MountainCare is Nurturing Independence and Community for Aging Adults

February 21, 2024

Founded in 1986 as a small non-profit, MountainCare‘s mission is to provide enriching Adult Day services, enabling older adults to age in place. MountainCare’s daily program offers a range of services for community-dwelling older adults experiencing cognitive and/or physical challenges.

“We want to provide a sense of community, where each person attending Adult Day feels engaged, supported, and valued,” says Executive Director Elizabeth Williams. “The participants enjoy activities and socialize in a safe setting while their caregivers go to work, run errands, or experience a few hours of needed respite.”

The organization strongly emphasizes person-centered care, ensuring that each participant engages in activities they find enjoyable and meaningful. From music and arts & crafts to trivia and exercise, the programming caters to various levels of function.

Check out our full Q&A with Elizabeth below…

Tell us about your business and the role you play in it. 

Our mission is to provide supportive and enriching Adult Day services enabling older adults to age in place.  We aspire to be an unwavering partner for older adults and those who care for them.  Together, we encourage independence, provide meaningful connections, and build community.

We live this mission by providing a daily program of services for community dwelling older adults who are experiencing cognitive and/or physical issues.  We strive to make MountainCare the kind of place where participants want to come and spend the day, where they can feel at ease, engage with others, and laugh.  The participants enjoy activities and socialize in a safe setting while their caregivers go to work, run errands, or experience a few hours of needed respite.  MountainCare is proud to provide person-centered care, which means that each person engages in the activities they find enjoyable and meaningful throughout the day.  Programming includes activities such as music, arts & crafts, trivia, and exercise–with options to ensure people at various levels of function can be successful.   In addition, MountainCare provides support as needed with personal care, administering medications, and ambulation.

MountainCare operates in both Buncombe and Henderson counties from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday.  Funding options include private pay, VA contracts, and state and county grants.  

MountainCare began as a small non-profit in 1986 and became part of Community CarePartners organization in 1996, ultimately changing its name to CarePartners Adult Day.  In 2015, Mission Healthcare system acquired CarePartners, but when HCA purchased Mission in 2019, Adult Day was not included in the sale.  MountainCare thus returned to its roots as a small non-profit, without ongoing foundation support.

Where did your vision begin? How has it grown?

MountainCare’s vision began with the desire to provide support for older adults suffering from cognitive impairment in order to delay the need for institutional care.  Over the years, we have expanded that initial vision.  We want to provide a safe environment for older adults to thrive, regardless of their level of cognitive and/or physical impairment.  We want to provide a sense of community, where each person attending Adult Day feels engaged, supported, and valued. In addition, MountainCare hopes to support family caregivers by offering support groups, education, and validation.  If we are lucky, each of us will reach old age, but most of us will face challenges impacting either ourselves or our loved one.  MountainCare aims to be a partner in that journey.

What does the word “community” mean to you?

We believe community means living together in a way that is supportive, caring, and intentional–in which each person contributes to the whole.   We believe each participant and caregiver offers something to the community.  We promote this idea by encouraging participants to share their stories, lives and develop relationships. We also stive to create an environment where each member, be it team member or those that we serve has opportunity to give and receive.

What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome?

In the autumn of 2019, HCA finalized the purchase of Mission Healthcare/CarePartners.  Our Adult Day program and a few other services previously part of CarePartners were excluded from the transition.  Suddenly, MountainCare was on its own.  WNC Bridge Foundation did provide support for the first few years, to include paying HCA to lease the building we had occupied since 1996.  However, we needed to establish an infrastructure necessary for any business: human resources, an internal computer system, a telephone system, payroll, and financial oversight.  The timeline was short, the list extensive, and then the COVID pandemic hit. As was true for all businesses, the pandemic affected everything, to include our census and our ability to hire and retain staff.   Without the security of a foundation to provide ongoing support, MountainCare worked hard to develop into a viable non-profit.  We are proud of our accomplishments, grateful for support from the community, and excited about our future.

What’s on the horizon?

Part of the reason we are excited about our future is that we have a vision.  Our society is aging, which impacts us as individuals, families, and communities.  The demographics are sobering, and the nation is not prepared.  At the same time, the world of non-profit organizations has changed.  Non-profits are experiencing high labor costs, difficulty finding and retaining people with business and financial expertise, and a reduction in traditional sources support from foundations, donations, and grants.  Therefore, we have to change how we do business.  MountainCare is now working with several other non-profits to explore ways to partner, with the goal of sharing resources to reduce overhead expenses and to advocate for the needs of older adults.  In addition, we are working with a local church to develop a more affordable location for our Buncombe program.  We believe these efforts will strengthen MountainCare’s programs, community connections, and responsiveness to the needs of the aging.

Tell us about your company culture.

There are many things that we love about our culture which we actively nourish. First, we acknowledge that we need to take care of each other and ourselves before we can take care of others. This means that strive to pay ourselves a living wage, with benefits. That we encourage parents to bring their kids to work over the summer and become part of our community.  We support each other in countless ways.    Second, we embrace the aging process as a unique time to be savored.  There is so much agism in the American culture. There is fear, apprehension, denial and dread around getting older.  At MountainCare, we have a culture that allows and encourages different experiences with the aging process. There is loss, diminishment and contraction in the aging process but when one acknowledges that and looks at it straight on, it can bring unexpected gifts and experiences. There can be the beauty, wonder, and peace. Most importantly there is love.

What experiences do you strive to create for your customers?

We know it can be hard to care for an aging loved-one, especially if that person suffers from cognitive impairment.  MountainCare can support caregivers, which delays the need for institutional care and minimizes the risks of abuse or neglect due to caregiver stress.  But this can only work if the participant likes attending MountainCare.  Therefore, we understand the importance of having each day at MountainCare be filled with joy, meaningful activities, and a sense of security.  From the minute a participant enters the doors, staff treats each one with respect, patience and kindness. Participants are encouraged to engage in activities of their choice; they are provided hands-on assistance if needed; and they are seen as an individual with a unique history, preferences, and personality.

What makes your business unique in its field?

MountainCare is the only Adult Day health program in Buncombe County that is created to support older adult to age in place – in their own homes.  We serve people who live in the community, meaning that they return to their own homes at the end of the day, and we provide care to people with a wide-range of physical needs and cognitive needs mostly due to aging.   We individualize our services to encourage independence, provide meaningful connections, and build community. We support those that are aging and we support those that care for them – their caregivers. It takes to village to care for those that are aging.

How many employees do you have? And what qualities do you look for when hiring?

We have about 30. Foremost, we look for individuals that love our mission. That want to be supporting their elders as they age in a respectfully and meaningful way with compassion, humor and joy.  We love team members that come to us with problem solving skills, curious brains and artistic or musical talents.

Stay connected with MountainCare and stay updated on their mission by following them on Facebook here. For more in-depth information about their programs, services, and the impact they make in the community, visit their official website at