Celebrating Enrichment Center’s new home

After 22 years, Community Senior Services’ Enrichment Center Adult Day Program has finally found a place to call home.

The adult day program, which provides a safe space for seniors with dementia and memory loss, moved into a new facility at Larkin Park this week, made possible through a partnership with the city of Claremont. Community Senior Services (CSS), a nonprofit organization serving LA and San Bernardino counties, will lease the vacant building owned by the city of Claremont to be reviewed and renewed each year, according to Floy Biggs, chief executive officer of CSS.

The new move marks the first permanent home for the Enrichment Center Adult Day Program, which has operated out of Pilgrim Place, located just down the street from the center’s new digs, since the program’s inception. With stable ground and a place to call their own, program participants and volunteers look forward to the freedom their new foundation brings.

“We have so many new opportunities,” said Angelika Pittet, director of the Enrichment Center Adult Day program. “We no longer have to worry about constantly interrupting other people and can now do what we have always wanted to do.”

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, the adult day program is a constant stream of activities to foster seniors’ social skills while giving their caregivers a momentary reprieve from duty. The schedule is kept full with exercise, art and a daily jaunt out into the community for lunch.

With a space to call their own, equipped with a kitchen and a patio, Ms. Pittet looks forward to expanding on that programming with cooking classes and outdoor activities.

“We will be able to help them to build upon their independence,” she said.

With a set home base, the program will now also be able to expand its operations, from three days a week to five, and serve a steadily growing client base. On any given day, Ms. Pittet says the program will have 12 to 15 participants.

Just a day after their official start in the new building, program members and volunteers were already making themselves right at home, taking advantage of every corner of the building as they gathered for their weekly music circle. The tambourines shook with the seniors’ laughter as a couple set aside their instruments to dance to the soulful croons of Johnny Cash.

“We sometimes get a little noisy,” laughed program volunteer Lupe Miranda. “Now at least we don’t have to worry about disturbing anyone!”

In addition to the noise level, Ms. Miranda and other volunteers are relieved to put aside worry over the time restrictions involved in renting a facility for their program. Previous time constraints meant they had to leave their rented room by 11 a.m. and couldn’t return until 2 p.m., which Ms. Pittet recognized could be a challenge for those with memory loss.

Having a space so close to the Joslyn Center also means program members no longer have to rely so heavily on transportation to get about. Wednesday’s music circle ended with a short walk over to the senior center’s lunchroom. While they will take advantage of their close proximity to the Joslyn, Ms. Pittet recognized the importance of continuing to get the seniors out into the community. The program will continue to use transportation to visit other senior center’s lunch programs as well as to get to other community facilities.

Betty Terry, a Rialto resident and program participant for the past two years, says she relishes her weekly trips to the program because of the social outlet it provides her.

“I enjoy being with people and the community building and friendships,” she said.

Though she would like the building itself to be a little larger, Ms. Terry said she likes how easy it is to get to the facility itself because it has a ramp and not as many steps as the previous space.

The size of the space is no matter to volunteer John Cantarella, who says he is simply pleased to see the program expanding.

“The building might be smaller, but we are a lot freer,” he said.

Community Senior Services will host an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony on February 13 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The community is invited to attend. The new facility for the Enrichment Center Adult Day Program is located at 763 W. Harrison Ave., behind the Joslyn Center. For more information, visit www.communityseniorservices.org.

—Beth Hartnett

news@claremont-courier.com

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