Adult day care centers crop up, October 5, 2007

Murfreesboro Post, Michelle Willard, October 5, 2007

With the aging population, a number of services have sprung up in the wake of the aging Baby Boom generation.

Adult day cares are one of the services that have cropped up for older adults. Not only do adult day cares give a safe environment for older adults, they can also provide a break for family members who provide care.

“The adult day service really provides a place where older family members feel totally accepted, have mental stimulation through an activity program,” said Tina O’Brien, former director of the St. Clair Senior Center Adult Day Care program. “And research shows social time spent with others delays mental decline in people with Alzheimer’s.”

St. Clair Senior Center offers an adult day care service for seniors with early onset Alzheimer’s or dementia, explained Sue O’Brien, director of the St. Clair Senior Center.

“Given the growth in the aging population,” Sue said, “I think this is going to be more and more of an issue.”

St. Clair’s program only houses nine seniors and their waiting list is extensive.

“Based on national estimates 5.7 percent, or 42,068 Tennesseans over age 65, have some degree of Alzheimer’s,” Sue said. “And 24,355 would have moderate to severe Alzheimer’s also.”

The sheer number is overwhelming, but Tina saw the growing need in the community, which led her to start the Elders First Adult Day Services Association at New Vision Baptist Church in November.

Elders First Adult Day Services Association opens pre-enrollment Monday, Oct. 29 and opens for participants Monday, Nov. 5th. Hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, & Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for a cost of $35 per day. Nutritionally balanced lunches are available for an additional $3 per day.

The program provides an alternative for elderly adults who aren’t quite ready for long-term care with supervision of safety and personal needs.

Elders First Adult Day Services is activity-based, Tina explained, and offers music and art therapies and cognitive, memory and physical exercise. She also hopes to enlist community volunteers from P.A.W.S and MTSU.

“Every participant in our adult day program is special,” Tina said. “They are someone’s parent, sibling, spouse or friend. They command respect, support and encouragement. Our staff intends to provide this.”

For more information, call Tina O’Brien at 615-542-4371, e-mail her at eldersfirst@dtccom.net or visit www.eldersfirst-ads.org.

Michelle Willard can be contacted at 869-0816 or mwillard@murfreesboropost.com.

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