Minn. Veterans, Families Find Respite in Adult Day Center

Updated: 11/12/2013 7:36 AM KSTP.com By: Jessica Miles

It's a question every family will have to answer at some point in life: how do you take care of an aging family member? And how do things change when that aging family member is a veteran?

Often, it's also an expensive and stressful question. But the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs has a unique program, the goal is to keep veterans in their own homes.

Veterans go to the adult day center in Minneapolis for social interaction, and a full day of planned activities.

The veterans range in age from the mid-50s to the 90s.

Many have dementia, Parkinson's disease, or other health issues, so the interaction they get at the center and the mental and physical exercise and therapies are extremely helpful.

"He really enjoys it. I was apprehensive at first that he wouldn't and I felt a little guilty about leaving him, but it's worked out great for both of us," says Sue Gonzalez whose husband Lou goes to the day center.

In addition to helping the vets, the center is also helping their caregivers.

Gonzalez says when her husband is at the center, she can get out of the house and run errands, have lunch with friends, or take care of things while not having to worry about her husband. 

Many wives whose husbands attend the center feel the same way, and say it has given them some life back.

The program costs $20 a day.

Right now, about 15 veterans attend each day, but the program can have up to 35.

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