Monday, October 3, 2022

Day center provides lifeline for caregivers

Polly Thomas of Lewisville knew that it was time to make a difficult decision in the life of her aging mother, Eva Carroll, who had lived alone in Aubrey for four years since being widowed. 

“My mother’s Alzheimer’s and dementia had grown to be a concern to our family as she was prone to wander in the night.  Her disease progressed almost exactly as the literature described it.  Though her niece would stop by to check on her, we knew that if left to live alone, she would become a detriment to herself or someone else.”

After moving her 82-year-old mother into her home for full-time care, the level of attention required began to increase and Polly realized she needed help.  A friend mentioned hearing about a new Adult Day Stay facility in Lewisville.  A short time later, Polly became the first client, while her mother Eva became the first participant.

“Our days to bring mother to the center were Monday and Thursday.  I was able to take a break and run errands, buy groceries, go to the hairdresser, or help my husband at his workplace.  It was the break that I needed to give my mother the quality attention she needed from me.  The price was affordable and there was always a meal and a craft.  I could see that she enjoyed herself and was cared for while I was away.”

Adult Day Stay of Lewisville is a non-profit organization providing daytime health care and social services for Denton County adults who are chronically ill or impaired.  The first to be licensed in Lewisville, it is the only program in Denton County designed to provide daytime respite for family caregivers who are responsible for 24-hour care and need a break from the daily routines of care-giving. 

When the Lewisville Adult Day Stay Center opened in March 2009, it had formerly been known as the Adult Daycare of North Texas in the late 1990’s before being reopened in Denton under its new name. 

Currently, Jordan Drake serves on staff as an LVN.  “We have a passion for caring for people with disabilities and my goal will always be to advocate for my clients when they can’t advocate for themselves.  We truly care for all of our clients like we are family here.  We’ll do whatever it takes to give them the best social interaction and medical care,” said Drake.

The non-profit 501(c)(3) receives funding from United Way, City of Denton, City of Lewisville, Town of Flower Mound, Highland Village Women’s Foundation, Denton Benefit league, CoServ, Medicaid, some private pay clients and various other grant sources. 

Associate Director Erin Strain says, “There are two clients in every client, the participant and their primary care-giver.  For some participants we become their school, for others work, for some the senior citizen center or a recreation center.”

Before taking the position with Adult Day Stay, Strain was a special education and life skills teacher at The Colony High School.  “Part of my position at that time was planning tours with parents to various facilities that offered services for my students once they graduated from high school.  I was always comfortable referring my LISD students to Adult Day Stay.”
Strain’s seven year special education teaching career also included teaching in Lubbock.  She found her love and ability for this field through her 26-year-old brother Daniel who had cognitive delay from birth.  While growing up she watched positive people make a difference in his life that helped others with disabilities. 

“When done for the right reasons, someone can really impact a life.  A person should be a ‘match’ for this field and have a calling for giving this type of care.  Burnout can be a common occurrence in this field, especially for someone who is not called to do it.  I truly have a heart for Adult Day Stay because I remember watching my mother try to find care for Daniel throughout my entire childhood,” said Strain. 

“Many times, participants aren’t totally convinced that they want to be at the center as they arrive, but by the end of the day they are saying ‘thank you so much’.” 

This was the case with 82-year-old Eva Carroll.  “She never let on that she had a good day to me, but I could hear her talking to my daughter in the evenings and I knew how much she enjoyed it,” said Thomas. 

“Mother loved Erin and Jordan.  I would highly recommend Adult Day Stay to anyone.  They were a Godsend to me, like a breath of fresh air.  My mother died on a Monday.  When she didn’t show up at Adult Day Stay, Jordan was right there at the hospital with me.  Both Erin and Jordan attended my mother’s visitation.  I know that she was sincerely loved.”

Polly Thomas plans on volunteering at Adult Day Stay now. 

Adult Day Stay accepts private pay clients and Medicaid, which pays 100 percent for those who qualify. Private pay rate is $44 per day, all inclusive. The facility is open Monday-Friday 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM.  For more information, contact Erin Strain at [email protected] or by calling (972) 317-1515.

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