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Adult Day Center offers fun, space place for adults

YOUNGSTOWN — If anyone looks for Darlene Flint, chances are that two days per week she’s having a great time in or around Youngstown.

The Campbell resident is part of the Adult Day Center at Easterseals of Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana Counties.

She began participating in activities offered by the Adult Day Center about two years ago after looking for ways to socialize.

Now it’s a part of her life she looks forward to.

“If I miss a day … it affects me mentally, physically,” Flint, 64, said. “I need to get out and get to Easterseals.”

Friends she’s made in her time with the center have become part of her support system.

When her mother passed toward the end of 2022, Flint refrained from going to the center for about a week. “I needed to come back,” she said.

Over the 2023 holiday season, Flint got through with the help of her friends and staying busy because of Easterseals, she said.

“I had spirit; I had joy,” she said.

It’s not just camaraderie Flint finds, but also a sense of adventure.

“I see a lot of things I would’ve never seen. That’s good for me.”

On one outing, she and others in the Adult Day Center program marveled at the Christmas tree display at D.D. and Velma Davis Education and Visitor Center located in Fellows Riverside Gardens in Mill Creek MetroParks.

“I didn’t know that place existed,” she said. “We went and I was so intrigued by it. It was wonderful to see all the different trees by all the organizations.”

The group even took pictures next to Easterseals’ decorated tree.

Socializing and exploring through Easterseals give Flint a sense of fulfillment.

“I enjoy meeting different people, being around different people, doing different things,” she said.

MORE THAN TALKING

There’s more than socializing with the Adult Day Center, 299 Edwards St., said Breanna Johnson, adult day nurse manager.

There’s a focus on providing opportunities offering independence not only for the adults who attend but also for caregivers, she said.

“Caregivers are just as important to us as clients,” she said.

Any adult-aged individual from the Mahoning Valley can join in the Adult Day Center programming.

Different programs are offered four days per week, including exercise and socialization, community trips, respite activities, social work, on-site occupational and speech therapy, cultural classes and transportation.

If a caregiver needs a few hours in the evening, they can take their loved one or make arrangements to have them picked up by Easterseals.

They are served dinner and kept busy with activities during those hours, Johnson said.

“This keeps the clients safe at home because they’re not alone as long. It keeps them mobile, independent,” she said. “The more independence they have, the healthier they are.”

Regarding finances, Johnson said interested clients are directed to reach out to Direction Home of Eastern Ohio, a nonprofit that helps older adults and individuals with disabilities with their health.

Flint said she discovered the Adult Day Center through Direction Home’s guidance. The organization worked with her to find a program that was the “best fit,” which was Easterseals. In her case, she doesn’t have to pay to attend.

Direction Home can help people determine if they qualify for the Mahoning County senior levy or family caregiver support.

Veterans go through Veterans Affairs, and Easterseals will check insurance provider coverage for people, too. There’s also a cash-pay option.

A NEW FAMILY

Another senior who has been attending the Adult Day Center for about two years is Newton Falls resident Richard Britton.

The 83-year-old Army veteran enjoys the activities, including talking with other veterans.

“I call this my family,” he said.

It’s not rare to see Britton arrive at the Adult Day Center with a confection he whipped up at home to share with his Easterseals family.

On the activity side, Britton enjoys the art classes. At home he has several art projects from the Adult Day Center adorning his walls, he said.

One component of the center Britton appreciates is going on trips.

Recently, an Easterseals employee took Britton and a couple of others for lunch, even stopping at Star Supply just down the road.

“I passed it before coming in on the bus, but I was never inside,” Britton said.

He’s thankful they went because he was able to find materials for an art project.

Often, Britton said he and others will share suggestions on places to visit or activities that seem interesting.

Easterseals employees listen to what clients have to say, and that includes suggestions on classes and community trips, Cheryl Lloyd, community relations outreach and marketing manager, said.

“It is a center, even though we provide care and socialization. It’s a place to come and be with people,” Lloyd said.

Often there’s an idea that adult day centers are for people who are ill. The Easterseals Adult Day Center, however, is to help people live well.

“It’s to come, enjoy the day, live your best independent life,” she said.

This opportunity is important for seniors who may live alone and don’t drive.

They’re transported to the center where they “are near people, laughing, going out,” Lloyd said.

For anyone interested, Easterseals opens its doors when it comes to tours.

“Come see what we’re about,” she said.

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