Polk County seeks funding support for adult day care facility

Published 2:34 pm Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The county also decided Monday to separate the renovations to the rear building of the new senior center, formerly Carolina Classical School, in order to try to save money on the costs. The county is seeking quotes on five separate jobs between now and October, including those for grading and paving, canopy and concrete work, plumbing, a sprinkler system and a water line. County manager Ryan Whitson says it&squo;s possible the county can lay the water line itself for some savings.

Commissioner Warren Watson said the adult day care is a win/win for everyone involved. The county owns the building and running the center will be done by Rutherford Life Services, which means the utilities will be outside of the annual county budget. Watson says there are three sources of funding available and the county needs to look at all three, including grants, private donations and the county&squo;s fund balance.

Several residents spoke in favor of an adult day care and many residents sat in the audience wearing yellow in support.

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Ron Kauffman spoke on Alzheimer&squo;s and gave startling statistics. He said Alzheimer&39;s is not a one-person disease.

Many caregivers of Alzheimer&39;s patients, 40 to 75 percent, according to Kauffman, have significant health problems or possibly pre-decease the patient. By age 65, Kauffman said, one out of eight people will develop Alzheimer&39;s and by age 85 the number jumps to one out of every two people. Kauffman also suggested fundraisers such as a &dquo;memory walk,&dquo; similar to what Henderson County has done in the past.

Community Outreach Coordinator Becky Brodar said more than 737 people in Polk County are living with Alzheimer&squo;s and that number is expected to grow 10 to 15 percent by next year.

Joyce Kimpton said this community is one of the most giving and the county should make information available to the public through its website and the newspaper of what is needed. She said there are people who will donate items if they know what&squo;s needed, such as recliners and furniture.

Ted Owens said about four years ago when he was elected commissioner a woman at his church had to take her husband to a Rutherford County adult day care and she asked Owens to do something in Polk County. Owens said he recently took an article to the woman saying the county is working on getting an adult day care here and the woman responded, &dquo;It&squo;s too late for my husband.&dquo; Owens encouraged commissioners not to wait.

Margaret Johnson agreed with Owens and said there are grandchildren in Polk County having to stay home from school to take care of grandma.

&dquo;There is so much of it we never see,&dquo; Johnson said.

She also mentioned the amount of elder abuse that occurs, due to caregivers not having relief at home and being under financial stress.

Betsy Freeman, a local advocate working for an adult day care said she&squo;s received many emails in favor of one and none against. She mentioned a 92-year-old who called her and said she needs a day care in her home so she no longer has to sit in her house all day by herself.

&dquo;I&squo;m a caregiver who needs an adult day care or a vacation,&dquo; Freeman said. &dquo;We all want Polk County to become senior friendly. It is time now.&dquo;

Mary Sasser said it is too late for her husband, Don, but hopes Polk can manage to have an adult day care so others can be helped.