Adult day care struggles to help Alzheimer's patients

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by By BOBBY SISK / NewsChannel 36 E-mail Bobby:

WCNC.com

Posted on September 17, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 1 at 8:50 PM

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Center struggles to help Alzheimer's patients

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A SouthPark day care is trying to make every minute precious. The lodge-like facility is not for children. It's for adults living with Alzheimer's disease.

"It's all about my mother and father. Mother had Alzheimer's and my dad didn't know what to do," said Lynn Ivey.

Her family found a solution in adult day care.

"That's what made me feel like there was something I needed to do in the senior industry," Ivey said.

Her father got a break. Her mother got a purpose in life. And Ivey ended up with a new career.

The Ivey opened on Park South Drive in Charlotte in January 2008.

"I fell into the same traps that many new entrepreneurs fall into. We expected to build it and they will come," she recalled.

But business proved slow and the economy tanked.

"I didn't raise enough money to weather a storm that happened in 2008," Ivey said.

The frustration and cutbacks that followed left Ivey even more determined. She switched her business to not-for-profit and got tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.

The Ivey is now forming a partnership with the Alzheimer's Association and its executive director Lori Walker.

"One thing that we're doing is looking to raise funds together," Walker said, sitting in the dining room of The Ivey.

That fundraising will help provide scholarships to families struggling financially. The $60 per day fee includes two hot meals. There's a putting green, a craft room and a salon where clients can get manicures and haircuts. A nurse is on staff fulltime and Lori Walker says the payoff of what happens here is priceless.

"It just makes such an impact on the family. It gives them the rest they need. It sometimes allows them to keep working so they can afford health insurance. It keeps the family going for a little bit longer," she said.

"Right after lunch, they go on the rocking chair porch and sing," Ivey said as she gave us a tour.

She is understandably proud of this place and she knows her mother, who inspired it, would be too.

"A week before she passed away I was reading an article to her and she said, 'Oh I need to hang on because that sounds so wonderful.' So she had a moment of cognition. And I said, 'No, mom. You just go on," Ivey said as she held back tears.

In Mecklenburg County alone, complications from Alzheimer's disease are the second leading cause of death in women and third in men.

If you'd like to learn more about the Ivey,

To see the 10 warning signs for Alzheimer's and how you can help the association, check out the group's website at .

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