New service to give caregivers a break

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published December 8, 2015

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — With 50 percent of the city’s population over 50 years old and about 30 percent over age 65, an increasing number of residents are approaching the age when they may need assistance to stay in their home or are caring for someone in that situation.

And while the Senior Activities Center provides activities, exercise, socialization, meals and more for those who can be independent at the center, there is a need for those experiencing cognitive decline or living with physical ailments that require a full-time caregiver to have a place to go as well.

“The county used to operate an adult day care center out of the Public Health Department at 10 (Mile) and Harper,” said Senior Activities Center Director Sue Fickau. But about four years ago, that service was moved to the VerKuilen Building in Clinton Township, near Mount Clemens. “That’s obviously hard for an adult child to get someone back up to Mount Clemens.”

But in January, such a service will once again be available in St. Clair Shores when Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan moves an Adult Day Health Services location to Suite B of 27113 Harper Ave.

The program provides daytime respite for caregivers of those with dementia, Alzheimer’s, cognitive disabilities, or other conditions or injuries that require constant supervision.

“We have been in business for a long time,” said Mindy Rubio, program manager of Adult Day Health Services from Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan. The charity’s two other locations, in Warren and Auburn Hills, have been operating for about 30 years. 

The facility will provide socialization and mental stimulation, arts and crafts, music, exercise, games, opportunities to reminisce, and other activities, along with personal care and medication reminders. There will be shower services available and even transportation for those living in Macomb County within 15 miles of the center. 

Individuals who are incontinent or wheelchair-bound are accepted, and participants are served lunch and two snacks as well.

“It helps keep people at home longer because the caregiver is able to have that respite,” Rubio said. “What I hear a lot of time is family members make their own doctor’s appointments, exercise, cook, get together with friends. Then they know that they get their loved one home at night because the goal of the family, often, is to keep their loved one at home as long as possible.”

Fickau said adults that are not independent are welcome at the Senior Activities Center if they come with an aide, but an adult day care facility gives caregivers the peace of mind that their loved one is being looked after by vetted workers and that they are able to participate in activities as well.

“It’s another tool to keep aging seniors in their home,” Fickau said. “I’m excited to work with them and use them as a resource for people that the senior center is not an option.”

She said she anticipates the facility having the problem of being too popular.

“Maybe that will help them grow,” she said. “I’m excited to have an entity like this back in the Shores.”

The Adult Day Health Services location will host a free open house from 1 to 5 p.m. Jan. 22 at 27113 Harper Ave., Suite B. The services are limited to 10 participants per day and will be open, to begin with, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Those attending don’t have to come all day or all three days each week, Rubio said. 

“It depends on what their loved one can tolerate and what they need,” she said. “We can be flexible. We try to work with families as much as possible.”

Those wishing to visit during the open house — which will include entertainment, refreshments, tours and prizes — can RSVP to Trista Johnson at (248) 559-1147, ext. 3941. Those wishing to learn more about the services offered can contact Rubio at (248) 537-3300, ext. 3803, or visit


“It’s a special program that I don’t think a lot of people know is an option,” Rubio said. “It’s an amazing thing for families who are really wanting to keep their loved ones at home.”