Located at the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elderly Services in Middlebury, Project Independence is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Every day is busy, every day is unique, but here’s what one recent day looked like:
7 a.m. Nancy, the coordinator, opens the center. Irene W. calls to talk about her father’s rough night. “Can you see if he’ll take a long nap today?”
7:15 a.m. Emma, 84, arrives with her daughter who has to be at work early this morning. Breakfast begins. “I brought you a new supply of Mom’s pills.”
8:30 a.m. Participants enjoy breakfast. Family members have chatted with staff and left for their day at work or home. Amy and Sally, 96, discuss an article in the Addison Independent.
9:30 a.m. Our vans have returned, and 30 men and women settle in for good food and company. They talk as they fold our napkins and hand towels.
10 a.m. A small group is walking outdoors with a volunteer. Josie, 84, is reading today’s newspaper. Tom, 89, is enjoying a visit from his daughter.
10:30 a.m. Our activities include:
- A jazz band performing in the Great Room.
- Reading group in the den.
- Golf on our outdoor putting green.
- Cooking club in the Lower Kitchen.
11 a.m. Joanne, executive director, greets visitors from northern Vermont who want a tour and consultation on opening an adult day care center.
11:30 a.m. Eileen, social worker, meets with a family from Monkton. “How can we convince Mom that she has to accept help?”
Noon: Dinner is served. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, winter squash, homemade rolls, and dark chocolate birthday cake. “Today we have seven special needs diets.”
1 p.m. Kristin talks with an out-of-state daughter: “I’m calling from New Jersey. My grandmother is in Bridport and is getting confused. Can you help me?” Vanessa, RN, talks with a doctor about an 84-year-old participant with increasing sleep problems and poor balance. Participants work together on a crossword puzzle, discuss poetry or play horseshoes.
2 p.m. Newly arriving participants come in for afternoon/supper program. Vans head out to bring some morning participants home. The afternoon group enjoys a mid-afternoon snack in the sunny dining room: Crackers, cheese and tea.
2:30 p.m. Staff member brings Fred, 81, to Porter Hospital for an X-ray. “Can you pick up Louise at the hairdresser on your way back?” In the Great Room, Linda, a volunteer, shows photos from her trip to Yosemite. Ann leads an art project with watercolors, and other participants play seated team tennis.
3 p.m. Sam, 76, is napping. Robert, 75, is playing rummy. Anne, 84, is playing the piano. John, 83, is meeting with our nurse.
- Volunteers lead a sing-along in the Great Room.
- A four-hand cribbage game on our Sun Porch.
- A group chats as they cut green beans for tomorrow.
- Pool game in the game room.
4 p.m. Dana, care manager, meets with Eleanor, 85, who is depressed after the death of her husband.
5:15 p.m. The cooks have outdone themselves! Supper is served: Pacific Salmon, scalloped potatoes, honey glazed carrots, spinach, oatmeal muffins, and fresh berry salad.
6 p.m. Vans leave to bring people home. Members enjoy relaxed fun and conversation while they wait. Note to driver: “Don’t forget to turn up Elsie’s thermostat and watch her take her pill when you drop her at home tonight.”
9 p.m. The last van returns. Everyone is home for the night.