Church committed to build Alzheimer’s day care center

A new adult day care center for Alzheimer’s patients is expected to be filled almost as soon as it opens next summer at Grace Lutheran Church PSL in St. Lucie West.

“We saw a big need in the community for something like this,” Pastor Cris Escher said in an interview Monday. “If we opened up our doors tomorrow, we would be able to fill it up.”

Grace Lutheran plans to build the 6,129-square-foot facility on its heavily wooded 6-acre campus at 555 Cashmere Blvd., Escher said. It will be able to accommodate 35 patients.

The plans for the day care center received a green light from the Port St. Lucie Planning & Zoning Board on Aug. 6 and now they face final review by the City Council.

Construction is expected to start in October and be completed by August 2020, Escher said.

The new facility will be operated by Alzheimer’s Community Care of West Palm Beach, Escher said. It will be open to the public and is expected to cost $70 per day.

The nonprofit operates 11 Alzheimer’s care and service centers in South Florida, including one at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Port St. Lucie and another at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Fort Pierce. “These Alzheimer’s day cares are places where people can drop off their loved ones on the way to work, just like they do with a child,” Escher said.

Patients spend their days engaging in activities like singing songs and playing games, Escher said. A nurse will be part of the staff.

The facility will feature a large room with picture windows overlooking the woods and several offices, Escher said.

The idea for the facility came from a parishioner whose wife goes to an Alzheimer’s day care center, Escher said. Many centers have a waiting list.

“We started looking into it and that just started jelling with everybody,” Escher said. “We were like: ‘This is something we can do.’”

“People who are facing Alzheimer’s in their lives with their beloved family members, those are people who haven’t had good news in a long time,” Escher said. “So by opening this, we hope to give them some good news.”

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