Virtual WISE Adult Services Fulfills a New Support Role During Global Pandemic
The Gateway Family YMCA’s WISE Adult Social Day Services program has been a beacon of hope and support for Adults diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Mild Cognitive Impairment, or those needing additional support and their caregivers for over 35 years. In June 2020, amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, The Gateway Family YMCA created a Virtual WISE Services program to fulfill a growing need newly created during the current health crisis. To date, the Virtual WISE Services program has provided support to approximately 2,400 community contacts and 200 registered participants and families, meeting their unique needs through live online sessions, meal and activity deliveries, counseling sessions and support groups.
“The way the program adapted to this new era is amazing. The program is life saving and life changing. My mom’s doctor has commended me for the care she is getting and I have to share the credit with WISE,” added a WISE Caregiver.
W.I.S.E. (Wellness, Independence and Socialization for our Elders) was created as a social opportunity designed to help adults maintain their independence and improve their quality of life through activities designed to meet their special needs. With a strong focus on family and caregiver support, and a goal of providing a necessary respite while their loved ones are engaged in activities that challenge their minds, memories and creativity in a supportive environment, the Virtual WISE Services program continues the commitment utilizing a unique format. For more information or to register, visit www.tgfymca.org.
“Social isolation is a growing concern for everyone, but is especially detrimental to the most vulnerable population that we serve through WISE. Seniors need the engagement and activity provided by our trained staff to support their cognitive and memory care, while caregivers and families need a respite now more than ever,” stated Krystal. R. Canady, CEO, The Gateway Family YMCA. “Our YMCA has been serving the local community since 1900, and Virtual WISE Services is one of our unique programs designed to meet the needs of our members, and our community.”
Each morning, registered families receive an inspirational email providing relevant information and activities designed specifically to support the adult and family. Included are memory prompts, calendar-specific topics, links to resources and activities, exercise recommendations and even recipes. WISE specific program links for live staff-led activity sessions and fun, engaging activities like “FamJams”, trivia sessions, karaoke and online games are included and staff is available for individual or family support. Caregiver support groups and family support sessions are also available. In addition to WISE programs, members are invited to participate in live virtual wellness and chronic disease programs offered by The Gateway Family YMCA, as well as in-person YMCA services.
“The WISE Center has been the biggest support for me in taking care and meeting the challenges I face with taking care of my husband with dementia. The programs have also had the biggest impact on my own self-care,” stated another WISE Caregiver.
“We are committed to the idea that each person can continue to discover, learn, create and flourish, without limitations, as they live life to the fullest. Our dedicated staff and the virtual WISE Center program provide specialized support for those with physical challenges or memory impairment while supporting the caregiver and family in a holistic approach,” stated Melynda A. Mileski, EVP/COO, The Gateway Family YMCA.
Since the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic, The Gateway Family YMCA has distributed 13,997 meals to combat food insecurity, provided emergency, transitional or supportive housing for 2,350 individuals, families and veterans, led 1,190 virtual Chronic Disease programs for 2,258 community participants, 3,119 Virtual Wellness participants, 1,038 Outdoor Group Exercise participants and recorded 71,127 outreach endeavors to 23,204 unduplicated socially vulnerable individuals. Overall outreach through YMCA emails, social media and website impressions have exceeded 1,753,923 instances as the Y is committed to supporting all.
The Gateway Family YMCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, health and community service organization of caring staff and volunteers dedicated to strengthening the foundations of community and stands For Youth Development, For Healthy Living and For Social Responsibility. The Y impacts the community by providing quality services to people of all ages, races, faiths or incomes. The Y is a powerful association of men, women and children of all ages and from all walks of life joined together by a shared passion: to strengthen the foundations of community.For more information about The Gateway Family YMCA or the Virtual WISE Center Program, visit www.tgfymca.org or contact 908-349-9622.