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In Oswego County, a new adult day care is giving families respite, hope

Payne Horning
Mike Krause, who suffers from dementia, plays with Joan DeYulio, center, at the Cornerstone Club - a social adult day care center in Fulton. Program director Nicole Greenier plays along.

Oswego County's first social adult day care program is offering families a safe and engaging place to take their relatives who are elderly or suffer from a functional impairment like Alzheimer's. 

St. Luke's Cornerstone Club in Fulton considers itself somewhere between a senior center and a nursing home. Families can drop off their loved ones during the week when they go to work or run errands while their loved ones socialize, play games and eat lunch - all under the supervision of health care professionals.

Program director Nicole Greenier says it's just part of an all-inclusive experience.

"You get your socialization, you get your lunch, you get your naps, you get your exercise, you get your nails done," Greenier said. "We just reassure them that we’re going to take good care of them. They’re going to have fun, do all sorts of stuff, meet new friends - instead of staying at home and staring at the same four walls or maybe not being as safe as they could be. Here, they’re in a secure environment."

The club serves 15 clients from across Oswego County - including one from Syracuse. The hours are flexible, as are the payment options.

Greenier says this type of program that focuses more on socialization was missing in the area. It's an alternative to the more medical model like a nursing home, which is the last resort for many families.

"In a nursing home now, they’re out of their home," Greenier said. "They’re now in a place they don’t recognize. So this actually helps keep them at home in a place where they love, and relieves some of the stress from the family members so they can stay home longer."

Michelle Krause, whose father Mike suffers from dementia, says the Cornerstone Club has been a relief for her since she works a full-time job. But even more than providing respite, Michelle says the club has actually improved her father's condition.

"For awhile he wouldn’t talk, and the first week of him being here he literally said a full sentence and that was probably the first time he has ever spoken more than a 'yeah' or a nod in probably like two years," Michelle said. "So it was absolutely amazing - so heartwarming - to know that it’s bringing him back out."

Mike may eventually require full-time care at another facility. But Michelle says she will keep her father at Cornerstone as long as she can. It's extending Mike's ability to stay at home with his family, and with the new family he has formed at the club.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.