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Serving the community: Adult Day Services continues to ease worries for clients and families

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Deb Pierce, registered nurse and quality assurance director at Adult Day Services, sits with Ted and Mildred Peterson on the back patio at the facility on Friday. (Annalise Braught | Bemidji Pioneer)
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BEMIDJI -- After 39 years of serving the Bemidji community, Adult Day Services Inc. still provides adults with outlets to find their independence and strength despite aging challenges they may be facing.

Currently, Adult Day Services provides 82 clients with everything from nutritious meals, to specialized programming, a salon and exercise equipment. All of the services available are created with a healthy lifestyle in mind, said Deb Pierce, a registered nurse and quality assurance director at the facility.

Other services provided by Adult Day Services include access to a health office, a registered nurse on site, whirlpool showers and baths, transportation for clients and community outings. Clients at Adult Day Services range from 20 to 93 years old.

The facility, located at 620 Carr Lake Road SE, has expanded its services in recent years, as well. On-site physical therapy, courtesy of Choice Therapy, became available in 2013. A 4,800 square-foot building expansion was completed in 2014 to provide more space for a growing client range. In 2016, the company increased its transportation radius up to 35 miles, to be available to more rural clients.

Sherry Balcer, director of care at ADS, said one of the most important impacts they have have on clients is the ability to participate in social interactions in a group setting.

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“It is like a family,” Balcer said. “ You see the progress; when they first come, they are quiet and shy. That is the most important to feel part of the group. "

But, it’s not only the clients who benefit from the services that the organization provides. Families can find peace in knowing that their family member’s care is being handled appropriately. Mildred Peterson, whose husband, Ted, has been receiving services for two years said Adult Day Services helps her have piece of mind and take care of herself, as well.

“I get to do things for myself knowing I don’t have to worry about his care and safety,” Peterson said. “It didn't take me long to appreciate the care here and the 'me time.'"

Pierce said facilities such as ADS provide are a benefit to the overall community. She hopes to one day see similar programs throughout northern Minnesota because of how they affect people’s lives for the better.

“This program is solely about the clients and their families and what we can do to make their time easy,” Pierce said.

Adult Day Services is a non-profit organization that is supported partially by the United Way of Bemidji, the George W. Neilson Foundation, Mardag Foundation and Otto Bremer Foundation and American Legion Ralph Gracie Post No. 14, as well as through various grants.

Staff members and supporters will soon be taking their fundraising into their own hands again for the organization’s annual First City River Duck Race at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3. The race will take place between lakes Irving and Bemidji. Tickets to participate in the rubber duck race are $5 each and can be picked up at any of the events sponsors. Cash prizes will be given away to the winners of first through fifth place.

For more information on the upcoming fundraiser or on the services available at Adult Day Services, visit www.adultdayservicesbemidji.com.

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Natalie Hilden is the Pioneer's summer reporting intern. She graduated from Nevis High School in 2017 and is now finishing up her bachelor's degree at South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD. She is majoring in News Editorial Journalism with a minor in design studies. Apart from journalism she paints and draws in her free time and enjoys watching women's soccer.
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