MARQUETTE - Melissa Luttrell is profoundly grateful to Marquette's First Presbyterian Church for hosting Marquette Adult Day Services for so many years.
At the same time, she's excited for the program's move as of April 1 to Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette as there is more space available there.
"First Presbyterian was where the program started in 1979. I think it's pretty amazing they housed it for so long," said Luttrell, Marquette Adult Day Service's director. "But (at Messiah), we will have more space. We hope to go to Monday through Friday eventually. We will be able to do that here where we could not at First Presbyterian."
Miriam Hilton, center, leads a tai-chi session at Marquette Adult Day Services Tuesday. Exercising with her are Ruth Kimar, left, and Christy Johnston. Hilton founded the program in 1979 and still helps out. Marquette Adult Day Services moved into Messiah Lutheran Church April 1 after nearly 34 years at the First Presbyterian Church in Marquette. (Journal photo by Renee Prusi)
For now, Marquette Adult Day Services remains a three-times-a-week program, offered from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. The program provides activities for enrolled senior citizens who are suffering from Alzheimer's disease or other forms of memory loss, allowing respite for their caregivers.
"We have about 10 people enrolled right now," Luttrell said. "At our old location, we were limited to 13. At Messiah, with more space, we could take up to 15 people."
The program is flexible and designed as much as possible to accommodate the needs of each individual participant.
"If anyone's interested in learning more about our program, I encourage them to give us a call," Luttrell said. "We would arrange an initial meeting with Sally Menapace, our program director, who would help with paperwork. We try to learn as much as we can about the participants so we can tailor what we do for each person."
Marquette Adult Day Services provides activities like music, arts, crafts and exercise for its participants, depending on their abilities.
"Right now, for instance, Maria Formolo and Kathy Houghton come in to lead music and movement one day a week," Luttrell said. "Barb Knox comes in to teach watercolor painting. We play cognitive stimulation games that access long-term memories.
"And once a year, we do a storytelling project. We give the seniors each the same photo to look at and everyone makes up part of the story," she said. "That's really a lot of fun."
In conjunction with the local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, museum tours have been offered recently as well. Seniors from Marquette Adult Day Services have visited the DeVos Art Museum at Northern Michigan University and the Marquette Regional History Center, among other places.
"Our seniors have had their artwork displayed as well at the Marquette Arts and Culture Center and currently at the Sweetwater Cafe," Luttrell said. "We are taking a group of seniors there for coffee so they can see their paintings hung up."
Luttrell said the program is a boon to seniors, because of the activities and the chance to interact with peers, but also to caregivers.
"It gives caregivers a chance to get a break. Being a caregiver is one of the hardest jobs out there," she said. "This program affords them a chance to go to appointments or to just spend time on themselves and know their loved ones are in a safe place."
For more information, contact Marquette Adult Day Services at 226-2142.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.