At the Souderton Adult Day Care Center, Hector Luciano often has a captive audience for his poetry.
“I’m the only guy here; there’s 25 women and one man,” said Luciano, a member of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Hatfield. “I like sharing my poems with them.”
Luciano enrolled last year at the center, which is operated by archdiocesan Catholic Housing and Community Services (CHCS) as part of its continuum of senior care.
Like all of CHCS’s senior centers, the site in Souderton, Montgomery County offers meals, exercise and recreational activities that focus on the creative arts.
Studies have shown that the arts play a pivotal role in promoting emotional and cognitive well-being among seniors, even those diagnosed with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Stephanie Yocum, activities director for the Souderton Adult Day Care Center, develops projects that are both therapeutic and artistically satisfying.
“We try to create crafts that are meaningful and beautiful,” she said. “Something you can actually take home and use as part of your décor.”
Kathy Boles, director of the St. Charles Senior Center, notes that artistic activities are key for seniors, who finally have time to “explore their creativity and do something they always wanted to do.”
Boles added that the St. Charles center is known for its programming, which includes ceramics and jewelry making.
In addition to finding their creative voice, seniors need regular socialization in order to thrive – something the centers offer in abundance.
“Our clients like loud music and they like to dance at our parties,” said Boles. “And the DJ had better jack up the music, or that’s a problem.”
Deb Lytle, director of the Souderton Adult Day Care Center, noted that fostering community and creativity are part of CHCS’s goal to prioritize client engagement and personal growth, rather than to simply “warehouse” older adults.
“One woman had been visiting a number of places for her husband, and she was finding people just parked in their wheelchairs,” Lytle said. “Ten minutes after she came here, she said, ‘I need the paperwork. I want my husband to come here.’”
Josephine A., a member of St. Maria Goretti Parish and a regular at the Souderton center, enjoys the combination of companionship and creative arts.
“It’s homey and relaxing to come here and to draw,” she said, adding with a wink, “I try to keep it within the lines.”