By: Mark Koebrich
You hear about it all the time. Stories about caregivers who give their all to ailing family members only to end up in poor health themselves. If you find yourself in that situation, there is help from 9News Senior Source and a wonderful facility in Wheat Ridge you may not be aware of.
We all know someone who has gone thru this with a loved-one, or is currently going thru it. And it can be devastating for families.
All it's takes is a sudden diagnosis of "diminishing capability", or a clear sudden loss of cognitive values for a senior member of any family. In an instant it's a game changer. So for all those who don't know, there is help. The Seniors' Resource Center in Wheat Ridge can provide dozens of solutions with a day program that will help you carry the burden
Most of the staff of caregivers are Certified Nurse Assistants, which means they can help with all of those activities of daily living. They are top professionals, so skilled that they are recognized by the Alzheimers Association as leaders in dementia care. That means the staff is specifically trained to the extent that they are "experts."
The Seniors' Resource Center has a large footprint. They have services in a 10 county region, and if they can't help you for some reason, they certainly know someone who can.
They can provide care for your loved one for only 75-dollars a day, a fee that in many cases is covered by other sources. More importantly, it's a service that gives caregivers a daily break from the often difficult tasks of caring for a cognitively compromised adult.
The days start early at the Seniors' Resource Center. Clients begin arriving by bus first thing in the morning. The center has it's own transportation system with qualified drivers and buses that are equipped for wheel chairs and walkers.
Tia Sauceda is the Director of Adult Day and Respite at the center. She says her staff has broad experience with many types of senior conditions, a group she calls one of the most fragile elements of our community.
"I would say between 85 and 90-percent of our folks all have Alzheimers or dementia at some level," Tia told 9News. "The rest would have other frailties such as Parkinson's or some other disease they are being treated for."
As they arrive, clients step into a carefully designed program of activities that include a lot of individual attention.
"You know, we try to do something enriching every day," says Activities Coordinator Libby Bodell. "But also, it's the social interaction. They make a lot of friends here."
This program doesn't just warehouse their clients. There are very few idle moments during the day. Even meal times are carefully structured. All clients receive breakfast, lunch and a snack. All the meals are high nutrient offerings, prepared in the centers commercial kitchen, providing energy for a group of patients who tend to be sedentary.
And everyone eats together like a family, socializing, leaning on one another and sharing their common experiences.
"It's really important to have that camaraderie with one another," says Director Tia Sauceda. Nobody likes to eat alone in front of a Television. Here they get to have that connection and relationship with one another while enjoying the benefit of that good meal."
This is a unique place that provides for all the needs of a population with cognitive difficulties, including one of the most daunting tasks a caregiver can face. The issue of hygiene. Poor hygiene can become both an unpleasant personal moment for caregivers as well as a medical issue for the loved one. The medical consequences can include bacterial infections and Gastroenteritis, which can seriously impact an already weakened immune system.
"For a lot of individuals, hygiene can be a challenge," says Sauceda. "Maybe your bathroom isn't accessible, or you as a caregiver don't have the skills and know-how to do that. So we have staff on site that can do that for you. I've seen it help people stay in their homes longer. Our bathing program can do that for a lot of people. It can be that defining moment."
So you're wondering, how affordable is this. There are in fact many ways to finance this kind of attention for your ailing parent or loved ones is $75.00 a day is not in your budget.
The Seniors' Resource Center will accept Medicaid, and they have a relationship with the Veterans Association. The VA will pay for many of their veterans.
Also, they accommodate people on HCBS, or Home Community Based Service waivers. And they have some additional grant funding that can cover costs for clients as well.
All to help you with a moment in life that is something you probably never planned for. For most, this is simply a destination where you very suddenly and unexpectedly arrive at. And the people around you, your husband or wife, your son or daughter, are suddenly thrust into a roll they are not prepared for.
Aren't you now glad to know that there's a place that can help with every detail.
You can call the Senior Resource Center at 303-238-8151.