When you enter the building at Daybreak Senior Services, pictures of blushing brides and anxious grooms greet you.
“This is such a historic place,” said Scott Rasmussen, as he looked at the dozens of pictures lining the walls.
Although the fashion trends may have faded, the memories have not.
For 50 years, the building was a reception hall. It was a place of celebration, a symbol of new life beginning. Now, it’s a home base for those not ready to give up on life.
“It’s a gap that needs to be filled and that’s why we’re here,” said Rasmussen, who is the program director at Daybreak Senior Services.
Some days, that means joining a rousing game of indoor badminton or laying down the law playing some board games.
Instead of wedding gowns, everyone now wears masks. Though you can’t see the smiles, you know they’re under there.
"One of our participants loves coming here and she calls it, ‘the club,’” Rasmussen said. “She tells everyone that she wants to go to the club, and I think it’s because we’re doing cool stuff.”
Sure, they are doing cool stuff, but the biggest goal for Rasmussen is to help seniors from feeling isolated and alone.
"It is a real thing,” Rasmussen said. "I’ve known seniors that get so depressed that they say they’d rather just be done than have to go through another week of this because it’s just too hard.”
Rasmussen said there is a real need in our country to help seniors who aren’t quite ready for full-time assisted living but are not getting all they need at home.
"If you’re loved one is just staying home all the time, they’re missing out on a part of their life, where they'd still be growing even as an advanced age 65 to 105,” Rasmussen said. “We can always still be growing.”
The adult day care partners with programs through the VA and Medicaid and participants can drop in whenever they want. Programs like this are available all over the country.
"We love all of our participants. We absolutely love them, and we love what we do here because it’s such a valuable thing,” Rasmussen said.
COVID-19 may be affecting their numbers some, but Rasmussen says it’s even more reason for people to reach out to their loved ones and check-in.
“You need to just ask those questions, because if you don’t ask you just have a feeling of despair and it just gets harder and harder and that makes it difficult on everyone,” Rasmussen said.
There may not be a lot of dancing going on or tossing of bouquets but there is hope and commitment to keep on going.