Day Haven adult day care to open in Riverhead

An adult day care center is slated to open in Riverhead within the next couple of weeks.

Day Haven, which has been operating since 1984 with locations in Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma, has been running free trials every Thursday since June and has seen a steady group of eight clients each week, said Lori Maldavir, assistant director for program development and government relations.

The local program, housed in the former Riverhead Country Day School at 165 Columbus Ave., offers day-time care and supervision along with both physical and cognitive activities. Once it’s fully up and running, the Day Haven program will be available Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

“The model is either for a frail older adult or an individual who has Alzheimer’s or a related dementia to be in an environment where they can be really involved in activities that will help maintain their functioning,” Ms. Maldavir said.

The idea, she said, is that “if you don’t use it, you lose it” and the goal is to engage participants in activities that will maintain their physical and cognitive capabilities for a longer period of time.

Last Thursday, the group took part in a sort of test in which the participants were given a few clues to identify a place, person or thing. Later, they worked with a word bank to create a poem. Ms. Maldavir noted that participants come in with varying levels of cognitive skill, so the program accommodates that with a wide variety of activities.

The program offers a place to socialize, too, Ms. Maldavir said. Often, as guests arrive, the day will start with current events. Last week, the discussion turned to the World Cup, leading participants to reminisce about sports they played when they were younger. 

The care program includes breakfast, lunch and a snack. Employees are trained to help those with mobility problems move around.

Day Haven also gives its guests’ caregivers a few hours of respite. Depending on a loved one’s needs, some caregivers must accompany them wherever they go. One woman mentioned to Ms. Maldavir last Thursday that she was going to use the free time to get a haircut. 

“Some may do their errands, some may just want to read a book or have a cup of coffee — because it’s tiring caring for someone all the time, it really is,” Ms. Maldavir said.

Day Haven accepts private pay clients as well as those on Medicaid. Families can choose to enroll their loved one in a program from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. They can also choose a minimum block of three hours for care. 

“I really think it’s going to be an asset to Riverhead and the surrounding communities,” Ms. Maldavir said. “As people age, and maybe they have chronic illnesses at different levels or as the dementia progresses, it’s good to know you have options. And I’m glad that we can provide that other care option in Riverhead, because people need choices.”

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Photo caption: One of the people participating in Day Haven’s programs. (Kelly Zegers photo)