Fulfillment While Working at the Lamorinda Adult Respite Center

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(Courtesy of LARC)
Fred, a therapy dog, enjoys visiting Lamorinda Adult Respite Center participants, just as much as the participants enjoying visiting him.

    After a successful career in marketing with Macy’s Inc. and Sears Holdings Co., Orindan Kathleen Januszewski felt called to do something to help people in her community.
   “I found the perfect fit,” said Januszewski. “As Program Director at Lamorinda Adult Respite Center (LARC), I have the opportunity to truly help people with memory loss and their families. I have found that I have a heart for the elderly and feel this work is a valuable service to the community. Joining LARC is a win-win.”
   Established in 1997, LARC is Lamorinda’s premier social adult day program of active engagement for people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., LARC participants enjoy daily activities such as games, art, sharing stories, chair exercise and therapy pet visits in addition to one hour of live musical entertainment along with much joy and laughter.
   “All of us at LARC form deep friendships with other staff certainly, but especially with our participants, many of whom attend for anywhere from a few to several years. We truly form a family that grows to look forward each day to showing up for enrichment, mentally and emotionally as well. We’re all here for each other,” said activity leader Carolyn Bauer, who has worked at LARC for 11 years.
   Bauer said this is the best job she’s ever had.
   “Where else can you sing and dance with such interesting people – and get paid for it,” she said.
   Participants at LARC have expressed their appreciation for the program with sentiments such as this: “You welcome us each week, accept us for who we are now – individuals who are learning and accepting a new part of life. Aging is not a part of life that we have prepared for – it just happens! But in this group, we accept each other, laughing at ourselves and with each other.”
   Januszewski said through variety in activities, LARC’s program model stimulates a participants’ mind in multiple ways.
   “We expect to send them home more fulfilled and enriched,” she added. “Studies have shown that this kind of stimulation can extend a participant’s ability to live at home by many years.”
   While participants are enjoying the LARC program, their caregivers have some time to tend to themselves. This revitalizes them for their busy lives as caregivers.
   LARC was closed for 15 months due to the pandemic. It reopened in June for two days per week and has plans to move back to a five-day program in two rooms serving up to 25 people.
   “The opportunity for meaningful work is right here in Orinda. The hours are terrific. The feeling you get after a day’s work at LARC is more than fulfilling,” said Bauer.
   “To expand our program days, we need to hire additional staff and engage regular volunteers who have a genuine love for the elderly,” added Januszewski.
   If you are interested in a position at LARC, please call Kathleen Januszewski at 925.254.3465 or email her at 
KJ4LARC@outlook.com.

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