Published Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Each year, September hosts National Adult Day Services week during the third week in September. This observance has been celebrated since its proclamation in 1983 by former President Ronald Reagan, and observed to raise awareness of the availability, accessibility, and importance of Adult Day Care programs nationwide.

According to President Reagan’s proclamation, Adult Day Care Centers were created to provide supervised community settings for partially disabled men and women of all ages to obtain ‘care’ that may not be available in their individual homes. Further, the proclamation stated, “day care centers enable individuals to obtain the care they need without being forced to live in institutions.”

The Osceola Council on Aging (OCOA) is proud to host one of 5,000 Adult Day Care Centers nationwide on our Kissimmee campus, for the Osceola community. A comprehensive, support driven facility offering multiple disciplines of care and professional support in a secure and protective environment.

“Our Adult Day Care is an integrated system of therapeutic, social, and health-related services,” said Chris Hougland, RN, and Council on Aging’s Senior Vice President of Health Services, who oversees all aspects of the Adult Day Care Center.

Our services are primarily focused on improving and/or maintaining socialization skills for seniors, providing nutritional support, plus recreational activity options. Other services include physical, occupational, and speech therapy, transportation needs and personal hygiene offerings and assistance with all activities of daily living.

According to the National Adult Day Service Association, a leading voice in the ever-growing adult day care services industry, “Time spent with other individuals in a socialized setting can greatly improve a senior’s quality of life,” while providing caregivers with a reprieve, which is of the utmost importance.

Seniors in our center are under the eyes of multiple licensed professional staff members trained in a myriad of illnesses, including dementia and Alzheimer’s-specific caregiving, and/or developmental disability support needs.

Medical staff members can administer medication, insulin, breathing treatments and can provide specialized diets, like pureed meals.

In terms of our Centers nutrition options, our menu is developed under the guidance of a licensed dietician in collaboration with our OCOA chef to create innovative, healthy meals, while still offering macro and micronutrient standards to accommodate nutritional guidelines.

“Caring for dementia clients and supporting their caregivers is not just a job for me, it is a deeply fulfilling mission which resonates in my heart and soul. It means stepping into the lives of individuals who are facing the relentless challenges of cognitive decline, while offering compassion, respect, and understanding. Ultimately, caring for them is a profound privilege,” added Hougland.

Sadly, many of our clients can no longer advocate for themselves, so we ensure their needs are met daily. Equally significant is our commitment to supporting caregivers who shoulder the emotional and physical burdens of this journey. Our team focuses on being a pillar of strength to provide guidance, respite, and a listening ear so caregivers can navigate through with resilience and hope.

For anyone wondering if a family member may need our Adult Day Care services, it might be time to consider if:

  • Supervision is needed for safety reasons.
  • Assistance with ‘daily living’ activity is needed.
  • The family member is experiencing depression or isolation.
  • The caregiver needs respite.
  • There is a clear need for socialization and engaging in therapeutic and recreational activities.

Our center is open weekdays year-round from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Currently, around 50 seniors participate in our program daily. However, expansion is on the horizon to accommodate up to 78 clients.

For those interested in learning more about the program, or registering a loved one, contact Migdalia Colon-Harris, at 407-933-9552.

Participation costs are around $60 per day. Though funding assistance is available through the Senior Resource Alliance. Interested individuals can phone 407-514-1800 for more information.

To see more guest columns by Wendy, CLICK HERE