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Adult Day Center Helps Caregivers

Posted: August 30, 2019

“Alzheimer’s is a tough disease,” ruefully observed Mike Ross of Fairfield, who is experiencing the difficulties first-hand, as he watches his wife, Janet, disappear into it. “It starts out gradually and then you get to the point where you just can’t leave them alone, because things happen,” said the retired veteran.

Thankfully for Mike and Janet Ross, there is help, support and respite to be found at NorthBay Healthcare’s Adult Day Center, located on VacaValley Parkway in Vacaville. It is Solano County’s only full-time supervised adult day program, for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory loss disorders.

Janet started coming to the center a year ago, and Mike is grateful for the companionship and supervision she receives there because, despite all his attentive care, he needed help.  

“At first, it was gradual. She was just getting forgetful,” Mike recalled. “Then she’d go into another room and get into things, and not remember why. Or tell me to turn down the TV because children were sleeping upstairs, although our daughter was grown and moved to San Francisco.”

Janet began to lose interest in many favorite activities, like puzzles or going shopping. “She didn’t want to go into the store and I couldn’t have her wait in the car or leave her at home.”

Mike had the scare of his life the day he stepped into the back yard to do some work.  

“I came inside less than 30 minutes later, and the front door was slightly open. I looked up and down the street, and she wasn’t anywhere to be seen. I got in the car and drove around, frantic. When I finally found her, she was carrying three handbags and some clothes. It was horrible.”

Mike realized he needed help.  

“You can’t spend the whole day watching them, but they need social interaction and to be around other people.”

Janet’s NorthBay Healthcare primary care physician, Ali Hassani, M.D., recommended that Mike look into the NorthBay Adult Day Center.

The Adult Day Center’s mission is to provide a full day of structured and socially inviting activities, where participants join in on art, sewing, memory-building or musical activities and exercise. The Center provides lunch and dinner, morning and afternoon snacks, and assists with personal care. Being open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. allows most working caregivers time to work a full day. Part-time assistance also provides caregivers and loved ones time during the day for much-needed respite.

Janet started attending four days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“That’s enough time for her to have some activities and for me to do some errands,” Mike said, “and it’s funny; she never complains about going there, and when I say it’s time to go to the center, I don’t get any resistance, we just get in the car and go.”