On her way to work in the morning, Mary Zumbo drops her mother, Janice Zumbo, off at the Bright Horizons day care program for seniors. Then, she gets back in her car, drives to her office and prepares to start her day but not before checking in on her mother via Web camera.
Zumbo is experimenting with a new program that has been offered by Bright Horizons since Tuesday, April 29, where family members and friends can watch their relatives in the day care facility as they participate throughout the day in the activities the program has to offer.
A lot of families have called and asked what their relatives are doing during the day," said Erin Szesnat, adult day services site director for Bright Horizons. "With [the Web cams] they can actually see what their loved ones are doing during the day."
Szesnat said that while the idea to have cameras taping the seniors during the day was born from the questions and concerns of many family members of the seniors in the program. She said she was surprised to find that there were no programs similar to this in the area. In fact, according to Szesnat, the program Bright Horizons launched last week is only similar to two other programs she found, both for children though, and one being in Texas.
Executive Director of Colonie Senior Service Centers Ed Neary said the Web cam program is designed exclusively for caregivers.
"There is a peace that the caregivers get from being able to see [the seniors] when they are not able to be here in person," said Neary.
Neary's description matched Zumbo's explanation of why she has been using the program since its launch.
"When you drop the people off in the morning, these are long days they're spending in the program," she said. "It does let you not worry to be able to see them."