Caregivers seeking a day placement for their loved ones can find a qualified program in New Ulm. Volunteers of America (VOA), Adult Day Services have two locations-at Ross Park in Sleepy Eye and since last July, at Oak Hills Living Center, New Ulm, where VOA rents space for the new program.
The advantages of Adult Day Services are to give caregivers a much needed break without guilt. The program allows participants the opportunity to socialize, enjoy peer support, and receive medical and social services in a stimulating, supportive environment, promoting better physical and mental health.
Both sites are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and are handicap accessible. The program includes lunch and two daily snacks, plus discussion groups, community outings, guest speakers, exercise, crafts, games, movies, plus Holiday and Birthday parties. Extended hours are available by special arrangement. Both sites have whirlpool tubs that can be used by Adult Day Services participants.
Staff photo by Fritz Busch
Volunteers of America Oak Hills Adult Day Services participants from left, Art Fox, Norman Kurowski, Mike McLean and Don Steinhaus, all of New Ulm.
Adult Day Services staff are CPR and First Aid certified and trained in basic dementia care, understanding Alzheimer's and related diseases, helping people with daily living, dealing with behavior issues and how to communicate. A Physical Therapist oversees the exercise program along with a Registered Nurse consultant.
Participants at Adult Day Services include people with physical and social impairments, who have memory loss or confusion and/or are isolated adults living alone who could benefit from socialization and activities to keep them active.
"It's a great service," said Oak Hills Administrator Candas Schouvieller. "We've realized there are a lot of people that aren't aware that this service is provided. There is a huge need for the growing, elderly population. Being a daily caregiver is a big responsibility and this program gives the caregiver an option to continue to have their loved one live at home and still have relief from their responsibility of 24/7 care."
Kathy Virnig, Director of both the Sleepy Eye and New Ulm sites states, "She has the best job in the world. Participants and staff become like a family. She finds it very rewarding that she is part of this great program that keeps seniors living in their homes for a longer period of time and gives their caregivers much needed respite to make sure they are taking care of themselves,"
When asked if there where things that were needed for the program, Virnig said "since we are a non-profit organization, we're always looking for volunteers and volunteer groups to come and entertain our participants, like pre-school children, elementary school kids, Girl Scouts, 4 -H Groups, musicians and others."
During a recent Adult Day Services visit to the Oak Hill Living Center site Carol Steinhaus of New Ulm stated, "I'd be in the funny farm by now without this service," She is a caregiver of her husband Don Steinhaus.
When asked what he enjoys about coming to the Adult Day Services program, Don said he enjoys playing cards and tossing bean bags with friends at Oak Hills at the VOA Adult Day Care program.
"It allows our wives to be more free," said Mike McLean of New Ulm who is a participant in the New Ulm program.
Norman Kurowski of New Ulm said he enjoyed the cookies and choir practice at Oak Hills Adult Day Services. "I think it's tremendous,"
Elaine Kurowski said her husband gets lots of care and attention. "I know once he's here, people will watch him. Plus, we have a great transportation services for the participants from Brown County Heartland Express. The Heartland drivers won't let him off anywhere unless they know someone is there to take care of him. This helps relieve the pressures that can really buildup on a caregiver."
Art Fox of New Ulm said he enjoys playing cards and bingo at Adult Day Services.
"It's a great program," said Doris Griebel a caregiver from New Ulm.
Several women said their husband's Veteran's Administration (VA) benefits cover Adult Day Services costs. Another woman said her long-term care insurance helps pay fees. Managed via a partnership with Volunteers of America.
Participants can have a free assessment done by the Adult Day Services staff to see if this program is right for them. This assessment can take place in the home of the interested party or at the Adult Day Services Sites.
For more information regarding participating in Adult Day Services or if you are interested in volunteering please contact Kathy Virnig, Director at 507-359-3377.