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The Yankee Express

Accord Adult Day Center provides welcome relief to family caregivers

Daily exercise and a variety of activities to provide a good quality of life for participants.

By Janet Stoica
Taking care of our families is paramount to so many of us. Taking care of our children is the first priority, but when our parents require care and socialization there is no better place to choose than a facility like Accord Adult Day Center in Webster.
If you have ever been in a position where an adult family member requires your full-time attention, you quickly realize that you alone cannot provide all that is needed for their physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
I write from personal experience.  My dear mother entered her older life’s circumstances requiring more care than I could possibly provide for her. The energy required from a caregiver to provide that extra level of support is so very draining, mentally and physically. But with the guidance and assistance of an adult day health service provider, she received a full day’s worth of socialization and activity. It was as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. 
Accord Adult Day Center is open Monday – Saturday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. to provide the most essential services for a loved one’s care.  It’s a true respite for both the adult who requires care and the caregiver.  Transportation for Accord’s adults is provided roundtrip if necessary. Activities and sustenance are part of their daily schedule.
According to Joe Rizzo, owner and executive director of Accord, “We’re here to assist our families and our participants, striving to provide a good quality of life to the communities we serve. Our participants come from Auburn, Charlton, Douglas, Dudley, Northbridge, Oxford, Southbridge, Sturbridge, Spencer, Sutton, Uxbridge, and Webster, well as Thompson and Putnam in Connecticut. Typical costs at Accord average about $10/hour versus the $30/hour charged by home care organizations.”
“Families know that we keep their members safe and the socialization component is a huge part of what we offer. Sitting at home watching TV is not socialization,” said Mr. Rizzo. “We provide group interaction, utilizing gross motor and cognitive activities. Our clients have told us this is a club-like atmosphere where they feel a sense of belonging and camaraderie. They come here to make friends and to have their needs addressed with dignity and privacy.” 
Accord’s staff consists of nurses, certified nursing assistants, social workers, and activity personnel. They follow all COVID guidelines, such as 6-foot distancing, mask requirements, and adherence to strict cleaning and sanitation standards. Accord also recently installed a total building UV air purification system to improve air quality.
Transportation vans are equipped with HEPA air filtration systems and passengers are safely separated during their trips from home to Webster and back. One hundred percent of the staff have received their COVID vaccinations and 90% of their clients have received at least one of their COVID vaccinations. 
“We work to address everyone’s needs,” stated Mr. Rizzo. “Our goal is to expand our services to meet the needs of the communities we serve. We’ve provided remote services during the COVID pandemic which were designed to check in on participants ensuring that food, care, and support systems were available in the home along with remote activities, but we realized that our clients preferred group settings. Our clients are looking forward to outdoor garden activities as well as sitting out in the pavilion. It’ll be great to re-engage people and get back to our previous routines.”  
Accord is a locked and secure facility, adding to a family’s peace-of-mind once their relative becomes an Accord client.  Participants are provided light breakfasts consisting of cereal, toast, fruit, juices, and tea or coffee; snacks of parfaits, yogurts, cheeses, and crackers; and lunches that include an entrée, vegetables, dessert, and beverages. The menus adhere to USDA Food Program Guidelines, are nutritious, and cater to specific nutritional needs. 
“We have to be flexible and adjust to our community’s needs,” said Mr. Rizzo. “There were about 25 facilities like ours across Massachusetts that closed during COVID and won’t be re-opening. We accept most third-party insurances like MassHealth, Fallon Navicare, Commonwealth Care Alliance, Tri-Valley, Tufts, United Health, as well as Connecticut Community and Senior Resources Care. Our nurses and social workers will assess and develop an individualized care plan to address their needs. Everyone has different situations and health care needs. We will assist and provide direction and information.
“Having a family member remain in their home and in their community is very important. We advise many families not to wait until it’s too late to have their parent, aunt, uncle, or other elderly family member join our program. We’re here to help guide you in the right direction. We have so many participants who truly look forward to coming here. They seek out their new friends and look forward to the activities. It’s very heartwarming to see the friendships that have developed. This certainly wouldn’t happen if they were home by themselves.”
Joe Rizzo is also president of the Massachusetts Adult Day Health Services Association (“MADSA”), which represents 120 adult day programs, their participants, and caregivers. He holds an MBA as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Care Administration and is a licensed nursing home administrator.
“Accord means agreement,” said Mr. Rizzo, “a partnership between our families and our organization. Our objective is to provide a comfortable and safe place for your loved one. We give the caregiver time to recharge their batteries. Caring for a family member is draining, physically and mentally. We want to make life easier.” 
Accord Adult Day Center is at 10 Cudworth Road in Webster. Phone: (508) 949-3598. Hours: 8-4 p.m., Mon-Sat.   Find them on Facebook.