Adapting to new circumstances is a large part of what we do at Adult Day Services. This allows us to provide an environment for all ADS participants that is free of expectations and attentive to their individual needs.

Adapting…to achieve quality programming, to focus our care and to pursue individual interests

Each day we adapt.  We adapt to the weather, our energy level and the time of day.  We adapt to the political news, the expectations of our friends and the challenges of a sore shoulder. We can usually make those adjustments for ourselves.  However, some individuals might struggle to adapt to an environment when they don’t have the words to express themselves i.e. “I need to use the restroom”, “I’m tired”, “That music is too loud”, “I wonder if I should be somewhere else”.  It is our responsibility to assist them with these challenges.

Adaptation is defined as:

The action or process of adapting or being adapted. (External changes)

“The adaptation of teaching strategy to meet students’ needs”. Synonyms include: modification, redesign, remodeling, revamping, reworking, reconstruction, conversion.


(Biologically speaking) a change or the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment. (Internal changes)

“Living in groups is an adaptation that increases the efficiency of hunting”.

 Each day we adapt in ADS.  Examples of where this involves participants may include:

  • Adjusting food preferences (portions, presentation, restrictions) for individual participants
  • Adjusting seating arrangements for ease of visuals, auditory, sociability
  • Adjusting the activity calendar for energy level, ability level, attention focus of group and/or individual
  • Adjusting for left/right hand dominant (stroke, Parkinson’s) i.e. lunch seating, exercise, percussion
  • Adjusting for eating/drinking challenges (2-handled cups, ½ full glasses, cups for soup)
  • Adjust for animal visits…(dog/cat lovers…or not)
  • Adjust conversation to steer clear of potentially inflammatory discussions or thoughts.
  • Adjusting the current activity at a moment’s notice to accommodate tension/anxiety

Our goal is for ADS staff to adapt to the participants not the other way around.  We will get into their world and attempt to keep it as free from conflict as possible primarily using redirection, information re: personal interests (from personal folders) and insight from other staff members.

Continued Staff Training

In keeping with our QMCC goals and continued staff improvement, ADS staff participated in a focused training with Lindsay Vondrachek, a registered Physical Therapist with Consonus Healthcare.  She addressed the techniques of transferring, lifting and assisting our ADS participants with the smallest risk of injury to ourselves and others.  Almost every possible scenario was reviewed…including assists from a couch, assists with a walker, transfers to a wheelchair, assists in the restroom among many others.  Since each participant has individual needs (that change from day to day) this was a chance for us to pick Lindsey’s brain as to how we might adapt to each specific situation. We value training and preparedness to best care for our clients, and we meet monthly to learn new techniques, deepen our care philosophy, and improve our day to day practice.

Our Daily Practice

At Adult Day Services, our goal for each day is to have a stress free environment, provide challenging adult activities, promote “feel good” moments and to give individualized attention. We hold a training meeting monthly, to go in depth on techniques and standards that reinforce our training and increase the effectiveness of our daily practice. 

We are “practicing our craft” from the moment we walk in the door to the moment we leave.  Each interaction with our participants is carefully measured (with some hooping spoonfuls of care and friendship) to create an “anxiety-free” environment to make each person feel successful and positive where they are at in their lives.

This past week, we discussed some parts of our formula we wanted to share with you. Part of this important recipe includes careful attention to how our room is set up (preparing the environment), recognizing and tailoring our own actions (movements, tone, simplicity in instructions, welcoming or encouraging smiles), strategically plan activities, and much more so each participant feels welcome and comfortable – like being at home.

Our participants are our #1 priority at all times.  Organizing, cleaning up, phone calls, visitors etc. are all secondary…our focus and attention will not be distracted from our goal to provide the best care.

Alan Rosenfeld – Our Musician in Residence

Alan Rosenfeld, has been bringing his violin and songbooks into ADS since 1999 (when we opened!) and playing weekly for our participants.  Over the years he has had others that have accompanied him on piano (Jack, Victor) but he is now going solo! Alan gives us tidbits of information on many songs (the composer, the era it was written, the style i.e. Waltz) and then we sing along with him to some of the old favorites…A Fine Romance, Sunrise Sunset, and Don’t Fence Me In to name a few.

Alan is a gifted and generous volunteer who shares his talent and knowledge and sense of humor with us….and for that we are grateful!

Alan R


OHSU Visits Adult Day Services

ADS is fortunate to be a partner with the OHSU Neurology department in training (3rd year) medical students who are studying about individuals with cognitive impairment.  Last Tuesday, we hosted 6 students in ADS to give them the opportunity to observe (and engage in!) our community program available to families living with dementia. There is always learning going on from all angles during these (quarterly) visits!  Having fun with exercise (and the LARGE balloon), challenging our brains with word games, and enjoying a meal together reflect so many different aspects of who we are.

It never ceases to amaze me how much the students eyes are opened by this time spent together. From when they first enter the room (albeit a bit nervously), until they leave (with smiles and affirmations)…they are viewing first-hand what our participants can still do, not what they have lost.