Participants in the Virginia Tech Adult Day Services sit in recliners as they sip coffee and watch the morning news. They then gather around a large table to listen to music, enjoy art lessons, or visit with children from the neighboring Child Development Center for Learning and Research.

Adult Day Services has been serving the local community for nearly three decades. For the past 15 years, more than a thousand Virginia Tech students have joined Ila Schepisi and her team of licensed practitioners in providing eldercare in a friendly and stimulating environment.

“Adult Day is a good fit for people who aren’t ready to live in a full-time care facility,” says Schepisi, director of the program and a senior instructor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science. “That’s why our tagline is ‘Keeping families together.’ We try to help participants remain at home for as long as possible, to provide a higher quality of life for all involved.”

The program also serves as a role model for other service providers, she says, as it is a Generations United Program of Distinction. For Virginia Tech students, Adult Day Services provides valuable learning experiences.

With funding from the National Lutheran Communities, Adult Day Services also offers memory master classes for community members 55 or older who are experiencing mild cognitive impairment. Participants learn about memory strategies, cognitive and social engagement, brain nutrition, beneficial exercise, and stress management.

“Our hope is that participants who eventually need extra support will find a home with us,” says Schepisi. “Ideally, with our help, they’ll maintain their brain health to stay strong and independent as long as possible. But if they do need support, they’ll already know us.”

Written and photographed by Leslie King; visit the Adult Day Services Photo Gallery to view additional portraits