Barrow to open adult day care

WINDER - Barrow County and Winder are partnering to build a new 5,280-square-foot adult day care facility on Lee Street near Victor Lord Park. Bevens Enterprises in Newnan will begin construction in 2007.

A 2005 Community Development Block Grant award of $500,000 will pay most of the construction costs, expected to total about $663,000. Barrow County contributed a little more than an acre of land, Winder added $25,000 and some SPLOST money will also be applied to the project.

"No property tax money will be spent on the center," said Michael Fischer, Barrow County's deputy administrator.

Since 1979, seniors and their families have depended upon an 1,800-square-foot, 75-year-old facility at 49 East New St. The current facility can serve 15 seniors and a staff of four. The local Meals on Wheels is coordinated through the New Street facility, too. Coordinator Keith Adams is looking forward to the increased space, which will allow them to serve 30 seniors.

"I do meals on Meals on Wheels in a hallway, the one that leads to the rest room," said Adams. "When someone comes down the hall in a walker or scooter it can get crowded."

The center is run through the Athens Community Council on Aging. The new building will have an exam area, living room, general purpose room, office space, small kitchen and an outdoor garden area. It will serve adults age 65 and older who do not require 24-hour care, including those who suffer from Alzheimers, dementia and physical impairments. Meals on Wheels will continue to work from the new facility with a goal of serving 85 meals per day.

"Therapeutic activities can be more tailored to specific groups," Adams said. "Right now we can only do two things at one time. We won't have to turn anybody away for space."

Kathryn Fowler, executive director of the Athens Community Council on Aging, said the new facility should attract more families.

"We have a great staff with a ratio of one staff member to four patients," Fowler said. "But we struggle with new clients when they see come in and see the older structure. The facility is not very appealing to families. The new one will be much brighter."

The adult day care center has a full-time nurse on staff and provides medical monitoring, meals, therapeutic activities and personal care services. They accept Medicaid, private pay and can recommend certain grants to help with costs.