CARING FOR ADULT FAMILY MEMBERS
Eisenhower Medical Center has been providing families with a respite care alternative for nearly 25 years at the Eisenhower Five Star Club. Established in 1984, the Club is an adult day care center that offers respite for the caregiver and a chance for the family member they are caring for to develop skills and explore new interests. By using these services, caregivers can get much needed support, which may actually improve their ability over the long term to care for a loved one in the home. And the individual for whom they are caring has an opportunity to get outside the home into a social environment that keeps them engaged and stimulated.
Stacy Smith, Manager, Five Star Club, says that the Club focuses on creating a caring, social environment that gives Club members (as they are known) the opportunity to enjoy activities in a group setting that they might not have access to at home. “We focus on creating a place that is safe and secure, but at the same time stimulating and fun,” Smith says. “Even individuals who are memoryimpaired have the ability to be engaged in the moment. So that is what we strive to give them — a moment that they can enjoy.”
Smith adds that her top priority is to ensure the Five Star Club, the largest non-profit adult day care center for people with dementia, Alzheimer’s or other memory impairment in the Coachella Valley, also provides a secure environment, so that family members are confident that their loved ones are safe and Club members have a feeling of security and of being in a place where they belong.
“Routine is very important for memoryimpaired individuals,” Smith says. “We focus on keeping them engaged with some new activities, like field trips, or visits from local arts groups, or the zoo, for example. But we also make sure that there is a set routine, and familiar faces around them, so they feel safe.” Smith adds that most of the Club’s staff has been in place for many years, some as long as 20 years, so they know all the patients, and their individual needs, extremely well.
Open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Club is licensed to care for 35 people each day. There is no enrollment fee, and members are charged only for the days they attend. The daily fee is $45, with bathing and transportation services available at an additional cost. A light breakfast, full lunch and afternoon snack are served. There is a waiting list for each day, with the schedule of attendees set at the beginning of each week. Smith leads a support group for caregivers every Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m., with free day care provided during that time.
On November 14, Smith is scheduled to speak at the Annenberg Center for Health Sciences at Eisenhower on the topic of Alzheimer’s and what caregivers need to know.
To learn about Eisenhower Five Star Club, or to be placed on the waiting list, please call 760-836-0232.