult day services was with my dad. Dad had Alzheimer’s and when we reach a point where we needed 24-hour care in the home, we had an adult day service that we were able to take him to, and he loved being able to go hang out with his friends. We called it the club and he was able to go and just enjoy those activities. So tell me a little bit about the difference between an adult day program and maybe a nursing home or even home health.

KC Schumacher: 

Well, the first difference is cost, in-home services compared to nursing homes and adults take care of very differently. I was just recently looking up the, 2019 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. They do one every year and for the state of Kansas. In-home services, so that would be someone coming to your home, depending on how long you need them there, for the year it was around $50,000. And then if you’re looking at nursing home placement, and this is just a semi-private room in the state of Kansas, you go clear up to $67,000 for the year. Where adult day programs are as low as $20,000 a year. So that’s the first difference, the cost’s number one. Number two, not everybody needs the in-home services or the nursing home care. They just need something during the day so that either they can continue working, most caregivers are either a spouse or a child. Children, nine times out of 10 have a job that they have to go to, and they’re not able to stay at home or at the home with the parent and the spouse sometimes just need some respite care. So an adult day program is that option for them. It’s lower cost. It’s only usually Monday through Friday daytime so it kind of even helps the person who’s attending that program know. Okay. My family’s not just trying to put me into a nursing home. This is just something for me to do during the day. Just like you said, your dad called the club. It was a place for him to go where he felt welcomed, where he could do activities, and then a person who is caring for them or your family that you guys were doing, could do your own life. You could live your own life to have a job or go run your own errands or take care of your own health needs.

Rayna Neise: 

Definitely. And I think that’s one of the things that many families don’t realize. There are opportunities to use programs like yours to help them find that integration of need both for themselves and the person that they’re caring for. We all need help and being able to put you guys on the team to be a good caregiver, you really can make a big difference in taking off a lot of that pressure. So what would you say some of the benefits of choosing a day program is you said cost is definitely one of them. Are there other benefits of choosing a program that would be an adult day program?

KC Schumacher: 

Oh, absolutely. So, we want our family members to be safe. We want them to be in a secure environment and we want them to be taken care of during the day. A lot of times it’s hard for us to let go of that. And allow someone else to do it, but that’s one of the benefits of adult daycare. The programs have trained individuals. So like our program at Catholic charities, our staff are CNAs. So they have the medical experience along with the experience of working with the senior population. And then we also have a registered nurse on staff. So that’s something that they can look into with each of the programs to see what’s offered and what’s needed for their family member. It also helps with their independence. It helps preserve that independence. So, they don’t have to feel like I’m stuck at home all the time. I can’t get out into the community. They can come and again, consider it a club or they’re coming to hang out with their peers and socialize. That’s important for seniors. And a lot of times they lose that as they get older, as unfortunately, their friends are passing away, they’re losing their social connections. And so that will reengage them right away by having them come to a program like that. And then again, because there’s those trained staff, it could even improve their health. Of course. Alzheimer’s dementia those things maybe can’t be improved, but other health issues, people don’t always think about someone with cancer is welcome to come to an adult day program. There’s that nurse there, there’s the CNAs. We can recognize when some health issues are coming up and we can relay that information to the family so that they can get those things taken care of at the doctor, maybe a little sooner, as caregivers, sometimes we get stressed out. Sometimes we’re not noticing those little things that are occurring. And so a trained individual who’s seeing them during the day, we can kind of be that outside person. That’s like, Oh, Hey, we’re thinking this might be an issue. Along with most programs, do some type of health monitoring, whether it’s as simple as they weigh them every month or they do blood pressures. most programs will have that information for you. And then finally, I think the biggest benefit of adult day programs is improving the patient-caregiver relationship because that is so easily strained. With someone who is elderly with any type of health issue, including the Alzheimer’s dementia, because that affects everybody differently. And so, allowing the caregiver, some respite. Allowing the two people time away from each other where they’re not with each other 24 seven. It just makes it an easier relationship for everybody.

Rayna Neise: 

I agree. I think those are some great points. Getting that opportunity to leave your loved one in a safe place that you are confident and comfortable that they’re being taken care of, does just allow you to unwind a little bit, to get those chores done at home, to just really be able to do some of the other things that are life and that need to be done at the same time as your caregiving. So, I think that’s so important. I also agree, KC, one of the things that was great for us as a family was having that team member that had that additional medical experience to be able to say, okay, we’re experiencing these things, should we call a doctor? What things do we need to be looking for if we’re looking, you know, or even just to ask for any kind of side effects, if we had a new medication, just being able to. Really have that communication with our caregiving team at the day stay was huge for our family. They loved my dad and it was amazing the relationships that he had with them. And he was a real social guy so it was such a great fit for our family. And I know that your clients feel the same way of having that opportunity to come and really enjoy being around others and outside of the house. I think that’s so great.

KC Schumacher: 

Yeah. And families, a lot of time report that their loved ones are sleeping better at night because they’re doing stuff during the day. They’re not just sitting in front of a television, watching TV, taking little nap throughout the day. They’re in a program they’re out in the community, they’re doing stuff. So they’re tired at night. So then when the caregiver gets home and they’re tired at night, also everybody can sleep and get a good night’s rest.

Rayna Neise: 

So true. Huge, invaluable, bonus there. So speaking of things to do, I know you’re the activities director. So tell us some things that you do with the people at your adult day stay program.

