Seniors’ home away from home

Special to The TribuneJune 28, 2012 

Correction: An earlier version of this story had the wrong name for the road in front of the California Highway Patrol office in Templeton. The correct name of that street is Duncan Lane. It continues on until ending at Petersen Ranch Road, not Peterson.

On the outskirts of Templeton, there’s a homey, ranch-style house in which no family actually lives. But Monday through Friday, it is a daytime home away from home for older people who are experiencing memory loss and other problems.

A sign hanging from its eaves reads, “Adult Day Center.” It’s at 690 Petersen Ranch Road.

The center serves elderly people whose families have decided they must never be left home alone. The center’s trained staff provides scheduled activities, lunches and snacks. The elderly people’s caregivers are then free to shop, run errands or work.

This service is especially valuable today because many of us have small, widely scattered families. It was different when my father was a boy. He was one of six children. All but one of them remained in the Rochester, N.Y., area. Pop’s oldest brother married a girl from the neighborhood. They moved into a house a few doors down the street.

Pop’s oldest sister worked for a radio manufacturer and remained unmarried. So, in my grandparents’ declining years, she became their default caregiver, with backup from nearby siblings and financial help from all.

Later, when that sister was in her 80s, she moved in with Pop. Almost all the tread was worn off her memory, so he became her caregiver. His longtime neighbors helped at times with the minding and tending.

That’s sort of what the Adult Day Center does these days. But it also has expenses, so it asks the participants or their families for donations. But if you or your family can’t donate, you’re still welcome.

The center also needs donations from the public, and you will have a most enjoyable way to donate Tuesday evening.

The center will share in the proceeds of the barbecue and band concert that night at Atascadero Lake Park. The barbecue is 5 to 7 p.m., followed by the concert. Tickets cost $6 for children younger than 12, $12 for adults (ages 12 to 60) and $10 for seniors (60 and older).

The Adult Day Center is a partner in the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County.

You can buy your tickets at www.capslo.org. You may also call 549-7603. If it’s too late to mail tickets to you, Community Action Partners will have them at a will-call table at the barbecue.

You may also call that number to learn about enrolling an elderly relative in the Adult Day Center.

Phil Dirkx’s column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Paso Robles for more than four decades and his column appears here every week. Reach Dirkx at 238-2372 or phild2008@sbcglobal.net.

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