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Kirkpatrick Day Program provides services for patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia

The Alzheimer’s Association of Central New York’s Kirkpatrick Day Program offers a dance and movement therapy program. It’s the only adult day program in the area to offer such therapy.

The Alzheimer’s Association of Central New York’s Kirkpatrick Day Program offers a dance and movement therapy program. It’s the only adult day program in the area to offer such therapy.

— The staff at the day program is specifically trained to cater to the needs of those with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

“Our employees go through a great deal of training in terms of how to relate to the patients, how to communicate with them and deal with the behaviors related to various types of dementia,” Paventi said. “Dementia encompasses a variety of diseases, and our staff is trained in that. We’re not just hiring people who are going to roll in off the floor and babysit. Our staff is really tuned toward individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia.”

That’s why the Kirkpatrick Day Program provides such services as music and dance therapy, which have proven effective in helping patients with dementia.

‘That helps to relieve the anxiety a lot of people develop due to the disease because it helps them to express themselves” Paventi said. “Alzheimer’s creates confusion. It causes issues with language. Dance and music allow them to express themselves in nonverbal ways.”

Patients are also aided by the extensive socialization provided by the program.

“Socialization is so key,” Paventi said. “We’ve been doing it since we were children, from playing with each other in groups of friends to going to school to going to work. We focus on the social aspect and really promote those things. It seems silly, but even playing word games and working together to come up with answers to trivia questions [really helps]. It encourages that camaraderie. It’s quite a thing.”

Moreover, the day program provides relief for the person caring for the patient.

“It provides the opportunity for them to remain at home as long as possible. It allows the caregivers to take care of their own needs. They can go to work knowing that their loved one is in a safe place. They’re not just sitting in a chair watching TV or sleeping all day. They’re being engaged all day long,” Paventi said. “When you look at what caregivers go through — the stresses of caring for someone with dementia, the anxiety and worry — they’re constantly worried about whether the person is safe, about how they’re feeling. They’re feeling guilty when they’re at work. There’s the issue of lost productivity, because they’re leaving early and they’re showing up late. If they’re not working, they’re feeling like they never get a break. They worry that their loved one will wander. The day program gives them that break. The day program is a safe place that’s socially enriching and stimulates their loved one’s mind. It keeps the caregiver’s morale high so that they can provide the highest possible quality of care that they can.”

For more information about the Kirkpatrick Day Program, including the criteria for admission and costs association with the program, call 472-4204 or visit alz.org/centralnewyork.

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