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February 14, 2013

Walton caregiver program sees steady growth

By Mark Boshnack
The Daily Star

---- — A Walton senior program has expanded to meet the needs of area residents. When Our Place social adult day center opened in May, developed by the Delaware County Legacy Corps, it was designed to offer a needed break for caregivers taking care of loved ones, an official said.

But from the beginning, the majority of those who attended lived independently while enjoying activities that included crafts and exercise, Our Place manager Patricia Breakey said. The Dream Catchers Club was formed for these seniors. A $5 weekly donation is suggested for the Wednesday program that runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the United Presbyterian Church at the corner of East and North streets. The care recipient program is $18 for a half day or $25 for a full day, also on Wednesdays.

A grand opening ceremony was held Feb. 6 to highlight the services. Several area officials attended the event.

Breakey said attendance has been growing steadily as more people realize the service the weekly program provides. This includes a variety of crafts, exercise and guest speakers.

“It’s a nice day to socialize,” for the mostly retired people who enjoy making new connections, she said. Attendance averages about 25 people, including 10 volunteers. There is room to grow, she said. With lunch provided by Walton Senior Meals, “it’s an all-around program,” she said.

Legacy Corps coordinator Karen “Kit” Marshfield directs the program. The agency offers respite for caregivers while affording seniors the ability to enjoy their independence as long as possible, according to its website.

With the grand opening, “We wanted to show people what we are,” she said. While the respite program continues, “the expansion of the program has given seniors an opportunity to make new friends and socialize.”

The activities are coordinated by Janice Kehr, of Walton, with a trained group of volunteers assisting.

Two Walton women attested Wednesday to the importance of the program.

Ellen Boecke is one of those using the services since it opened. She was attracted by the crafting opportunities.

“I came to see what it’s all about,” she said. “It’s a great atmosphere. Everybody enjoys what they are doing.” It provided an opportunity to learn new things and “I’ve made new friends.”

Irma Leigh of Walton has been a volunteer since the program began. She took care of her mother while she was alive. This gives her an opportunity to help others. She found it to be a perfect job, she said. “It’s a wonderful program.” 

Reservations are required to ensure that enough meals are ordered. For more information about the program or to volunteer, call Delaware County Office for the Aging at 746-6333 or 746-6765. Breakey can be reached at 865-5175 or 865-5997.