Guest column: Service offers goalkeepers a helping hand

He was much older when they met. Now married for 25 years, Julie and Raymond (pseudonyms) deal with the frustration and burnout of caregiving. Raymond had a severe stroke over three years ago. Julie is his main caregiver, but since he is a large man confined to a wheelchair, is paralyzed on one side and has limited speech, it is impossible for him to do it alone.

It is difficult to find reliable home helpers who are willing to do the job.

“I didn’t overlook anything,” Julie said. “I heard it all and spent so much time training helpers.”

Luckily, they live in Porterville, the only town in Tulare County with an adult daycare center, Valley Adult Day Service (VADS). Raymond goes there three days a week.

“They’re so helpful there,” Julie said. “They updated me on his progress and his interactions.”

At first, like many customers, he didn’t want to go, but he wanted company and things to do, so now he likes to come.

“When he’s at daycare, I can relax,” says Julie. It’s not like a full day off because she still has to get him out of bed and get him ready. He travels on Dial-a-Ride. “I’m usually exhausted, and sometimes I fall asleep and sleep when he’s around.”

What VADS offers is respite for caregivers who wish to keep their loved ones at home but need to be away from their loved one to go to work, shop or just take some time off. .

General Manager Laura Kaylor and her staff have a strong connection to their customers. Their goal is to see the participant more than their disorder and to bring them “normality” in a life that is no longer normal.

An accredited adult day program, VADS assesses each participant and creates a personal care plan. The staff offers snacks, lunch, a variety of activities and personalized exercise programs.

“We’re asking them to do as much as possible,” Kaylor said. “Even if it’s just getting them to wash their hands, stand and sit or work on range of motion. This keeps them flexible and able to get in and out of the car. This greatly facilitates the task of the caregiver.

“Doing for them takes away their independence, and the more dependent they are, the more they will need to be placed in a nursing home.”

Babysitting is a full-time and stressful job. Valley Adult Day Services can help with resources and training. No one can – or should – do it alone.

Valley Adult Day Services

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