As many of you know, when participants first enroll  in House of Welcome Adult Day Services program, there can be hesitancy on their part in attending.  During the application process, [the clinical coordinator] counsels the family member on how to best present the idea.  For example, [the center] can be a club or a senior center or the doctor recommends it or it will help their spouse or we need volutneers or it’s a job.  These suggestions are based on thinking about what might be most appealing and least threatening to the participant.  Although some particiapnts welcome the opportunity to attend the day program, others resis.  It isn’t always clear why, but there may be some unspoken concern on tehir part as to what might be expected of them and if they will be able to meet those expectations.  most of us experience some anxiety in new situations, and that anxiety may be more intense if you have memory loss.

During participants’ first days, stafff makes every effort to help them feel comfortable.  A staff member buddies with each person.  A foll0w-up call is always made to the family to see how the participant reacted.  If there is continued resistance, the family member is given advice and uspport on how to negotiate bringing the person again, because most people do settle in after a couple weeks and may even look forward to coming.

Recently, a newly enrolled participant had been a prominent person in the busienss community and she was used to being in charge.  She wanted no part of our group until we were able to convince her that she had a role at HOW leading activities, discussing her work history, and helping staff.  The first few days she attended it required almost one-to-one attention by HOW staff, but just a few weeks later, she has settled in and comes willingly.  Of course, we continue to provider her opportunities to be a leader among the group and to assist staff with activities.  Her husband is benefitting from time on his own and she is benefitting from an environment that supports her abilities and self-esteem.

[SOURCE:  Summer 2011 newsletter, House of Welcome Adult Day Services, Northfield, IL]