Bringing back the memories: 50s-inspired adult day center to open in Sarasota

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SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – A new adult day center will soon open in Sarasota with a 1950’s flair to hopefully bring back memories to the “townsfolk” it serves.

Town Square Sarasota is set to open in a few weeks as a place for family members and caretakers to bring their loved ones for activities and socialization.

Michael Finn is a co-owner of Town Square Sarasota, a franchise that began in San Diego. He believes there is a gap in the marketplace for the care of the elderly.

“You can take someone to assisted living and they move there, or you can have private duty nursing come into the house at $35 an hour and care for them in your home,” he said. “But there hasn’t been this really entertaining, engaging place that you can take them that you know they’re well cared for but there’s also fantastic socialization at the same time.”

The facility features various “storefronts” with activities that members go through like school class periods for around 45 minutes, after being grouped for the day by their cognitive abilities.

The storefronts include a retail store, movie theater, a diner where members get a catered lunch every day, city hall, a library and more.

“So they get a great variety of things they’re doing throughout the day to engage and entertain and maybe feel useful again,” Finn said.

He said the variety of programming Town Square offers can help seniors feel that usefulness they may not feel being at home.

“There’s people… When we went and visited the one in San Diego, what we found was probably five to ten percent of the people there thought they worked there,” Finn said.

Activities are based around keeping members sharp and sparking memories.

With the movie theater, Finn said seniors won’t be sitting in front of a film for two hours with the potential to fall asleep. A staff member will ask questions at the front of the room throughout a movie, asking audience members about it, the actors in the movie and what else the actors have been seen in.

Town Square locations are designed in a 50s theme for a reason, to focus on recalling memories and storytelling.

Finn guesses that the typical person attending adult daycare is probably in their 80s, with some cognitive deficit.

“And what they find with folks at that age is they may able to access their memories from quite a long time away easier than they can remember yesterday,” he said. “What that translates to is that a lot of times they’re able to access memories from when they had real critical times in their life, which might be going to college, graduating, meeting their significant other, having kids, their first job. And for folks in their 80s, that kind of puts them back into the 50s.”

Finn is aware they can’t replicate these good memories for everyone from the 50s, but said the time period does have great imagery, music and things that are recognizable. As time moves on, moving into those needing care who were young in the 60s, he believes decorations and memorabilia may need changed, but most areas in all eras had things like a movie theater, retail store and diner.

Membership to Town Square Sarasota is $135 a day, with the option of one to all five days. It includes all programming, lunch and snacks throughout the day, on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. A member’s doctor must sign-off on membership application paperwork so staff know a person’s needs.

When the location opens, staff will be required to wear masks, but members will not be required.

Finn said a local transportation company is available for those who need it that live within five miles of the facility, for an upcharge.

An official opening date for Town Square Sarasota has not been announced, but those interested can follow along on their website.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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