New adult day care holds grand opening

Published 7:24 pm Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Almost 100 residents gathered to tour the new Don and Betsy Freeman Adult Day Health Care Center during a grand opening ceremony Sunday.

The adult day care center is located in a building behind the Polk County Senior Center, on property the county owns. The building was renovated with county money, as well as grant and fundraising money.

The new adult day care center is designed to help Polk County’s older residents feel right at home. It includes two living rooms, equipped with leather couches and recliners and flat screened televisions. The television screens will enable participants to play Wii video games, which Polk officials say should be a big hit for daytime activities.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The center also has a large kitchen and and an outdoor seating area, including a gazebo and wooden swings.

Each room is decorated with quilts sewn by Betsy Freeman, for whom the center was named. Items in the hallways commemorate the efforts that went into making the center a reality.

The grand opening Sunday included a tour of the new facility as well as speeches by Betsy Freeman, Polk County Commissioner Cindy Walker, Polk County Commissioner Warren Watson and Rutherford Life Services (RLS) Director Larry Brown. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held and attendants were treated to cake and cider.

Walker thanked the many people who had part in making the adult day care center a reality.

I say to all of you that have laid your hands on this project in one fashion or another, it is through your efforts that a need became an idea and then a reality, Walker said. The time, energy and dedication that each of you gave does not disappear when the tools are packed or the paper work filed, no, it lingers here quietly and touches all that pass through these doors.

Watson said four years ago he was assigned to the Polk County Council on Aging and while there, he was invited to ride along on a home-delivered meal route.

As we delivered those meals, it was obvious that many of the recipients had no daily contact with other people, except for their meal delivery person and possibly their mailman, said Watson. I could tell many of them craved the company of others, and I was concerned that several of them were unsupervised all day. It was obvious to me from this short trip that there was definitely a need for adult day care in our county.

The building was also officially named on Sunday after Don and Betsy Freeman, who were instrumental in getting the county to provide a center.

Betsy Freemans husband, Don Freeman, was in need of such an adult care facility. Watson said he saw how Betsy struggled to find paid caregivers to come in for a few hours per week so she could run errands and do things most of us do routinely.

It seems as if I met a new caregiver every few weeks, Watson said. And they never seemed to work out.

Unfortunately, Watson said, Don Clair Freeman did not live to see the project to fruition, but his wife, Betsy, has been there promoting this need even after his death.

It is that type of dedication and commitment that makes the difference in whether projects fail or succeed, Watson said. And it is in that same spirit that the Polk County Board of Commissioners is proud to name this building the Don and Betsy Freeman Center for Adult Day Health Care, and to dedicate this facility in memory of Don Clair Freeman and in honor of Betsy Kelley Freeman, as a place for respite and care for the citizens of Polk County.

Rutherford Life Services has been contracted by the county to run the facility. RLS says there are a couple more inspections and certifications to complete prior to opening the doors. County officials say the center could be open in as little as six weeks, but should definitely be open by the end of this year.

RLS director Brown congratulated Polk County on completing the venture. He said no county that he knows of has come together to provide such a service for its residents.

This is unique and you need to be aware of that, Brown said.

Brown said RLS has been operating programs for 44 years and will do its very best for Polk County.

Thank you for letting us be a part of this group, he said. We are very excited.