Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Stories of Giving from Bernadette Loera

I want to tell you about how I am inspired by Community Senior Services’ Enrichment Center Adult Day Program located in the Larkin Park Building in Claremont, California. The adult day program is open daily from 10:00am until 4:00pm. Participants are older adults living with memory impairment in various stages. I was inspired to write this “letter of giving” after reading a testimonial of gratitude written by family members of a participant in the program that attended for for nearly three years and had recently passed away. The letter was touching and a true testament of how a community can come together to engage and value members living with dementia. With the decline in memory and ability to perform daily activities, dementia is crippling for both seniors and the family having to care for them. The difference the Enrichment Center makes on a daily basis to the participants and their families is substantial. Caring for a loved one with dementia can be exhausting and lonely. Through the Enrichment Centers’ engaging activities and caring staff and volunteers, family members and caregivers are offered a rare moment of relief from the stress of caring for a loved one. Participants at the Enrichment Center are treated with dignity and respect and as important members of society. They are valued and cared for in a manner that brings both mental and physical engagement. I have been able to witness firsthand the importance the program brings to its participants and the value the program brings to the community. The staff and the many committed volunteers work tirelessly to implement a program that reflects the many needs of those living with dementia, a complex and often misunderstood group of conditions that can devastate families. The Enrichment Center strives to offer much needed support, comfort and peace of mind to the participants and their families. The program is based on “The Best Friends “approach which focuses on relationships, empathy, support, trust, humor and respect. The recent letter from the family I mentioned above is touching, in that, it brought me to tears to read the heartfelt thanks of the family members expressing deep gratitude for the care their mother received while attending the Enrichment Center. Please consider the Enrichment Center Adult Day Program and the efforts of Community Services, their employees and all of the volunteers for the difference they make in this world. I’ll close with a quote from the heartfelt letter mentioned above, “Your program doesn’t just provide a service. It changes lives.” Respectfully submitted by Bernadette Loera, MSG candidate, University of La Verne

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