Task force aims to open adult day care facility in Menomonee Falls

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The numbers speak for themselves, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

“It’s kind of like planning a funeral,” said Karen Cluppert. “It’s kind of tricky and no one really wants to talk about it, but that’s exactly why we should.”

The goal for Cluppert and others working to revitalize services that until late last year were offered by the Greater Menomonee Falls Adult Day Care is to do just that. She is the founding board member of Friends Place Adult Day Care, Inc.

“I think one of the most powerful things is when we start talking statistics, like for example, how many doggie day cares there are within a certain radius of basically anywhere today,” Cluppert said. “We are talking about providing a valuable, sustainable service to our rapidly aging population. They need us to make something happen.”

When the GMFADC closed late last year, it surprised everyone, including Cluppert.

“It was shocking, but it was also a wake-up call that we had to do something about it,” she said. “It’s definitely been slow-going, but that’s exactly what we’re trying to do with the ‘Friends Place’ project: provide a sustainable option for our local residents and caregivers who need it.”

Lutheran Social Services shut down its adult day care program, run out of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, late last fall.

“Current trends for day services are moving toward serving individuals within their own community and/or home,” the Oct. 5, 2016 letter from LSS informed caregivers. “In an effort to restructure our services, LSS will be discontinuing service at the Menomonee Falls Adult Day Program no later than Nov. 15, 2016.”

In accordance with state licensing laws, LSS only needed to give caregivers of the program 30 days of notice before shutting its doors.

“It was devastating, and to be honest, we’ve unfortunately lost many of those who were in the program since it shut down,” said Cluppert, who is the caregiver for her cousin, who was once in the program. “Outside of what we had in the Falls, the nearest day care center is 30 minutes away. That’s just not practical or affordable.”

While caregivers do have the option of using an in-home service, like what was specified in the LSS letter, that option can be more costly than most can afford.

“In-home services also lack the socialization and interaction people need and gain from a group setting,” Cluppert added.

In an effort to continue to provide local caregivers with something similar to what they lost last year, Cluppert and others like her have been working for the past several months to provide a new option in the same location at Gloria Dei.

LSS left behind much of the equipment, and the location itself is open and available for rent for “Friends Place,” a project committed to developing an adult day care program in Menomonee Falls.

“We see it as an opportunity to provide a social model for people who need a place to go during the day that provides entertainment and activities and things to keep them going on a daily basis while their caregiver is at work,” Cluppert said.

Assembled and run by the caregivers of the GMFADC participants, Friends Place is in its infancy, which Cluppert said is why input from the community is so important now more than ever.

“We are taking the time to survey the community so we can assess needs and develop a program that will be sustainable and provide a valued service to our community for years to come,” Cluppert explained. “The Menomonee Falls Rotary Club is our fiscal sponsor, so now we need to build ourselves up, which is something we want to do based on the input we get from this survey.”

Directed toward local professionals who work with the elderly, those who are currently providing care to a loved one and those who have provided care to a loved one in the past, the survey can be accessed online at fallsadultdaycare.org. Paper copies can also be mailed as needed. Cluppert said in addition to the professionals she has already recruited, she is looking for a CPA to join the board.

For more information about the group or the new program, call 262-255-0857 or email FallsADC@gmail.com.

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