Home alone: Adult health center cuts devastate elderly, disabled
State budget cuts may force thousands of poor elderly and disabled Californians to lose access to the day centers where they receive meals, therapy and medical care, as well as companionship and a sense of community. The state’s elimination of the Medi-Cal Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) benefit – slated for Dec. 1 – could endanger some of California’s frailest individuals, people who suffer from multiple disabilities including dementia, incontinence, paralysis and traumatic brain injury. As the centers are forced to close, advocates say, many will be left home alone and at high risk of landing in emergency rooms and nursing homes. Los Angeles County – especially its many ethnic minority communities –will be hit hardest by the closures. According to state data, the county is home to more than 60 percent of the program’s 38,000 enrollees statewide.
Bibiana Viernes is 85-years-old and legally blind. She attends the Silver Lake Adult Day Health Care Center five days a week.
"It is doing a lot of good for us, improving our health and prolonging our life," she said. "I think the thing we can only do is pray God. And I know God will not leave us."
Mary Sanchez, 73, is her husband's primary caregiver. Her husband, Armando Sanchez, suffered a stroke 11 years ago and was diagnosed with dementia two years after that. She tries to keep him healthy.
Nina Nolcox opened the doors to Graceful Senescence Adult Day Health Care Center in 2006 in South Los Angeles. The CEO used to work as a registered nurse in skilled nursing facilities and hospitals. "I believe completely in this model," she said of the Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) program.
The CHCF Center for Health Reporting has partnered with New America Media and nine ethnic news outlets to produce a multi-story, multi-media news package chronicling the effects on ethnic communities of the pending elimination of the state-funded Adult Day Health Care program (ADHC).
Supervisors, employees, and attendees weigh in.
Hui is terrified that she may soon have to go to the bathroom on her own. For more than a decade, the 80-year-old woman, who is debilitated from a stroke, has spent part of her days at an adult day health care center in Alhambra. There, Hui converses with other elderly immigrants, is fed a hot meal from a local restaurant, and depends upon social workers who use a coarse brown woven belt to support her as she walks.
Sandy Tang opened the Good Health Adult Day Healthcare Center (ADHC) in 2002 so her then 85-year-old mother would have a place to go for all the medical help she needed. Tang, 53, even thought the center might provide for her in her golden years, but that dream is about to end.
To get a better understanding of Adult Day Health Care centers and their impact on the community, CaribPress spoke recently with Roy Davidson, a home health care administrator and educator with over twenty-five years of experience. Davidson is convinced that ADHC facilities provide a valuable service to those who truly need it. “People who really need the service,” he says, “are going to suffer” as a result of the closure of these facilities.
Each week, life-long El Sereno resident Alejandro Alvarez and his 73-year-old mother, Maria Alvarez, look forward to the arrival of a handicapped-equipped shuttle van that will free them for a short while from the confines of their mundane lives. Separate vans drop each of them several days a week at a state-funded Adult Day Health Care center, where they participate in activities with friends, exercise and receive much needed therapies.
Zarine Tarayan, program director of Felices Dias (Happy Days), Adult Day Health Care Center in South Los Angeles, is not happy these days. Ever since she found out that the state’s budget crisis may force the center to close its doors, she’s been worrying not only about the health of the more than 100 seniors they serve, but about 25 employees who have families to support and work for the center.
Con el cierre de los Centros de los Servicios del Cuidado de la Salud Diaria en California (ADHC) a partir del 1 de diciembre, no sólo más de 35 mil personas de la tercera edad serán afectadas en cuestión de salud, sino más de 6,000 californianos pasarán a incrementar las filas del desempleo.
| October 31, 2011
While we can continue to lobby against these cuts, the reality is we must begin to think about how we, as members of a community, can pitch in and assist those who are being impacted by these ill advised decisions. Are you able to check in on a frail or disabled neighbor who might now be spending much of their time alone?
At first it seemed pretty improbable.
How could six, seven, eight different ethnic media outlets (some publishing in other languages) work together on one story? What one story would be compelling enough to interest them? And how would all the pieces fit together? That’s what was swirling around my mind when Julian Do, Southern California director of New America Media (NAM), quietly suggested to me at a reception on April 1 that the CHCF Center for Health Reporting could play a big role in coordinating just such an effort. I was intrigued by the prospect, but its looming complexities caused me to just file it away.
The announcement was made in Mandarin, Cantonese, and Vietnamese to scores of seniors and severely disabled adults terrified about how they would soon spend their days. The outcome was confusing: a court settlement meant their Adult Day Health Center on Valley Blvd where they spent much of their days could remain -- but the reprieve may only last until March.