All under one roof
Centralia Center offers trifecta of services for seniors and adults with disabilities
By Kris Leonhardt
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The Centralia Center, located at 220 Third Avenue South in Wisconsin Rapids, is home to three agencies that place a plethora of services all under one roof for seniors and adults with disabilities.
“The creation of the Centralia Center was a vision held by the Wood County Department on Aging and the city of Wisconsin Rapids to create a welcoming location that seniors and those with disabilities could visit to not only socialize and have fun, but to also obtain information, resources, and services from the three agencies housed at the Centralia Center i.e. the Lowell Senior Center, Park Place Adult Day Services, and the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Central WI. The community supported efforts to fund the building project and collaborated to provide a centralized and accessible location in renovating the building previously housed by the Walmart store,” explained ADRC Director of Aging and Wellness Jennifer Cummings
“The leaders at the time saw the need to house recreational/social activities, services, and programs in one location for easy access and identification. The building was completed in 2003.”
ADRC works to “provide peace of mind and quality of life to individuals and families through information and access to resources.” The organization serves Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, and Wood counties, providing community resources for seniors and adults with disabilities, benefits for seniors and adults with disabilities, support for caregivers, meals for seniors, and classes for healthy living.
Though the COVID environment has changed the way they operate, the organization continues to assist those in need of information and assistance.
“Given the need to keep our customers, volunteers, and employees safe the ADRC-CW remains operational but we are asking customers to call our office or utilize email or virtual platforms for meetings at this time. Prior to COVID, our staff made home visits or met with individuals face-to-face in our offices. Our staff is looking forward to the time when we can safely resume face-to-face connections, but in the meantime we want individuals to know that we are here to provide them information, resources, assistance and support,” Cummings said.
“The ADRC-CW has implemented a new phone system and computer programs that enable staff to work remotely outside of their usual ADRC-CW offices. This has allowed staff to spend less time in travel and more time addressing customer concerns.
“Our agency has learned to adapt and create policies and procedures to continue to provide senior nutrition through our meals on wheels deliveries while keeping customers, volunteers, and staff safe during this pandemic.
“We appreciate the ongoing support of our current volunteers and the number of new volunteers who have joined the ADRC-CW to provide meal deliveries throughout the community. The need for meals on wheels volunteers and assistance packaging meals is ongoing. The greater the number of volunteers, the greater number of individuals that can be served through the senior nutrition program.”
Lowell Senior Center
“In the early 1980s, a group of senior leaders worked with city and county officials to renovate the 1923 Lowell School into the Lowell Senior Center. Throughout the 1980s there was tremendous growth in usage, programs and services, with the Adult Day Care opening at Lowell in 1985,” recalled Lowell Senior Center Program Coordinator Joan Kranig.
“By 1989 numerous expensive repairs along with program needs made staff and city representatives realize the then 66-year-old building was not cost efficient to operate and could not be remodeled without a large amount of money.”
The Lowell Center and Park Place Adult Day Services joined ADRC in the Centralia Center placing them all under one roof.
The center’s mission is to “enhance the quality of life for adults, age 50 and older, and promote positive attitudes toward aging.”
The center provides a variety of programming including an indoor padded walking path designed to reduce impact on the joints, senior exercise class, resistance chair exercises, a Nordic Walking group, group games, craft making, old-time movies, bus trips, and other activities.
With the senior population at high risk for COVID, the center is closed to the public, but the center continues to release their monthly newsletter, which can also be found at Quality Food stores.
Though all of the programs are on hold at the current time, staff is making use of the time by sanitizing, cleaning, and organizing the center’s space.
“This winter we continue to work on inside painting and planning for 2021,” Kranig explained.
“We hope with the vaccine that numbers go down and we can open in spring 2021. We’d love for our seniors return to exercise, socialize, volunteer, and see friends again. Isolation is very difficult for seniors especially during the winter months so we encourage them to call friends, meet in socially-distanced situations to enjoy a cup of coffee, and go with walks outside when weather permits.”
Park Place Adult Day Services
Park Place Adult Day Services works to “promote a maximum level of independence and function to participants experiencing early dementia, mild memory loss and/or cognitive impairment.”
The organization also works as a support system and respite for caregivers.
Park Place opened in 1985 as a nonprofit agency serving the south Wood County area and is certified by the state of Wisconsin.
“It’s been tough since March of this year 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken control of our nation, our states, our counties, but we’ve been blessed to be able to have our doors open at this time,” said Park Place representatives.
While the agency doors remain open, precautions have been instituted to keep clients safe in the current environment.
“Take a glimpse inside the windows of our Park Place Adult Day Services and you will see friendly staff who care deeply for all the clients we continue to serve. You will see an environment with beauty all around: new flooring, gentle lighting, walls that are painted light blue or aqua, wall murals that bring back wonderful memories, and furniture that blends into the space we have created to ensure that those individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia, those younger and older adults with mental and/or physical disabilities, those who are lonely and need socialization to thrive and survive can still come to have a safe, energy efficient, and special place to stay for the day.”
For more information and current availabilities, call the Lowell Center at 715-421-1051, ADRC at 715-421-0014, or Park Place at 715-422-2795.