Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing to shut down the state’s adult day healthcare centers, which provide services to help the elderly continue living at home. Also eliminated would be a program that funds Alzheimer’s care at these and other centers. The governor would end home care for all but the neediest, and eliminate programs that help families of the elderly navigate the complicated system of care and get some respite.
“We are talking about a devastation of the safety net for these families that wasn’t really robust to begin with,” said Debra Cherry, vice president of the Alzheimer’s Assn.’s Southland chapter. “Without any community support, these families are going to crumble.”
Schwarzenegger said he does not want to hurt patients or their families, but the financial crisis leaves him no choice but to make wide-ranging cuts.
Cherry argues that the presumed $385.8 million in savings would be wiped out within a few years if families have to put their loved ones in nursing homes for care subsidized by the state. And the state’s 100,000 nursing home beds would not be sufficient to accommodate a surge in demand from Alzheimer’s patients and an aging population, said Lydia Missaelides, executive director of the California Assn. for Adult Day Services.