EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is responding to a reader-submitted question through Open Source, a platform where readers can submit questions to the staff. An anonymous reader asked, "My mom had Alzheimer's, and a life-saver for me as her caregiver was the Rotary Adult Day Care. I suggest you do an article about their services. We need more adult day care providers!"
MANSFIELD -- As loved ones age, their care can become more stressful on the people surrounding them.
That's what happened to Howard Hatfield. He was a teacher at the Mansfield City Schools district and even, for a time, a professor at The Ohio State University.
"He's brilliant," Josephine, his wife of 57 years said. "But he doesn't talk. He has Alzheimer's."
Two years ago, Josephine said she was in need of help. Taking care of her husband on a 24/7 basis became too stressful, so she took him to the Rotary Adult Daycare at 50 Blymer Ave.
"It saved my life," she said. "What it has done, it's done a lot for him. It gets him out, and he gets to be with other people. But it also gives me a break. Sometimes, I just go home and sleep."
The Rotary Adult Daycare, a part of Mansfield Memorial Homes, began in 1978. They help about 13 adults with mental and physical ailments stay out of long-term care services prematurely, according to the adult service's director, Karla Hale.
"We totally believe that keeping a person at home as long as possible is what they want. We serve the individual, but we also serve the individual's caregiver if they have one," Hale said. "A lot of times, with the dementia and Alzheimer's population, it is also the caregiver who has needs. That is often overlooked because so many services focus on the individual."
The Rotary Adult Day Care helps provide information on counseling, support groups and respite services.
"Knowing your loved one is in a safe environment for the day decreases a whole lot of anxiety for the caregiver," Hale said.
Josephine said she enjoys being able to go to her bridge card group or to her study group. She said her latest project was on Alzheimer's.
"If you're cooking pasta on the stove and realize you don't have sauce, you can't just turn the burners off and go to the store, come home and finish cooking," Hale said. "You can't do that when you're a primary caregiver of someone inflicted with a mental or physical impairment.
"Those are the things we casually take for granted," she said. "Providing a service such as adult day care provides a peace of mind."
Drop-off for adults at the day care is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Once the RADC gets an inquiry about adult care services, they start an intake process. They want to meet with the potential client and call their physician to be up-to-date on any medications and health issues or diet, Hale said. There is an application process after that. The cost is roughly $50 a day.
With a capacity of 15, the RADC currently has 12 to 15 clients and marks 3,000 service units a year, where one unit is one person a day, Hale said.
On a regular basis, clients get nutritious meals designed by a dietitian. Hale said meals can be adjusted to meet diet restrictions. A nurse gives health education courses about continuing to live healthy lives, they play games, and exercise.
Hale said using their facility has helped clients put off assisted living facilities.
"One of our clients has been placed in a nursing home this year. He was in our program for 26 years. He's 84. He was very young when he had his stroke. He was able to stay in our program all those years," she said.
"We know it's making a difference. Seniors are able to thrive. Families tell us all the time they notice a difference."
Josephine said she thinks adult day care programs are vital for both clients and their caretakers.
"I just think it's really important to have something like this because there are so many caretakers," Josephine said. "And they need a break."