For 3 1/2 years, Albright LIFE (Living Independently for Elders) has provided supportive medical services. Starting Thursday, a new day care service will begin to help those who want less comprehensive care, but more socialization.
"(The Albright LIFE Adult Day Care program) is designed to fill a void that exists for senior care options," said John Ressler, executive director of Albright LIFE, 901 Memorial Ave. "It will focus primarily on socialization."
Ressler said they waited until now to design a day care center program because they wanted to focus on growing the Albright LIFE program. Having a program that helped seniors with supportive medical services seemed to be the greatest benefit to those who needed it.
"We wanted to build up the LIFE program," he said.
Day care center participants, who must be 55 or older, must live in the center's coverage area, which includes all of Lycoming County and portions of Clinton County. They also must demonstrate need for the care.
"They still (have to) have some sort of compromised functional condition, (such as) dementia where wandering might be a problem (or need) mid-day medications but be unable to administer them ... people who need assistance with personal care. Those types of individuals would not be able to obtain services from a senior center," Ressler said.
The day care will provide a place for seniors to socialize, get out of their homes, share a meal with others, do various activities and make new friends, said Tracy A. Haas, marketing coordinator.
The Albright LIFE program, which began in June 2008, focuses more on medical needs. It is based on a national model of care called Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE, that is designed to provide complete medical support and care to older individuals to keep them independent in the community, Haas said.
Since the LIFE program began, there have been 803 specialty doctor appointments, 6,083 in-home care hours, 17,531 meals distributed, 24,639 trips to medical appointments and to and from the LIFE Center and 110,991 care hours, which includes clinical care with the participants' primary physicians, nurses, time in the Day Center, therapy and personal care.
Ressler predicts that as the day care program grows, additional help will have to be hired. So far, he said, some people have shown interest, but slots still are available for more participants.
People who attend the day care do not have to go daily, but they have to follow a schedule and cannot go at the spur of the moment because the center has to have enough staff to cover activities. The earliest drop-off time is 8 a.m., and participants must be picked up by 4 p.m., Ressler said.
Fred Shrimp, director of the Office of Aging at STEP Inc., said the program is another resource for seniors and their families.
"It's another resource that's available," he said. "The more resources, the better."
Both the Albright LIFE program and the day care center program will take place in the Albright LIFE building,
"There's no difference in where they have their meal or activities," Haas said. "They'll be right in with the participants."
For more information, call 322-5433.