The final part of the late Moni Gilmore’s dream will soon become a reality.
Since the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors approved the El Dorado Hills Senior Day Care Center early this year, much work has happened behind the scenes. The fire marshal gave his stamp of approval; permits are being finalized. Now county officials are hiring staff and shopping for sturdy, comfortable furniture— readying for an early 2014 opening.
“We have to have the furnishings all ready to go by the time the Department of Social Services calls to take a look,” said program supervisor Wanda Demarest, who opened the Placerville Senior Day Care in August 1989 and will oversee the El Dorado Hills location’s opening as well.
Those who can benefit from the day care program include adults who are in frail physical health, adults who are socially isolated and adults in all stages of dementia.
“It’s actually an adult day care center,” said El Dorado Hills resident and District 1 appointed Commissioner on Aging Hal Erpenbeck. “It’s for people over 18 with physical or mental problems who can’t be left alone for any extended period of time, but it’s also there to give caregivers some respite.”
“Patients can’t be bedridden or a danger to themselves or others,” added Demarest.
The Senior Day Care Center is coded to occupy 24 people at one time. Attendees will undergo a needs assessment and enrolled on a first come, first serve basis.
Before she died in 2008, tireless senior issues activist and El Dorado Hills resident Ramona “Moni” Gilmore left the bulk of her estate for the betterment of local seniors. This is the third and final phase of her vision.
“Moni Gilmore advocated for the senior center and it was always supposed to include an adult day care,” said Erpenbeck. “It was 80 percent built out when she passed away and then we hit a budget crunch and it languished.”
Erpenbeck picked up the project, but had to put it on the back-burner once more to focus on the county-run Senior Nutrition Program, which provides a hot lunch to dozens of seniors at the center every weekday for a $3 suggested donation. More than 1,000 hot lunches are delivered to homebound seniors each month.
To prove the day care is needed, Erpenbeck said they looked at the numbers. “On any given day, half of the attendants at the Placerville location come from Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills and Shingle Springs,” he said.
The Placerville site can occupy 32 people at once and demand for it has grown.
“My biggest concern is the El Dorado Hills Senior Day Care Center will fill up right away,” Erpenbeck added.
Cost will be on a sliding scale depending on use, or on average $45 to $55 per day. The day care center will be open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. A daily hot lunch and two snacks will be provided.
It is a non-medical facility though a nurse will provide initial consultations and evaluations.
Demarest said a planned outdoor memory garden will include a fountain, floral and vegetable garden and “just be a place for quiet. It’s for thinking and the memory — that’s what we’re taking care of.”
Programs will include exercise for strength, mobility and flexibility, said Demarest. “Those things are very important for people to be able to stay in their own home.”
Lots of creative expression will also be offered, she said, including live entertainment, brainteasers and arts and crafts. “It’s very therapeutic and good for the mind.”
Demarest said they need to buy everything from wastebaskets and art supplies to kitchen supplies and utensils. A Kitchen Aid mixer is No. 1 on their wish list. To make a donation contact Wanda directly at [email protected].
An advertising campaign will kick off soon but Demarest wants caregivers to know first and foremost their loved ones will be in good hands. “We’re constantly adjusting our program to fit the needs of each patient,” she said.
The Senior Day Care is located at 990 Lassen Lane in El Dorado Hills behind the El Dorado Hills Senior Center. For more information call (530) 621-6180 or email [email protected].