Senior care center to host open house

Posted: Monday, September 22, 2003

With improving the quality of life for seniors as its goal, the Forget-Me-Not Care Center in Kenai will conduct an open house Wednesday during National Adult Services Week.

A division of Central Peninsula Coun-seling Services, the care center offers daily activities to seniors who have difficulty getting out on their own, according to director Linda Flowers.

Among the offerings are arts and crafts, exercise, games, music, movies and day trips.

The center's goal is to get seniors socializing.

"I've seen them come, open up, make friends and start smiling again," Flowers said.

"I had one participant say she had forgotten what happy was."

Although the center began operating out of its current Cook Avenue location in Kenai's Old Town in 1993, the facility originated as a city service in the Kenai Senior Citizens Center in 1985.

Open Monday through Friday, Forget-Me-Not also offers prepared Meals on Wheels lunches to its clients each day.

"Right now we have 12 participants," said Helen Ware, activities specialist. "We can have anywhere from nine to 18."

Participants include mostly those suffering from memory loss caused by Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's, stroke or other illnesses, but the center is open to all seniors, according to Flowers.

"If there's no dementia, they must be 60 years old," she said. The oldest client is 93.

Funded by the Department of Health and Social Services, the center also is supported by the United Way and by the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

Flowers and Ware are the only full-time staff members, and are assisted by three part-time activity aides and one driver who picks up clients and brings them to the center perched on the bluffs above the Kenai River.

"We also get help from many volunteers," Flowers said.

Although the center is not required to have trained medical professionals on staff, Ware and one of the activity aides are certified nursing assistants.

Flowers said most of the center's clients live with their sons or daughters, though six are picked up daily from assisted living centers.

"With our population, depression is a common problem," Flowers said. "But coming here helps seniors be involved."

During the open house Wednesday, light refreshments will be served and visitors will see recent improvements to the facility including a new walking path that loops through a garden area behind the building overlooking Cook Inlet.

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