Adult day care center opens in Halethorpe

Facing a second knee-replacement surgery, Baltimore resident Betty Cornish needed a place to rehab.

Cornish, 66, found that and more at Sunrise Adult Medical Day Care Center which opened its doors in Halethorpe on Feb. 7.

The 10,000-square-foot facility provides daytime rehabilitation services to the elderly and those ages 16 or older with developmental, physical or mental disabilities, said program director Julelah Fuller.

Fuller said the program will also admit those withAlzheimer's diseaseand dementia.

"We want to make them more functional with society," Fuller said. "We're open to whomever."

Cornish was one of five people to join Sunrise the first day it opened.

She said she plans to make the trip often to the Halethorpe commercial district that features Heavy Seas brewing company and Bakery Express, to exercise and participate in Bible classes.

"I love it. I love the people, they're very sweet people," said Cornish, adding that her insurance allows her to attend Sunrise five days a week. "The building feels so good to be in. It's just like home to me."

The center's founder, Ilya Gonorovsky, said he expected Sunrise to reach its capacity of 119 within six months.

He noted that companionship is important for the health of people of all ages, regardless of disabilities.

"A lot of people, especially who live alone, really need this kind of service just so they're not watching TV all day sitting home," Gonorovsky said. "I think they're very, very hungry to communicate."

The renovation of the building in the industrial began in March, 2011, and Sunrise received its license from the state at the end of December, Gonorovsky said.

"We observed the area and it is close to downtown and there is no such place in this area like a day care," Gonorovsky said.

The facility is equipped with two hospital beds, should clients need medical assistance from Susan Meyers, the registered nurse on staff.

Its exercise room currently has two exercise bikes, fitness balls and yoga mats. There are also laundry facilities and a shower.

For relaxation, Sunrise offers a selection of books and a family room with 10 recliners and a TV.

Sunrise also plans to provide musicians, cosmeticians and other forms of entertainment for the clients, Fuller said.

"We just really want to be a cut above," Myers said. "That's why we're going to bring in people to cut hair and do nails."

There are also plans to make arrangements for a local pharmacy to deliver clients' prescriptions to the center.

Myers noted caretakers can arrange for either the staff to administer any medication or for the clients to do it themselves.

Understanding that transportation could be a problem for some, Sunrise will arrange to pick up and drop off clients at their homes and to doctors' appointments, Fuller said.

Tony Gardner, 52, of Baltimore, who was born with polio, joined Sunrise following an open house on Feb. 8.

The transportation to the center is key, Gardner said, otherwise he wouldn't be able to make it from his home on Caton Avenue.

While at the center, Gardner, a commercial artist, said he looks forward to working with people on their art.

"(I'm looking forward to) just being here and meeting different people," Gardner said. "I love the building. I love the people."

Sunrise is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and will soon open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Fuller said.

Gonorovsky added he expects Sunrise to hold a third open house by the end of the month.

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