Infinity Adult Day Services: “Bridging the Gap” Between the Off-Site Living Facility and Living at Home
The city of Cookeville is only one of two counties in its surrounding 19 to offer an Adult Day Services Program, an opportunity to bridge the gap between off-site living facilities and living at home for adults of all ages. In 2015, Gladys Casal decided that she wanted to bestow families with the opportunity to receive socialization and care for loved ones that are unable to live alone. With the help of Milly Edwards, director of the program, Gladys started Infinity Adult Day Services, a program that offers a haven of trained care for adults of all ages while allowing them to return home at the end of the day. What started as a need for providing care for Gladys’s own mother has developed into a program that provides dependent adults with the opportunity for positive life experiences outside of the home. Today, Gladys and Milly are passionate about expanding awareness of Adult Day Service programs to not only reach more clientele but also to largely impact the well-being of dependent adults both inside and outside of Putnam County.
Infinity Adult Day Services Program is part of a larger family practice care facility that provides exceptional, specific wellness to patients from early childhood to adulthood. Gladys and her husband have owned the building for 18 years and still hold the belief that family values, along with continuous growth, are critical to its success. In 2015, a suite on the third floor that was previously used for child development became available for use, compelling Gladys to find it a new purpose. At the time, Gladys’s mother was experiencing early signs of dementia, and the idea of putting her mother into a nursing home caused her much grief. When she became aware of adult day service programs from learning that a friend wished to start one but could not ensure a license, she knew that she wanted to use the open suite to begin her own program. Although her mother sadly passed away before the Infinity Adult Day Services officially began, the program now gives refuge to adults needing support while simultaneously providing respite to the loving family members of its clientele. Although Gladys’s mother is not physically present, she was the inspiration for the implementation of Infinity Adult Day Services and is considered to be the angel on the third floor.
Every successful program needs a director, and Gladys found not only the perfect director, but also a friend, in Milly Edwards. Milly attended the same church with Gladys and her husband for many years. Her previous occupations gave her the experience and passion for helping individuals with disabilities. When she discovered Gladys’s program through a conversation with her at church, she knew that she wanted to be involved. Milly became a monumental part of the Infinity team, along with the mascot of the program - a sweet service dog that provides love and cuddles to every person that walks through the door. She continues to create new ways for her clients to find purpose and belonging at Infinity, often by observing those around her in her everyday life. One such instance occurred at her church in which an elderly woman was sitting by herself, in need of socialization and kindness. After listening to her story and providing friendship, Milly was approached by the woman’s son. He thanked her, saying that he loved going to church because whenever he brought his mother there, “there was always someone who would talk to her.” This experience, along with other similar occurrences, inspires Milly to provide that same sense of belonging to each client every day.
Today, the program provides daytime care services for people with disabilities, and it currently supports clients from ages 24 to 92. Family members can either drop off their loved ones, or Infinity can pick up and drop off clients to and from their homes. The program strives to provide a purpose for people through using various stations such as craft stations, music stations, folding stations, planting stations, and others that are both educational and stimulating. Milly remembers one client who, on his first day arriving to the program, continued asking, “Will I get to go home?” Milly finds joy in assuring her clients that, “Yes, you will go home,” and it is the program itself that provides the opportunity for those who are unable to live alone to both have support and care while continuing to live at home with loved ones, an immense factor that distinguishes the program from live-in facilities. Infinity is continuing to grow, and after public relations advice from TN Tech’s Center for Rural Innovation and the support of Rural Reimagined, it has grown from eight clients to eleven clients in only one year.
Gladys and Milly want to continue expanding both their clientele and adult day services awareness. They hope that it can grow large enough to sustain a license for more than 15 clients, and in the future even more. Both Gladys and Milly feel that making the public aware of this service is critical because it provides a service that few know about but many may need. Their outreach message to the community is that there are options for adult support other than live in facilities. The Adult Day Services program at Infinity began with a daughter’s love for and need for support for her mother, and it has grown into an opportunity to provide this support to others who wish to keep their loved ones home but need care throughout the day. TNCRI and Rural Reimagined are excited to support Infinity and hope that more people will continue to learn about the amazing amenities that it has to offer to adults in need of care and socialization of all ages. As Denis Waitley said, “A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside,” and one can always expect to see a smile in the window of Infinity’s Adult Day Services Program.