Adult Day Care Service Set To Close In Laurel - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Adult Day Care Service Set To Close In Laurel

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SUSSEX CO., Del. - According to the Alzheimer's Association Delaware Valley Chapter, an estimated 5,200 hundred people are living with Alzheimer's disease in Sussex County. In just over a month, a crucial service to those suffering and their caregiver is expected to shrink.

Adult Day Care provides social, mental, and physical interaction for older people suffering disabilities, most commonly Alzheimer's. Most importantly, it also means a break for a patient's caregiver. However, in Sussex County, the Laurel Senior Center's program is set to close, which will only leave two in the county.

"I think adult days have struggled over the last few years for funding than they ever had have to in the past, and that funding is getting smaller and smaller," says Claire Day, senior vice president. "These programs are vital to our communities. We can't have services go away and not talk about how we will fill the void in the community."

According to the Delaware Division of Services for Aging and Adults, each center in Delaware submits a proposal about every five years for funding and only a few are selected. Last year, the Laurel Senior Center reportedly received $81,000, but this year they were not chosen to receive any funding.

"We see clients that have to be bussed in from that area and that's a long ride for an elderly person when you think about it," says Kathleen Graham-Frey, facility administrator for the Gull House Adult Day Center. "It would nice to be something out that way."

"Not being able to provide families with a break can not only increase caregiver stress but increase or change the health needs of a caregiver who's providing the care, but it also has the potential to actually make long term care necessary earlier," says Day. "Now if they need care and a caregiver can't provide it 24/7 the only other alternative would be to go to an assisted living or skilled nurses facility, which is not only a financial strain on our families and our growing community, but it puts people in a faculty when they may not necessarily be ready."

As the centers close, the potential for that to happen grows. Also growing, is Sussex County's population of elderly people.

"They've been here for a while for years and then all of the sudden they just start getting touches of dementia and things," says Ron Holloway, store manager at Hocker's Super Center in Ocean View, which holds an annual fundraiser for the local Alzheimer's Association chapter. "It really affects us."

State officials say the services aren't being removed, they are just being moved. The CHEER center in Georgetown reportedly received funding for the first time this year, and will take over Laurel's clients. In Rehoboth Beach, Graham-Frey says the Gull House can take up to 42 clients every day.

"We hope the closing isn't becoming a trend because it really provides a service you just can't get anywhere else," says Day.

47 ABC reached out to the Laurel Senior Center, but they declined to make a comment.

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