By Darrell Wesley
One of the city’s best-kept secrets is located on the southern edge of Old Town in the Lee Center along Jefferson Street. Established in 1986, the Alexandria Adult Day Services Center — formerly known as Adult Day Health Care — opened its doors to older residents in need of a structured therapeutic environment during the day.
The center was designed to offer services that would enrich the lives of seniors and encourage them to be as independent as possible. Furthermore, it provides family members and caregivers with an often-needed break and the peace of mind that comes with knowing their loved one is not only safe and comfortable, but also involved in a daytime program in which they have the opportunity to explore their interests and socialize with other seniors.
The program’s mission to maintain or improve the physical health, emotional well-being, mental function, and daily living skills of older adults with physical and/or cognitive limitations is the family’s assurance that their loved one will be well cared for in the most appropriate setting.
Additionally, caregivers from the program — and the community as well — can attend a monthly support group offered by the center’s staff. These groups help caregivers talk about their challenges and how to handle stressful situations.
The center provides an alternative for our senior adults that may otherwise have to go to a long-term care facility. Because of the stimulation of activities, socialization with peers and the supportive atmosphere, their quality of life and ability to age in the community is strengthened.
Every year since 1963, May has been the month for appreciating and celebrating the vitality and aspirations of older adults and their contributions and achievements. It is in this proud tradition of Older Americans Month that we salute the spirit, energy, creativity, enthusiasm and compassion of the employees who have made this program one of the best in the country.
Because of the staff, the center has won many awards, including the prestigious Excellence in Aging Award for an organization for outstanding service to our senior adult community presented by the city’s aging commission.
The Alexandria Aging and Adult Services Devision, within the community and human services department, operates the center. Anyone 55 years of age or older may attend. Fees are based on a sliding scale according to income, and transportation is available.
The writer is the director of the Alexandria Adult Day Services Center.