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Seniors find a home away from home at church’s adult day care program

Seniors find a home away from home at church’s adult day care program

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Seniors find a home away from home at church’s adult day care program

Aug. 9, 2007  News media contact: Tita Parham*
800-282-8011  Orlando {0715}

An e-Review Feature
By J.A. Buchholz**

Eddie Nelson, 81, is able to spend his days with friends and under the care of health professionals at Mount Moriah United Methodist Church’s adult day care program, instead of home alone while his sister is at work. Photo by Anita Chandler. Photo #07-0637. Web photo only.

Eddie Nelson could spend his days rambling alone in a house, waiting for his sister to return home from work.

Instead, the 81-year-old spends his days at the Mount Moriah United Methodist Church Adult Day Care Program.

The program, which greeted its first clients about four months ago, is a welcomed change for older people living with children or grandchildren who are away from home during the day at work or school.

Nelson, who is legally blind, enjoys the devotion time, meals and what organizers refer to as a ‘walk down memory lane’ — clients reliving highlights from their lives while participating in the program.

The program got its start because the Rev. Deloris Demps realizes that if her church is to be a healthy, viable congregation it must reach outside its walls to minister to its community.

Demps said the program is made possible in large part by a $1,000 grant from the Committee on Older Adult Ministries of the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church. So far, three clients are participating. Demps hopes that number will increase as the program grows.

The church, which has 49 members, had a facility that was more than adequate to house older adults, but Demps said it wasn’t being utilized. She said the grant allowed the church to advertise the program and organize the facility for operation, such as installing a separate telephone line.

Rosa Lee Williams said the program is like a lifeline. She has been attending since it began and enjoys the Bible study time, putting together puzzles, and arts and crafts.

Blood pressure checks are just one of the benefits Rosa Lee Williams, 76, enjoys at the adult day care facility run by Mount Moriah United Methodist Church. Photo by Anita Chandler. Photo #07-0638. Web photo only.

Williams participates two full days a week and partial days when she has a doctor’s appointment. The 76-year-old said while her aging body deters her in some ways “there are some things I can do and some things I can’t do.”

Volunteers from the nursing school at the University of North Florida help an assistant nurse and licensed practical nurse maintain close medical supervision of the clients.

Demps says church members are thrilled the idea for an older adult day care facility became a reality because it’s just what the community needs.

“Starting the program has been a blessing for the community and for the church,” Demps said. “This was really a vision that was given to the church.”

The vision includes offering computer training, serving breakfast and lunch, providing exercise opportunities and going on field trips.

Blessing the community in other ways

Demps is proud the church is able to reach the community’s children, as well.

Although the church’s membership is small, there are plenty of families with children in the community. That was evident when the church decided to offer a two-month summer camp last summer and 40 children attended.

It was such a success the church continued the program this year in mid-June with 43 children ages 3 and older.

Demps is happy the church was able to hold the summer camp again this year since so many people participated last year.

“I just couldn’t see these same children running around the streets,” she said. “We even were able to partner with the Jacksonville Children Commission.”

With the commission’s help, children who receive free or reduced lunches paid just $10 each week of the program. The remainder of the children paid $25 each week. Two directors and several counselors, junior and senior high school students, led the program.

Lifelong church member Anita Chandler said the success of the summer camp program demonstrated a need in the community that is not being met.

“We want the church to be a home away from home,” Chandler said. “We want to provide a caring, loving environment for the people we get.”

Although small in number, she says the church has a large heart it is willing to share with the community.

“We want to be a church that is ministering outside its four walls,” she added.

Demps said the church would also like to provide academic tutoring for children, many of whom struggle with standardized testing.

“There is a great need in this community,” Demps said. “We are trying our best to fulfill it.”


This article relates to Outreach.

*Parham is managing editor of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.