Tuesday, August 9, 2011

'The Unkindest Cut'

Last night we listened online with others as guests on KALW’s “City Visions” discussed what will happen to the 34,000 to 37,000 families impacted by the elimination of Adult Day Health Care in California. From the experts and those who called in to the segment titled "The Unkindest Cut," it’s apparent there’s already some movement.

One hospital ER worker has seen an increase in elderly patients since a nearby adult day health care center closed due to budget cuts. Another noted that there’s now a 4 to 6 months waiting list for skilled nursing homes in her area since the local ADHC closure created sudden demand for a limited number of beds.

To those locally who are wondering about our Glenner Centers: We intend to remain open!

The first half of the live broadcast focused on how we reached this point, with the legislature first voting to eliminate ADHC and then the governor vetoing it’s replacement, Keeping Adults Free from Institutions (KAFI).

Assembly member Mariko Yamada (D-Davis), who chairs Chair of the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care, told the audience she never would have voted as she did had she suspected Gov. Jerry Brown would veto KAFI.

“It is a vote that I will regret for the remainder of my career,” she said.

During the show, Yamada noted the “silver tsunami” that’s arrived -- referring to the vast number of Baby Boomers turning into senior citizens and requiring more long-term care options. Even with the large number of ADHC recipients today, she said, “we do not have the capacity to place everyone that would need to be institutionalized.”

Someone who operates an ADHC within the Chinese community of San Francisco called to say 43 percent of residents in his area live alone, do not speak English and do not want to give up their family doctor, let alone move to a facility. “We provide medication management and we remind them to take medicine at hime. If we’re eliminated, I worry they will become confused with medications.”

Michelle Pope, who operates Alzheimer’s Services of East Bay, was more blunt in her predictions.

“I think it’s going to be catastrophic,” she said. Ninety percent of those served at her ADHC have caregivers who work. “It’s short-sighted to throw our seniors and their communities under the bus when they need us most,” she said.

Yamada agreed. “People will have to make a choice between their jobs and taking care of their loved ones, and that is a choice no one should have to make, especially in this economy.”

You can listen to the broadcast later this week when it is posted on at www.kalw.org.

No comments: