Based in the heart of Burke County, Blue Ridge Community Action (BRCA) serves a wide range of clients through its various community programs, all focusing on improving the lives of those in poverty. The agency's Adult Day Services (ADS) Program is a hidden gem unbeknownst to many Burke area residents. This program is uniquely designed to assist elderly and disabled adults needing weekday care in a safe, nurturing, enriching, and stimulating environment. The organization houses one of over 4,200 Adult Day Care Centers currently operating in the United States. The program has reached a milestone by entering its 35th year of operation, initially beginning in Caldwell County and then moving to BRCA's Quaker Meadows Generations location in Burke County in 1999. The name given to the facility, "Quaker Meadows Generations," was partly because of the ADS program, as childcare and adult daycare facilities are housed in the same building on Green Street in Morganton.
When initially created, there was a focus on providing a resource for primary caregivers to assist in keeping elderly and disabled relatives out of assisted living facilities while caretakers were working during weekdays. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, which certifies Blue Ridge Community Action's Adult Day Center, describes Adult Day programs as being: "Supervised program(s) in a community group setting offered during the day to individuals with cognitive and physical impairments to promote social, physical and emotional well-being. These programs offer a variety of activities to meet the needs and interests of each older adult." The BRCA Adult Day Services program offers opportunities for socialization, community outings, creative arts, and therapeutic and recreational activities. The program touches the lives and lifts the spirits of adults affected by cognitive disabilities, Alzheimer’s, stroke, depression, dementia, and the aging process. The importance of the program in the Burke community is evident as well. BRCA client Freda C. provided a first-hand account of her experience at Quaker Meadows Generations Adult Day Center to staff Activities Coordinator Jessie S.
"How has the Adult Day Center impacted your life?"
"Very much. They do teach us a lot of stuff; we do a lot of things. Exercising, dancing, and walking, it keeps my mind occupied. I'm not just sitting at home all day. It relaxes me and calms me down. I love coming here; they take very good care of us. We love all the staff here with all our heart!"
Adult Day Center client Freda C., in an interview with BRCA Staff Activities Coordinator Jessie Stephenson.
View the full interview in the video below
BRCA's Adult Day Center client Freda C. is interviewed by staff Activities Coordinator, Jessie Stephenson
Recent studies on aging and adult services reflect similar sentiments. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported in 2020 that in Burke County specifically, the percentage of disabled seniors aged 65 and older is significantly higher than the average in the State of North Carolina. The same is true of Burke seniors living in poverty. With older Americans retiring and aging at a never before a seen pace, there has been a strain on resources for seniors, such as local long-term care facilities and in-home medical care. With our local seniors aging out of the workforce and retiring, it is also essential that we keep those who are able to work in their positions. BRCA's Adult Day Services program provides a solution to these community issues by providing affordable, enriching care for seniors in need, allowing caretakers to continue participating in the workforce when they otherwise may not be able to.
Keeping seniors out of long-term care facilities or from being home alone during the day promotes mental well-being. Seniors aged 60 and above have the highest percentages of perceived loneliness and social isolation of any age category in the United States. One way that the Senior Services Department at Blue Ridge Community Action has changed its Adult Day Services Program to combat these troubling statistics is to get ADS clients active, both in the community and at the center. On any given month, Adult Day clients will participate in a number of day outings, or "field trips", into the community. One recent trip in early November took BRCA Adult Day Clients to Lake James State Park in Nebo, NC. Program clients enjoyed a leaf-looking excursion with BRCA staff and a picnic lunch on site. Weekdays on-site at the Quaker Meadows Generations Adult Day Center are typically filled with fun, engaging activities such as cooking classes, aerobics, dancing, seasonal crafts, games, and other planned enrichment activities. A recent example is the Halloween event, which featured a pumpkin painting contest. These subtle changes to the agency's Adult Day program were enacted largely to meet the cognitive and social needs of the many senior clients BRCA serves. As the need for resources for seniors in Burke and surrounding North Carolina counties continues to increase, Blue Ridge Community Action is excited to continue to grow and adapt our programs to best assist the vulnerable populations we serve.
BRCA's Adult Day Center enjoying a leaf looking trip at Lake James State Park in early November, 2022.
Are you interested in learning more about
Blue Ridge Community Action's Adult Day Services program? View more information on our website here!
Blue Ridge Community Action's Adult Day Care Center provides services to 40 elderly and disabled adults in need of assistance with daily living. Services are provided 5 days per week at the Adult Day Care Center located in the Quaker Meadows Generations facility.
This program is supported by the Donald & Betty Taylor Endowment Fund administered by The Community Foundation of Burke County.
Sources: 1. CDC, National Survey of Long Term Providers, 2018 https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/npals/Survey-methodology-document03152021.pdf
3. Jessie Stephenson, Blue Ridge Community Action, Client Interview with Freda C., Video, 11/9/2022
4. NCDHHS, Adult Day Services, 2022 https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/aging-and-adult-services/adult-day-services
5. NCDHHS, County Aging Profiles, 2020 https://www.ncdhhs.gov/media/14888/open