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Wilsons' generosity is changing many lives

We all know about day care for our children; some of us are products of day care as well users of day care. But what happens to the family when an Alzheimer's or dementia diagnosis is made of a loved one?

My mother, who had worked hard all her life after arriving from Germany, was diagnosed with dementia at Millard Fillmore Hospital at Gates Circle. She was taken there by ambulance after a fall. I was her only daughter and caretaker. What could I do? I had to make that excruciating decision to place my mother in the nursing home.

I worked a full-time job and could not take care of her during the day. We had had issues with the gas being left on the stove, etc. I was not aware of adult day care. It would have been a bridge for a number of years before a nursing home decision had to be made. In my day-to-day job, I raise funds for Kaleida Health. That is how I learned about adult day care.

During one of our meetings at the Bills' stadium, Ralph and Mary Wilson decided to make a line-of-sight gift; one they could see immediately impacting the elderly. So, in addition to the millions of dollars donated to medical research and many other charitable causes, both here and in Detroit, the Wilsons learned of Kaleida's two Adult Day Care Centers.

They decided a $1 million gift would improve the quality of life for the elderly and their family care givers.

"This gift has enabled us to overcome common barriers to accessing and maintaining services for the elderly," commented the two directors of the centers.

Transportation and funding assistance are two significant issues family members face to initiate services for their loved one. Families may be able to afford daily adult care but may need help with transportation costs.

The number of days of service in a week that is in their budget may be inadequate to meet the needs of the elder and family. Reducing a caregiver's burden by maximizing use of adult day care services increases the likelihood that an individual will be able to remain in the home, preventing institutionalization.

Something as simple as showering the person may be difficult for the family; with the Wilsons' gift, additional staffing now provides many more showers and personal care relieving caregiver's of this part of their care.

Activities for the elderly have been enhanced by purchasing more crafts; activity supplies like Xbox and Kinect, taking field trips and having entertainers play piano and do sing-a-longs.

Socialization, new friendships, compassionate care and days filled with activities tailored to meet their needs and maintain their skills for as long as possible.

New refrigerators and service equipment as well as recliners have all benefited the elderly in day care.

The Wilsons' generous and thoughtful gift has touched the lives of many people and their generosity will continue to help chronically ill and frail adults and their families for years to come. It may be your mom, dad or spouse who has the opportunity to stay at home with family for as long as possible with the assistance of adult day care and the devoted caregivers there.

It may not be football but thank you, Mr.and Mrs. Wilson.

Elsie Dawe, of Snyder, is grateful to Ralph and Mary Wilson for their help in aiding people with Alzheimer's.