The Office on Aging and Independence supports adults interested in remaining active in the community. The Office operates two social day programs - Connections and KIndred Spirits - in which older adults, adults living with dementia, and adults living with disabilities receive therapeutic, social and assistance services for some part of the day in a community-based group setting. These programs also afford caregivers respite from the demanding responsibilities of caregiving.
Connections Social Day Program provides a four-hour program for adults interested in structured activities and opportunities for socialization in an interactive, safe, and secure environment. The program is designed to promote the continued independence of the community-based adult through specialized therapeutic programs and activities.
Services offered at the county’s three Connections Social Day Program sites:
Social activities—interaction with other participants in planned activities appropriate for each participant’s functional level. These include simple daily coffee chats, large parties, shows, off-site visits to other centers, restaurants, etc., intergenerational activities with children of all ages, and more.
Therapeutic activities—daily exercise designed for persons at various levels of physical ability, mentally-stimulating games and activities, reminiscence and other discussion groups, opportunities for creative expression through art and music activities, and more.
Lunch and snacks—participants are provided with a well-balanced lunch and snack.
Physical assistance—help with food set up, transferring, supervision while walking as needed, limited assistance with toileting.
Fee: Daily fee is $48 which includes all services (activities, supplies, snacks and meals). A sliding scale is available for Howard County residents who meet certain financial criteria. Please contact the Director regarding availability.
Center Directors are licensed, certified health care professionals who lead a caring, experienced staff of program assistants, volunteers and student interns. A participant to staff ratio of 8:1 is maintained at each program. The Connections Social Day Program is certified by the Maryland Department of Aging and operates in compliance with the Code of Maryland Regulations.
Transportation is the responsibility of family and is not included in the daily fee. The Regional Transportation Agency (RTA) offers fee-for-service transportation for Howard County residents. Contact the RTA at 1-800-270-9553, press 3 for paratransit services and then follow prompts.
Participants in Kindred Spirits Social Club are required to:
• Be screened prior to their first meeting to ensure their ability to benefit from the Social Club
• Have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or a related memory disorder
• Have been told of their diagnosis and acknowledge their memory loss
• Understand the purpose of the Social Club
• Express interest and willingness to participate
• Be able and willing to discuss feelings and experiences related to their illness in a group setting
• Have no other medical conditions or serious mental illness which might put him/her or others in the Club at risk
• Sign a copy of the guidelines for the Social Club participation
Kindred Spirits provides a four-hour structured program that supports and helps participants better deal with the changes they are experiencing by providing educational, supportive and social opportunities.
Kindred Spirits Social Club is considered a transition program. In order to insure that the group is meeting the needs of all the participants, members are re-evaluated every six months from the date of the first evaluation, or sooner if the staff observes a change in the person’s ability to function in the social club.
Elements that may affect an individual’s ability to remain a participant in the Club include:
• Inability to understand or contribute to group discussion in a meaningful way
• Inability to stay on task or need
• Difficulty sitting in the group during the day
• Inability to participate in daily activities: needing more than minimal assistance and cues, one-on-one attention, hand over hand assistance, or constant cueing to follow directions and/or make decisions related to an activity.
• Disruptive behavior, difficulty calming down
• Incontinence requiring assistance on a regular basis
Services offered at the county’s two Kindred Spirits sites:
Social activities—interaction with other participants in small group setting to encourage conversation about current events, issues regarding memory loss, reminiscence, and support among all members. Planned activities including intergenerational activities, attending programs in conjunction with the 50+ Center, large parties, shows, off-site visits to other centers, restaurants, plays, etc.
Therapeutic activities—daily exercise (e.g. Qi Gong, Yoga, seated exercise), mentally-stimulating games and activities, reminiscence and other discussion groups, opportunities for creative expression through art and music activities, monthly facilitator-led support group, and more.
Lunch and snacks—participants are provided with a well-balanced lunch and snack
Physical assistance—provided as needed
Fee: Daily fee is $30 which includes all services (activities, supplies, snacks and meals). Please contact the Director regarding availability.
Center Directors are licensed, certified health care professionals. Staff offers a caring, upbeat environment that provides opportunities for participants to remain engaged members of the community, enjoy the benefits of sharing time with peers in a relaxed setting, and explore feelings or concerns about their memory loss and the impact it has on their life.
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