GVNA celebrates National Adult Day Services Week

  • Corlene Porter of Bernardston brings her Golden Retriever therapy dog J-Lo into GVNA HealthCare Inc. once a week. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Corlene Porter of Bernardston brings her Golden Retriever therapy dog J-Lo into GVNA HealthCare Inc. once a week. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • J-Lo is a Golden Retriever therapy dog who visits people at GVNA HealthCare Inc. once a week. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • J-Lo is a Golden Retriever therapy dog who visits people at GVNA HealthCare Inc. once a week. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 9/18/2019 6:12:52 PM
Modified: 9/18/2019 6:12:41 PM

GREENFIELD — Clients of GVNA HealthCare Inc. got excited when J-Lo walked into the room on Tuesday.

It wasn’t the singer/actress — it was the 5-year-old therapy Golden Retriever that visits them once a week.

“She makes us feel good and makes us smile,” said Ann Nawotny, 54, of Greenfield. “I love coming here and seeing her.”

Nawotny was one of a dozen clients who hugged and petted J-Lo, who was accompanied by her owner Corlene Porter of Bernardston. Porter said when she retired, she decided she wanted to volunteer with her dog, so she chose to make her a therapy dog.

“We’ve been doing this for two years,” Porter said. “I wanted to pay it forward so when I start coming to a place like this, someone does something like this for me.”

Everyone at GVNA was celebrating National Adult Day Services Week, including Mayor William Martin, who couldn’t make the celebration but sent a proclamation delivered by his assistant. The special week was first celebrated in September 1983 by former President Ronald Reagan. Since then, it has been celebrated the third week of September to raise awareness of the availability and accessibility of adult day programs nationwide.

National Adult Day Services Week offers an opportunity for organizations to showcase the services and programs they provide to meet the needs and enhance the lives of participants.

Natwony, who has been a client for four months and attends four days a week, said she loves meeting the other clients and developing friendships, doing crafts, cooking, doing different activities and playing games.

“I learned to sew here,” she said. “Now, I sew bears that we donate to Shriners Children’s Hospital.”

GVNA Activities Director Julie Clark said the adult day health program at 489 Bernardston Road (in Cherry Rum Plaza) is a source of assistance for people trying to maintain a level of independence. She said it offers a safe, home-like environment for elders and disabled adults, also providing companionship. It is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“I’ve been coming here for 13 years,” said Beverly Shearer, of Turners Falls. “Everyone is so friendly. We all help each other, make a lot of friends and have fun.”

Shearer said she enjoys gardening in the two beds behind GVNA. She said she also looks forward to daily lunches, and on clients’ birthdays, they get to choose what everyone is having for lunch and get to decide on activities for the day.

“We’re making this more and more like home,” Clark said. “The clients all have input — what we watch for movies, what games we play, how we decorate the room, everything.”

Clark said they collect postcards and hang them on the wall, have holiday parties and do crafts that then adorn the place, like cactus cups.

Michelle Leh, 20, started volunteering at GVNA when she was in high school.

“I was 15 and couldn’t work there, so I started volunteering,” Leh said. “My grandfather came here at one point.”

Leh, an occupational therapy assistant who graduated from Franklin County Technical School and River Valley Community College in New Hampshire, said she loves doing crafts and activities with GVNA clients.

“I see the excitement and that’s all I need,” she said. “It’s such a family atmosphere. This gives them a routine and shows them that people care.”

Clark said there will be more celebrations the rest of the week, including a visit from Saint Bernard comfort dog Clarence on Wednesday, special meals and more. Gus, a Bullmastiff service dog, also visits the group regularly.

“They really look forward to the dogs,” Clark said. “They’re so happy, they smile, they’re more talkative when the dogs are here. Then, it gives us all a chance to talk about the visits after the dogs leave.”

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-0261, ext. 269 or afritz@recorder.com.


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.


Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

Copyright © 2019 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy