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A center of community

By MATTHEW BUSCH
July 31, 2014 at 2:31 a.m.


GOLIAD - La Bahia Adult Day Care opened 10 years ago, a needed entity in Goliad. With 35 to 45 clients on average per day, the center provides services and activities that encourage community among the elderly.

Co-founder and president of La Bahia Suzanne Pendergraph said the center gives community members the option of living assistance over full-time care somewhere else.

"We help seniors maintain their independence," she said, "to prolong (their need for) a nursing home."

April Dominguez, 34, has been working at the center for a little more than three weeks now. She, along with other employees at the center, take turns driving the small bus they own to pick up clients at their homes, one of the services offered at La Bahia. It gives those without access to a ride the chance to participate. She is greeted by clients as they climb into the van. Many have known Dominguez, who grew up in the area, since she was young.

For many of the center's clients, La Bahia is a place to meet friends and catch up on the local gossip. Edward Gallegos, 62, and his girlfriend, Guadalupe Rea, 68, sit and eat breakfast together at a long table near the kitchen, along with about 10 others. They eat and talk under a framed picture of the Last Supper and a needlework sign that reads simply "Jesus."

"We kill time, talk, see friends and find out what's going on in the community," Gallegos said. "We joke around; we laugh; we make the days go by."

La Bahia offers clients breakfast, a snack and lunch every day, along with various activities, including bingo, crafts, dominoes and cards. They also offer rides to the grocery store, to pay bills or to keep appointments.

This is aided with the help of Licensed Vocational Nurse and director of La Bahia Joan Martinez. Martinez helps clients with their medical needs like managing their prescriptions, monitoring their blood sugar levels and administering insulin to diabetics.

Martinez said the assistance they are able to provide helps tremendously when it comes to managing their health.

After breakfast and some time for crafts, clients slowly stream into the main room, knowing what's to come. "Who's ready for chalupa?" calls Elia Garcia, an employee at the center. Chalupa bingo has begun, and bingo cards with Mexican figures filling the squares are passed out. They play for fruit. They win their choice of an apple, banana or orange - and, of course, bragging rights.

At the end of the day the clients leave as they came, either in one of the buses, with a relative or friend or by driving themselves home.

Then, they wait for the next day at La Bahia.

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