Frequently Asked Questions about the
Circle of Elders Social Day Program
- What is the social day program?
The Circle of Elders Social Day Program is an asset of long standing in our community. This well-organized program provides participating elders with conversation, music, laughter, and stimulating, enriching, enjoyable activities. The attentive, committed, professional staff maintain a safe, structured environment and create a warm, welcoming, caring atmosphere that nourishes the human spirit. Those in the program develop a sense of belonging, increased self-esteem, and a happier outlook on life, while enjoying good times among good friends.
- Who can attend?
All who can benefit are welcome. Elders experiencing low spirits, a lack of joy, or minimal social interaction come to enjoy a fuller engagement with life. Those with dementia or Alzheimers, and adults of any age with developmental disability or loss of cognitive function may also attend. Other participants come so that family caregivers receive a break from their duties, while knowing their loved ones are safe, well cared for, and having a good time.
- What kinds of activities are there?
Each morning begins with sociable conversation shared over a breakfast snack. Next comes an inspirational, educational or humorous reading, which often stimulates lively discussion. After that, activities vary from day to day. Elders help choose among activities such as singing, dancing, art projects, games (including ones specifically designed for brain stimulation), poetry, meditation, exercise, gardening, and more. Also featured are performances by guest entertainers, including local musicians and artists, professional dancers, a professional storyteller, and a nationally renowned theater professional who leads adventurous, brain-stimulating Imaginative Journey workshops. All these add enrichment, stimulation, joy and merriment to the program.
- Is lunch provided?
Lunch is included. Participants are served a delicious, freshly prepared hot meal that meets their individual dietary requirements, or they may choose to be served or serve themselves from the extensive salad bar. Each morning on arrival they also receive a breakfast snack of yogurt, toast with peanut butter and jam, and a choice of coffee, tea or juice.
- Do participants have to be ambulatory? Can staff give medication?
Participants need not be ambulatory, but must be able to partially bear their own weight with staff assistance. All facilities are wheelchair accessible for those with wheelchairs. Staff cannot administer medication, but can provide it in a timely way so people can take it themselves.
- When and where is the Circle of Elders Social Day Program held?
The program is open from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM Monday through Thursday, with participants attending one to four days a week, as needed. Normal arrival time is between 8:00 and 10:00 AM. It's best for participants to be present the entire time to gain full benefit, but arrival and departure times are flexible to meet individual needs. The program is closed on major holidays.
The Social Day Program takes place at Redwood Coast Senior Center, located at 490 N. Harold Street in Fort Bragg, near Cotton Auditorium. The program is held in a comfortable, spacious, south-facing, light-filled room. A private, wheelchair accessible restroom is conveniently adjacent, as is a small kitchen, though lunches come from the Center's nearby main kitchen.
- Who runs the program?
The program is run by a Program Director and other staff and volunteers. All are caring, committed people experienced in and dedicated to serving the needs of elders, people with Alzheimers, and those with other cognitive impairments. Staff members must maintain current CPR and First Aid certificates, pass a criminal record clearance, and engage in ongoing training in elder issues. All staff and volunteers are carefully chosen for their qualities of empathy, experience, skill, and dedication to the work.
The current Program Director is Elizabeth Morton, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with an M.A. in Dance Therapy. Elizabeth and her staff are kind, warm-hearted, fun and vivacious people, fully invested in creating a safe, structured, enriching, lively and creative program.
- Who sponsors the Social Day Program?
The program is sponsored by Redwood Coast Senior Center, a community center for activities and services that support wellness and healthy aging for all seniors on the Mendocino Coast. Redwood Coast Seniors, Inc., the non-profit organization that supports the Senior Center, relies on community support for much of its funding. Donations are needed, welcomed, and appreciated.
- What is the cost?
The program's cost, which includes lunch, snacks, and art supplies, is $55 per day, billed monthly, with some financial assistance possible. This only comes to about $9 an hour, yet provides benefits in many ways preferable to in-home care.
- Is transportation available?
The Senior Center's buses provide two-way transportation for a reasonable fee, on the Coast between Cleone and the Albion Store. The buses are wheelchair accessible.
- Will attending the Social Day Program help my loved one's functioning improve?
Positive changes are often noted – improvements in mental, emotional, and social capacities typically occur. Research shows that memory loss diminishes in those who regularly engage in brain stimulating activities. Local physicians have reported a decrease in depression in their patients in the program, and a renewed interest in life. Family members often notice a marked increase in self worth in their loved ones, a greater sense of belonging, and increased feelings of well-being. And as elders participate in the program, staff members often see in them a renewed vitality, an increased sparkle in the eyes, and a brightening of smiles.
- How can I find out more?
Please contact the Social Day Program Director.