Barbara Willis-Powell has dedicated the last eight years of her life to the Mercy Neighborhood Ministries’ adult day care program, serving seniors 60 years of age and older.
For her, it’s all about the family atmosphere at the organization, located at 1939 W. Venango St. Each Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. until 6 p.m., seniors fill the rooms, participating in various activities to keep their minds engaged. Some of the residents do arts and crafts, read, write, sing, do activities on the computer or just keep each other company.
“There (are) 35 seniors enrolled and of the 35, there can be 25 on any given day,” Willis-Powell, the program’s activities coordinator, said.
The family-like nature resonates among the participants. A lot of the women here have been friends for years and the program allows them to come together and bond.
Dolores Knight has been a participant here for the past two years and loves the vibe.
“Oh I like coming here because they are friendly, kind, have someone to talk to, play games with and watch TV together,” she said.
Vernita Hooks has been in the program for almost five years and she just loves being with her friends.
“Being with as I like to say ‘The Girls’ because we all get along, look out for each other and we do things together,” she said. “And when you are not here, you miss it.”
Quarterly health checkups are part of the program and are done by volunteer registered nurse Penne Wood. Participants’ families are kept up to date with their loved one’s heath and well-being.
There are a couple ways seniors can get involved in the adult day car program, Willis-Powell said.
“The family members can call us directly and talk to our outreach coordinator and she will arrange to come out to your home to do an intake,” she said. “Or you can come to Mercy Neighborhood Ministries directly.”
Other ways include calling the Philadelphia Corporation of Aging’s hotline at 215-765-9040 and telling them you want to come to Mercy. If you qualify for financial assistance, you can enter the program through through the agency and its funding. Others can pay privately for services.
For more information you can visit Mercy’s Adult Day Care Program here.
–Text, video and images by Chris Mastrobuono.