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Adult day center stays connected with members amid closure

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adult day Betty Adams

MARION (WSIL) -- Unlike emergency day cares for remaining open for essential workers with children, the state has closed adult day centers that look after those with physical and mental impairments.

One of those includes Active Day in Marion, which typically looks over 35 members each day.

That includes socialization activities, arts and crafts, and group outings. Members are also given a breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack.

However, the state closed adult day centers in Mid-March as a way to protect members from the Coronavirus.

Since then, workers at Active Day have been working on ways to stay connected with members.

Mikilyn Schutt, Regional Director for Illinois and Indiana, says they've been delivering meals to members who are at high-risk of contracting the virus.

"That's important for us," she explains. "For them to have the same nutrition that they were getting here."

Schutt along with other workers have been delivering lunches from Andresen's Cafe, which normally provides meals for members, and snacks.

They travel 100 miles round trip each day to get these meals to the members who need them.

"For us, just to get to visually see them, to know ok they're ok," Schutt says. "Or maybe come back and say, I have a few concerns I think that member maybe needs some extra assistance we can give them during that time."

One member who has been receiving meals is Betty Adams, who is a two-time breast cancer survivor meaning her immune system is compromised.

She's been coming to Active Day for 15 years and normally rides the bus from her apartment five days a week.

"Play games, play bingo," Adams recalls about her time there. "We used to play bingo and dominoes."

But that's not what she misses the most about her days.

"The staff. everybody. I love all the boys. All the boys, they don't know it but I do."

In the meantime, she's been watching TV in her apartment and looking forward to the meal deliveries.

Her favorite is the fried chicken from Andresen's but what she really likes is being able to see Schutt and the other Active Day employees.

"I see them everyday or just about every day," Adams explains. "I love their hearts, the both of them."

In addition to providing meals, Active Day is also calling care givers and members each day to check-in on them. Employees are also helping members with medical needs get the personal care items that they require.

There's no set date on when the state will reopen adult day centers and Schutt worries about them staying closed for too long.

She says this can have a negative impact on members with diseases like dementia, who need socialization and activities to keep them going. To help, Active Day plans on starting some virtual activities on Facebook and Zoom.

Brooke Schlyer

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