The Brown Program, an adult day program for people with dementia, recently reopened its Southfield location after being closed for nearly two years.
Their secondary West Bloomfield location slowly began to reopen in June 2021, with some former Southfield attendees able to attend.
For more than 20 years, the Dorothy & Peter Brown Jewish Community Adult Day Program has served people with dementia and their family care partners by providing care, exercise opportunities and activities.
“We have families and attendees who have been looking forward to coming back to Southfield in person and we are excited to welcome them back,” said Debi Banooni, Program Director Brown.
One such participant is Southfield resident Wanda Gardner, who will celebrate her 100th birthday in April.
Gardner is a retired special education teacher from Detroit public schools and developed dementia about 10 years ago. She started participating in the Brown program in November 2015 and loves it.
For health and safety reasons, Gardner lives with her son, Oliver, also a retired teacher, who heard about the program through word of mouth.
“A friend recommended the program so I took her (Wanda) and the staff was very nice,” he said. “It was beautiful. They really take care of her while she’s there and I would recommend the program to anyone.
The Brown program allows families to drop off their loved ones at scheduled times throughout the week for care and activities.
During the shutdown, Gardner would ask each day if they had reopened.
When Oliver got the phone call about Southfield reopening, he didn’t hesitate to sign up again. Gardner has been there every day since.
Currently, Gardner must participate in the program five days a week.
With Gardner supported for several hours a day, Oliver uses that time to tend to daily chores such as mowing the grass, working around the house, or running errands.
“It’s not as stressful as before; I am able to do most things,” he said. “Before, if I was mowing the grass, she would sit on the porch doing nothing. Now she has someone else to talk to and be with.
Some of Gardner’s favorite Brown program offerings include music programs, singing, exercise, and companionship.
“She loves talking to people,” Oliver said. “She loves everything, the activities, the people, the food. It’s been a beautiful thing.
As Gardner’s 100th birthday approaches, Oliver has planned a birthday dinner for his friends and family. He is also considering hosting a celebration on the Brown program.
For more information about the Brown Adult Day Program, visit brownadultday.org.