Mary Sanchez: I Only Have Two Hands

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.

“Mind is very strong,” she said. “If you tell yourself you can walk, you walk. And little by little he’s walking with a cane and I’m behind him with a strap because I don’t want him to fall. He’s very heavy.”

Armando, 75, attends the S. Mark Taper Foundation Adult Day Health Care Center five days a week. It gives him care and community and gives Mary Sanchez a little break.

“I know it’s helped me 100 percent,” she said. If the Medi-Cal ADHC program is eliminated, Mary Sanchez said she would volunteer at the center to keep her husband there. But, she said, “I hope it doesn’t come to that.”

The state’s elimination of the Medi-Cal 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.

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