New Hanover County social services offers funding assistance for adult day care programs

The adult day care and adult health programs offered through New Hanover County Department of Social Services has received more than $140,000 in funding, some of which will help pay for eight adults to attend its classes. (Port City Daily/File)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Covid-19 has brought out the need to connect now more than ever. For people 18 and older that require supervision or socialization, and live with physical and/or cognitive deficits — such as intellectual disabilities, dementia or stroke survivors — New Hanover County’s adult day care and health care programs offer group activities to keep them engaged. It also offers caregivers a break.

New Hanover County Department of Social Services announced it has received funding from the state — $143,051 for the 2020-2021 year — which will help pay for eight adults to attend the county’s adult day care or adult health program at Elderhaus at the Lake.

“There are no income guidelines or co-pays to participate in this program, but a financial need or burden does have to exist to be eligible,” according to county guidelines.

Activities through the programs vary, from music to arts and crafts, educational and religious programming to exercise groups. Classes are led by Elderhaus providers, local organizations and churches.

“Participants can choose activities, but many are group activities so they are encouraged to participate,” according to Mary Beth Rubright, assistant director of social services.

Only 30 participants are allowed in the programs per day due to Covid-19 safety protocols.

“The adult day care facilities we work with provide small group settings for socialization, designed to keep participants safe and distanced,” Rubright said.

Most folks attend from two to five days based on needs, the center’s availability and funding. Lunch is served on class days, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. For participants who don’t have transportation, the county can cover those needs as well.

Costs for the program break down to about $62 per day for adult health participants and $57 per day for adult day care participants. Transportation runs $7 per trip.

Those that require medication or assistance with personal care — feeding, ambulation and toileting — can apply for the adult day health program, which staffs a higher level of care.

A social worker will assess participants to determine which program suits their needs best. Interested parties can call 910-798-3506 to be placed on an inquiry list and a social worker will return the call to schedule an assessment. 

“Isolation can be debilitating,” Rubright said. “We have seen these programs directly help with participants’ physical and emotional wellbeing, and they also provide a much-needed opportunity for the person’s caregiver to have respite or to remain employed.”

The daycare facility also welcomes participants covered by Senior Resource Center funding.

“They get referrals through the Caregiver Support Program, which could be 10-14 days as short-term respite, and the Home Community Care Block Grant, which can fund some participants for ongoing services,” Rubright said.

Funding from the Senior Center block grant is around $106,000 per year. To learn more about the program, folks can call (910) 798-6400.

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