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Adult day care continues despite budget setbacks

Program helps people with health problems receive speech, physical therapy

Posted: March 12, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 12, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Speech therapist Leslie Lopata, left, applauds Bill Goldman during a speech therapy session at Santa Clarita Adult Day Care on Friday.

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After Bill Goldman said the tongue twister “little Linda’s long legs,” speech therapist Leslie Lopata asked him to start reciting the other phrases that she had given him for homework.

Goldman was born with cerebral palsy and attends the Santa Clarita Adult Day Health Care program every week to receive speech and physical therapy, as well as interact with other adults in similar situations and participate in games, dancing and music programs.

Goldman’s speech is difficult to understand because he has a short ligament on the underside of his tongue, Lopata said.

Monday through Friday, adults of all ages with health problems including dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, brain injuries and other physical or mental disabilities are dropped off by dial-a-ride or by their relatives at Santa Clarita Adult Day Health Care Center.

The center is operated by Partners in Care Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to improves the lives of individuals whose health is most at risk.

Budget cuts

The 70 patients who use the program every day were recently in danger of losing their access to the program after state budget cuts eliminated funding for adult day health care statewide, said Nancy Agosto, director of the Santa Clarita Adult Day Health Care Center.

Another program, community-based adult services, was created in its stead, but Agosto feared that some of her patients would no longer qualify for the services.

All of the patients receiving the old program through Medi-Cal and Medicare were evaluated by nurses to make sure that they qualified for the new program.

Agosto had feared that some patients would lose their services, but was happy to find out last week that all of the patients have qualified for community-based adult services.

“There’s a great population of frail adults and adults with disabilities who need our services,” Agosto said. “Many of these seniors are isolated at their homes.”

The program provides respite for caregivers — often family members — and allows adults of all ages to receive physical, occupational and speech therapy, Agosto said.

Impact of services

Goldman, 64, said the center is important to him because of the socialization he experiences at the center. He’s also glad to have speech therapy and physical therapy in one place so that he doesn’t have to go to different places every day.

“It’s the only center in this area and without the center, I wouldn’t be able to get out and get the socialization,” Goldman said.

Family members who have parents in the program said they were happy that their parents were still eligible for the program because it provides them with a valuable service.

Rose Lewis, of Palmdale, drives her 63-year-old mother, Molly Delayo, to the center so that Lewis can attend classes at College of the Canyons.

Lewis used to live in Santa Clarita, but moved to Palmdale about three years ago and has driven her mother — who had a stroke four years ago — to the center most weekdays. Without the program, it’d be hard on both of them, Lewis said.

“She’d be really depressed” without the center, Lewis said. “On the weekend, she can’t wait to get back.”

Adrienne Cromarty, of Castaic, has been taking her mother — who has dementia — to the center since December and said the program has helped slow her mother’s decline and given her a social network.

She said her mother, Emily Cromarty, has probably been declining for the past 10 years, but recently got worse without stimulation.

Because of the program, Emily Cromarty can stay with her daughter on nights and weekends Adrienne Cromarty can go to work during the day.

“Without the program, I just think the decline was going to be speedy,” Adrienne Cromarty said. “The other alternative was just a home.”

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