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October 23, 2020

Adult day service preparing a new home in Hagerstown

Credit: Herald-Mail Media, Mike Lewis

When renovations are complete, and when COVID-19 pandemic guidelines permit, Easterseals Adult Day Services will have a new facility in Hagerstown.

The structure at 701 E. First St. once housed physical therapy services. It has been gutted inside and is being renovated for Easterseals, which provides a variety of adult day services for people with disabilities. When finished, it will replace Easterseals’ current facility at 101 E. Baltimore St.

During a tour Thursday morning, U.S. Rep. David Trone, D-6th, said he was “delighted” to see the facility. Trone also praised the community collaborations that help Easterseals do its work. Several Easterseals officials and community representatives joined the tour.

“Any one of us right here could need our services at any time” because of a stroke, injury or medical condition, Deborah Lauricella, assistant director and activity director of the Hagerstown facility, said during the tour.

Easterseals serves people of all ages and focuses on a person’s individual needs, she said. The nonprofit also tries to make sure people do not feel isolated.

“We’ll go out to eat at a local restaurant. We’ll go to a (Hagerstown) Suns ballgame. We’ll go shopping,” Lauricella said.

Adult day service facilities have been closed because of the pandemic, and such outings are not possible. So the staff has tried to serve clients in other ways, from online video visits to drive-by celebrations. The limits have put more stress on staff members and on the people, often relatives, who care for the clients at home.

“It’s been a challenge all the way around,” she said.

Trone said social isolation was a problem before the pandemic. He referred to a bill he cosponsored, the Protecting Older Americans from Social Isolation Act, that President Donald Trump signed into law in March as part of the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020. Trone also has introduced the Strengthening Social Connections Act of 2020, which would provide funds to address social isolation among seniors during the pandemic.

The organization’s current Hagerstown facility is crowded and can serve 40 people, said Elizabeth Barnes, Easterseals’ senior director for adult and senior services. The new facility will serve as many as 55 people.

“It’s a medically complex population that takes a lot of special care,” she said.

Trone is running for reelection to represent Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, which includes Washington County. He is being challenged by Republican Neil Parrott and Green Party candidate George Gluck.

Trone also participated Thursday in a walking tour of Hagerstown to discuss how the pandemic has affected downtown economic development.