It’s Time to THRIVE!

Lauren Duerksen
Program Director, AGE Thrive Social & Wellness Center

     Universally, the COVID pandemic changed a lot in our worlds. Most of us were isolated from family and friends; we avoided hugs and handshakes and social gatherings; some of us started (and continue) to work from home, juggling the work that pays the bills with the work of caring for others, all while our dogs were barking at delivery trucks, our cats were making their appearance during virtual meetings, and/or we were teaching our children at home.

     Before the pandemic, social isolation was already problematic for older adults.  The CDC links loneliness and social isolation to serious health conditions such as premature death, depression, and anxiety, among other health risks. As we emerge from the pandemic days of being stuck at home, we look for the opportunities that reconnect us to each other and to the communities we so deeply missed the last couple of years. Adult day health centers are an excellent place for older adults to receive supervision or services while socializing with peers and easing the loneliness, boredom, or isolation they may be experiencing.  Additionally, caregivers of older adults need time to take care of themselves so they can continue to fulfill the needs of another person.

     Whether you work from home and need time to focus, you need a break so you can get your errands done, or you just want a day or two to yourself, AGE of Central Texas Thrive Social & Wellness Centers provide daytime care for older adults with physical needs or memory loss. Our Thrive Center members engage in an active, social day while receiving the care and support they need in a vibrant community setting.

     Our Thrive Centers in Austin and Round Rock are the longest-operating licensed, non-residential day activity and health service centers in Central Texas. Our program provides daytime care and social wellness support for older adults with physical or cognitive needs. This includes:

  • Expert Care: we are staffed with a full-time nurse to assist with medication management and health monitoring.
  • All-Inclusive: we provide nutritious meals, transportation options (depending on location and availability), and engaging activities such as music, brain boosters, and exercise.
  • As a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting people all along the spectrum of growing older, we never want finances to be a barrier to excellent care. Our low private rate of $70/day is an affordable option, though we do provide a sliding scale application for those who qualify. We also accept Medicaid, veteran’s benefits, and long-term care insurance.
  • Our rigorous infectious control policies and procedures have mitigated the spread of COVID in our centers while we continue to provide these crucial services.

     Both locations are open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  We encourage participants to attend the Thrive Centers at least twice a week and stick to their regular routine to develop consistency and reap the most benefit for the participant. Your loved one will enjoy nutritious meals, lots of fun, and still get to go home at the end of day, ready to come back for more!

     When care partners come to the initial assessment, we discuss goals for their participant’s time in the Thrive Center, such as socializing outside of the home, enjoying enriching activities that are planned by a skilled Activity Director, or simply spending a fun day in a safe place. Often times, after their first visit, caregivers report to us
that their Thrive Center member was happier, more engaged, or had their best day they’ve had in years when they go home at the end of the day.     

     While COVID changed a lot about our worlds, we know now more than ever it’s important to stay involved and connected in communities where we belong. Our Thrive Social & Wellness Centers are a place of accepting community who meet everyone where they are. We welcome you to give it a try and find a place to belong!

Interested in learning more?
Call or email us today!

Central Austin Location:
3710 Cedar Street, Austin, TX 78705
(512) 458-6305
Email: CentralAustinThrive@AGEofCentralTX.org

Williamson County Location:
475 Round Rock West Drive #120, Round Rock, TX 78681
(512) 255-4865
Email: WilcoThrive@AGEofCentralTX.org

Caring for Ailing Parents

portrait of asian father and son.

Parents care for children, and then children grow up to become parents and care for their own children.  That’s the natural order of things—except when it isn’t.

Sometimes parents cannot care well for themselves, and need others to help. This is when children, purely out of love and concern, often begin to care for a parent.  Sometimes the caregiving journey is short-lived, because the need for care is temporary—such as when a parent has surgery or goes through treatment to regain health.  Sometimes it’s a long journey because the parent has a chronic illness such as dementia, or the after-effects of a stroke. When a child cares for an ailing parent, how is the parent/child relationship affected, and what can the child do to make the journey easier?

Continue reading

8 Unselfish Ways to Put Yourself First

Our CaregiverU Program Director, Faith Unger, has a great mantra: “Caregiving is a marathon, not a sprint.”  All too often, caregivers are thrust into the role of taking care of a family member, with little warning and no training.

Wright at receptionAccording to the American Psychological Association, it is estimated that informal caregivers – typically spouses or adult children – provide 80 percent of the long-term care in the case of diseases such as Alzheimer’s.  Their 2003 study found that caregivers had a 23 percent higher level of stress hormones and a 15 percent lower level of antibody responses than non-caregivers.

