By PAULA SPAN
In one room, a self-defense instructor was showing participants how to throw a would-be mugger off balance. “I want you to put the cane around my leg and pull,” he urged — and one by one, with a few self-conscious giggles, his elderly students did. “Pull hard. Just like that! One more time.”
A few doors down, a dozen people were drawing with pastels in the crafts room. The walkers in the Mile Around Club were beginning their third circuit along the building’s hallways. In the dining room, meanwhile, workers were setting up a hot meat loaf lunch.
Though almost 4,000 such programs around the country serve older adults who are frail, isolated, chronically ill or demented, I still think these adult day centers constitute one of the better-kept secrets in elder care.
People who might otherwise sit home alone with the remote, or who might move into a facility because they can’t stay home alone, instead spend several days a week being active, social, stimulated, well nourished and — at health-oriented adult day programs like this one — monitored by nurses. At the end of the day, though, the participants go home to familiar surroundings, and the centers often provide the vans that take them there.
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