Safe Haven for Struggling Seniors

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local NewsUpon entering the lively top floor of Humboldt Park’s Casa Central, boisterous laughter and music can be heard traveling along the corridor. “It’s a non-stop party here,” laughs Casa Central’s Senior Services Director Mayra Quiñones. “We always have something going on; our seniors definitely keep us on our toes,” Quiñones spearheads the Adult Wellness Center program, an accredited program that offers daily center-based care to Latino and other senior adults over the age of 60, and provides therapeutic activities that help older adults maintain, improve, and restore a senior’s emotional, cognitive, and physical well-being. “We are extremely proud of the work that we do here in the Adult Wellness Center because it isn’t like any other program,” says Quiñones. “We are a family here and we deeply care about our seniors’ well-being.”

Adult Wellness Center
I will say that this is a program, a group setting program that provides planned activities. I will say that this program can be seen as an extended family for our participants. The Adult Wellness Center program enables us to provide daily services for over 80 participants, year round. We provide therapeutic activities for our seniors who are facing an illness, are retired, living alone, etc. One of the purposes of this program is to help family members because most of them are employed outside of their home, or our seniors are living alone, but the most important component about this program is to provide supportive help and socialization. People have a misconception that this is nursing home, no. This is a place where you can socialize, meet other people, go on field trips, and learn a new craft. We also provide food, breakfast, lunch, and a snack courtesy of our own staff. The Adult Wellness Center program provides support, we provide love for them, we provide the communication because sometimes our participants do not have anyone to talk to, and sometimes they don’t have people to celebrate the holidays. So we provide that sense of family here. At the end, our satisfaction is when our participants leave feeling happy about their day.

As soon as our participants are approved by the State, because it’s a subsidized program, they can be here as long as they want. The only exception for a short stay is due to the development of an illness. Sometimes a participant’s illness worsens and we cannot provide extended support and that’s when we speak to the families to research other viable options. Some of our participants have been here for several years, which goes to show you how what this program means to them.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

More than just arts and crafts, we provide motor skill-oriented programs. We have staff who work closely with participants suffering from Alzheimer’s, or participants who have arthritis. Our activities are designed to work on their motor skills, their memory skills, our activities are designed to get our participants moving and active. The best part of the program is that we also provide field trips. Sometimes we visit a park garden, or we go to a museum. There is never a dull moment here for our seniors.

The best part of this job is that we are truly an extended family here. There is tremendous love, everyone wants to be here. This isn’t your common senior program, we take pride in the activities we develop, pride in the relationships that are formed here. Our program can be viewed as a safe haven for our participants and we welcome anyone interested in learning more to come visit our facility to see for yourself.

The Adult Wellness Center provides pick up and drop off transportation services within certain boundaries of Chicago (West to Narragansett Ave., North Devon Ave., East to State St., and South to 55th Street). The Adult Wellness Center also provides the option of dropping off and picking up their loved ones if they are not within these boundaries. “We are with our seniors from the time their day starts to when it’s time for them to go home,” says Quiñones.

Currently, space is available for family members seeking senior-oriented programs. If you are interested in our program and seeking subsidized care, you must call the Illinois Department on Aging for a referral. Please inform them that you are interested in our program specifically (The Adult Wellness Center Program at Casa Central). The Chicago Department of Family Support Services can be contacted by phone at 312.744.4016. For further information, visit

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

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