PROGRAMS-SERVICES-Respite-Reprieve_image1Finding just the right place to provide care and attention for older adult family members can be challenging for caregivers who work full time during the day. It’s a serious dilemma: physically, the older adults may be fine, but may have dementia or be experiencing memory loss, and therefore cannot be safely left at home alone during the day.

The Franciscan Adult Day Center in Manoa, a program of St. Francis Healthcare System, provides caregivers peace of mind, knowing their family is in good hands while they’re at work.

Family caregivers must be available 24/7 and that can cause a drain on physical, emotional or spiritual health. To prevent caregiver burnout, the center also welcomes participants so that caregivers can enjoy some respite. A welcome break or being able to take care of other responsibilities during the day can make a world of difference for caregivers.

I know what it’s like to care for a family member. For years, I was the sole caregiver for my husband, who had Alzheimer’s. I can relate to both the caregivers as well as the participants in our program, formally known as the Sister Maureen Intergenerational Learning Environment (SMILE).

Whether it’s taking the time to understand the challenges and needs of the caregivers or spending time listening to the concerns of the participants, it’s a privilege to give my undivided attention to each of them. I have a great team of aides who help with a range of activities for the participants throughout the day. Whether it’s serving nourishing meals, leading an exercise group or planning a recreational activity, we’re always doing something to keep our participants active and engaged, while maintaining a structured environment. Studies show—and our experience confirms—that older adults need social interaction to prevent loneliness or depression. The quality of life can be maximized through activities, socialization and professional supervision.

We also take occasional field trips and invite guest speakers to the Franciscan Adult Day Center. Intergenerational learning is one of the unique features of our program as students from nearby schools come to share in activities that benefit everyone.

It’s amazing to see how much both the students and program participants enjoy themselves. We plan to replicate this model of intergenerational caring at the St. Francis Intergenerational Center in ‘Ewa, a new center that will combine adult day care and pre-school all in one convenient location to serve those in the burgeoning West O‘ahu region. Construction will begin next year on a parcel across from Franciscan Vista ‘Ewa, the St. Francis Healthcare System’s fully-occupied affordable senior independent living center.

For more information and/or for a tour of Franciscan Adult Day Center, call 988-5678 or visit