Papa’s Place connects the elderly with the familiar

Haney: ‘We tailor whatever we're doing to what they're able to do’

REED CITY — Adequate care and engaging activities for the elderly are a part of many communities, and one Reed City elder-care facility aims to give seniors in the area as much access to enjoyable daily life as possible. 

Papa’s Place originally opened in 2018 under the ownership of Nicole Haney and has been working to be as adaptable for its seniors as possible ever since. 

Haney was inspired to create a daycare facility for patients with memory diseases after her own experience caring for her grandfather, Sam Avery, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease — a condition that can change his personality from outgoing to depressed, and could require around-the-clock care.

“I started it after my grandfather, who went by Papa was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and was declining pretty fast,” Haney said. “My grandma was really kind of hesitant on allowing people into the home. So I started putting together this center program to give her respite.

She said her work in health care helped shape the goals of the business. 

"I've been in health care forever, it seems like, but at that time, I was working for a community mental health agency and doing some investigation into adult foster care homes and came across the idea of a day program," she said. "I just kind of took the concept and ran with it, and tailored it to be specific to people with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.”

The center, at 121 West Upton Ave. in Reed City, is roughly 1,500 square feet and is the site of a former consignment shop. 

Papa's Place also offers in-home care as well as serving as an assisted living facility along with the daycare program. 

There is no minimum age requirement to visit Papa's Place, and no clients are turned away based on a specific medical condition.

Haney said the adaptability of the daycare program is a positive aspect of the business.  

“What I like about the day program is that it's a structured environment and we're able to focus on their abilities,” Haney said. “We tailor whatever we're doing to what they're able to do, and they're in a setting that is structured specifically for them.

"The world we live in is not senior-friendly anymore, so there's a lot of overstimulation with seniors when they get out even to go out for a meal. Now, they're expected to put orders in on a handheld tablet, and you pay through a tablet. A lot of the things that seniors really used to enjoy doing, some of that has been lost."

As with many senior care facilities during the pandemic, Papa’s place had to do some adjusting to safely provide the same adequate care that their attendees are used to. 

The staff pulled back from providing care five days a week to three days a week, then down to just two.

Haney said not being able to provide full care in-facility to those that needed it was hard but necessary for the health and safety of the people they served. 

“We ended up closing the day center completely during kind of the height of the pandemic,” Haney said, “It was good though because it allowed us to be able to reach those folks in their homes through our home care services, so they weren't going without anything. They still were getting the staff and we just started bringing the data center to them in their home, which really looked like going in and helping with bathing and meal prep and medication reminders, and some light housekeeping."

Haney is fully licensed and certified in providing care to seniors with Alzheimer's and dementia and has over 13 years of experience in senior care. 

The services and care Papa’s Place provides has seen some positive feedback, according to Haney. 

“We've received great feedback,” Haney said. “So much so that we had one of our clients’ physicians who couldn't actually prescribe our day program but told her, ‘if we could prescribe something for you, it would be to get back into the center, so as soon as they open back up, you need to get back in there.’ He had noticed such a decline in her mental status during the time that she was not attending the day center during the pandemic.”

Moving forward, Haney and her employees hope to continue providing quality care to clients and continue making a difference for the senior community. 

A new ‘peace of mind’ program for clients aims to cater to seniors’ simpler needs or help with tasks that don’t require all-day care.

“One of the biggest things that we're finding is there's a really big gap in services for seniors, whether it be due to financial or just not knowing what's out there,” Haney said. “One of the things that we're doing is we're launching some new programs, we're doing an electronic caregiver program where those folks that don't quite need the hands-on care, but just might need somebody to check in on them."

Papa’s Place is hoping to be able to get back to providing daycare services five days a week. Currently, they have a waiting list for clients interested in attending the daycare program. 

For more information on Papa’s Place and its services, visit the business’s website at www.papasplaceadc.com