My loved one with dementia has been attending an adult day health program for three years. Given her early onset diagnosis, this program has been a godsend keeping her active and engaged. She loves going to it and missed it greatly during our pandemic shutdown.
This week I learned the program is ending on December 23rd. The few clients they currently have are not enough to sustain the program. They are not able to fund the salaries and expenses.
Like many small businesses their doors are closing. The wonderful staff have all received notice their jobs are eliminated. The clients and families have been notified.
My sister is very sad. She lives in an assisted living facility. There are daily activities for the residents. The average age of the residents is in the 80s. My sister is 58. Most of the activities planned are elder age appropriate and do not interest her.
At the adult day health program there were clients closer in age. The staff would engage my sister by finding tasks that she could help with. They spent time with her. She has been “working” with the staff for 5 days a week for the past three years. Pre-Covid19 she was able to attend 6 days a week.
I worry about the impact this loss will have on my sister. I will seek to find another program that is open and taking new clients. We were told that when a vaccine is made available to the public, the program may reopen. My sister believes that as soon as the vaccine becomes available the program will be reopened.
But Covid19 has had a domino effect. Many of those who placed their loved ones in adult day health, have themselves lost their jobs or they are working from home. They no longer require the program. They are taking care of their loved ones at home.
It is going to take more than a vaccine to create the demand for this adult day healthcare program.
It is going to take the return of jobs.
It is going to take a demand for the adult day care program to return.
I am usually an optimistic but I am also very logical.
I don’t expect this program to return.
When I first started on my journey to help my sister, I found few services for young onset dementia patients. When I inquired why. The answer: “it is expected that a young person has support, has a significant other and/or children to take care of their needs”.
And if they don’t? I did not get an answer, just sympathy and comments “you are in a tough situation”. The adult care health program was a godsend for us.
So my “to do” list has a new item and that is to seek another program for my loved one, seek another method of daily activities and engagement.
I will have to get creative.
HartFelt wishes that our adult day health programs are sustainable in this new Covid19 world.