Adults social and caregivers respite program expands

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By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer

Gathered at the Hudson Senior Center during a DayBreak session are (back, l to r) Lisa Gardner, Hudson and lead program facilitator; Christine D’Angelo, Marlborough and Northborough program facilitator; and (front, l to r) DayBreak participants with a volunteer.
Gathered at the Hudson Senior Center during a DayBreak session are (back, l to r) Lisa Gardner, Hudson and lead program facilitator; Christine D’Angelo, Marlborough and Northborough program facilitator; and (front, l to r) DayBreak participants with a volunteer.
Photo/submitted

Hudson/Marlborough/Northborough – DayBreak is an adult social day program offering respite for caregivers, held once a week at the Hudson Senior Center since 2012. Now, the program has expanded to the senior centers in Marlborough and Northborough, allowing the caregivers’ loved ones to attend up to three times a week. DayBreak meets 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Tuesdays in Northborough, Wednesdays in Marlborough, and Thursdays in Hudson.

A voluntary $15 donation is appreciated to go toward expenses, but not necessary to participate. In its early years, DayBreak was supported by a grant with federal funds under Title III of the Older Americans Act. A requirement of grant recipients is to conduct a survey twice annually, noted Hudson Senior Center Director Janice Long.

“We asked caregivers on the survey if they’d prefer more hours for DayBreak,” she said. “Everybody replied that three hours is great for them, and the 11:30 start time is perfect because it takes time to get a loved one up, dressed and ready. It seemed the model we had was working well.”

More recently, a grant was secured for DayBreak from MetroWest Health Foundation. It was decided to expand DayBreak geographically because the three communities’ senior centers have successfully collaborated on a dementia-friendly initiative with a grant from BayPath Elder Services since 2015.

The weekly DayBreak sessions were initially led on a rotating basis by a few partners including Pleasantries Adult Day Services in Marlborough. Lisa Gardner, an activities facilitator at Pleasantries, has been involved with DayBreak since its inception. She continues leading the Hudson sessions and now serves as lead program facilitator for the three communities.

“DayBreak is a much needed respite for caregivers,” she noted. “It’s not easy to be a caregiver 24/7. One caregiver told me that she was going home and sleeping for a couple of hours.”

The DayBreak participants need caregivers because of various health conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and traumatic brain injury.

“DayBreak gives them the opportunity to not be so isolated,” Gardner said. “It gets them out again to socialize with other people in a safe place.”

After mingling for the first half hour, lunch is served to participants. Lunch is provided by Meals on Wheels in Hudson, Kennedy’s Restaurant in Marlborough, and Bistro at 119 in Northborough. Afterward, interactive activities are led by facilitators and volunteers. Christine D’Angelo, a former recreation assistant at Whitney Place in Northborough, is facilitating DayBreak in Marlborough and Northborough.

Gardner explained, “We do games like beanbag-toss to get them up and moving. We also do word games, trivia and sing-alongs – anything that might stimulate their minds. I never force anyone to do something they don’t want to do. The idea is that we’re not spending three hours watching TV; we’re engaged, being social with other people and having fun.”

DayBreak welcomes participants from any community. Caregivers can get additional information, and register their loved one for one, two or three sessions weekly, by contacting Lisa Gardner at 978-568-9638 or [email protected].