(Photo courtesy Catholic Charities)
Dignity for the value and worth of every human being, including the unborn and the aged, is a pillar of Catholic Charities’ programs.
Adult Day Services a home away from home
December 10th, 2014
By Jeff Bialik
This is the second of three Advent stories focusing on clients served by Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. The theme of this installment is dignity. The client stories are actual but the names have been changed for publication.
Sharon never wanted to be a burden to anyone. She lived independently well into her 80s, only reluctantly moving in with her son, Mark, after a downturn in the economy forced some difficult choices. Sharon enjoyed the time with her son and two young grandchildren, and she knew that, in order for Mark to work and support the family, she needed a place to stay and receive care during the day.
That is when Sharon met her new “daytime family” at Catholic Charities Adult Day Services San Mateo County. Sharon quickly became a fixture of the program, charming staff and fellow participants alike. She drew great joy from the rosary group and pet therapy – her favorite service animal was a Bernese mountain dog, the breed she had always wanted to own.
Catholic Charities Adult Day Services in San Mateo County is a licensed adult day program that provides a safe, therapeutic and caring environment for frail seniors. Catholic Charities provides services that help seniors maintain a life of dignity and independence while also preventing their premature placement into a residential facility. Our home-like community environment is particularly effective for seniors with hard-to-manage forms of dementia who have struggled within more institutional settings.
With the services provided by Catholic Charities, families receive relief and support that not only provides socialization for the senior and time for the caregiver, but also improves their health. In the most recent 2014 Family Satisfaction Survey, 97 percent of participants felt that their loved one had benefited from the program, while 94 percent of caregivers reported that their own stress was reduced.
Sharon spent the last four years of a very full and fulfilling life with Catholic Charities, passing away last December at the age of 95. The staff and participants held a memorial service in her honor that included sharing fond memories, a slideshow tribute, and the rosary that she had so enjoyed during her time there. Mark and his family were deeply moved by the memorial service, realizing that Catholic Charities Adult Day Services had been a true home away from home for Sharon, and they were so touched to witness the outpouring of support from a community that had meant so much to her.
Catholic Charities believes that every senior is entitled to health care and supportive services at a rate that they can afford. Unfortunately, this care is not affordable for many of the low-income families we serve. Thankfully, with your help, we can provide respectful and compassionate care and continue to celebrate the dignity, worth and independence of seniors like Sharon.
Bialik is executive director of Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
From December 12, 2014 issue of Catholic San Francisco.