ElderCenter celebrates 30 years of service
BY BRIDGETT NESBIT
Joni Stone's family spends lots of time at the ElderCenter so she helps out to show their appreciation.
And since she doesn't mind getting her hands dirty. Stone and two others, Lisa Biggs and Michelle Lally, recently prepared a memorial garden for the center, which is located on Brevard Street.
She says she volunteers because the center is priceless to her family. Her mother, Jean Majcherek, 95, loves the chance to hang out with her friends.
"My dad, John, suffered with Alzheimer's for 10 years and mother took care of him faithfully," Stone said.
REMEMBERING LOST LOVED ONES & CHERISHING THOSE STILL HERE
Stone's family and others with loved ones who are living with Alzheimer's joined survivors of those lost to the disease Thursday evening for a candlelight vigil in reconition of Alzheimer's Awareness month and to have a blessing over the new memorial garden.
They also held a ribbon cutting and 30th anniversary celebration for the center.
"After dad passed two years ago, she got sick, she was exhausted and frail." Stone said. "And I moved my mother from Chicago to be there for her."
Jean has early signs of dementia and her daughter wanted to do everything she could.
Joni's husband, Mark, said his mother-in-law's outlook on life has changed since attending the center.
"She's alert and full of life, a contrast to how it used to be," Stone said. "It keeps Mom social and lively."
Tammie Money, ElderCenter's director, said the love her staff receives from the seniors and their loved ones is incredible.
During the vigil, those in attendance spoke of loved ones who have passed and their appreciation for the program.
The center serves as an adult daycare offering breakfast, crafts, field trips and other activities.
"We call ourselves Iredell's best kept secret," Money said.
For over 30 years the center has opened its doors from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m on weekdays. Seniors can attend for $40 a day.
Money says that's a small price to pay in comparison to a nursing home.
"I tell people caregiving is a stressful challenge to a loved one's own personal health," Money said. "They may need to work or just get out of the house and want their loved ones somewhere safe or to remain active. That's what we're here for."
"Terri Phillips, CEO of Hospice recently spoke and said something so profound, that you can't take care of somebody else until you take care of yourself."
FUNDRAISER OF FLOWERS
The center is trying to raise money to pay for an expansion. They want to add a canopy over the side entrance so seniors are protected from the weather, a salon for grooming, a sunroom and a nurses station so they can provde services to seniors who need more assistance.
Flowers can be purchased for the memorial garden with a loved one's name on a placard for $20 or more.
Paula Cress, administrative director, said the staff treats the seniors like family.
"That's what we are here -- a family -- and we understand dealing with a loved one with dementia, Alzheimer's or just aging can be difficult because they're used to being the adult," Cress said.
Jean Maycherek enjoyed the vigil.
"Some nice people came out tonight and I loved hearing my son in law play Amazing Grace," she said. "This place is great because the people are loving and friendly like a family."
Contact the center at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ElderCenterAdultCare.org