BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — In a typical year, Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama would provide scholarships for those with dementia to go to adult day care centers.
Because that hasn’t been possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, the group is using the money to help in another way.
Adult day care centers across Alabama were forced to close their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, many of them are starting to reopen. Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama is using the money from their scholarship program as grants to help these centers open their doors again. Last week, the organization presented a $7,500 check to the Rose Garden Adult Day Care Center for repairs and improvements.
“We’re just so ecstatic. We’re so grateful and so thankful,” said Bonnie Ward, co-owner of the Rose Garden. “I went and bought them a card. I’m sending them a card in the mail. I said it about 100 times, but I want to say it a million times: thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Ward plans to use the money to replace the Rose Garden’s awning, do some painting and buy some games for their clients, who were able to start coming back in March. Ward said leaders with the center recently took many of them to get vaccinated so they could return to the center, which she believes makes a big difference in their lives.
“They get in a routine of coming here, and once they get in a routine, they look forward to it,” she said.
Adult day care centers also help the families and others who provide care for people with dementia, according to Miller Piggott, executive director of Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama.
“It helps (people with dementia) have a better quality of life, as well as helping the care giver because the care giver gets that needed break,” Piggott said.
However, the scholarship program isn’t being replaced. Piggott wants to eventually start giving those out again. Until then, they’ll help the centers that serve people with dementia.
“That’s what our intention is: to get back to providing scholarships for people as soon as they’re vaccinated and able to go,” she said. “But we also really want to help these centers have the resources they need to get back open.”