Adult Day Services can be an important resource for families caring for patients with memory disorders. If you’re one of the many thousands of individuals in Dade County who care for of know of family caregivers of dementia patients you’ll find this information invaluable.

I recently visited The South Florida Easter Seals to observe first- hand the programs and centers they operate throughout South Florida for individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease and other Dementias. The South Florida Easters Seals is located in downtown Miami, just behind the Miami VA, on the Western tip of the UM Medical Campus.

Frankly, until recently I had always thought that Easter Seals was primarily about children with disabilities. Have I been wrong! While they have wonderful programs for autistic children, and a culinary program for young adults with physical and mental disabilities, they also place a huge emphasis on programs on frail adults, adults with memory disorders, and even a program for devoted caregivers. The environment was so warm and inviting and my visit was incredibly gratifying.

I had the pleasure of meeting first with Angela Aracena, VP of Programming. As we toured the different rooms Angela gave me some great advice to give to caregivers who are investigating programs for their loved ones. “Look at the faces of the caregivers.” Make sure they appear engaged with their work and the program participants. I did and each and everyone was involved. The rooms were loud with activities. There were nearly 70 participants yesterday, however, it seemed much larger due to the high employee/participant ratio.

There are different programs and grants in place that provide assistance with payments. They have two grants that provide funds for the daily programs. Qualifications for the grants are based on age, and level of frailty. They also will guide qualified individuals through a medicaid diversion program. The daily cost for those who pay privately is $45.00 and transportation can be arranged.

I also met with Karen Lopez, Manager of Volunteer Services. Karen recruits and trains volunteers for the Respite Program, where a strategically matched AmeriCorps volunteer is assigned to supervise care of the patient, providing a break for the caregiver. If you’d like more information on this program call Karen at (305) 547-4751. Maybe you’d even like to become a volunteer!