Community

Adult Day Health Center hits 25 years

With all the negative news and budget cutting, Northshore Senior Center Director Lee Harper decided it was time to celebrate the accomplishments of the Bothell institution.

“We thought it would be a good time to say, ‘We’ve provided service for 25 years and we will be providing service for another 25 years,’” said Judy Pirone, director of the center’s adult day health program.

“So pretty quickly, we decided to throw a party,” she added.

Slated for 5-7 p.m. May 28 at the Northshore Adult Day Health Center (10212 E. Riverside Drive, Bothell), that party will mark a quarter century of adult day health offerings in Bothell and in surrounding communities, including Kenmore and Woodinville.

Harper added the evening also will include a salute to those who recently helped the Senior Center replace five vehicles in its aging mini-bus fleet.

Pirone and Harper said the May 28 celebration will feature appetizers, wine and raffles. Volunteers from the Bothell High football team will act as servers for the evening.

As she talks about the event, Pirone shows off a scrapbook with pictures that include some of the original program volunteers from the early 1980s. Appropriately enough, some of those volunteers will be at the anniversary event. A couple of speakers will give brief presentations about the program’s early days, which started in Kenmore’s Epiphany Lutheran Church. The program next moved to the former Bothell Senior Center, the Lytle House.

In 2002, the Northshore Parks and Recreation Service Area floated a successful bond issue before voters that led to the construction of the existing service complex on East Riverside Drive in Bothell. The center opened its doors in 2005 and serves the three cities that make up the Northshore Parks Service Area, namely Bothell, Kenmore and Woodinville. Harper added that vote clearly is part of the reason Northshore will carry on with adult day health despite some drastic revenue cuts.

“The community chose to have this by taxing themselves,” she said.

“We’re still going to be here,” Pirone added at one point. “It’s so needed.”

Adult day health programs provide medical care from staff nurses, physical rehabilitation, meals and activities, all designed, in the words of program officials, to get senior citizens and disabled persons moving again. One goal of the program is to keep participants out of nursing homes or other extended-care facilities.

All in all, Harper has said that starting in July or possibly early June, the adult day health program will lose 72 percent of its funding due to state budget cuts. Next year, the center also will suffer the end of $100,000 in King County funding, bringing the total revenue loss to approximately $1 million. The state sliced all dollars for transportation to adult day health programs.

Although going forward, some participants just won’t be able to take advantage of Northshore’s adult day health offerings. Harper has several times said the program will continue, even if it will look considerably different.

Transportation Manager Jim Seeks said the new buses arrived courtesy of a federal grant that paid for 80 percent of their total cost of about $59,000 each. The center was required to come up with the remaining 20 percent of the money and did so through donations.

Since the buses won’t be picking up adult day health participants, Seeks and center leaders are looking for other ways to put them to use. In the future, they’ll be taking seniors to medical appointments or on shopping trips to Canyon Park or the Alderwood Mall.

“We’re in an area where there’s not a lot of other (transportation) service providers out there,” Seeks said. “That’s one of the things we’ve been doing for years — providing service where there isn’t any.”

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