Northwest NEWS

May 6, 2002

Local News

Campaign to furnish the Northshore Health and Wellness Center

by Bronwyn Wilson
   Senior Staff Reporter
   It was an ink drawing on a sketchpad a little over a year ago. Portraying a two-story building complete with wrap around porch and a small third story under the gables, the artist's concept presented a homey feel. Back then, it was called the Northshore Adult Day Center and there was a community-wide movement working to see the sketch become a tangible facility that would serve a wide range of adults with cognitive, physical and developmental disabilities. Envisioned across the street from the Northshore Senior Center (NSC) in Bothell, the design included a pedestrian sky bridge for easy access between the two buildings.
   In November 2001, 63 percent of the voters approved the 3.9 million bond to build the 19,000 square foot facility, now known as the Northshore Health and Wellness Center. The bond only covers the cost of construction, scheduled to begin in 2003. Since the construction bond can't legally be spent on anything else, an additional $500,000 is needed to furnish the new Center with specialized furniture, equipment and the essential items needed to provide therapeutic care.
   A May 16 steak luncheon prepared by Outback Steakhouse of Canyon Park and held at the NSC will launch a capital campaign to raise the additional funds. Those attending will have the opportunity to preview equipment needs and gift opportunities for the new Center.
   According to NSC Director, Marianne LoGerfo, the Health and Wellness Center's needs comprise a long list. "We'll need kitchen equipment," she says, explaining that the new Center will have a demonstration kitchen and coffee bar. "We'll need appliances, pots, pans ...." She says that people who have suffered a stroke have to relearn everyday tasks, such as how to use a dishwasher or stove. Not only will stroke patients relearn household activities at the Center, but also participants will have the chance to whip up delicious recipes in cooking classes. LoGerfo notes that as people age they begin to lose their sense of smell and taste. "We'll try to create ways to interest them in eating," she says, adding that a cooking class is one of the ways where the participants will have the chance to eat what they prepare-or what others have prepared. "It's a very therapeutic thing to have a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie and sit with people."
   In addition to experiencing the joys of the kitchen, the Center will offer a smorgasbord of other learning choices, such as a class on how to operate the computer. "Volunteers will train people to use specialized computers," says LoGerfo, explaining, "People who have barriers (as in hearing or with sight) have a difficult time using the computer right off the bat."
   Adults with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, stroke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, heart disease, mental retardation, epilepsy, head injury, cancer, vision and hearing loss and other chronic conditions will have a variety of social, recreational and health programs available to them. "They'll have options," say LoGerfo. "They'll have an opportunity to choose what's enticing to them."
   As an example, horticultural therapy will be on the program agenda for those who enjoy gardening. "We'll have a healing garden with nice smelling plants," Director LoGerfo says.
   She points out that the new Center will be a vibrant, cheerful place for mental and physical stimulation as well as spiritual satisfaction. "It should be very festive," she says, stating that indoor plants, blinds and nice things to look are also on the Center's needs list. "And we'll need comfortable chairs for folks to rest in. Lots of tables and chairs, all accessible," she adds. Nancy Marshall, a retired Evergreen Hospital administrator, will help with the decisions about furnishings and equipment and LoGerfo adds, "We have a wonderful committee working on design."
   She goes on to state the Health and Wellness Center's goal, "To keep people engaged in life with other people and to create an inclusive community." She says the Center will stay away from the idea of isolating people. "We'll have a mix of ages, abilities and gifts rather than separate people into little boxes." Plus, the new Center will meet an assortment of personal needs, including a fitness center, a personal care suite, a clinic for dental, hearing and vision services, a resource library and a day center.
   The Northshore Park and Recreation Service Area, a local taxing district, will construct and own the new building planned for completion in 2004. The NSC will administer the programs, covering all operating costs through fees, contracts and fund-raisers.
   The Northshore Senior Center invites the community to join them in their effort to equip and furnish the new Health and Wellness Center by attending the steak lunch, noon to 2pm, at the NSC, May 16.
   TV Talk Show Host Dick Foley will emcee the afternoon event and the Horns-A-Plenty Band (a la Louis Armstrong) will provide musical entertainment. Ticket costs: $12 members and $18 non-members. For further information, call (425) 487-2441.