By Susan Saldibar
What do you think of adult daycare? I always thought of it as sort of a “holding tank” for aging parents, dropped off by their sons or daughters on the way to work and picked up after. And, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Adult daycare puts seniors, who might otherwise be alone all day, into a safe environment where they can hang with other older folks and watch TV, read the paper, play chess, and so on.
But, after a chat with Zisha Francis, VP of Lifestyle Enrichment for Independent Adult Day Care Centers (IADCC), I realize how lame and off the mark my holding tank analogy is. Adult daycare operators have worked hard to be able to connect together a diversity of individuals who, otherwise, might never cross paths. And they take it seriously. Today, IADCC has two centers, with a third to open soon, all in the Indianapolis area. Their mission is to maximize the quality of life in a homelike setting. And I like the way they go about it.
The first thing I think is pretty cool is that IADCC is managed and run by mostly young people. That’s refreshing, as younger managers are less jaded and more likely to try new things; something badly needed in this industry. The other thing I like is that “adults” at IADCC includes anyone over the age of 18! According to Zisha, they have a fair number of young people coming through their doors each day. Most of the members, as you might imagine, have some sort of challenge, ranging from mobility issues, to health issues, to cognitive impairment. But, in Zisha’s experience, it doesn’t keep them from interacting with each other. And, she refers to them all as “Guests” with a capital “G”, by the way. Another thing I like.
Lifeshare Games Draw in People Like a Magnet. All Ages!
Much of this interaction involves playing an assortment of games on a large digital display. It’s one of the reasons why LifeShare Technologies (a Senior Living Foresight partner) is so popular at IADCC. They provide the communications platform that brings these games to life up on the big screen.
One of the favorites is “Name That Croon”, a musical nod to the 1940s era. It’s also a favorite of the staff, according to Zisha. “Staff members can’t resist singing along with the rest of the audience,” she says. Another one is a memorization game called “Cosmic Patterns”, and there is a “Guess What” game in which participants see only parts of a photograph and have to guess who/what it is.
The LifeShare applications make it easy to run these games on the display system, Zisha says. “If you can use a smartphone or Roku device, you can use LifeShare. And, when you do need help, the support is fantastic. You get answers right away.”
When Is an App Also a Sales Collateral? When It Shows Off Your Programming
But it’s another LifeShare feature that Zisha wanted to talk about: the menu/calendar. In part, this relates to IADCC’s pride in having a truly “gourmet” kitchen, featuring only fresh ingredients, and an activities program tailored to the wants, needs, and abilities of Guests at each location. The LifeShare calendar allows them to promote their programming both inside and outside the centers. LifeShare even tweaked the system to fit IADCC’s specific needs.
“When we told the people at LifeShare we wanted a special calendar they were so open to making it happen,” Zisha says, “and it’s personalized with our logo. This is one of our main pieces of marketing collateral.”
Zisha goes on to explain that, as a result of the partnership with LifeShare, IADCC Guests can view a detailed monthly activities calendar to help them plan ahead and know what to expect in the coming days and weeks. Arriving at the center each morning, Guests are ushered past a screen that displays a slideshow of the day’s events, along with the menu for breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack. “At Independent Adult Day Care Centers, every opportunity to communicate with our Guests is valuable,” Zisha says.
Before we ended our conversation, however, I had one more question. I wanted to know if, other than playing the LifeShare games, the twenty-somethings ever hang out with the eighty-somethings. Her answer was interesting. “For the most part people gravitate to their cliques,” Zisha says.
So, apparently, age isn’t much of a factor. But what are these cliques? “You’ll have some of the guys who like to hang out with other guys, and then you have the women who have their own groups,” she says. “So, it’s not by age, but more by sex.”
Some things never change.
For more information about LifeShare Technologies, please visit their website.