In a previous blog post, we talked about “What members can expect on a typical day at old friends club?”. While these 5 common caregiver questions below are answered individual in our FAQ pages under Program Logistics, this month’s post will expand a little more on each:
1. Can I stay and volunteer?
2. Do they need to bring a lunch?
3. Can they go for less hours than the 5?
4. Do they have to go all 3 days?
5. Will you provide transportation?
Caring for a partner, parent, or friend is a continuous activity and very often have been spending most of their days together. Even if they have not, caregivers often ask, “Can I stay and volunteer?” We love having volunteers and we have some great ones (Volunteers are Vital to OFC's Success, Thank You for an 'AWE'-some 2018!); however, we can't stress enough how important the health and wellbeing of the caregiver is as well.
Knowing that their loved one is relaxed and among friends at the Club allows caregivers the opportunity to rest, recharge, and revitalize. Caregivers tell us they have reduced stress and even improved relationships with the Club Member at home. This illustrates why we want the caregivers to take advantage of the time given back to them as it is critical for their own self-care which in turn strengthens their support of their loved one.
Because our adult day program spans from the morning through the afternoon, we often are asked, “Do they need to bring a lunch?”. We do serve lunch and sometimes the members help with some light meal preparation or table setting as part of the day's activities. While we do keep in mind health restrictions when planning meals, we are not able to cater to specific dietary needs. As an option, we do encourage families to provide lunch to accommodate special diet needs.
3 Days, 5 Hours
Each of our adult day program Club locations generally operates 3 days a week, 5 hours each day (see our About Us page to learn more about each specific location’s days and times). It’s not uncommon for caregivers to ask either “Can they go for less than 5 hours?” or “Can they go just 1 day a week or drop in anytime?”. We understand that emergencies occur and that sometimes scheduling conflicts may cause shorter days or missed days during a week. The key to successfully leveraging Old Friends Club is to form a habit of consistency that enables full engagement during a given day's planned activities and allows the member to form meaningful friendships over time.
Members benefit from a full day's interaction with others and engagement through games and various activities. It can be difficult for a member to join an activity late or leave just as they are starting to be engaged with a fun and interesting activity. In the same way, consistent attendance during the week is beneficial for the member to help foster making social connections and to develop friendships. For these reasons we do recommend that a member attend the full 5-hour day to get the most out of the adult day program as well as attend at least 2 days a week to encourage their group engagement and involvement.
Attendance consistency provides the member a chance to adjust and feel comfortable with the program sooner which decreases their anxiety level and in-turn increases their participation. Building this consistency also provides scheduling predictability for caregiver's needs and personal activities. Additionally, our Program Coordinators create the Activity Calendar and schedule volunteers based on the expected number of attending members on any given day. Because of the planful nature of our program, we, unfortunately, are not able to support a drop-in program.
Lastly, we know that getting to the Old Friends Club adult day program can be challenging for some and we may get asked, "Will you provide transportation?". We don’t have our own private transportation service; however, King County Metro does provide "Access" transportation that will get to all our programs. Also, in Carnation, transportation services are available through Hyde Shuttle or Snoqualmie Valley Transportation. We are currently investigating other possible transportation options to Kirkland, Sammamish, and Bellevue.
Joy and Wellbeing
Old Friends Club's mission is to cultivate joy in the lives of adults with cognitive challenges and nourish the wellbeing of family caregivers. It is important to remember that we are here in support of the caregivers as much as we are here for our Club members. Providing caregiver support and resources helps to bolster their care ability while improving the quality of life for both themselves and their loved one.
Do you know a family who might benefit from joining Old Friends Club? Share this blog post, our OFC Facebook page, and our OFC website with them. They can contact us by phone or on our Old Friends Club Contact Us page.
Search for frequently asked questions at our OFC FAQ page.