New senior day program now open

Program designed to help clients thrive, give caregivers a chance to recharge

Do you have a parent who is isolated and isn’t having the fulfilling life they used to have because of a physical limitation? Or a family member or friend who is alone most of the day and just needs a little help to get through the day?

Business partners, Jay Vachal, CEO of Arise Cares, and Margaret Kotula, recently opened Arise Cares Senior Day Program in Sartell. The two are pictured in the large cafeteria-style room at Arise Cares. Photo by Jim Palmer

There is a great new option in Central Minnesota that is designed to help these seniors, as well as their caregivers. It’s called Arise Cares Senior Day Program, and it recently opened its doors and is open to clients.

The program was developed by Jay Vachal, CEO of Arise Cares, a home health care business in Central Minnesota, along with business partner, Margaret Kotula, who is also experienced in the home health care industry. The program helps gives clients a safe, welcoming environment while allowing much-needed respite time for the caregiver.

The program is located at 1908 Kruchten Court South in Sartell. It is conveniently located at the crossroads of Sartell, Sauk Rapids and St. Cloud. The space had been previously used by Opportunity Matters for disabled adults. The building features a quiet room, a separate craft and game room, a cafeteria-style main room complete with a kitchen, a small living room space, a laundry room and a shower room.

A typical day at Arise Care Senior Day Program includes activities in the morning and afternoon, along with a noon lunch provided by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud’s senior dining program.

“We have a routine schedule, but activities will be constantly changing,” said Kotula, who is the program’s director. “Some days will also have special activities including live music and field trips.”

Arise Cares Senior Day Program is located in a clean, spacious and easy-to-access facility in Sartell. Photo by Jim Palmer

Daily activities might include cards, puzzles, board games, arts and crafts and bingo, while the field trips might include a trip to a park, a museum, an apple orchard, garage sales or the mall.

“Clients will have an opportunity to socialize in a vibrant and fun atmosphere,” said Kotula. “And if a client doesn’t want to participate in an activity, they can choose to do something else. We have a quiet room for relaxing, as well as a TV, a fireplace and other options if they want to skip an activity and just relax. It is their choice.”

In addition to the activities, Arise Cares Senior Day Program provides supervision by a registered nurse (RN), bathing, exercise, health monitoring and education and an individual plan of care. Each client is evaluated by an RN prior to starting the program to make sure they receive the care they need, and monitoring continues throughout the client’s stay.

“It is a place where people can come and take advantage of not just socialization and activities, but also some of the care that we can provide,” said Vachal.

And while the clients are having fun and receiving care, the caregiver is given peace of mind. Caregivers have time to themselves to go to work, run errands or simply recharge the batteries while knowing that their loved one is in good hands.

Arise Cares Senior Day Program has a large cafeteria-style main room complete with kitchen, among other amenities. Photo by Jim Palmer

By helping both the client and the caregiver, the program can help clients stay in their home for a longer period of time, at a less expensive cost than a senior living facility.

One unique aspect of Arise Cares Senior Day Program is its stand-alone model. Vachal said it was important to keep the program separate from any long-term care facility.

“There is still a stigma about dropping grandma or grandpa off at the nursing home,” said Vachal. “We really want this to be more like going to the Whitney Senior Center.”

The senior day program was a natural fit for Arise Cares, which was founded by Jay and his wife, Melody, in 2000 to improve the personal care services available to their son, Isaac, who has cerebral palsy and is blind. About that same time, Melody became the primary caregiver for her father. In response to her father’s care needs, Arise Cares began offering in-home care and living assistance for elderly, chronically ill, or disabled people and their family caregivers. Over the years, Arise Cares has grown significantly. Today it has between 200-250 caregivers providing services to communities throughout central Minnesota.

“It has always been a personal journey for me,” said Jay. “Living it firsthand gives us a unique perspective and a deeper level of empathy for our clients. I know how hard it can be and how it can affect your life. I have caregivers in my home every day and so there is a constant reminder on how important this is.”

Vachal has taken his experiences and used them to help mold Arise Cares.

Arise Cares Senior Day Program has a quiet room perfect for rest and relaxation. Photo by Jim Palmer

“We believe you or your loved one should drive the decisions regarding how, when, where, and by whom care is provided. Every senior is different. They may have a similar diagnosis as someone else, but they are their own person and have their own challenges. They want us to meet them where they are at and that is exactly what we try to do. Some might need a little more care and assistance. Some might not be able to function on their own. Some may be isolated and just need a place to go. Every day is different. We need to adapt to those changes. We want to make sure we do it right.”

Vachal watches the trends of the home health industry closely and has been considering a senior day program for years. A lot has changed in the in-home care industry in the St. Cloud area over the last five years, he said, and the time was right to start this new venture.

“Baby boomers are aging, and most would like to stay in their house as long as possible. There is also a shortage of caregivers as a result of the increased demand for services,” said Vachal. “With home care you’ve got a one-to-one caregiver-to-client ratio. In a facility like this you’ve got one caregiver to four or five clients. So it just makes better use of the good caregivers that we have on staff. We make better use of our resources and can still meet the demands of our clients.”

Arise Cares Senior Day Program is available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Clients may choose to come for 8 hours minimum per week for $17/hour, or, they can attend less than 8 hours per week but the rates will then increase to $20/hour. For a limited time they are offering an introductory rate of $15/hour for the first three months of service. This introductory rate is valid until July 31, 2016. “We also have a free one-day trial for those who what to try it out for a day,” said Vachal.

For more information or to set up a tour of the facility, call Margaret Kotula at 320-281-2306 or email

#AriseCares #babyboomers #caregivers #Seniordayprograms

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