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

New Study Confirms Need for Eldercare Employee Benefits

A poll in the March 2010 issue of Caring Right at Home asked readers to rate various ways employers can support working caregivers. Flexible hours topped the list at 39%, followed by personal leave for caregivers (15%), telecommuting (12%), job sharing (8%) and an eldercare resource line (6%).

This month, we would like to share the results of a new study from the MetLife Mature Market Institute, which sheds new light on the extent to which the challenges of family caregivers impact the American workplace.

Caregivers Are More Likely To Report Health Problems

Working caregiver with headacheIf you are responsible for taking care of an elderly relative or friend, it will likely impact your health and your employer’s bottom line. Employees in the U.S. who are caring for an older relative are more likely to report health problems like depression, diabetes, hypertension or heart disease, costing employers an estimated average 8% per year, or $13.4 billion annually, in healthcare costs, according to the MetLife Study of Working Caregivers and Employer Health Care Costs.

The report, produced by the MetLife Mature Market Institute with the National Alliance for Caregiving in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Aging, also found that younger caregivers (ages 18 to 39) cost their employers 11% more for health care than non-caregivers, and male caregivers cost an additional 18%. It also found that eldercare may be closely associated with high-risk behaviors like smoking and alcohol consumption. Exacerbating the potential impact to employers is the possibility that these medical conditions may also lead to disability-related absences.

The MetLife report was drawn from an analysis of 17,000 employees of a major multinational U.S. corporation who completed health risk assessment questionnaires (HRA). Twelve percent of the respondents were caregivers for an older person.

Read more at Right at Home’s website.

NEWS: Taking Vacations To Help with Caregiving

Many people drag office work along on vacations. Now, research shows a lot of people are using their paid vacation time for a different kind of non-recreational duty–to take care of family members’ medical needs.

A recent survey shows many folks are using their paid vacations for caregiving–to manage illnesses, elder care, checkups, etc. About 61% of employees had taken at least a day of paid vacation time during the preceding year to care for another person, according to a survey of 862 employees age 45 and older by The Hartford Financial Services Group and ComPsych Corp.; more than 9% had taken a week or more. Clearly, workers “are using their paid time off as an extension of their hectic lives, rather than a vacation,” Barbara Campbell, a regional vice president for Hartford, said in a news release on the subject.

Hospital stays are shorter, requiring families to pitch in with home care afterward, as author Paula Span reports in a recent book, “When the Time Comes.”

To be sure there are benefits for caregivers, who may take satisfaction in the warmth and intimacy that comes with shouldering family duties. Still, some of us may feel squeezed between our professional selves and our caregiver selves, left with little time to take a break from the grind.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal by clicking here.

Report: Caregiving in the U.S. 2009

From the AARP website

By: National Alliance for Caregiving in Collaboration with AARP; Funded by The MetLife Foundation | December 2009

Caregiving is still mostly a woman’s job and many women are putting their career and financial futures on hold as they juggle part-time caregiving and full-time job requirements. This is the reality reported in Caregiving in the U.S. 2009, the most comprehensive examination to date of caregiving in America. The first national profile of caregivers, Family Caregiving in the U.S. was published in 1997, and an updated version of the study, Caregiving in the U.S., was reported in 2004.

The sweeping 2009 study of the legions of people caring for younger adults, older adults, and children with special needs reveals that 29 percent of the U.S. adult population, or 65.7 million people, are caregivers, including 31 percent of all households. These caregivers provide an average of 20 hours of care per week. The 2009 reports also begin to trend the findings from all three waves of the study.

Continue to read here.