Spotlight on Programs
Home Away From Home Adult Medical Day Care Center, Nutley NJ
On any given day, when you walk inside this unassuming white and red brick building located diagonally across from Flipping Out Gymnastics, tucked away from busy roads at 163 Hillside in Nutley, you will experience a lively community feeling with intermixed populations of both seniors and individuals with disabilities. The magic and the energy are palpable and everywhere you look people are smiling and laughing and you can tell that this place is, indeed, special.
As you enter, you might hear a strong Latina beat and witness several seniors dancing in the main area to that music in their own culture's style, perhaps joined by an individual with disabilities rocking to that same beat in his/her chair, just being him/herself, nestled within the crowd.
You might see a young woman with developmental disabilities 'hanging out' playing cards or Bingo at a table with a few older gentlemen, all three laughing and enjoying their game and time together.
You may have the great fortune to walk in during a Fashion or Talent show where the Beyond 21 participants are singing songs to entertain the seniors and are met with rounds of applause.
One thing is for certain; as you enter, it becomes clear that this is an innovative Center with interwoven programs that benefit everyone.
Home Away From Home
The Center is called Home Away From Home Adult Medical Day Care; it was founded in 2005 as a medically-oriented day program for seniors. Family-owned and still run like a big family, the Center continues to provide loving care to the 200+ seniors who come through their doors on a daily basis. In 2016, they extended their care to include a medical day program for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities age 21 and older, now entitled Beyond 21. Fees for participants of either program can be covered by Medicaid HMO's, respite care or private pay.
The two programs run concurrently, under the same roof, and they share many of the same services and attributes.
Both populations access free-of-cost transportation thanks to the Center's 16+ vans that provide door-to-door pick-up and drop-off to all eligible participants who reside within 25 miles of the Center. Both programs share shift hours, as there are two available; the morning shift which runs from 8:30am to 1:30pm and the afternoon shift which runs 1:30pm to 6:30pm.
The two programs share a centrally-located nursing staff who provide individual attention and maintain medical binders for each and every participant. While medical need is not a requirement for participation and/or attendance for either program, it is available for anyone who might need it, should the need arise. There are regular visits, available to all, from visiting dentists, podiatrists, and speech therapists, as well as a physical therapy office conveniently located within the same building. There are social workers on staff who are available to provide seniors with assistance managing their personal affairs and obtaining the social services they are qualified for receiving. The Beyond 21 program staff includes a clinical social worker who is available to provide supportive counseling, case management and assistance with any needed community referrals or entitlements.
The Center provides registered dietitians who design healthy meals and snacks for all participants, meals that are catered to ethnic tastes and to those with medical dietary needs and restrictions. Seven languages are spoken within the Center including American and Spanish sign language.
Parties and Celebrations
Senior Activity Director, Ramona Herrera arranges the daily activities and month-end birthday parties complete with decorations, refreshments and candles to celebrate all participants who had birthdays within that month. In addition, every holiday is celebrated, from Christmas to Chinese New Year, from Cinco de Mayo to Russian Victory Day. You can often find members from both populations dancing and celebrating together during these parties and celebrations.
Performers are often brought into the Center for all participants to enjoy, some examples are magic shows, singers and dance troops.
Trips Into Community For Both Programs
When not being used, the fleet of vans provide each program with trips outside the Center.
The seniors often take trips into town, to farmers markets, to local parks or museums, shopping trips to Corrado's or Kohls, and there is a weekly trip to Shop-Rite to buy groceries which they then take home at day's end, alleviating family members' possible worry about their parents getting their needs met. These same vans are utilized to take any participant to their local doctor appointments, and for those who have a gym membership, to Clifton's LA Fitness to swim on a weekly basis.
Beyond 21's program also utilizes the vans to take trips to integrate into the local community as they enjoy local parks, shopping, bowling, movies, the library, field trips to museums, to a learning resource center and to volunteer at the local food pantry. Beyond 21 also takes a trip to Shop-Rite as part of their weekly meal preparation program.
Seniors enjoy a full activity calendar to choose from including daily exercise such as stretch, walking club or yoga and there are games going on constantly such as Bingo, SuperBingo, Pokeno - and much more. In addition to the many trip choices, those that stay behind have many arts and crafts options as well as choir class, line dancing, billiards, ping pong - and so much more. Seniors enjoy their own designated outdoor space - which has plenty of chairs and tents for days when they meet outside and/or enjoy the sun during a BBQ party.
Although Beyond 21 participants can often be seen playing cards or Dominos with seniors, Beyond 21 is a separate program which is structured and geared to this specific population. For example, Beyond 21 provides individually-focused and small group instruction and every shift begins with a morning meeting to structure the day. Program Director, Lisa Roser explains that the program's focus is on teaching and reinforcing daily living skills with activities that are enjoyable, that provide recreation and socialization as well. There's a cosmetology club, art classes, music group, health and nutrition lessons, sign language class, social skills group, sensory group, and even a fashion group to list just a few. Daily Pre-Vocational and Daily Living Skills programs include money management, math and time-telling reinforcement, reading and writing instruction and journaling practice. On-site cooking and meal prep is a weekly activity and participants are taught to plan recipes while staying within budget. They create a meal -from concept - to food prep - to cooking - to eating - to cleaning up - and all along important skills are taught and reinforced. They practice office skills, take part in resume workshops, set tables, wash dishes. Along with daily exercise such as yoga, social dancing, stretching and line dancing, the Beyond 21 participants also enjoy their own designated on-site outdoor space which is utilized in nice weather for basketball games, catch, frisbee, badminton and gardening.
Beyond 21 - LIVING ON YOUR OWN SUCCESSFULLY conference
On June 23rd, 2019, the Beyond 21 day program hosted a Conference at Home Away From Home Adult Medical Day Care Center in Nutley NJ entitled "Living on your own Successfully." This conference was geared toward Support Coordinators and family members of Individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities, age 21 and older, who had interest in seeking successful alternatives to group home living arrangements. It is available on this link on the Beyond 21 website: http://www.njadultdaycare.com/beyond-21-events.
Attain And Gain
If all this is not enough, there is an additional available program which provides those who qualify with Community Based Services entitled Attain and Gain whose offices are also located within the same building. Working within individual's budgets and/or insurance, flexible transport options can be utilized to provide transportation services off site - to and from programs, places of employment, shopping, medical appointments, recreation and entertainment - safely providing methods and programs for this population to remain as independent as possible and to alleviate stress from family members. Attain and Gain also provides behavioral supports out in the community, at places of employment, in-home, or in program or within group home settings. Attain and Gain is a sister program to Beyond 21 and has its own website: www.attainandgain.com.
Attain and Gain Counseling has also bridged the gap between DDD and UBER/LYFT to provide safe, efficient transportation alternatives to individuals. We are very proud of this valuable service that we provide to the community, and individuals are excited about this wonderful opportunity.
Family members and caregivers - for seniors and/or for 21+ individuals with developmental disabilities, are always invited to take a no-obligation tour of this facility and walk-ins are welcome.
All programs are included on the main website: www.HAFHAMDC.com.
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