Senior advocate Hal Erpenbeck wants El Dorado Hills to have a safe place for working adults caring for elderly parents to drop off their charge for the day, similar to the way childcare works.
It’s called senior daycare, and Erpenbeck said he sees it as an important public service and valuable amenity in a community with a growing senior population.
His mission picks up where long-time senior activist Ramona “Moni” Gilmore left off. Gilmore, who died in 2008, was the driving force in the conversion of former El Dorado Hills Fire Station 85 into a senior center. It was subsequently named for her.
The center hosts dozens of classes and activities for seniors each week plus a senior lunch on weekdays. It’s also a distribution hub for the Meals on Wheels program.
The conversion of the old fire station included space and facilities for senior daycare which, despite being nearly complete, ultimately fell victim to the economic downturn — a fact that the famously feisty Gilmore would not have accepted.
Senior daycare centers contribute to the social fabric of the community, Erpenbeck explained, adding, “It allows people to keep their elderly parents at home longer, which is a good thing.”
Senior daycare can also provide much-needed respite for fulltime caregivers.
Erpenbeck cites the success of the senior daycare program in Placerville, which is nearing capacity. “There are people here (in El Dorado Hills) that drive up there and use it as respite for care, so we know there’s demand,” he said.
Erpenbeck estimates that the El Dorado Hills senior daycare center is less than $20,000 shy of completion.
“If we promote the respite aspect, the program can be self-sustaining,” he said.
The Ramona “Moni” Gilmore Senior Center is located at 990 Lassen Lane, along El Dorado Hills Boulevard, and is open to all ages for lunch Monday through Friday.
A full list of classes and activities can be found at El Dorado Hills the Community Services District website, edhcsd.org. For more information call the Senior Center at (916) 358-3575.