COCKE COUNTY—ALPS Adult Day Service in Morristown has been in operation for over 30 years not only serving Hamblen County, but servicing the surrounding counties as well, including Cocke.
The vivacious center is not to be misconstrued as a nursing home facility, as clients are not patients and the stay is for the day versus overnight and long- term living.
“This is a day service for adults ages 18-100 who may have disabilities, Alzheimers, Downs Syndrome and really any cognitive impairment or disabling disease,” said Director of Social Impact Tina Kilgore.
The cozy environment is decorated with antiques that offer a bit of nostalgia for its older clients and a “homey” feel as one walks through the door. The walls proudly display the crafts and artworks of the many clients.
Similar to students being brought to school, ALPS clients are typically brought to the center by family members or public transport. Once they arrive, staff members greet them and the day’s activities begin.
Activities cater to individual needs, yet also encourage group socialization. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at a family style table setting to encourage conversation and companionship.
Music therapy, crafts, story time and a weekly pet therapy session are just a few of the interactions and special features. The activities are geared towards improving memory, self-esteem, language skills and social skills.
Clients can also be treated to personal care, exercises and massages. The center currently employs two nurses to assist in medication management.
“It’s important we help keep watch on whether a client is losing or gaining a significant amount of weight. We do what we can to keep track of a client’s immediate health,” Kilgore said.
The center advertises as the “gap filler” between loosely structured activities at senior centers and full time institutionalization. The therapeutic activities and social interaction have helped many clients delay or even prevent having to be placed in a long-term facility.
Kilgore said the daily assistance offered by their facility has made it possible for many caregivers to continue employment and errands that would have been impossible without the day service center.
“Supporting the family or caregiver of our clients is very important to us as well. It not only helps the client, but the family when we are encouraging our clients to be productive and contribute to each other in our classes. Being socially interactive does so much for our clients.”
At this time several Cocke County residents visit the center throughout the week and Kilgore hopes to eventually see an ALPS open in the county.
Currently residents that attend the daily activities from Cocke County are in Bybee, Cosby and Del Rio and are transported either privately or through ETHRA.
ALPS offers presentations on their services, and asks that any group interested in learning more on health care funding, veteran benefits, caregiver support or adult day services to reach out and schedule an appointment at 423-587-9149 or visit the website at www.alspadultdayservices.org.