Weather Forecast


Koski has fun at her 'Day Away'

Laughing and smiling is the way you will usually find Stephanie Koski who supervises the Day Away program operated by St. Croix County's Aging and Disability Center. Learning the ins and outs of a new game are from left Koski, Janis McGee, volunteer Carol McConaughy, Audrey Keither, Lucy Peterson and Joan Brown. Photo by Meg Heaton

Stephanie Koski's new job as the coordinator of the Day Away Program of the Aging and Disability Resource Center seems a perfect fit.

Day Away is an adult day respite program for those who are frail or have cognitive problems related to dementia and their caregivers. The six-hour structured day includes activities, a morning snack and noon meal is designed for those who are frail or have cognitive problems related to dementia and gives caregivers time off. The program meets twice a week in Hudson.

Koski has held a lot of different jobs over the years from police officer to pre-school teacher to assisted living facility activities director. They all have something in common -- helping people.

"It is something I have always done -- whether it is people in my neighborhood or on the job. I enjoy helping people," said Koski.

Her clients at Day Away, generally six to eight people a day, are at varying stages of dementia or physical ability but Koski says that doesn't present any special challenge. "We just have fun together."

In Hudson last week, Koski was teaching the group a new game. It was a little confusing for some but Koski repeated the rules patiently and with humor, never once talking down to the players. One of the women even joked that "she was teaching old ladies how to gamble and looking good doing it!"

Koski said the program isn't about "babysitting" but more about engaging and getting to know the people who attend. "We talk about their lives, they help with the activities and they help each other. That's pretty cool to see."

Janis McGee attends Day Away in Hudson and in New Richmond. She is working to lose weight and get more exercise and Koski is helping her stay on track with a healthy snack and lots of encouragement.

Koski said she never forgets that the people she works with had full and active lives and still do and that they have families that care about them. "This is something that just happens to some people. I appreciate what they and their caregivers are going through and if we can bring some fun and joy into their lives, that's great."

There is a daily fee for the program and limited scholarships may be available. Long term care insurance may also pay. Non-residents of St. Croix County are eligible to attend. The program is offered four days a week at various locations in St. Croix County. An in-home assessment and physician's form are completed prior to acceptance to the program and transportation may be possible.

For more information, contact the Caregiver Support Coordinator at the ADRC at (715) 381-4360.

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

(715) 808-8604