New Adult Day Care Service in Gurnee Shows Creativity in Eldercare

Before I burst forth with excitement about the new adult day care service in Gurnee, I should offer a disclaimer:

I attend the church I’m about to mention. It provides me with a caring, supportive environment to celebrate and strengthen my faith and to explore who I am truly meant to become.

In this way, you could argue that churches are the perfect places to offer adult day care services.

That’s right. If you’re a caregiver and could benefit from taking your loved one to adult day care, what kind of place would you want to find? Probably a safe, nurturing spot that offers kindness and opportunities to grow socially, physically, mentally, and spiritually. A place that enhances your family member’s quality of life while providing you peace of mind.

I rest my case.

I am so pleased to share with you that Bethel Lutheran Church in Gurnee, in partnership with Ecumenical Support Services for the Elderly, Inc. (ESSE), will begin offering adult day care services starting July 16.

For those of you who may not be familiar with adult day care, there’s no need to feel embarrassed. Adult day care is often the missing link in the continuum of eldercare.  While many communities offer in-home care and senior living options, adult day services are more difficult to find. It’s wonderful that family members caring for older relatives in the Gurnee area now have a new eldercare option.

(c) Loretta Humble
(c) Loretta Humble

What is Adult Day Care?

It’s a unique service that provides older adults with activities and social opportunities in a safe, supportive environment while also offering family caregivers some much needed respite from daily caregiving responsibilities. Adult day care is a great option for families who are having trouble caring for their older relatives at home but who don’t want to explore other living options yet. More specifically, adult day care provides:

  • Adult activities. At least, this is what adult day care should provide as opposed to activities more appropriate for children. Although seniors who attend adult day care may have diminished cognitive functioning, they are still adults full of wisdom and a lifetime of experiences that deserve dignified activities and respect for individual differences. The adult day service at Bethel Lutheran Church will offer social, cognitive, physical, and intergenerational activities to keep things interesting but not overwhelming.
  • Social connections. If your loved one is home all day and somewhat isolated, this can affect his or her mood and spirit. Meeting new people in a refreshing environment can result in friendships that boost your family member’s well-being both at the adult day service and at home.
  • Safety. Adult day care services should occur in warm, inviting places that also minimize the possibility of mishaps such as falls or wandering. For example, Bethel Lutheran Church’s program will take place in the Fellowship Hall, which is sunny and bright but uncluttered. Plus, a nurse will be on-site for health or medical needs.
  • Food! Yep, adult day care includes meals and snacks, depending on the hours of available service. At Bethel Lutheran Church, a hot lunch and snacks are provided regardless of whether a half-day or full-day option is chosen.
  • Respite for the caregiver. This is just as important as the services actually provided at the adult day care location. Caregivers need regular breaks from caregiving – at least four hours a week, some experts say. Knowing that your loved one is receiving good care allows you to relax, catch up on errands, visit with a friend, or do whatever you desire for those precious hours. And if you start feeling guilty about taking a break, try to remember that you will be a better caregiver for taking some time to regroup and replenish. In other words, put your own oxygen mask on first.

A Creative Solution

For those who are familiar with adult day care, it might seem unusual to find it in a church. A private business? Sure. A hospital or long-term care facility? Seen it all the time. Yet in today’s tumultuous health care system, we need to be creative in the ways eldercare is provided. ESSE figured this out a long time ago, which is why it’s been providing adult day services since 1982 and already has existing sites in Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, and Warrenville. ESSE’s model is certainly one worth emulating. Our community is incredibly fortunate to have this missing link in eldercare available.

Adult day services at Bethel Lutheran Church, 5110 Grand Avenue, Gurnee will be provided from 7 AM – 5 PM Monday through Friday. For more information or to register, contact Karen Kozlik, the local site manager at 224-656-5870 or at essegurnee@gmail.com. Information about rates and financial assistance through the State can also be obtained by contacting ESSE’s main office at 630-260-3773 or at their website.

If you have tried adult day care, please share your experiences here. What do you look for in a quality adult day service? Do you have adequate services in your community or is there a gap in eldercare in your area? I look forward to learning your thoughts about this vital service.

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