Editor’s Note: This series of blog posts highlights community programs that partner with the UVM Medical Center to help people in our community.
Every morning as I walk to my desk, I am met with the comforting aroma of breakfast cooking. Festive arrangements of brightly colored flowers routinely greet staff and visitors at the front desk. And, on Wednesdays, I hear the sound of drumming beats from the other side of my office walls.
I work at the Visiting Nurse Association, and these sights, sounds and smells are coming from the Adult Day and Memory Care programs located in our main office. It is one of three locations in our community (locations are in Colchester, Essex, and South Burlington).
You may be surprised by what happens in a typical day at VNA’s Adult Day program. From gardening to art shows, yoga and daily walks, manicures and music, and heartfelt laughter, every day offers a chance for participants to try something new or take part in a favorite pastime.
Healthy snacks and hot meals are also served, providing 70 percent of daily nutritional requirements. They are offered in a comfortable, homelike environment by registered nurses, licensed nurse assistants, activity specialists and dedicated volunteers.
The program participants often go for walks through our office halls. I enjoy seeing their familiar faces, smiles, and hearing the sound of their joyful conversations with staff and the friends they have made at the program.
Individuals who attend our adult day program are more likely to maintain their physical and mental health and can live in their own homes or with their family members for a longer period of time. Those who attend also benefit from a sense of belonging and community.
Family members tell us that the adult day program also helps them by giving them a break from the primary caregiver role, allowing them the ability to work without worrying about their loved one, and a feeling of satisfaction that their loved one is cared for and happy.
The VNA’s Adult Day and Memory Care Programs are more than places to go during the day. They offer warm, loving place where friends are with friends and each day offers a sense of purpose. The greatest affirmation that our program is genuinely special is the acknowledgement from VNA staff that it is a place they one day would attend themselves!
Christine M. Werneke, MS, is the Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at the Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties (VNA). She oversees the development of new programs and services, and strengthens awareness of the VNA through outreach and education in the community.