By MEG GREY
Applications are being accepted for Clay County's first adult day care service, Circle of Life Community Center at Dorothy's House, which will soon open its doors to the community.
The center is a non-profit organization under the patronage of the Clay County Cooperative Benevolence Ministry and is being orchestrated by Belinda Clancy and Sally Bass. Vanita Moore has agreed to be the volunteer coordinator and is also on the Board of Advisors comprised of Mary Jo Alambaugh, Dr. Everett Conrad, Susie French, Moore, Charlie Roberts, and Rochell Reberger. Dr. Paul Houston has volunteered to be the staff physician.
The CLCC is a social day care center for adult guests who can't stay at home alone, including but not limited to those with early stages Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, or are recovering from strokes, as well as, elderly persons who are looking for interaction and something to do.
Clancy who has been a nurse for 18 years will supervise clients' daily care and activities. The CLCC is intended to complement, not replace, the services currently offered by the Clay County Senior Citizens Center.
Clancy, who began the children's daycare at First Christian Church, said, "This brainchild started with Jerry Stagg because he constantly brought it up to me that the elderly people in our community needed someone to look after them too. Had it not been for his constant nagging, this project probably wouldn't had been started."
After running the daycare for six years, Clancy left last August to begin actively working on the adult service in September. Because she didn't want to start this endeavor alone, she asked Bass to take care of the financial side of things. Bass handled grants when working for the Community Coordinated Child Care of the Wabash Valley office. The two went to a grant writing conference in Chicago where they came up with the name, Circle of Life Community Center. The name, Bass explained, reflects how parents take care of their children and then many children return the favor by taking care of their parents. They also chose it because Clancy started a program to take care of children and now she will care for the elderly.
During the conference, Clancy and Bass were encouraged to reach out into the community. In November, Clancy found herself knocking on Moore's door to see if she would be interested in serving on the center's advisory board.
"I needed people in the community that would have a heart for the elderly," Clancy said.
She was pleasantly surprised when Moore shared the story of her mother, Rose Sellmer, who was honored by Gov. Robert Orr and Secretary of State Evan Bayh for her work in The Alzheimer's Disease and Related Senile Dementia Task Force. Sellmer pioneered working with Alzheimer's patients' families by helping start support groups in Indiana.
"I was like yes, yes, I want to do this," said Moore.
"This has been a slow process but we've done some research so we're not just jumping in," Bass adds.
When they began looking for a place to set up shop, they were offered an apartment by the Housing Authority but starting costs were too great. Moore thought the house that Rose Sellmer and the late Dorothy Moore had shared would be a prime spot because it was larger, comfortable, handicap accessible and would have a homey atmosphere. Sellmer agreed with Moore and offered to open her home to the center. As a tribute, it will be known as "Dorothy's House".
Moore states, "Mom is opening her home to help us get started because for over five years she took care of her mother who had Alzheimer's. She knows what being a caregiver involves."
Sellmer lives next door to Moore, who assists her in many ways and Clancy's mother -in-law, Joan Clancy, who also took care of her mother, now lives in an apartment in the Clancy home. Joan and Sellmer will play an active role in the center by participating in activities and interacting with the guests.
Daily programming will include discussing current events, exercises/stretches, arts and craft projects, pet therapy, gardening, host programs from community residents and lunch. According to Clancy the center is focused on people who need a little assistance or more social interaction. It will also focus on community involvement by bringing in volunteers from the community and are willing to volunteer services for other volunteer organizations, e.g., helping with mailings.
Signs that a loved one might need daily assistance may include a home that is consistently less clean and organized than usual, forgetfulness in completing personal hygiene and daily activities, changes in relationships and a decrease in activities outside the home. Any of these signs can be caused by a number of things including physical limitations, illness or depression. This doesn't mean they have lost their independence; they just may need a helping hand.
The CLCC's mission is to aid family caregivers in helping family members avoid long-term care by providing social, recreational, and spiritual activities that assist with day-to-day living through individual and personal attention.
Clancy said that taking care of a loved one can be more strain on the family than they actually realize. Statistics show that one out of every four persons is the caregiver of a loved one.
CLCC offers guests the opportunity to enjoy their visits, while the caregiver receives mental and physical relief, the employer has a more attentive and less-stressed employee and the community gets educational opportunities through community programming.
The center hours are Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. The basic rate of $15 for a half day (up to four hrs.) and $30 per day (4-8 hrs.) includes breakfast, lunch and snacks.
CLCC has applied to Area 7 Agency on Aging to become a CHOICE Provider. Fees may vary based on the needs of individual guests, as CLCCs goal is to make quality care affordable for all seniors.
Guests must be registered by completing and returning the CLCC application and physician's authorization form with a $20 registration fee before making a reservation for a visit. For anyone who registers on or before June 1, the registration fee will be $10.
As a start-up, non-profit organization, financial and in-kind donations as well as volunteers are needed. Interested persons are encouraged to contact CLCC for more information or an application by calling 812-443-LIFE (5433) or 812-239-4622.