“If death can be beautiful, his was.”
This is how Donna Scrafano describes the passing of her father, Ed Scrafano, who died peacefully at home surrounded by family on July 15. Donna had become her father’s primary caregiver after he suffered a serious fall in 2016. A few months later, he was diagnosed with dementia. Caring for her dad 24/7 was a constant stress, and Donna understood that her father’s health would likely decline further. She considered nursing homes, but knew that Ed would be happier at home with his family.
When Donna learned about adult day programs, she knew she had found the answer. When Ed first began attending a program near his home in Easton, Donna immediately felt the benefits, not just for her dad, but for herself as well. As the family prepared to move to Bethlehem in 2018, Donna enrolled her dad at the Adult Day Services Center (ADSC) at YWCA Bethlehem.
“He always had a smile on his face,” she says describing pick-up time. Even as Ed grew more frail, Donna knew her dad was always safe at the ADSC. “I could drop him off and not worry.” Her Dad was having fun, and Donna could focus on herself and the rest of the family on the days Ed attended the program.
ADSC Director Yvonne Toth remembers Ed being competitive during balloon volleyball and “noodle ball,” two popular games at the Center. He enjoyed musical performances and any opportunity to sing or hum along with music. He got along well with staff and the other program members. “Everybody loved him,” Yvonne recalls.
July 12 was a typical day at the Center — breakfast, morning welcome, the Pledge of Allegiance, chair aerobics, and bowling. Painting and crafts after lunch. Ed was in an especially cheerful mood and had a great day with his friends. Donna picked him up in the afternoon as the family prepared for a gender reveal party for Ed’s great-granddaughter.
Family members asked lightly if he was “ready to party,” and he was. The house was bustling with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and he enjoyed an extra slice of pink cake after the “reveal”.
But on Saturday morning, Ed woke up too weak to get out of bed. By that afternoon a hospice nurse was at the house helping Donna and keeping Ed comfortable. Family visited throughout the weekend. On Monday morning, he passed — quietly, peacefully, and with dignity.
The Scrafano’s story reminds us how important it is to make every day matter. And the ADSC team is grateful to have been a part of their story.
At YWCA Bethlehem, our Adult Day Services Center helps make every day matter for our members by providing compassionate, competent care. Beyond basic care and meals, the ADSC meets the social and emotional needs of the elderly with enriching group and individual activities. Filling the days with music, art classes, cooking lessons, pet therapy, games, and holiday parties, the program keeps seniors engaged, growing, and glowing.
Please consider donating today to help keep seniors safe and happy.
Charitable support ensures that the seniors in our program can continue to enjoy the full slate of fun activities that make the ADSC what it is. Donors like you provide important funding to fill every month with musical guests, visiting artists, hands-on projects, and special celebrations. Your help makes every day matter for Lehigh Valley seniors.
Here’s what a difference your donation can make possible in the coming months:
- $1,000 provides four interactive music performances
- $500 provides four sessions with a visiting artist
- $250 provides healthy ingredients for four cooking lessons
- $100 provides a holiday party or a monthly birthday celebration
Your gift at any level will power our work to meet the needs of vulnerable seniors, their caregivers, and our community. You can make your online donation here. As always, your gift to YWCA Bethlehem makes a positive impact close to home, where it counts the most.
Thank you for sharing in our commitment to honor the journey of elderhood.
Jen Wanisko, Director of Development
P.S. Your donation of $100 or more includes an invitation to our “Donor Days” on September 26 & 27. Tour the Center, meet our program members, and enjoy seasonal refreshments. A perfect opportunity to see how your investment makes a difference!