UH News

ElderCenter celebrates 25 years of Keeping Older Adults Safe, Thriving

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Silver Anniversary for a Golden Service

The full-service ElderCenter at University Hospital’s Parma Medical Center gives meaning to each day for adults of all ages and abilities. With participants from ages 44 to 103, days are tailored to each individual’s needs. Nurses with decades of experience administer medication, an activities coordinator organizes music, crafts and reminiscence sessions, and the manager is on a first-name basis with every participant and their family members.

ElderCenter and its associated programs – including a Club for early-stage memory loss members, geriatric assessments and driver self-assessments – are all part of UH’s new Center for Lifelong Health, aimed at helping link senior citizens with the services they need. ElderCenter is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

“We encourage participants to be as independent as they possibly can be, and to give them as much autonomy and choice as possible, but we’re right there to assist as needed,” says Laura Matthews, who has managed the Center for 25 years. “We want their days to be as meaningful as possible.”

Caregivers appreciate the thoughtful extra services that make their lives easier, like transportation, extended hours, showers, a hair salon and 24-hour respite care.

“We know our families have to take care of themselves, too,” says Matthews. “We provide showers each morning for participants who may live in a home with a second-floor bathroom or a caregiver unable to assist them. We offer a full-service salon to make those appointments easier to squeeze into the schedule. We also arrange 24-hour respite with a partnering nursing home, for caregivers who have to schedule a surgery or go out of town.”

ElderCenter has also seen a growing interest in its Club, a separate program for those with early-stage memory loss that is believed to be one of only two of its kind in the state. Club members are actively involved in planning and implementing daily activities in the cheery room. Lisa Profio, LPN, a nurse of over 35 years who recently won a national award for facilitating Beyond Driving with Dignity driver self-assessments, coordinates the Club.

“People are more aware of seeking help earlier to retain their cognitive abilities,” Matthews said. “Staying active socially and physically, and engaging in new and different activities that stimulate the brain, helping them stave off the symptoms of Alzheimer’s longer. These folks are starting to experience losses, and we replace those losses with meaningful activities.”

Learn more about the ElderCenter, Club, driver self-assessments and cognitive training at “Community Resources for Caregivers of Older Adults,” a free program on March 25 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Call 440-743-4900 to register.

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