Fun & Friendship at The Caring Place

Fun & Friendship at The Caring Place

Never a dull moment at The Caring Place!

October 2, 2017

Written by Katie Kuhn, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

In celebration of National Senior Center Month, we are highlighting our program partners that run exceptional programs for older adults. Check out our feature on senior meal sites that focus on Hmong and Latinx culture and our recent story about Curative Care Senior Center.


For the last 30 years, The Caring Place’s Adult Day center has been serving seniors in Waukesha County. Over the years their vision has remain the same.: “Every senior has a place to go for socializing, comfort and care.”


The Caring Place also believes strongly in “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Seniors often must be motivated to keep up with their health and physical needs, by coming to The Caring Place we are able to help keep them motivated.


When clients of The Caring Place come to the day center, they know they will have a day filled with stimulating activities, exercise, socialization, and a delicious, healthy meal.


“Clients make close friends here at The Caring Place,” says Executive Director Lori Wetzel. “There are two general types of adult day care programs-medical model and social model. The medical model provides comprehensive medical, therapeutic, and rehabilitation day treatment. The social model offers supervised activities, peer support, companionship, and recreation. The Caring Place is a social model. Often, when seniors stay at home all day, every day, they don’t eat properly, lose strength, and get depressed.”


Today, The Caring Place is the only “social model” senior center in Waukesha County. Curative Care’s Senior Center, another Waukesha-based resource, follows the medical model. The Caring Place serves about 20 clients on any given day, with a mix between daily attendees and those who come just a few times per week.


To give clients a variety of fun, safe activities, Lori and her team have fostered partnerships with community organizations. Twice per week, the YWCA’s Silver Sneakers program comes to The Caring Place to run exercise classes. Music therapy is also popular. Volunteers lead games of “name that tune” or ask for suggestions from clients for what they want to listen to.


Art therapy is another highlight of the center. “People who have never painted or drawn before often become our best artists,” says Lori. “For those with Alzheimer’s or dementia, art can be very relaxing. When they’re finished with a project, they’re proud. Families are often shocked at how talented their loved one is.”


“Attending a senior day center is often a better option for an older adult than in-home-care,” says Lori. “At-home caregivers are great at meeting medical and day-to-day needs, but don’t always have the capacity or imagination to offer a full day of stimulating activities.”


The Caring Place is also a great resource for the families of clients. Knowing their loved one is in a safe, social environment allows spouses, children, or caregivers to work or get other things done during the day.


“One gentleman who comes in every day is in the mid- to late-stage of Alzheimer’s. His wife tells us ‘I don’t know what I’d do without The Caring Place,’” says Lori. “Every day when he comes in he tells us ‘I love you immensely!’ For a lot of our clients, we are like a second family.”


Another success story that Lori is proud of is about “Jane”, who lived in a tight-knit Japanese community in California while her family lived here in Wisconsin. One day, her daughter received a call from a neighbor concerned that Jane could no longer live on her own. Jane’s daughter brought her back to Wisconsin and started bringing her to The Caring Place. After just 2 weeks, Jane’s daughter came in and gave Lori a hug, saying “my mother has changed so much in the last couple of weeks. She is alert, eating well, wants to help around the house…she is totally different!” These days, Jane loves bringing The Caring Place staff little gifts and has made many good friends.


“The Caring Place is an invaluable resource to the Waukesha Community, and the only way we are able to stay in business is through United Way funding,” says Lori.


“Our goal is to help our clients stay healthy for as long as possible,” says Lori. “Especially for our clients with Alzheimer’s, we are a great option for care, allowing them to live at home for as long as possible, until they need to move into assisted living or to a long-term care facility.”


“Families need to be aware that we are here and how much better it is for their loved ones to have that socialization in their lives.”


Learn more about the work of The Caring Place.


Want to volunteer to help older adults stay healthy and active? Browse our Season of Caring portal to find a local volunteer opportunity!

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