Thinking Outside the Nursing Home
A day of gentle massages, relaxing manicures and pedicures, soothing aromatherapy, and the ancient healing powers of Reiki sound like a weekend retreat for an overworked 40 year old. Instead, senior citizens in the Florence and Northampton, MA areas are benefiting from these activities and other geriatric services at Golden Moments Adult Day Health Spa in Florence.
The path that led Sheryl (Guyette) Fappiano '89 to opening Golden Moments began when she was 16, working with the Visiting Nurse Association as a home health aide, and at other area nursing homes. After graduating from Elms College with a degree in social work, she became a case manager with Highland Valley Elder Services (HVES). In 2003, she opened her own geriatric care management company called Elder Care Access, LLC. Elder Care Access is a consultation business that focuses on elders who want to remain in their home but need services like oversight, crisis intervention, guardianship, or advocacy. Unlike HVES, Elder Care Access is a private organization that helps seniors who are over income for the state funded programs. In-home evaluations, care plans, and general oversight for families that live at a distance are just a few of the services offered by Elder Care Access.
Although in-home care can be a better option than a nursing home, Sheryl became appalled at how much it costs to keep someone home with extensive care. Consequently, after nine years of managing Elder Care Access, she opened Golden Moments Adult Day Health Spa to provide another alternative to seniors looking to stay home as long as possible.
"They leave their home for a set number of hours during the day, and come to our facility. Instead of paying upwards of $200 for a nine-hour shift, they pay $85. This option makes their money last longer. Plus, the seniors are social, physically active, and enjoying specialty programs like yoga, salon services, meals, and massages. It's affordable, comprehensive, safe, and it's what is going to keep this Baby Boomer generation out of nursing homes," Sheryl said.
With the Baby Boomer generation expected to retire soon, and healthcare costs continuing to rise, Sheryl expects that Golden Moments will continue to grow.
Although managing two businesses is strenuous, Sheryl is motivated by the gratitude she receives from her clients who thank her for providing an affordable option that allows them to stay in their homes. "It's the little things like the stories that they tell, the smiles that you get for no reason, the genuine appreciation from both the participant and the care giver ... that's what keeps me, and this vision alive," she said.