Adult Day Center adds meaning, purpose to lives Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012 -- 12:00 AM
A Catholic Charities Adult Day Center member works on an art project. (Catholic Herald photo/Mary C. Uhler)

MADISON -- On a recent visit to the Catholic Charities Adults Day Center in Madison, I noticed that plenty of windows let in lots of light. People were busy doing art projects, working at the computer, talking together, or listening to a speaker.

The Adult Day Center, located at 2917 International Lane near the Dane County Airport in Madison, offers purpose and meaning to the many lives it touches, observed Cricket Hesselberg, the center’s program director. She has worked there for 14 years.

On July 1 of this year, Catholic Charities took over the operation of the center from Care Wisconsin. According to Brian Cain, president of Catholic Charities, “The Adult Day Center operation is an ideal fit with the mission of Catholic Charities to maximize independence and dignity for our aging population. We are proud to be acquiring such a well established and highly regarded program.”

Bill Hamilton, director of Catholic Charities aging services, said the Adult Day Center fits well with the agency’s other programs. “It’s another option for seniors. It gives caregivers a respite. We’re excited about it,” he said.

Who it serves

Adults aged 18 and over can be members of the Adult Day Center, but the average age is 73, said Hesselberg. “Our youngest member is 33 and the oldest is 99,” she noted.

People come to the center every day of the week from Monday to Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or on a drop-in basis. “We try to have them pick the same day of the week,” said Hesselberg. “We have openings now, so we can be more flexible.

“When someone is interested in the center, we provide a tour, have them meet people, and stay for lunch.”

The center is also holding an open house on Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 3 to 5 p.m. featuring tours and refreshments.

Helping people remain independent

The Adult Day Center is committed to helping people remain independent and live in the community as long as possible. It provides quality care in a safe and supportive setting where members can actively enjoy the day.

For example, a husband brings his wife to the center while he is at work. The wife enjoys the activities and eats a noon meal at the center. He picks her up after work.

The program offers a unique continuum of caring, easing transitions as individual needs change, said Hesselberg. “Our program is designed for adults who have medical conditions, physical disabilities, cognitive concerns, difficulties functioning at home alone, or Alzheimer’s and other memory loss conditions.”

She said the center develops personalized care plans to tailor services and activities to meet individual needs, interests, and abilities. Care plans, written with client and family involvement, are reviewed regularly to evaluate outcomes and goals.

The center’s 11 trained staff members provide health monitoring, assistance with medications, and support as needed with feeding, toileting, mobility, and nail care. They also serve nutritionally balanced meals and snacks. A light breakfast of toast, fruit, coffee, and juice is offered in the morning. The lunch is catered by Gaylord Catering. An afternoon snack is provided.

“Members get together in groups and socialize with each other and the staff, like a coffee klatch,” said Hesselberg. “It’s so nice that our members meet new people and develop friendships.

Some of them meet outside the center for dinner or things like a Mallards’ game. They keep in touch and know when someone is sick or in the hospital.”

For those with memory loss, the center offers customized programming based on the level of memory loss and other needs. Members receive a full day of activities in a separate part of the center.

Members enjoy their experience

Adult Day Center members speak very positively about their experience. “The Adult Day Center gives me something to do every day,” said member David. “I enjoy the people here, community outings, musical entertainment, and the chance to meet friends. My days at the center lift my mood and spirit and make me laugh. If I didn’t attend, I would be home all day doing nothing but watching TV.”

Shirley, another member, said, “I look forward to attending the center. It helps me get up in the morning knowing I’ll be around people and friends. I’m thankful for the health services I receive at the center that I do not get at home. If I didn’t come, my life would not have meaning.”

Hesselberg said the staff encourages members to submit ideas for activities. Some of the members themselves help provide programs. “In October we will have a member who plays the piano and other people can sing along.”

In October, the center also welcomed the Edgewood High School Show Choir and Edgetones for a performance. Students from MATC and the University of Wisconsin are also involved at the center every day.

Volunteer, member openings

The Adult Day Center can accommodate 86 persons each day, but the highest attendance so far has been 66 persons. “We definitely have openings and can expand our membership,” said Hesselberg.

The center also welcomes volunteers. They can help with activity programs, read to members, or play cards or games. Some volunteers help in the kitchen, pass out snacks, clean up tables, and serve as greeters.

To visit the Adult Day Center and to schedule a tour from Monday through Friday, contact Kari Chase at 608-663-7117, ext. 101, or visit the Catholic Charities Web site at for the Adult Day Center’s monthly newsletters and activity programming calendars.

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