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Carly Hague, left, program director for the Saint Elizabeth Adult Day Center in Wakefield, gives a tour of the facility to Susan DiMasi, director of South Kingstown Senior Services, during an open house held Tuesday afternoon.

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — The newly established St. Elizabeth Adult Day Center at 283 Post Road opens possibilities for many local residents who want to stay at home rather than move to assisted living facilities.

The center brings together medical and therapeutic services along with connections and social interaction for those using it whether five days a week or just a few, say officials for St. Elizabeth.

“People can stay at home longer when they use these kinds of services, which are growing in demand,” said Jessica Gosselin, director of Saint Elizabeth Adult Day Center also located in Warwick and Bristol.

Adult care during the day is a business that is also meeting a growing demand in a fast-aging Baby Boomer generation.

 

Help for Seniors, Caregivers

More than 90% of seniors prefer to remain in their homes as opposed to moving into an assisted living facility, according to Home Health Care News reporting on a survey of by mortgage lender American Advisors Group (AAG) that polled the aging Baby Boomer population.

It’s also helping the growing cohort of those caring for them. About 24.4% of adults aged 45 to 64 years are caregivers compared to 18.8% of adults aged 65 years and older, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control.

“For seniors, the comfort, safety and independence of their home outweigh the desire to move,” Martin Lenoir, chief marketing officer at AAG, said in a press release.

AAG reached over 1,500 participants between the ages of 60 and 75, gathering data that examined how meaningful “the home” is to U.S. seniors.

Overall, about 70% of seniors have severe needs for long-term services and supports, according to the Global Coalition on Aging. With this in mind, one key takeaway from the AAG survey finding is that there are still business opportunities for home-based care providers looking to increase market share.

South Kingstown’s adult day services, which closed in the spring of 2020 as COVID-19 took hold, was replaced by St. Elizabeth after the town solicited proposals and approval came in May from the town council.

The agreement with South Kingstown lets Saint Elizabeth run the adult day services program for three years, leasing the building for $1 per year. There’s also an option to renew for five years.

Gosselin said that about 14 people have signed up already to participate either every day or just a few days a week.

 

A Wholistic Approach

The program takes a holistic approach to each person wanting to attend, Gosselin explained. It starts with some background information in a telephone call, a review of medical records from the primary care physician and then design of custom-tailored approach to services to be provided, she said.

Before a person attends the program, the come for a site visit and to tour the facility. Afterwards, specific days for attending as well as transportation to and from the facility are set up.

Costs are handled in a number of different ways depending on insurance or other kinds of assistance. Direct out-of-pocket charges amount to about $90 per day, Gosselin said.

Both Gosselin and Mary Rossetti, also a spokeswoman for St. Elizabeth, explained that adult care at St. Elizabeth is far more than just a setting found at  a senior center.

“We have a medical component and the therapeutic part and of course there are activities, as might be found elsewhere. It’s not just an activities center,” said Rossetti.

Because there is this medical component, it helps people live in their present situation and not have to move to assisted living or a nursing home, she added.

“This is a full day or support. If an adult child or other caregiver wants to make sure that mom or dad is cared for during the day, this is a great sense of security,” Rossetti said.

She and Gosselin said that adult care isn’t just for someone in advanced age unable to care for themselves. It’s also for other adults of almost any age and who have disabilities either physical or cogitative that prevent them from managing their lives in a safe way.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are currently seven potential family caregivers for every adult 65 years or older who needs assistance. But by 2030, the number of potential family caregivers will drop to just four.

The need for adult day care is expected to continue to growth as vaccines reduce the risk of COVID in congregate-care settings and the trajectory advances for unprecedented numbers of Baby Boomers aging each year.

Adult care is on the minds of many younger and older people, say those involved in this aspect of health care. The CDC labels it “an important public health issue that affects the quality of life for millions of individuals.”

“It has gotten a lot of attention and have become an important part of the health care of people,” Gosselin said.

Write to Bill Seymour, freelance writer covering news and feature stories, at independent.southcountylife@gmail.com.

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