Care comes full circle right here

Randy Riley - Contributing columnist

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the difficulty of being part of the sandwich generation. Many of us are stuck in the middle of the multi-generational sandwich. We have children and grandchildren that we love and help care for.

We also spend time and energy worrying about and caring for our parents. Some of our friends are even involved in caring for their grandparents.

We are fortunate in this community to have some wonderful facilities that specialize in providing care to our senior citizens; skilled nursing, assisted living, senior apartments and other housing opportunities for seniors are available in various locations throughout our community. For that, we are blessed.

However, there are times when an “in-between” option is needed.

Working parents with children often find that they need a daycare option for their children.

The same can be true of working adults who have responsibility for caring for a parent or grandparent who is unable to safely care for themselves. These folks need an option for adults.

We are indeed blessed to have a facility right here in Wilmington. The Clinton County Adult Day Center operates Monday through Friday providing adult services at the Friends Meeting on Mulberry Street in Wilmington.

The services they provide are ideal for seniors who are cared for by their children, but, if their children must work, and care is still needed during the day, the Adult Day Center is readily available right here in Wilmington. That is a blessing.

Human beings were not made to live in isolation. We were just not designed that way. We are social beings. We are meant to be with other people. That need for social interaction is very important to all senior citizens.

The Wilmington Savings Bank Senior Citizen Center on Nelson Avenue has long realized how important social activity is for senior citizens. For this reason, they provide a congregate meal program, exercise programs and many other social activities for active senior citizens.

But, there is also a need for social activity for seniors who are not as active and cannot take total care of themselves. For these citizens, we have the Adult Day Center. They have a full complement of staff and volunteers who provide comprehensive care to our senior citizens with special needs.

Regardless of age, it’s important that we continue to challenge ourselves, our bodies and our brains, with recreation, games and social interaction that awakens the spirit within us to reach out, think and explore opportunities around us.

Without that spark, we could all succumb to boredom and a meaningless existence.

There is a cute commercial on television about a grandson and grandfather who meet secretly to surf at a private beach. The grandfather says that his wife thinks “they’re just fishing.” Fishing is a great activity, but how much better it is when the fishing is a shared experience between a Pappy and a grandson?

That makes it special and provides that special spark that makes life more worth living. These experiences usually don’t happen by accident. They are intentional. They are planned.

Sometimes, people who are the primary caregivers for senior citizens just need a break. They need some time to themselves to go shopping or have lunch with friends. They need someone reliable — someone they can trust completely to provide respite care to their parents.

That is a perfect opportunity to utilize the adult day center. Without guilt or regret, the primary caregiver can take some much-needed time off for themselves.

The lower level of the Friends Meeting has been furnished to provide a home-like setting for the senior citizens who spend time there during the day. They have meals together. They enjoy each other’s company. Volunteers and staff spend time with the seniors to provide them with activities that stimulate their minds and bodies.

It doesn’t get boring at the center. No one would like that.

For information about the services that are available, contact the Adult Day Center at 937-382-2070. Of course, there’s going to be some paperwork necessary, but the staff of the center will do everything they can to make it as easy as possible to utilize their services. They have been providing these services for over 25 years. They know what they’re doing.

It has been said that a caring community can be identified by how well they take care of their children and their senior citizens. With that in mind, Clinton County can proudly state that we are a caring community. Between our Community Action Program and our Adult Day Center, we put care into action.

Despite where we are in the generational sandwich, we can rest assured that our children and our parents will be receive the care they deserve.

For that, we are indeed blessed.

Randy Riley is a former Mayor of Wilmington and a local resident of more than 40 years.

Randy Riley

Contributing columnist