KC Schumacher: 

So a lot of our individuals, in our senior program have some stage of Alzheimer’s dementia. So that does make a difference for us. So we do memory exercises, trivia, those types of things. But we also start our day with some type of physical exercise and it’s a range of motion, similar to chair yoga. So it’s at everybody’s level. They can start out by sitting in their chair. Or wheelchair, if that’s what applies and they just kind of get their limbs moving and their blood flow in a little bit. And then if they’re able to, the second part of that can also be done standing up and then pretty much you name it we do it. We do arts and crafts board games. Bingo. Lots of memory recollection and then they love to just socialize it. They’re with a group of peers around their age. They talk about what they used to do for jobs. They talk about their grandchildren. It’s just a nice, kind of family atmosphere where they can do things. And then we take them into the community about once a week. And so they might go, Do some shopping, they may go out to eat. They might go to a daycare and watch them do a program or read to them and do activities with them because we think that’s important too. We still want them to be engaged in the community. And so we ensure that they’re going out into the community to do that.

Rayna Neise: 

I love that. That is so great. think so many times as we have individuals that are having difficulty with their memory, we assume there are a lot of things they can’t do. And I love that you’re giving them the opportunity to do all of those things because they can, to some degree, their own ability, they can interact, they can enjoy that community. And that is amazing that you guys have that opportunity.

KC Schumacher: 

Yeah, you’re absolutely right.

Rayna Neise: 

Another plus for our family was the diet. As we were having in-home caregivers, at different times, what they fixed for my dad, wasn’t always the best. We’ll just put it that way. So I love too that the adult day program gives you a good well-rounded meal. Tell us a little bit about what kind of meals you provide for your clients?

KC Schumacher: 

So we’re actually lucky in that we are able to provide breakfast, lunch, and snacks to our clients that attend, not all programs do that. And so if that is something that is important to the family, that’s a question that they should ask, to make sure that that that’s available to them because not everybody does. We’re able to do it through the CACFP, the child and adult food program, because of the number of low-income individuals that we serve. So there are some rules, they can’t have seconds, but, our menu is excellent and that is something that we don’t get complaints about. For breakfast, they have things like this biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs and ham, French toast sticks. We do have cereal and oatmeal on Wednesdays when our truck delivers and then lunches is varied. Baked potato bar, lasagna meatloaf, mashed potatoes, hamburgers, hot dogs, and it meets the regular requirements as far as being low sodium, low cholesterol, 2000 calorie and under diet. Okay. But if there’s any additional dietary restrictions, if they have allergies or if they have a ground or pureed or mechanical soft diet requirement, we can also follow that in house, which is nice. A lot of times families worry that, Oh, I think the level of care that my parents or my spouse has, can’t be handled at a day program because they have to have a pureed meal or they’re in a wheelchair or because they were brief. And that’s not always the case. I hate for families to make that assumption and then not look into day programs for that fear. so any of that with their diet, we can handle in house. And then along with those other health issues,

Rayna Neise: 

Such great information. I hope our listeners are learning new things that they weren’t aware of. The opportunities that adult day programs offer, it’s just amazing. And they aren’t around everywhere. So we are so glad that Wichita has such a great community there available for people to take advantage of How would you recommend our listeners not in our area find a program near them?

KC Schumacher: 

So the best place to start is with the United way two, one, one. It’s kind of like them calling nine one, one there’s no other numbers needed, but it’s 211, and it’s through to United way and they have a large database, for everyone in Kansas of programs or elder care or care for people with disabilities. And you just call that number and say, this is what I’m looking for. This is what I need information on and here’s my location. Is there anything here or in the surrounding areas? And then the other choice is a simple Google search adult daycare in whatever area they’re in with the zip code and see what pops up for them here, in which Tal we have the CPAAA, and that’s a good start and so is Sedgwick County. So those Google searches will bring up some additional information. I know it’s a process and I know sometimes it’s overwhelming. but even as simple phone call to one of those programs is a great start for them.

Rayna Neise: 

That’s such great advice. And lastly, KC, Can you just tell us a little bit about who needs to consider adult day stay for their loved ones?

KC Schumacher: 

I think anyone can consider it, but a lot of times that’s difficult for us to know. And so, when that person can no longer structure their daily activities on their own, they don’t remember to take their medicine. They don’t remember to turn off the stove where they’re doing things that are unsafe in the home. if the person is isolated or they desire some companionship, if they can’t safely be left at home alone, for those reasons mentioned above, but maybe other, health concerns if they’re physically or cognitively challenged. Obviously, that means that they can’t be left at home alone safely. And if they live with someone who works outside of the home and needs to keep that, that position, we can’t all take, sick days as often as we need to, to be a caregiver. So that allows them to still be able to work. And then finally, if the caregiver is feeling overwhelmed or the patient and caregiver relationship is becoming strained, instead of getting to that point, that’s the time to look into another program such as adult day.

Rayna Neise: 

I love that that’s some great advice and I hope that our listeners are really, again, just getting some new information that can prompt them to make some calls and learn some more about different opportunities for adult day. Again, Catholic Charities in Wichita is doing an amazing job. I know you guys have a new facility getting ready to open this summer, and you’re really looking forward to that. You provide such a great service for our community and with each, individual I know you have the opportunity of a sliding scale, so it’s great to check into what’s available to you in your area. Sometimes people think this is a higher dollar amount than what will work for them. And there’s definitely some places that are more expensive than others, but I love the service you guys are providing to Wichita and thanks so much for taking the time today,

KC Schumacher: 

Thank you. I really appreciate it.

Rayna Neise: 

Thank you for listening to A Season of Caring Podcast. And just a reminder, this podcast is intended to encourage family caregivers. If you have medical, legal or financial questions, be sure to consult your local advisors and we’ll see you next time.

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Meet Your Host

Rayna Neises, ACC

Your Host

An ICF Certified Coach, Pod-caster, Author & Speaker, offers encouragement, support and resources to those who are in a Season of Caring for Aging Parents.

Her passion is for those caring and their parents, that they might be seen, not forgotten & cared for, not neglected

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