Caregiving also takes a psychological toll. According to the National Family Caregivers Association, the roughly one out of four caregivers who care for a family member for at least 36 hours a week – basically making it a full-time job – are more likely to show signs of depression or anxiety.  Relative to peers who don’t provide on-going care, spouses can be depressed or anxious six times more often; adult children suffer these problems twice as often.

Continue reading

May Is Older Americans Month

May Is Older Americans Month

prom_luluThe month of May represents national “Older Americans Month,” when communities across the country recognize older Americans for their contributions and demonstrate the nation’s commitment to helping them stay healthy and active.

This year, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act, communities are focusing on how older adults are taking charge of their health, engaging in their communities, and making a positive impact in the lives of others.  President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Older Americans Act into law in July 1965. Since that time, the Act has provided a nationwide aging services network and funding that helps older adults live with dignity in the communities of their choice for as long as possible.

While AGE of Central Texas provides programs, education, and resources to older adults and their caregivers year-round, Older Americans Month offers an opportunity to emphasize how senior adults can access the home- and community-based services they need to live independently.  We are honored to be a part of the live of the older adults and family caregivers of this community, and to join them on their journey.

Thumbing Your Way to Health

large_article_im1466_Top_5_high-tech_health_trends_to_watch_in_2014What is better than learning how to use a smartphone for the first time?

How about learning to make your mind and body healthier with your device? How about taking a class from your peers? Then catching up with them over a cup of coffee after class?

The marriage between health and technology is becoming stronger every day. With the upcoming reign of wearable tech, the relationship between our digital devices and our bodies will grow. The AGE Computer Lab is here to help our community navigate it.  Continue reading

Does a license make a difference?

How does someone go about deciding if an Adult Day Care center (ADC) is a good fit for a loved one? There are many factors, but one important consideration is the question of licensing.

We understand that it’s not easy to entrust a loved one’s well-being to strangers. That is why licensing is important to AGE of Central Texas– we want to do everything we can to reassure family caregivers that our Adult Day Health Centers are safe and held to the highest standards.

In Texas, the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) licenses and surveys adult day care facilities to ensure compliance with state and federal laws and regulations to protect individuals who are receiving these long-term care services.

Some of the requirements that licensed adult day care centers follow include: Continue reading

Helping Caregivers Through the Holidays

When someone in your family has dementia, or really any other chronic condition, it can affect what holiday time and family gatherings look like. There’s no magic solution, but we hope these tips and reminders might help make this holiday season a bit easier and merry as you balance the holidays as a caregiver.

1. Help your family and friends adjust their expectations
If some time has passed since visiting relatives or friends have seen the person who has dementia, there may have been significant changes in that person’s status since the last time friends or family last saw them. It is often very helpful if you update family, perhaps via a mass email or individual phone calls, on what kind of cognitive changes are going on and what they can expect when they arrive.

These changes can be hard for family members to accept. Remind them that changes in memory and behavior are a result of the disease, not the person. Continue reading

Cold & Flu Prevention for Older Adults

By Diane Walker  RN, MS, CSA

Getting a cold or — even worse — the flu is a miserable inconvenience for anyone. For an older adult, the outcome can be worse than a Flu picturefew missed days at work or the inability to enjoy one’s activities, it can be much more serious. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “…90% of seasonal flu-related deaths and more than 60% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations in the United States each year occur in people 65 years and older.” Older immune systems tend to be weaker which allows the flu to turn into more serious conditions such as bronchitis and / or pneumonia.

While an illness can hit anyone at any time, there are ways to prevent developing a cold or the flu. The best way to treat a cold or flu is to not get it in the first place. Prevention is key. Seniors and their caretakers should keep the following tips in mind to keep an older adult healthy: Continue reading

Austin Mayor’s Task Force on Aging

Dear Friends,

For the past year, I have had the great honor to serve on the Austin Mayor’s Task Force on Aging. I am very proud to have been part of this effort.

The recommendations from the Task Force include the following focus areas:

  1. Healthy Living
  2. Independence
  3. Informed Community

We are especially thrilled that under the focus area of ‘independence’, the Task Force specifically highlights the need for critical support and training for family caregivers. One of their recommendations is to expand CaregiverU, a collaboration that AGE is honored to coordinate with the generous support of the St. David’s Foundation. Continue reading