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Local residents relax, have fun and stay fit at St. Lukes Day Care

By Staff | Aug 16, 2008

Della Pierce, Center Director Karen Cyphers, Marian Kogel and Agnes Lincoln were enjoying their time together at Adult Day Services last week.

Beach Boy songs are blasting on the boombox. A beach ball is being batted around, back and forth. People are laughing and yelling.

Another day at the Blue Earth pool? No, game time at St. Lukes Lutheran Care Center.

“Things can get kind of wild at Adult Day Services,” laughs Karen Cyphers.

Cyphers is the director of this service, sometimes called adult day care. Last week she was celebrating her 17th anniversary at the center.

Adult Day Care is a unique program for those requiring special care during the day. Most who are enrolled are senior citizens, but they are not residents of St. Lukes. They live at home, usually.

“We are licensed for 10 by the Minnesota Department of Health,” Cyphers says. “Right now we have eight clients, seven women and one man.”

Cyphers, of Winnebago, has one other staff person working with her; Jeanne Wiggins of Blue Earth. Both also have other work at St. Lukes, but they concentrate on Adult Day Services.

On a day last week, there were four ladies enjoying the activities which can involve baking, crafts, watching movies or community trips.

And, of course, the games.

“They love to play board games, card games like UNO, and puzzles of all types,” Cyphers says. Music, reading and physical exercise are also favorites.

However, the biggest day of the week is when they play Bingo.

“It is definitely everyone’s favorite,” Cypher says with a smile.

The center is located in a large room near the physical therapy and activity centers at St. Lukes.

“We have exercises everyday, and many times we will join in on activities with the nursing home residents,” Cyphers says. “It helps some of our clients get prepared for entering St. Lukes.”

Adult Day Services is a program started nationally in the 1960s. It began at St. Lukes in June, 1985.

There is a cost involved. A full day is $55, which includes snacks and the same noon meal the residents are served. There is a half day rate as well.

The client may pay direct, use an Alternative Care Grant, Wavered Services, or CADI (Community Alternatives for Disabled Individuals), Cyphers explains. The VA also covers the cost for many individuals.

Clients may opt for using the beauty shop or whirlpool bath at St. Lukes, but that is an additional cost.

“We offer medical services as well,” Cyphers says. “A lot of our clients suffer from stroke, heart disease, MS, Alzheimers or dementia.”

They can continue to come to the center until they become a threat to themselves or others, or are prone to wandering off.

Guests are always welcome, Cyphers says. Many times family members will stop in for dinner with the clients, or for special events.

The Adult Day Center is open five days a week, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Some of our clients come every day, some just on certain days of the week,” says Cyphers.

Agnes Lincoln is there on Tuesdays and Fridays, and rides the Prairie Express bus to Blue Earth from her home in Frost.

“They take me right from my garage door to the side door at St. Lukes,” she says. “It’s wonderful.”

Her favorite parts of Adult Day Care are the games and the exercises. She likes when they play “Spin to Win.”

“There are always activities every day,” she adds. “It is just a great place to come.”

Marian Kogel has a daughter who works at the school and brings her to the center every day, picking her up after school.

“I just like being here,” she says. “You get to see your friends.”

Della Pierce used to live in the Crescent Apartments, but now is in an adult foster home. Her care provider brings her to Adult Day Care.

Pierce says her favorite activity is the beach ball toss.

The game means the Beach Boys songs get cranked up on the stereo and a beach ball gets batted back and forth over the table top.

For their ages and afflictions, the ladies were quick and never missed the ball. The speed of the game increases as the Beach Boys start into “She’s Real Fine, My 409.”

“Yes, they do get pretty intense with it,” Cyphers says above the music. “But it keeps their reflexes in shape.”

Any more intense and they will need helmets and face masks.

“I have been blessed to come to work for 17 years where I get to play all day,” Cyphers says with a big smile.