Karen Poteat has always had a special place in her heart for senior citizens, dedicating her career to improving their quality of life, and soon, she will be opening her own adult day care center that will give those who are young at heart a place that they can call their own.

The Aiken Center for Active Seniors will tentatively open in early January. Poteat, the owner of the new business, has been a nurse for almost 20 years. She is a gerontology and dementia specialist, spending her career working closely with the elderly. Poteat last worked at Cumberland Hills as a resident care coordinator before pursuing her own business.

Poteat was inspired by her mother who was a nurse in a nursing home in Greenwood and would occasionally take her daughter to work. Poteat would spend time with those patients and got to know them well.

“At an early age, I developed a passion for seniors,” Poteat said. “I never saw them as some people see them. I always saw value in them.”

The new center will offer a variety of activities for senior citizens of varying of physical capabilities to partake of, Poteat said. She felt there was a need for such a facility in Aiken where senior citizens could go to be around others and enjoy a variety of fun, fulfilling activities in a secure setting.

She highlighted several of the programs that have been created for the business including “projects with a purpose” which will consist of a monthly project for senior citizens to work on. From knitting items to donate to nonprofits to growing a vegetables to give to a food bank, Poteat said offering senior citizens the opportunity to give back to their community will boost their confidence.

“When people's self esteem is lifted and when they feel better about themselves, their whole physical health is impacted,” Poteat said.

Every day will be a holiday at the center, too. Poteat said that they plan to celebrate something every day whether it's someone's birthday, an anniversary or one of the random “National Day of” events.

“To me, every day is a gift, so every single day, we're going to find something to celebrate,” Poteat said.

Mind stimulating activities, fitness programs and more will also be offered daily.

“We're going to have a very active atmosphere physically, mentally, emotionally,” Poteat said. “I really do believe we will make a difference in the lives of people.”

The facility also includes a cafe where the senior citizens can enjoy some downtime. Soft music will be playing in the background, an aquarium is there for their viewing pleasure and it will be a place for reading, relaxing or nice conversation.

Poteat said she also wants to connect the youth with the older generation and has several service groups from schools already interested in volunteering or offering their time to spend with those who attend the center.

Poteat said her new business will offer seniors a unique way to enjoy their days and said that adult day care centers are approximately half the cost of in-home care.

Poteat said she hopes to have the new business open on Jan. 7. They will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It's located at 690 Medical Park Dr.

Assessment interviews for those interested in the Aiken Center for Active Seniors' services will start on Dec. 17.

Call Poteat at 226-0355 or email karen@aikenactiveseniors.com for more information.

Those interested can also visit www.aikenactiveseniors.com.

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