Written by Christine Russo, email@example.com Friday, 25 January 2013 00:00
“This is what you look like in heaven,” said a brightly smiling woman, wearing an even brighter red jacket. Nina Pesce was holding an old photograph of a young couple on their wedding day. “Look how beautiful,” she said, referring to the aged photograph. The bride in the photograph was Pesce’s mother, Lena Murania, who recently passed away at the age of 96. Morania was a client of the Farmingdale Adult Day Care (FADC) in Farmingdale Village. Pesce was visiting that foggy Monday afternoon to make a donation of $100 to the Center. “Many people donate after their loved ones pass away,” said Brandi Fromm, the director of FADC.
FADC is a nonprofit, interfaith, organization that is supported by various local religious organizations and the tireless efforts of volunteers. It is also a place where everyone is “greeted with a hug and a kiss,” said Fromm
“We cater to the individual’s needs,” Fromm said. “We make each person feel special.” The center is open to all clients who may be limited physically or cognitively. There are open spaces available and no waiting list to join. Clients pay $42 a day and must come at least twice weekly but are permitted to come every day, Monday through Friday. The only prerequisites for clients is the ability to fed themselves and take care of their personal hygiene, unless accompanied by an aide.
“I totally love it,” Fromm said. “We make them feel worthwhile.” Fromm explained the need for a center like this one in the community. The brochure of the Center emphasizes the importance of keeping the patients actively engaged, whether it be conversation, or stimulating exercise while simultaneously providing a safe and trustworthy environment for family members to leave their loved ones for an afternoon.
“It’s not a job. We’re family,” explained Rhea Sommers, the program coordinator. She described a warm, nurturing and intimate atmosphere where they know clients’ children and grandchildren. “We just try to brighten their day, and they add to ours by sharing their stories of their lives,” Sommers added.
The FADC does as much for its patients as it does for their families. “We give the clients time that the family can’t always give them,” explained Fromm. “We give the family respite.” Once a month the center also offers a support group for caregivers on how to manage the stresses and everyday challenges that taking care of a loved one can present. The center also gives those family members the extra time to run errands or just relax with a moment to themselves.
Pictures of clients, old and new, fill the walls, as if they are watching over or participating in the day’s routines. Pink papier-mâché flowers line the bulletin boards with the faces of the clients and upcoming events like birthdays and art therapy sessions. “We celebrate every day,” said Fromm.
On this Monday afternoon clients were in the middle of their weekly Bingo game. The atmosphere was quiet with only the soothing low buzz of the refrigerator in the kitchen to be heard as one volunteer called out “B5, A2...”
One of the first things one may take notice of is the strong volunteer presence in the center. The volunteers, ranging in age from young teenagers to middle aged women, sit side by side with some of the patients, helping them put their pieces on the board and ask them questions about their day.
The day starts off with a hot breakfast and conversation about current events or topics like trivia or, as Monday’s discussion was, “remembering your first kiss.” The next part of the day is light exercise where the patients sit in a semi-circle around a leader who leads them through a variety of stretching, breathing and walking with assistance by staff and volunteers. The following activity is a planned entertainment event, art therapy, or a celebration of a holiday or birthday. “Every day is a party,” Fromm explained. Daily lunch is contracted through the Daleview Nursing Home. Finally the day ends with another activity and volunteers assist the clients in preparing to go home.
As Pesce looked at her late mother’s photograph on the wall, she reminisced about the wonderful times her mother had at the Center. Pesce accredits her mother’s longevity to her positive outlook on life. “Always optimistic with a smile,” she described her mother, grinning equally as large as her mother’s face in her wedding photo. “She loved it here,” Pesce said. “They never treated her like a child.”
The Farmingdale Adult Day Care, located at 407 Main Street in Farmingdale is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. For more information call (516) 293-8928.