Lori Domer, formerly director of activities and marketing assistant at Creekside at Three Rivers Assisted Living in Murfreesboro, has been named assistant director of Elders First of Rutherford County.
The announcement was made by Tina O’Brien, founder and executive director of the nonprofit adult day services organization.
Elders First serves senior adults, age 55 and up, who suffer from mild dementia and need supervision during the day in order to remain living at home. The program operates from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in facilities provided by New Vision Baptist Church at 1750 N. Thompson Lane.
Before working at Creekside, Domer was supervisor of aging programs at Prospect, Inc. in Lebanon. Prior to that, she served four years as program director of adult day services at St. Clair Street Senior Center in Murfreesboro, succeeding O’Brien in that position.
“I think Elders First is a huge necessity in the community,” Domer responded, when asked why she took on her new role. “Elders First provides caregivers the opportunity for a break, to run errands or go shopping. It’s the caregivers who usually end up in a worse position than the loved ones they are caring for.”
Domer says she sees some opportunities to improve and expand the services of Elders First.
“We’re going to start taking a trip once a month,” she notes. “The church is kind enough to provide us with a bus and driver. We’re also going to start a cooking class. … We will also have two daily exercise activities in addition to all the mentally cognitive things we do such as interactive games.”
Domer says what’s most important for the community to know is that the staff and volunteers at Elders First strive to preserve the dignity and self-respect of the people they serve.
“Everybody should get up every day with a sense of purpose,” she emphasizes. “If you don’t have a purpose, there’s no reason to get up.”
What really excites Domer about her new job is that she learns something new every day from those in her care.
“They all are so grateful and gracious,” she says. “I have adopted them all. My daughter asks me, ‘Mom, do you have any friends who are under 80?’”
Domer says there is always a need for more volunteers of all ages who will give some time to the program throughout the week, especially in the afternoons. She offers a very basic orientation session.
“Volunteers just need to have patience, a kind heart and be dependable,” she points out. “It’s a great and humbling experience. I have taken care of former doctors, university presidents, even Secret Service people—people whose lives have been changed in ways they would never have imagined because of circumstances beyond their control.
“I don’t think you could ever get too emotionally attached,” Domer adds. “If you’re detached, this isn’t the right field for you.”
There is a modest fee for both half- and full-day care at Elders First. Please visit www.eldersfirst-ads.org.
For more information about Elders First or to explore ways to volunteer, contact Domer or O’Brien at 615-542-4371 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.