I have been a volunteer a few times a week at WISE & Healthy Aging for about eight months. They are located at 1527 Fourth St. in Santa Monica. I help out at the adult day service center that services residents from all of the Westside communities.
During my time there, I have been extremely impressed with the staff and the program. The center is open 11 hours each day, from Monday through Friday. There are scheduled activities to about 3 or 3:30 p.m., but clients can come earlier and stay later. Among the activities are light exercise each day, art projects, puzzles, gardening, word and mind games, dominos, et al. There is music and dancing, as well as entertainers and lecturers on health and other subjects.
The staff of six that works there on a daily basis truly cares for the clients and treat them with care and respect. There are a number of volunteers such as me. (One of them has been coming three times a week for 10 years and conducts an interfaith service every Friday afternoon.) But also many different groups help out. Among these groups are nursing students from USC, students from a UCLA gerontology class, Pepperdine students, Valley College nursing students, occupational therapy students, and others. They bring special skills to their interactions with the clients.
A nutritious lunch is provided on a daily basis along with coffee for the early arrivals and an afternoon snack. Feeding help is provided if needed, as well as assistance with toileting. Special services such as showers can also be arranged. There are usually about 15-35 clients there on an average day. They range in age from about 50 to 100 (one client turned 100 last month and another turns 100 in July). Some of the clients have Alzheimer’s disease. They wear a device that alarms staff in the rare case that they open one of the doors. Others have varying degrees of memory loss or physical disabilities. Caretakers sometimes accompany their patients and can either help out with their patient or use the time to take a break.
I have set forth this summary because I am so impressed with the program and want to make sure that all seniors who could use it, know about it.