Shift in care |

Shift in care

Despite the demise of the Lutz Center and now the planned closure of an Auburn facility that picked up some slack, adult day care is thriving again in Nevada County at a Penn Valley church.

The Seventh Day Adventist Church stepped in the breech in December to temporarily take deposed Lutz Center clients at its Helping Hands Caregiver Resource. The day care for the elderly and disabled is open three days a week with full funding for a year, thanks to the church board and a number of donors.

“The demand was so great, we went back to the church board” and got $60,000 to keep the center open through next April, said Colleen Bond, the program director. “The people in this church are community-minded.”

At least two of the half-dozen or so people who transferred to the Health for All day care in Auburn will be coming to the Penn Valley facility after the Placer County program closes June 27, Bond said.

Health for All is closing due to financial constraints, said worker Patti Graff on Tuesday. She referred all other questions to corporate officer Dean Okimoto, who could not be reached for comment.

The church facility is averaging 16 to 17 clients per day on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and again on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Telecare bus service brings some of the clients, and the others arrive privately.

Residents such as Allene Tucker of Grass Valley use the Auburn facility and the Penn Valley day care. She figures she can go to the Nevada County Senior Center in Grass Valley on Wednesdays and Fridays until the church facility expands on its dream to be open five days a week.

“I like it here,” she said, looking around the large, bright room the clients share. “All my friends are here from the Lutz Center.”

“I love it,” said Jerry Mehren of Grass Valley, a longtime Lutz client. “The people is what does it and the food is fantastic.”

Donations of $1,000 apiece from the Penn Valley Lions Club and the Nevada City Rotary have helped pay for lunches at the center, where turkey tettrazini was being served Tuesday. Other donors have given up to $5,000 to keep the facility open, Bond said.

The donations and the church’s $60,000 commitment are paying for five staff members and expenses, according to Chris Holland, the only member of the day care’s board who doesn’t belong to the church.

“We’re awaiting our licensing,” Holland said, for a social facility that will not include full medical care like the Lutz Center and the soon-to-close Auburn day care. Bond said medical staff could be added in the future depending on need, but they are not required.

Once a license is obtained, people who can afford to pay will be charged on a sliding scale, but ones who can’t afford it will always be welcome, Bond said.

The program manager is working for free, as is her administrator father, James Gleason, who is an elder in the church.

For more information, call the church at 432-2479.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail or call 530-477-4237.

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