Connecting through caring

Adult day care centers meet the demands of an aging population
Friday, June 1, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:28 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008
Larry Sapp and Carrie Sanders dance during the afternoon music program at the Adult Day Connection at MU on Wednesday.

With a rhythmic flick of her wrist, Carrie Sanders’ hands with electric pink nails floated left to right as she enjoyed the music of Larry Sapp, a local fiddler, as he entertained Wednesday afternoon at the Adult Day Connection at MU.

Sapp makes monthly appearances at the Clark Hall location on campus to practice his fiddle and socialize. It’s also part of his desire to “give back.”


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Sapp’s father was one of the early participants of adult day care in Columbia. In 1989, the MU School of Health Professions opened the Eldercare Center, now called Adult Day Connection, in response to the demands of an aging population.

The Clark Hall location is one of two Adult Day Connection centers. The other opened in January on Bluff Creek Drive. The demand for adult day care in Columbia has been strong enough to make plans for a third center in the Atkins Building on Wilkes Boulevard. It is expected to open sometime in August when renovations to the building are complete.

The Adult Day Connection, MU’s Health Connection and the Central Missouri Regional Arthritis Center joined forces Wednesday evening for a fundraiser at Jack’s Gourmet Restaurant, with some of the money going toward the new center.

“We are taking a leap of faith,” said Tish Thomas, director of the Adult Day Connection, of the decision to open a third center. “It is a combination of a trust in the demographics, a leap of faith and wanting to serve the center of the Columbia community.”

David Franta, executive director of the Columbia Area United Way, said the service is in demand and fits into the continued promotion of Columbia as a retirement destination.

“Studies have verified that the target population for those who would potentially partake in the Adult Day Connection will grow exponentially in the next 15 years,” Franta said.

In Boone County between 2000 and 2005, the number of people 65 and older rose from 11,708 to 13,088, which is an 11.8 percent increase, according to MU’s Office of Social and Economic Data Analysis.

The growing need of both families and older adults for this type of care prompted the Adult Day Connection to open its second center at The Intersection on Sexton Road in June 2006. In January, the center relocated to roomier quarters at Bluff Creek. The Bluff Creek location also provided a “good community partner,” Thomas said, because it shares an address with the Mid-Missouri Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Benefits of the third center include its shared location with the Boone County Council on Aging and the potential to partner with MU’s School of Health Professions to prepare seniors for surgeries and guide their rehabilitation. The cost of about $60 a day and a 1-to-6 ratio of staff to participants will be similar to the Bluff Creek operation.

The Adult Day Connection is a self-sufficient program supported by the Columbia Area United Way, the city of Columbia and Boone County. Thomas said the program is designed to help seniors maintain their independence and prevent or delay nursing home care. Services include nursing supervision, social activities, therapies and therapeutic exercise.

One of the focuses of the Adult Day Connection is to give caretakers a needed break. “They can stay employed, shop, workout,” Thomas said, “We really stress that they take care of themselves.”

Marylene Pastides’ mother attends the program at Clark Hall twice a week and has been going for three years. Pastides finds the socialization and stimulation to be important for her mother. Pastides said it also allows her to have the entire day to herself, free of worry.

“They have a wonderful staff and a very good program,” she said. “She gets to be around different people rather than sitting alone at home. She always has little stories to tell.”

Andrea Rane of the Missourian’s staff contributed to this report.

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