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College of Nursing

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Providing care to our senior population

As a BSN student at the University of South Carolina College of Nursing, Tammy Quarles (‘79 BSN) found her passion working with the senior population. Upon graduation, she worked in several geriatric settings and saw a large need for dependable community care. Quarles and her spouse opened an adult day care to fill that gap in the senior community- aging in place. After 37 years of providing care to seniors, Quarles closed Columbia Adult Care Inc.

“My work helped the client and assisted the primary caregiver(s) in keeping the client in the community. My priority was always to treat each client individually, acknowledging their needs and preferences while encouraging their wellness with optimal quality of life,” said Quarles

What is adult day care?

Adult care helps seniors age in their homes or a caregivers home as an alternative to assisted living and nursing homes. Seniors are dropped off and picked up later in the day. The day programs include social activities, meals, medication administration and treatments as ordered by their doctors, with constant supervision. Walking and movement throughout the day, daily monitoring of chronic and acute health issues is also part of the program.

The clients 

Services primarily focused on seniors with a predominance of dementia or stroke. When a family inquired about our services, we invited them to visit our facility at their convenience, or we would schedule a home visit.

Health care collaboration

Columbia Adult Care regularly welcomed nursing and other health science students for clinical hours to work with our clients. We also had high school students completing community service hours at the center and after serving, several decided to enter the health care field. 

Daily programming

Each day at the center consisted of beverage and light snack breaks every two hours and a hot lunch. Clients moved to different rooms and had short walks at least every two hours, which included exercise and restroom breaks. Between these essential activities, there was a variety of the following to make every day unique: social time, art projects, manicures, music, games, nutrition education. Over the years, we acquired over 200 types of games: board games, conversation games, and hand eye coordination games. All these activities assisted them in reaching maximum independence and quality of life.                                                                                


 A favorite activity that was started as a student project involved clients making monthly thank-you notes for family, friends and caregivers. This project was a way for them to give back, while the staff used it as an ongoing assessment.

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