Grand Opening of the Central Community Center - 10.19.18

Grand Opening of the Central Community Center

Ribbon Cutting Held for Grand Opening of Central Community Center

Friday, October 19, 2018 - Pickens County Meals on Wheels (PCMOW), The Town of Central and The Clemson Institute for Engaged Aging held the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening of the Central Community Center. This important event was made possible through the collaborative efforts of PCMOW, the Town of Central, City of Clemson and the Clemson University Institute for Engaged Aging (IEA). Notable guests included: SC Lt. Governor’s Office on Aging Director, Darryl Broome; Pickens County Council Chairman, Roy Costner, Representative Gary Clary; Town of Central Councilman, Ken Dill; Central Administrator, Phillip Mishoe; Appalachian Council of Government Director, Steve Pelissier; and Clemson University Institute for Engaged Aging Director, Dr. Cheryl Dye.

Remarks by Director Broome summarized the impact the Central Community Center will have on providing cost-effective care for seniors in Pickens County. “An active, engaged lifestyle encourages independence and enhances overall quality of life, especially for our state’s seniors,” said Darryl Broome, Director of the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging. “These improvements will allow the center to expand its capabilities in the Central community, and I am very appreciative of the state and local leaders who have worked so hard to make it happen."

According to Meta Bowers, PCMOW Executive Director, the organization began exploring the idea since the fall of 2017 when PCMOW, Town of Central, City of Clemson and the Clemson University Institute for Engaged Aging (IEA) began discussing the needs in the Central community and surrounding areas. Ultimately, these conversations revealed that each organization had been providing varying levels of services to seniors, yet no one organization had the resources to repair the building and/or start-up a full-range of services alone. Joining forces, the decision was made to move forward with a collaborative effort to repair the building, eliminate duplication of services and expand services to fill gaps in the area.

Pickens County Council’s unanimous decision to sell the building to the Town of Central paved the way for the Permanent Improvement (PIP) grant from the SC Lt. Governor’s Office on Aging. The Town of Central provided the 30% local match of $14,550 needed to apply for the grant. In June, PCMOW was awarded a $48,500 grant that provided funding to replace the HVAC system, replace the roof, repair and upgrade the building and bring the facility in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local building codes and operational regulations including the Americans with Disabilities Act, fire and safety, and DHEC. The newly renovated space opened for use on Monday, September 24, 2018.

“The town of Central is very excited to partner with the Central Community Center and its excellent leadership. We love their vision for caring for this vulnerable part of our community. And, the icing on the cake is Meals on Wheels,” says Central Councilman and Recreation Chair, Ken Dill. ”This is a powerful example of what local government and enterprising spirits can do when they work together.”

The overarching goal is to utilize the space as a focal point for senior services in the Central, Clemson and surrounding area. The site operates as an extension of the PCMOW’s current Young at Heart program offered at the McKissick Center in Liberty, SC. The Young at Heart program in Central operates from 8:30am to 1pm Monday through Friday. Individuals can participate in instructor lead exercise classes and/or a variety of games and activities. Lunch is served daily from 11:30am-12:30pm.

The space also facilitates a new and greatly needed service in the area. On Monday and Wednesdays from 1:00pm – 3:45pm, the IEA’s “Brain Health Club” offers cognitively and socially stimulating activities to those with early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). During this time, caregivers can leave their loved one in a safe environment and enjoy a respite from their caregiving role. Start-up funding for the “Brain Health Club” was made possible through a $40,000 Alzheimer’s Resource Coordination Center (ARCC) grant. The day program also facilitates inter-generational interaction between participants and Clemson University student volunteers.

Cheryl Dye, Director of Clemson University IEA, commented about the impact this project will have, “Today we celebrate a partnership which exemplifies how Clemson University fulfills its land-grant mission to serve the citizens of the state and how the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences is working to solve problems faced by families and communities. More specifically, this partnership exemplifies how the Clemson University Institute for Engaged Aging (IEA) strives to engage older adults in family and community life regardless of their social, health, or economic status. For the past nine semesters, IEA faculty and students have offered a program to those with dementia featuring activities which engage them both cognitively and socially. The program has been delivered in several sites throughout the upstate, and now at last, we have a permanent home for the IEA Brain Health Club. We have seen how this program enhances quality of life and engagement for those with dementia while also providing their family caregivers with a much-needed respite from their difficult caregiving role. Perhaps just as importantly, our CU students gain a life-changing experience and education about how to serve those families faced by the challenges of dementia which will benefit their future healthcare careers.”

In addition, the Town of Central and the City of Clemson now use the space for an afterschool program, party rentals and community meetings.

The facility is designed to benefit the community as a whole. For more information, or to get involved, contact Meta Bowers at 864-507-2381 or

About Pickens County Meals on Wheels

Located in the McKissick Center for Senior Wellness, Pickens County Meals on Wheels is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, that exists to combat the effects of hunger, loneliness and isolation on those living in Pickens County and provide a lifeline through the use of caring volunteers. Founded in 1980 the overarching mission has not changed, yet the reach and impact has continued to expand in Pickens County.

Both home delivered meals and the Young at Heart dining and activity programs are about more than the meal. These services are crucial to helping people maintain their nutritional health, feel connected in the community and continue living safely in their own homes. For many seniors, this is the only social contact they may have in a day. These services are a vital part of fighting isolation and helping older adults remain active and healthy. Community-based programs like those that Meals on Wheels provide are a cost-effective way of helping people “Age in Place.” The cost of home-delivered meals for one year is the equivalent of one week in a skilled nursing home.

About Clemson Institute for Engaged Aging

The Institute for Engaged Aging aims to discover, develop and disseminate best practices for engaged aging through research, education and community outreach. Institute initiatives will enable older adults to be engaged in family and community living regardless of their social, economic, or health status. Faculty Associates represent all colleges at Clemson University and external agencies such as hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Research, educational programs and community outreach generated through the Institute are critical to meet the needs of a diverse older adult population in the state and region as it experiences rapid growth due to the aging of indigenous citizens and the in-migration of retirees. Between 2000 and 2010, the elderly population increased by 30.2% in South Carolina, outpacing elderly population growth in the nation (10.7%) and the South (19.7%). Census estimates predict that the number of adults 65 and older is expected to double to almost 20 percent of the U.S. population by 2030 and, in South Carolina, the percentage will be even greater at 22 percent — which reflects its leading rate of growth of those over 65. 

For more information about the Respite Care Program for caregivers of seniors with early to mid-stage dementia follow the link below:

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