Sunday, April 20, 2014

Chenal Adult Day Center 
     Many folks who have Alzheimer's or other dementias want to be able to live in their own homes, rather than a nursing home.  Many like to socialize, and they benefit from doing so. 
     That's where Chenal Adult Day Center comes in.  
      The caring staff at the Center helps people with thinking, learning, understanding and doing, and does it in a home-like atmosphere with lots of socializing, and with, well, just plain fun thrown in the mix. 
      "We have a really good memory and cognition program," Ellen Lewis, director of the Center, said.
      The not-for-profit Center was established in 2006 and is located at 805 Kirby Road in West Little Rock.  Its non-institutional, cozy atmosphere stems partly from its being a converted home with a spacious back patio area and a large main room where breakfast, lunch and a snack are served daily. 
     When the tables are down, clients can relax in comfy chairs and talk with staff members and their neighbors.  
    "We do therapeutic activities; we assist with ADL (activities of daily living)," Ms. Lewis said. 
    "We promote independence. We want them to be able to do as much for themselves as they can. 
    "Even something as simple as getting toilet paper, they are fighting to keep what (skills) they have.  If you don't use it, you lose it."
     Numerous studies have shown that training and repetition can help elderly people improve cognition and function.  It makes sense that a comfortable atmosphere would be conducive to learning.
    "We are becoming more and more like a Linus blanket.  We provide comfort as we are trying to educate.  We want to provide a safe, happy home-like place," Ellen said.
     The staff relates to people with Alzheimer's or dementia using a different level of understanding.
    "They have a place where they can come and fit in and feel like people understand them," she said.  "We invest ourselves.  You really have to care - you can't fake it."
     The Center accepts people 18 and older.  Its youngest client is 19 and the eldest is 100 years old.
    Some, like Anne Bowman, have been clients since the Center opened in 2006. "I have been propelled into a new level of acceptance," she said in a promotion for the Center last year.
    Family members expressed gratitude too.  "This is the best thing that happened for my family," Kathy Jennings said.  "The staff here is highly skilled to work with people who have memory problems, such as my mother," Gina McCullor said.
     "It's just an honor to be a good part of people's lives," Ellen said.
     If you would like to learn more about the Center, go to its website Ellen will be happy to mail you information or you can stop by and tour the Center.  It is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The phone number is 716-9180. In addition, Ellen said she will also visit your home, if that is more convenient for your family.
    The Center accepts private pay, ElderChoices, long-term-care insurance, and has a financial assistance program for those who qualify.  The Center charges an average of $8 an hour for private pay.  
     Ellen said she believes Chenal Adult Day Center to be unique from other day care centers in that it is located in a home and that it offers financial assistance.  Another great part of the Center is that it has four pets - three cats and a dog - all rescues, who are big favorites with the clients.
     "I think that people who are animal lovers can relate more to a rescue."
     Ellen's last words on the Center:  "We have fun!"
     Check it out.  B.N.