Back in 2009, Gary Staples had the idea of starting an Activity Day Center for seniors with memory loss. He considered various venues, even churches that had availability during the weekdays. His mother-in-law and father-in-law, Joan and Jay Mitton, owned an old church on Canyon Road in Provo, Utah. They were gracious enough to allow Gary to fix it up and make it functional as a Senior Day Center. It took over $100,000 and almost a year of remodeling. In addition, Gary worked with Provo City to get the zoning changed so that the old church could function in a different capacity than a church or a school.
Gary and his wife Julie took out a home equity loan to repaint, re-roof, re-carpet and improve the lighting and parking lot. Gary‘s in-laws, sons, and community also contributed to the remodel.
In the meantime, Gary and his wife connected with two of their good neighbors regarding this significant endeavor. Julie Smith and Pam Hicks were willing to join forces with Gary to get everything set up and working so they could open the first week of July 2010. Gary says Julie and Pam were partners from the beginning and both contributed in their respective ways to help the Day Center succeed. Gary was able to get this location licensed as an Adult Day Care Center. It was one of two in all of Utah Valley. At the open house, one of our local leaders stated, “You’ve taken a house of God and turned it into a house of GOOD.” Gary liked that a lot.
The mission of Aspen Senior Day Center is to provide families with another option to help them keep their aging loved ones at home longer and doing better than they would otherwise. The Salt Lake Chapter of The Alzheimer’s Association loved the idea and supported it because they were well aware of the great need for this type of service in Utah. They introduced Gary to the concept of Cognasium or “gymnasium for the brain.” All three of them loved the idea and adopted it for Aspen Senior Day Center. Cognasium includes good nutrition, light exercise, socialization, and brain-stimulating activities.
Julie Smith had worked for a number of years at a Day Center back east. So she was quite familiar with all aspects of the services necessary to provide to Seniors with memory loss and various other types of dementia. She instantly became the Activity Director and put together a top-notch program that continues to bless the lives of many Seniors to this day. We also credit Julie Smith with navigating us through the great pandemic. Our doors stayed open during 2020 and 2021, and beyond because Julie figured out how to make that happen safely for our staff and especially our clients. She loves seniors, and she shows that every single day.
Likewise, Pam Hicks ran a family business for many years and became the office manager and business scheduler. She schedules all staff, runs payroll, invoices clients, schedules rides to and from the center, and ensures that clients’ needs are met in a variety of ways. She was also Julie’s Assistant Activity Director for many years.
Gary says that there’s only one way the Day Center became a success. God brought together three capable people and inspired them to keep it going until it finally broke even (after its first five years) serving Seniors. He and his wife, Julie Staples, are grateful for Julie and Pam and their ongoing labor of love. The services they and their staff provide are unmatched in the state of Utah. We invite you to come and see for yourselves!
Aspen Senior Day Center is Utah Valley’s only senior day care center. We provide engaging activities and a positive experience five days a week for seniors needing memory care. The center has fun, engaging activities and provides nutritious snacks and lunch as well as transportation services. Our memory care service is truly the least expensive and most enjoyable approach to memory care for seniors still at home. To learn more about Aspen Senior Day Center’s commitment to excellence, please visit AspenSeniorCenter.org or call 801-607-2300.