By Becky Lovell
For 30 years, the Edwards Adult Day Center has provided day services to hundreds of dependent adults and their families.
The center, at 431 E. Commonwealth Blvd., Martinsville, has 63 participants and can accommodate up to 70, according to Executive Director Patsy Dillard. It provides a safe place for dependent adults where they can socialize, make friends and participate in group activities while their health needs are being monitored by health professionals.
“In addition to providing an outlet for participants, the center also provides caregivers an opportunity to continue to work, attend appointments, or just to take a much needed break from the demands of providing daily care for their loved ones. Edwards Adult Day Center has served hundreds of individuals and their families over the past 30 years and continues to be a win-win for participants, caregivers, and the community,” Dillard said.
Dillard spoke during an anniversary celebration for the center on Dec. 17. About 100 people attended the event, including community leaders, founding board member Milton Davis, and other past and present board members and supporters.
The idea for the adult day care arose in 1988 when a group of community-minded individuals from First Presbyterian Church saw the need for day care services for elderly adults in Martinsville and Henry County. At the time, several members of the congregation were full-time caregivers for parents and other dependent family members. They saw day care services as a possible alternative to nursing home care. Due to an increase in the average life expectancy, there also has been an increase in the need for more caregivers.
As a result, the Martinsville & Henry County Adult Daycare Center was organized and opened in late 1988.
The early plan was for the center to be located in the basement of the First Presbyterian Church, however, the former Martinsville Athletic Club building located on Commonwealth Boulevard was available, so it became home for the Martinsville adult day care center.
In 2006, after outgrowing that location with 25 daily participants, a new facility was built next door to expand services to meet the growing need. The new center was named Edwards Adult Day Center in honor of Oliver and Mildred Edwards and the many other supporters of the center.
Today, the Edwards Adult Day Center has 26 employees who care for participants and their changing needs. Several long term employees were recognized at the December celebration, including Phoebe Carter, Dennis Hairston, Faye Ingram, Robert Spencer, Donna Whitener and Kim Witcher, along with weekly scheduled volunteers Matt and Nancy Festa.
Dillard encouraged everyone to help get the word out about the Edwards Adult Day Center so it is not the “best kept secret” in Martinsville and Henry County. She ended with a quote from Anne Frank: “Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much.”
For more information about the center, visit www.edwardsadc.org or call 666-9400.