By Mikala McCurry
Successful Living Center, a 501(c)3 organization in Montgomery, AL, is an adult daycare program that cares for people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s, dementia, and related illnesses. The facility provides the mutual benefit of allowing families and caregivers to get respite care while also allowing patients to take a break in a new environment.
“I generally let new patients do four hours at a time, so they know their family members are coming back to get them, but I had a new patient who came one day and stayed the whole day and did very well,” Founder and CEO Veronica McKenzie said. “That was a testament to how sometimes patients want a break from their caregivers, so it’s a mutual benefit.”
Successful Living Center gives patients a full scheduled day of care. They have conversations about current events and devotionals as well as meals and activities throughout the day. They also have a rest period during the day.
“Just like with any full-day program for any age, our patients need a rest period. That minimizes the number of behaviors that potentially could occur when they’re tired but can’t verbalize it,” Veronica explained.
Daily activities are often based on patients’ prior hobbies or work-related. Ultimately, the organization strives to provide activities that patients can complete with ease and feel accomplished.
“We make those opportunities where they can be successful and feel accomplished throughout their day here,” Veronica said.
Successful Living Center emerged from a dream Veronica had in college about building an intergenerational center where adult seniors and children could connect and learn from each other. She gained experience working with special needs children throughout her adulthood. After that time, both of her grandmothers developed Alzheimer’s, and she gained experience working with senior adults by caring for them.
As a registered nurse, wife, and mother of two children, Veronica understands the importance of blending generations and teaching respect for people of varying needs and abilities. Her goal in the creation of Successful Living Center is to provide a caring, compassionate, and uplifting environment that enhances self-esteem and self-worth for young and old.
“The long-term vision is to have an intergenerational program here. We have the dementia program for seniors, and we are now working toward an inclusion program for special needs children in a separate building,” Veronica said.
To utilize the services of Successful Living Center, individuals can make an appointment to tour the facility. The facility tour will be followed by a 4-hour assessment to determine if the facility can meet the patients’ needs while they are there. Once that assessment is successfully completed, the family member or caregiver can complete the enrollment process.
“We have to develop a trust relationship with the patient for them to know we’re okay to help them and care for them while their family member or caregiver isn’t there,” Veronica said. “Once they get used to the facility, we have very few issues. We ultimately want them to feel like they have independence, but we still provide assistance whenever needed.”
Successful Living Center has a partnership with Alabama Cares through the Central Alabama Aging Consortium to assist with respite costs. Alabama Lifespan Respite Resource Network also assists with respite costs.
As a 501(c)3 organization, Successful Living Center welcomes and appreciates community partners who can support the organization to help fund facility maintenance costs, new programs and initiatives, or sponsor respite care for a patient.
“We always need community members and partners to help sponsor daycare needs. No one plans for a family member to have Alzheimer’s, so we do have people who can’t afford the adult daycare programs. In African-American communities especially, a lot of our patients were previously homemakers and don’t have any kind of income other than social security,” Veronica said.
Successful Living Center is located at 1902 Bullard Street, Montgomery, AL 36106 and is open Monday – Friday from 7:45AM to 5:30PM. For more information, visit https://www.successfullivingcenter.org/ or call 334-264-1790.
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