BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Memory Lane Care Services in Toledo recently reopened its doors to serve individuals who are memory-impaired.
Last spring, the coronavirus outbreak forced the facility to close in-person treatment services, which prompted the staff to implement alternative ways to help individuals. Activity packets were made available for home use, wellness checks were offered and activities were provided virtually.
In December, the facility reopened its day center on a limited basis – at 25-percent capacity – as mandated by state public health guidelines.
“Even though we opened, we are limited and families are still in need because we can’t serve everyone directly who need to be served,” explained Cheryl Conley, social services director.
The center is currently able to provide services to approximately 10 clients per day by offering structured, person-centered, therapeutic activities. Those served are adults experiencing cognitive impairment conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Services include physical activities, assistance with personal needs, medication reminders, music programs and yoga.
Approximately 50 percent of family members who care for a loved one with memory impairment are working, so having the day center allows them to work while their loved ones receive proper care. For the clients, the day center provides much-needed socialization.
“Everyone has been having a really rough time with the pandemic, both the caregiver and the client who has the dementia,” Conley said.
The center continues to provide services virtually or by phone, including dementia-care coaching, in which a caregiver is teamed with a staff member to provide one-to-one information. Discussions focused on disease progression help caregivers better understand how to best prepare and implement proper care, Conley said.
“It seems like most of our clients, when it comes to coaching, are concerned about behaviors like driving or anxiety,” she said.
Caregiver counseling is also offered to help with the emotional aspects of providing care to a loved one with memory impairment. Each week, a virtual coffee also takes place for caregivers, which allows them to connect and share information with each other.
“Since we can’t serve everyone at the day center, we try to support the families,” Conley said.
Each week in February, the center will also host a virtual caregiver series for family and friends of older adults who are providing care or anticipating the need to provide care. Topics will include changing roles, behavior changes related to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, stress management and caregiver health, tips and strategies for meaningful leisure activities and legal and financial considerations in long-term care planning.
The sessions are free and will take place every Wednesday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Memory Lane Care Services is located at 2500 North Reynolds Rd. in Toledo. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information on virtual services, including the virtual caregiver series, please call the center at (419) 720-4940 or visit www.memorylanecare.org.