February 22, 2021
There is nothing better than being in a room full of friends and familiar faces – even if it is a virtual room. Although Easterseals adult day programs reopened in the fall, many of the participants have not been able to return due to health factors. However, Easterseals Direct Support Professionals have not let that stop them from connecting through virtual platforms with participants like Toni Parago.
“Toni loves the virtual programming. She looks forward to it each day and so do I. I am learning so much too,” Hazel Parago, Toni’s mom and caregiver, says. “Toni loves seeing everyone on the screen. All morning she asks if it is time to get on the screen to see her friends at Easterseals.”
Toni, who has Cerebral Palsy, has been participating in the adult day program in Dover for over 26 years. While Toni enjoys exercising, dancing and the social aspect of the virtual programming, Hazel is also happy that Toni is able to be meaningfully engaged with her friends after such a long period of time without those services.
”After not seeing Toni in person for so long, we really enjoy being able to connect again, even if it is virtually. Toni thrives on social interactions and I know the shutdown was difficult for her as well as her family,” Alyssa Middleton-Yates, Easterseals Program Supervisor, says. “We are very excited that we can provide an alternative way to meet Toni’s needs until it is safe for her to resume program in person.”
Easterseals virtual programming offers participants the opportunity to stay connected with their friends and staff at Easterseals. Much like the program at Easterseals locations, the virtual programs offers exercise routines, aerobics, craft ideas for caregivers, and so much more. Staff also review names, health facts, and other topics to help participants remember those in the program as repetition and routine is important for them.
“The people at Easterseals are wonderful. They are always nice to me and make everyone feel welcome. We are always communicating with each other so we can stay on the same page with her care. Toni is nonverbal so communication with them is important to me,” Hazel says. “I don’t know what I would do without Easterseals.”