Intentional Individuality: the heart behind ACCA’s Adult Day Health Center
If you ask Allyson Mann to describe ACCA’s Adult Day Health program in a few words, she’ll immediately say: Caring. Supportive. A Lifesaver.
As a caregiver for her father John, Allyson has personally experienced the benefits ACCA’s ADH program provides. Allyson has been caring for her father since early 2017 and recently moved him from Alabama to her home in Athens when it became clear that he needed additional assistance. Allyson works in-person, full time which became increasingly difficult when her father could no longer be home alone. She was at an impossible crossroads between needing to work to financially support herself and her father and needing to be at home to properly care for him.
She was physically and mentally exhausted, until she started participating in the ADH program through ACCA in summer of 2019. She was quickly blown away, though, by the staff’s intentionality and holistic care for her dad. Her father received not only excellent medical assistance, but also built valuable personal connections through ADH.
“It’s been a really great program for him and me. I have peace of mind, knowing that he’s safe and taken care of while I’m working, and he gets to have some social activity and be around other people than just me. The program has been very valuable to us because of this” said Allyson. “It’s the best option for us really. Putting him in assisted living is not really an option financially, and this allows him to still stay with me and get the care he needs affordably.”
The ADH program offers medical monitoring, therapeutic services, financial assistance, nutritious meals, and personal care to medically frail adults and individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. The center provides safe, engaging environments in both Athens and Winder for participants and respite for their caregivers.
Allyson’s father started ADH when he was recovering from hand surgery, and he currently participates in the program five days a week thanks to generous donors. Initially, Allyson was attracted to ADH because of the financial assistance and physical therapy services that the program offers.
“The physical therapy practitioners that work in the health center are really helpful. We’ve used them on and off since he first started going to the Adult Day Health Center. They’re able to work with him a couple times a week, and it has made a huge difference in improving his mobility. It’s one of those things that I’d need to take a lot of time off work to be able to get him the care he needs, but with the Adult Day Health Center, it’s easy. It’s all in house. The program has made a huge difference in both of our lives,” said Allyson.
“The staff and volunteers care beyond their roles. They consistently go the extra mile for their clients, sacrificing their personal time and tailoring their approach to each individual.”
Their selfless hearts became clear to Allyson during the pandemic. The center had closed in person for the safety of their clients, but the staff still wanted to provide for them during the pandemic.
“Even when the program was not operating as normal during Covid, they would come and visit my dad and I at our house. Several different staff members consistently came by. We’d sit outside in a distanced space and just chat. It was so nice, especially for my dad, because we were only seeing each other during that time,’ said Allyson, “They would also always bring him ice cream or some kind of treat. Their gesture was hugely important to both of us.”
The center holistically cares for each participant. In addition to creating fun activities and connecting points for clients, ADH also provides diverse medical and personal assistance. The program monitors clients general health, arranges doctors appointments, administers medications, and advocates for participants as a liaison within the healthcare community. Physical, speech, and occupational therapy are also offered five days a week at both the Athens and Winder locations. To ensure every client is cared for properly and receives the assistance they need, all ADH staff members are Eden at Home certified and complete Alzheimer’s training.
Each client is known on a personal level at ADH. Whether seasoned or new, the staff and volunteers work hard every day to show each person they are loved and important. They pay attention to the little things, making sure every client and caregiver feels that they matter as an individual.
For example, Allyson’s father loves tennis. She spoke about how he was a pro player at his country club when he was younger, and how she was struggling to find a way for him to watch the Wimbledon tournament at the center. The staff helped her troubleshoot and eventually found a way for her dad to watch the match on his phone. They texted Allyson throughout the day making sure everything was set up for her dad to enjoy Wimbledon while she was at work.
“They are just super kind. The staff goes the extra mile to make sure that whatever is important to their clients is available to them, even little things like watching a tennis match. They know and care for my dad personally down to the smallest details. They know that whenever he arrives, he’s going to want a black coffee and a second breakfast. They take good care of him,” said Allyson.
Want to learn more about the Adult Day Health Center? Visit accaging.org/services/health-wellness/adult-day-health.