Over the Hill

Paso Robles' Adult Day Center could use your support

Special to The TribuneDecember 12, 2013 

Phil Dirkx

An elderly widow lived alone. Her son visited one day and noticed she’d forgotten to turn off her toaster oven. She also hadn’t taken her medicines. And she was writing too many checks in response to legitimate and illegitimate appeals that came in her mail.

So she moved in with her son and his wife who have jobs and three school-age children. It was difficult. Then someone told them about the Adult Day Center.

Now she goes to the Adult Day Center in Paso Robles five days a week. In the morning public-transit buses or vans take her from her door to the Day Center’s door and return her in the afternoon. The Day Center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Its director, Mara Whitten, said a third of the center’s participants have caregivers who have day jobs.

Other participants attend the Day Center mainly for its social stimulation and therapeutic activities. The secure care at the center also frees the caregivers to rest, run errands or do chores. The center asks participants to donate according to their ability to pay.

A brochure says the Day Center serves “older adults experiencing memory loss or dementia related to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke or related conditions.” Whitten said the Alzheimer’s Association estimates this county has 6,000 cases of Alzheimer’s.

The center moved last February from Templeton to 14th and Oak streets in Paso Robles. Whitten said participant attendance has doubled since then and is now 14 to 16 a day. Their ages range from 58 to 97.

Each participant gets a noon meal and snacks, which the Day Center buys from the Paso Robles High School Culinary Arts Academy. The Day Center has one staff member for every five participants. All staff members are trained, Whitten said, and two are bilingual.

She also said this is the only full-time, nonprofit adult day center in San Luis Obispo County. Its participants come from all around the county, not just the North County.

Half of the Adult Day Center’s money comes from grants and half from local fundraising. The center is now conducting its annual appeal. Whitten said the daily meals cost $5 each. I’m sure a donation of $25 — the cost of one participant’s meals for a week — would be appreciated, or multiples thereof.

You may make your check payable to “CAPSLO Adult Day Center” and mail it to CAPSLO, 1030 Southwood Drive, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401. Or by Internet go to www.capslo.org/donate and specify Adult Day Center.

And here’s a journalistic full disclosure: Someone near and dear to me is a Day Center participant.

Phil Dirkx has lived in Paso Robles for more than five decades, and his column is published weekly. Reach him at 238-2372 or phild2008@sbcglobal.net.

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