When I came to work for The Salvation Army ten years ago, I’d never heard of “adult day care.” My first visit to a local center was very eye-opening. Like the name suggests, the center provides care during the day for people who need extra attention while their loved ones are at work. Many, if not most, adult day care centers have a number of older clients who struggle with memory loss issues or have full-blown Alzheimer’s disease.
On that first visit to an adult day care center in near-by Torrance, California, I’ll never forgot the first thing I saw when I poked my head through the front door. All the tables had been pushed together and the elderly ladies and gentlemen sat around it singing patriotic songs from a book.
Once I came all the way in the room, the gentlemen saw me and took a break from singing to stand up. I guess they thought a “lady” had entered the room! No matter how much they’d forgotten, they still remembered the genteel courtesy that had marked their behavior all their lives.
One of our fine adult day care centers is in the news this week in Alaska. The Serendipity center offers families a safe, healthy option for daytime care of their older family members, where clients are referred to by staff as “guests.” Each guest is given something to do that gives them purpose or offers them stimulation. Click here to read more about the Serendipity center in Alaska.
On my most recent visit to another local Salvation Army adult day care center, the program director introduced me to Stan. With a wink, she told me that Stan was a “volunteer.” That’s how Stan preferred to see things: he’s not a client, or someone in need, but a man with a purpose and a mission, giving value to others. Click here to see a photos of our visit to Sage House on The Salvation Army’s Flickr page.