Human Race helps ESSE adult day care serve younger population

  • ESSE board President Dawn Schubert, right, helping a client make chocolate Easter baskets, says the adult day-care program works with a growing number of adults who need care in addition to its senior clients.

    ESSE board President Dawn Schubert, right, helping a client make chocolate Easter baskets, says the adult day-care program works with a growing number of adults who need care in addition to its senior clients. Courtesy of ESSE

  • ESSE is supported by 33 area churches whose members volunteer at the three adult day-care centers. Pet visits, like this greeting from Sunshine, are especially popular among the seniors.

    ESSE is supported by 33 area churches whose members volunteer at the three adult day-care centers. Pet visits, like this greeting from Sunshine, are especially popular among the seniors. Courtesy of ESSE

 
By Dawn Schubert
Warrenville
Updated 4/25/2016 10:34 AM

Acronyms are often confusing, and ESSE is no exception.

Ecumenical Support Services for the Elderly has been around since 1982, providing adult day care options that promote the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of older adults and their families.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Just as the need for adult day care in our community continues to grow, so do our organization's efforts to market our valuable services. We currently operate centers in Glen Ellyn, Warrenville and Wheaton.

Since 2010, I have been on the board of directors as a representative from St. Matthew United Church of Christ in Wheaton, and I currently serve as the president of the board. However, my involvement goes back to the mid-1990s, when I occasionally brought my sons and their fellow Cub Scouts to visit the clients of ESSE.

These 8-year-old boys shared collections of rocks and baseball cards, played piano and other musical instruments for the clients, and assisted at the annual pancake breakfast, our largest fundraiser of the year. The Scouts never failed to put smiles on the faces of the ESSE clients, and several of these young men still talk about their visits, even though they occurred almost 20 years ago.

One of the most sobering facts about ESSE is that we are increasingly serving younger adults, not just older senior citizens. In addition to the working adults who bring their elderly parents, a greater number of working adults now bring their own spouses in need of care.

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The majority of our clients suffer from varying degrees of dementia, cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease. Caregivers are grateful that ESSE provides a stimulating and safe environment for their loved ones at a time when fewer adult day-care facilities are able to accept clients suffering from advanced physical and cognitive disabilities.

What continues to inspire me and fuel my passion for this organization is the dedication of our executive director, Cathy Davit, and her hardworking and caring staff. Our program managers and activity assistants are patient and kind, consistently providing excellent care to our clients.

I have not participated in the Human Race previously, but several other members of our board and I are eager to participate on April 30 to help raise awareness of ESSE. We are grateful to Giving DuPage for sponsoring such an event, and we urge those interested in learning more about ESSE to visit our website at esseadultdaycare.org.

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