‘She really looks forward to it’

Day program gives participants a place to socialize, have fun

Remaining connected with their community, friends and even family can be challenging as people age. In some

Bob (left) has a been a caregiver for Jeanne (right) for about 40 years. The ACTS of Kindness Adult Day Service in Olivia has been the perfect program for them. It gives Jeanne a place to socialize and remain active, and it gives Bob time to spend on other things including work. Pictured with Bob and Jeanne is Tammy Enstad, who is the program ‘s coordinator. Photo by Jim Palmer

cases, a life that was once vibrant and fulfilling can start feeling more and more isolated and depressed.

ACTS of Kindness Adult Day Service in Olivia gives older adults a place to socialize, participate and stay connected. And not only does the program help those who participate in it, it is also a great opportunity for caregivers of the participants to get the support and respite they need.

Karen Borden, ACTS of Kindness executive director, was first introduced to the adult day service in Olivia as a caregiver.

“My husband was in the program,” said Borden. “It was called ‘Heart to Heart’ and it was run through the RC Hospital. I had never heard of it, but I quickly realized the benefits of the program. It was great to know he was somewhere safe and sound so I could go to to work and not worry about him. Our program is similar to what Heart to Heart was.”

In 2013, when RC Hospital decided to build a new facility in Olivia, it was decided that the hospital would no longer facilitate the program. Because the need for an adult day care remained in Olivia, a proposal was put together by Adult Client Training Service, Inc. (ACTS), a private nonprofit service started in 1967 as a day activity center which now is a day training and habilitation (DT&H) facility serving developmentally disabled adults and people with related conditions. The proposal by ACTS was accepted, and ACTS of Kindness was formed.

The concept of an adult day service is simple, but its benefits are far reaching.

“We are committed to helping older adults remain in their homes and stay connected,” said Borden. “We provide the participants with an interactive program designed for older adults. It is a place that can help maintain independence, give them a place to socialize and simply have a good time.”

A typical day for participants includes a ride to the facility compliments of Central Community Transit. Participants come together, have a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, open up a newspaper and talk about current events in the news and in their lives.

“We always have a morning activity and an activity in the afternoon, and have lunch. After lunch, the participants have an opportunity to relax or rest,” said Borden. “Lunch is catered each day by Masters Coffee Shop.”

Pictured above is one of the participants, George, with Tammy Enstad, ACTS of Kindness program coordinator (left) and Karen Borden, ACTS of Kindness executive director (right). Photo contributed

Each day’s activities are led by Tammy Enstad, the program’s coordinator.

“We do all sorts of things, such as dice, cards, puzzles, art projects, scrapbooking, gardening and bingo,” said Enstad. “We also take field trips to the farmers market, downtown businesses, parks and gardens and even go on bigger trips in neighboring towns.”

Enstad also enjoys meeting up with other area senior day care groups for social events including bowling, fishing and more. She loves the participants in the program, and they love her right back, according to Borden.

“Tammy is an energetic, fun-loving person,” said Borden. “She brings a certain happy aura with her wherever she is. She has a terrific sense of humor, and I often hear laughter coming from the program.”

Enstad recently helped each participant connect with family and friends through Facebook, and she plans to

Dancing, fishing and board games are some of the activities people can expect at ACTS of Kindness. Photo contributed

further explore that avenue to keep participants connected.

“I love the feeling of making a difference in a person’s life,” said Tammy.

Earlier this year, Tammy invited the public to join her group at a local coffee shop for bingo. She solicited prize donations from several local businesses, and she and the participants baked cookies to serve at the bingo party. She also used the time to talk about the program and handed out flyers to tell others about ACTS of Kindness.

In addition to the activities, there are also visits by physical and occupational therapists from Big Stone Therapies.

The therapists make assessments with the participants and stay in contact with Enstad on any changes.

One current participant in the program is Jeanne, who was diagnosed with MS about 40 years ago. She comes to ACTS of Kindess five days a week.

“She really looks forward to it,” said her husband, Bob, who helped Jeanne raise two children. “This program is one of the few things she really gets excited about.”

Bob has been Jeanne’s caretaker since her diagnosis back in the mid-1970s. For him, the program is a big win-win.

Dancing, fishing and board games are some of the activities people can expect at ACTS of Kindness. Photo contributed

“It is perfect for her. It gives her a chance to socialize a little bit, which has been great for her. But it is also great for me. It gives me a chance to do other things (time off and work). That has been a big help,” he said. “It is great for her and me.”

Another participant, George, has also been a regular for years, enjoys the activities and gardening. He is currently tending to his onions, lettuce and radishes in planters outside the ACTS of Kindess facility.

For Jeanne and Bob, the program is a highlight for their day and helps them remain independent, which is one of the biggest benefits of the program.

“We want to help people stay in their home as long as possible, “ said Borden. “This program helps people do this.” ACTS of Kindness is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-3 :30 p.m. The program is covered by Elderly Waiver, Alternative Care, Long-term Care Insurance, CADI, Veteran’s Administration and Private Pay.

To learn more about ACTS of Kindness or to try it out for a day for free, call Tammy Enstad, at 320-523-5666 or email at actsof_kindness@outlook.com.

#ACTSofKindnessAdultDayService #OliviaMinnesota #senioractivities

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