Mondays are Diane Maddaleno’s favorite. For her, the end of the weekend means she can return to Daybreak Adult Day Services, an adult day care program offered through Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee.
She’s been coming to the center for the last five years, and she says she loves the variety of social activities, discussions and mental stimulation it offers.
“If you get the idea that I like this place, you’re right,” she says with a smile. “I’m glad I have some place to go, instead of staying home and watching television. Since I’ve been here, we’ve done a lot of stuff. We go to dinner, we dance; it’s a great place for people like me.”
The center is part of what makes Meals on Wheels Plus of Manatee unique. The organization was started in 1972 as a traditional Meals on Wheels program, delivering hot meals to homebound or disabled seniors, but as the needs in the community grew, so did the organization. Now, in addition to nutrition, it offers supportive care-giving services, such as friendship dining centers, transportation and adult day care.
“It’s not just about food, but the interaction and well-being of the people we serve,” says Kristen Theisen, chief development officer. “Whether it’s the volunteers who deliver the meals or the staff at Daybreak providing activities and fun they wouldn’t normally have, that’s what it’s all about.”
For clients such as Maddaleno, the additional services go a long way, and they provide a level of care that families aren’t always able to offer, while allowing seniors to maintain their independence.
“The most rewarding part is knowing that what I do in my office — even the mundane little things — enable our organization to make a difference in people’s lives,” says Theisen. “Senior citizens are often forgotten, but they’re a large population with a definite need, so I’m happy I can be part of a service for them.”
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