Memories made, shared at center


November 04, 1992|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

While picking up shells on the beach today

I found a fragment of what must have been

a magnificent conch . . .

an exquisite shard . . .

a remnant of a masterpiece.

When Phyllis S. Yingling wrote these words, she could have been describing the daily routine of the South Carroll Adult Day Care Center staff.

Each day the social workers, nurses and therapists handle individuals whose experience and wisdom they cherish as much as they would treasure priceless art.

"These are people who have had very rich, full lives and are survivors, if nothing else," said Judy Carpenter, a registered nurse and the center's director.

"It's amazing what stories they tell and what lives they have lived," Ms. Carpenter said. "When you have been in the world for 90 years, you have a lot of wisdom to share."

The center is sponsored by the non-profit United Way organization Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland. It provides stimulation and social activities for elderly people who want companionship and need help with daily living activities.

Activities include crafts and cooking classes, sing-alongs, current events discussions and field trips.

"A social worker talks to the family to find out what they enjoyed doing in the past," Ms. Carpenter said. "But we also have medically supervised and therapeutic activities."

The seniors pay a fee to attend the center that is dependent on their income, Ms. Carpenter said.

Participants such as 87-year-old Cecilia Brown said the center is invaluable.

Mrs. Brown lives with her daughter, Cecilia Eckroth, and her son-in-law, Richard, in Eldersburg. She has lived through five wars, the invention of the car and the television, and the rise and fall of communism.

She enjoys reminiscing about the simpler times as well as creating new memories during discussion sessions at the center, which is under the South Carroll Senior Center in Eldersburg.

"I can't say enough good things about this place," said Mrs. Brown. "It's a place you can go and be loved and taken care of."

Ms. Carpenter said adult day care also offers respite to the "sandwich generation" -- those people caught between the responsibilities of caring for their children and their elderly parents.

"Some families want their loved ones to get out because at home they are so isolated," Ms. Carpenter said. "For others, it is a way to have their parents supervised and provides an intermediary step between their home and a nursing home."

The center's supervision allowed Eleanor Kane, 80, who has Alzheimer's, to live with her family much longer, said Pat Kramer, her daughter.

"She was in the program for two years before the disease progressed to the point where the program could not help her," she said.

Ms. Kramer said her mother was always at the center of any gathering, loved to meet people and talk about the past with others at the center's daily discussion sessions.

And even when the disease caused new memories to fade after a few days, Mrs. Kane enjoyed being around her friends.

"She lacked companionship with her peers at home," Ms. Kramer said, "and the center gave her that in a compassionate atmosphere." Those of us who remember

the bright, gracious lovely lady

that she was at her best,

are grateful when you...

handle her gently,

as a once-magnificent shell.

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