October 13, 2016 – My Second Home, an adult day services program created by Family Services of Westchester (FSW) to address the needs of older adults who are physically or cognitively impaired, has received the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) Innovator Award in recognition of its intergenerational programming. The annual award, established in 2009 to recognize innovative practices that strengthen the adult day services business, was presented at the 2016 National Adult Day Services Conference on September 21-23, in Indianapolis. The conference is the nation’s largest gathering of decision-makers, educators, policy makers, researchers and adult day professionals from across the globe with an interest in senior services, adults with disabilities, adult day services, and home and community-based care.
FSW created My Second Home as a way to address the twin goals of helping cognitively and physically impaired older adults stay in their homes while providing respite to their caregivers. The program, which operates at two locations—in Mount Kisco and in White Plains, NY—offers traditional adult day services designed to provide social and some health services to adults who need supervised care in a safe place outside the home during the day. My Second Home features a safe, supervised, home-like environment that includes wellness activities, excellent nutrition, personal care, transportation services, and stimulating activities that help older adults continue to find joy and meaning in their lives.
In addition to these traditional adult day services, My Second Home also includes an intergenerational aspect that combines child care with adult day services at one site. The intergenerational component, known as JEWEL (Joining Elders With Early Learners) earned FSW the Innovator Award. The National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) has identified 5,685 adult day programs operating in the United States in 2014. My Second Home is one of the few, and perhaps the only one in Westchester County, to offer both child care and adult day services together at a shared site.
JEWEL began in 1998 as a collaboration of My Second Home and the Mt. Kisco Child Care Center (MKCCC).The program brings older adults from My Second Home and children from MKCCC together a daily basis to share activities, companionship, and life experiences. The activities, which include reading, arts and crafts projects, exercise and recreation, baking, picnics, gardening, music, and more, give the older adults an increased sense of well-being and satisfaction with life, while children experience the sense of security and self-worth that a caring relationship with an older adult can provide. Daily interactions between the children and the older adults occur through structured activities as well as during informal interactions throughout the day.
In 2002, My Second Home and MKCCC moved into a shared site that was specially designed and constructed to promote interactions between generations while affording each group dedicated space to meet the special needs of its participants. Last year FSW expanded JEWEL to FSW’s Center For All Ages in White Plains, where young children in the school district’s Universal Pre-K program and teens involved in youth programs interact with seniors on a daily basis.
The program has completed both qualitative and quantitative evaluations with the assistance of Fordham University’s Ravazzin Center on Aging. The Fordham researchers found that children in the intergenerational program had more positive attitudes toward older adults, while more than 90% of caregivers noted a positive change in seniors who attended the program, including an increase in self-esteem and self-worth.
Currently, there are some 187,000 residents over age of 60 living in Westchester. According to the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services, Westchester also has the highest longevity rate of any county in New York State (at 79.2 years). As baby boomers join the elderly generation, our nation is facing tremendous challenges associated with caring for this ballooning demographic. It is estimated that nationally every 70 seconds someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease; by the year 2050, it will be every 33 seconds.
Older adults living alone in Westchester County account for 29% of single person households. The impact of a growing older adult population is significant, as chronic illness, functional impairment, and need for services increases sharply with each passing year. My Second Home offers a cost-effective alternative for elder care—it provides safe surroundings and mental and physical stimulation at half the cost of medical model day care, one-third the cost of home care and one-fifth the cost of nursing home placement.
My Second Home is an award-winning intergenerational day program for older adults that offers an affordable alternative to assisted living or nursing home care. As the only one of its kind in Westchester County, and a model for the nation, My Second Home features a safe, supervised, home-like environment that includes wellness activities, excellent nutrition, personal care, transportation services, and stimulating activities that help older adults continue to find joy and meaning in their lives.
Family Services of Westchester, Inc. (FSW) is a private, not-for-profit agency serving our community since 1954. Founded in 1954 and headquartered in Port Chester, FSW runs more than 50 social service and mental health programs that reach 30,000 children, teens, adults, and families a year. Programs include adoption and foster care for children; Head Start and Pre-K programs for Westchester’s youngest students; Big Brothers/Big Sisters and other mentoring programs for teens; social support for the elderly; assistance to veterans; and educational and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS. We are licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health to provide comprehensive mental health services at seven Family Centers (Hastings-on-Huson, Mt. Vernon, Pelham, Port Chester, Sleepy Hollow, White Plains, and Yonkers) and five school-based mental health clinics. For more information about FSW, visit www.fsw.org.
The National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) is a professional trade association created to advance the national development, recognition, and use of Adult Day Services. As the leading voice of the rapidly growing adult day services (ADS) industry and the national focal point for ADS providers, NADSA accomplishments have included the development of national recommended operating Standards and Guidelines, initiating nationwide surveys and national accreditation, as well as developing curriculum for professional development geared to the needs of adult day services managers and direct care workers. NADSA members include adult day center providers, associations of providers, corporations, educators, students, retired workers and others interested in working to build better lives for adults in adult day programs every day. For more information about the National Adult Day Services Association, visit www.nadsa.org.
Michelle A. Nicholas