S.F. Home for Aged expanding day care

"By opening this program up again, we're hoping to make an improvement in the daily environments and lives of some of our residents," said Mary Steinhauer, director of day care at the Home.

The Adult Day Care Program began about 30 years ago to serve partially and completely homebound Jewish seniors. It's evolved to a five-day-per-week program with five hours of activities and programs each day.

About five dozen seniors participate in programs including current events discussions, exercise sessions, kosher lunches, music, dancing and reading groups.

Although similar activities exist for residents of the Home on a more sporadic basis, the expanded Morris program stands apart as a continuous string of daily events.

Mary Guggenheim, a San Francisco senior who visits the Home five days a week to take part in the program, sings its praises.

"I very much enjoy it," she said. "It's really quite wonderful, and everyone loves and appreciates the entire program."

Ruth Wendell, 87, a San Francisco resident who also attends the program each day, agrees.

"I enjoy dancing, talking to my friends and the exercise classes," she said. "I've even lost some weight. I enjoy it so much."

The Morris program was first expanded in February of last year under the name of the Doctors Shenson Quality of Life Program. That expansion and the new one were financed by the Louis and Rose Shenson fund.

Following the first addition to the program, more than 20 residents of the Home began taking part in day-care activities along with non-residents.

Officials at the Home said that the expansion met with great success — an assessment that was supported by a study that revealed less insomnia, less depression and a greater appetite among newcomers to the program.

"It's been a way to give some residents even more stimulation and socialization than they were getting," Steinhauer said.

By expanding the program now, officials said they hope that even more residents of the Home will benefit. The program will now reach out to a new group of residents — some with mental challenges.

"With our expanded day-care program, our in-house residents will have a higher quality of life in the least restrictive environment," said Leonard Berger, president of the Home.

The Fannie L. Morris Adult Day Care Center at the Home just received a $117,500 grant from the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation's Endowment Newhouse Fund, a $25,000 grant from the Albert L. and Janet A. Schultz Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund and a $15,000 grant from the Endowment's Stanley S. Langendorf Jewish Fund. The program also received an $85,000 grant from the JCEF's Maimonides Fund last year.