University Synagogue is initiating an Adult Day Care Program, Bridges—the first congregation in Orange County to do so. “The goal of this new program is to serve the needs of our congregation,” said Sue Penn, Director of Congregational Learning. “We have numerous members who require the kind of care that the Bridges Program will provide,” Penn added. Pam Jacobs, a longtime professional in the field of adult day care, is coordinating the program with Penn.
The program was brought to University Synagogue by three members: Adrienne Sokols, whose husband suffers from Lew Body Dementia; Ora Wolf, a psychologist who works with the elderly; and Gail Resiman, a psychologist and gerontologist.
All three are professionals, but the program also seeks appropriate volunteers on an ongoing basis, people who will come in and help out one morning or afternoon per month. “In addition, we are looking for people who have specific skills who will come in and augment the program,” said Resiman.
“We will of course train the volunteers how to work with people,” said Resiman, “and eventually we are hoping that we will tie into gerontology internships.”
The Bridges Adult Day Program is designed for individuals with mild to moderate memory loss and cognitive decline. Participants will have opportunities to connect with their memories while creating new friendships and experiences. They will also benefit from cognitive training and memory enhancement activities; social interaction; exercise and health promotion; recreational programs; and community and intergenerational involvement.
“I saw how the day program benefitted my husband and others in his group,” said Sokols, “while providing caregivers with much-needed respite.”
“Adrienne’s passion started the process, with the support and collaboration of synagogue leadership that ultimately led to implementation of the Bridges program,” said Wolf.
Beginning October 2, Bridges Adult Day Care sessions will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The fee is $70/day ($60 for first 10 enrollees) and includes a nutritional lunch and snacks throughout the day. An $85 one-time non-refundable fee covers assessment to determine individual/program compatibility. This program is not just for synagogue members or for Jewish seniors, but is open to the entire community.
“I know that these programs help the person maintain functioning longer,” said Sokols, “and enable the caregiver to be more effective and to delay or prevent institutionalization.”
Adult day care offers a win/win situation for everyone in the family—for the client or member who attends the program, for other family members and, of course, for the primary caregiver. Prospective participants and families are invited to contact Sue Penn at firstname.lastname@example.org or (949) 554-4545 to learn more about US Bridges.
Florence L Dann, a fourth-year rabbinical student at the Academy for Jewish Religion in L.A., has been a contributing writer to JLife Magazine since 2004. She served as the Vice President of the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation West Coast and currently teaches English as Second Language to adults.