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Hand-in-Hand blends adult day care with companionship

24 representatives from national conference visit Richmond's program

Rachel E. Sheeley • Staff Writer • August 10, 2010 -

About 25 people gave up a day at a national long-term care conference in Indianapolis to experience a Monday at the Hand-in-Hand Adult Day Care of Richmond.

During the day, visitors from 14 states learned about the day care's programming and talked to staff, participants and participants' families. The visitors are among about 1,200 people taking part in the Pioneer Network's three-day National Conference in Indianapolis. The conference is devoted to helping professionals involved in long-term care adapt the method of person-centered care, which is the focus of care at the Richmond day care.

Hand-in-Hand director Joanna Hensley said, "It was an honor to be chosen, to think that we are leading by example. For us, it's just become a way of life, natural for us."

During the day, the guests and participants were involved making lunch, doing special activities, interacting with the children in the intergenerational Children and Adults Reaching Each Other (CARE) program at First English Lutheran Church, where Adult Day Care is located, and talking about what makes Hand-in-Hand Adult Day Care successful.

Ruth Ann Bahnweg of Richmond has participated in the Hand-in-Hand program for 12 years.

"It was nice to see that we had visitors from all over the country, ... to see what we did. I enjoyed being with them," Bahnweg said. "They wanted to know what would make a great day. (A great day) is when I'm with my friends here at day care."

Participant Judy Combs of Richmond said the guests came to the right place to learn about a good adult day care program. For her, a great day is "when the staff calls me by name, there's companionship and there's activities."

LaDonna Jensen of Richmond and her partner, Marilyn Hartle, go across the country consulting with organizations about person-centered care under the business name Jentle Harts. Jensen was involved in the founding of the Richmond adult day care in 1998 and although she no longer works there, she takes pride in how it has successfully evolved.

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