Adult Day Care is Great Respite For Caregivers, But They Are Closing Up

Adult day care is a wonderful break for family caregivers.  Family can take their loved one to a day care program where care is provided 5 days a week typically, and get a “day off” from caregiving duties.

Caregiving wears people out physically, emotionally, spiritually.  Your batteries get drained and then you cannot provide proper support for your loved one, especially if round the clock care is required.  There is a reason the airlines tell you to put on your oxygen mask before helping others, if you are worn out, you are no good to anyone else.

Thus, adult day care can provide a respite day, or possibly as many as 5 per week, giving the caregiver a chance to breathe.  It may be difficult to secure 5 days per week care, as there are generally waiting lists to get in.  This is very popular, and bear in mind that the great majority of LTC services are still provided by family caregivers.

So, why are these places closing up?  In Wisconsin, much LTC is provided by a program called Family Care. It was originally designed to use Medicaid dollars to pay for the lowest cost care available for each recipient, instead of using it for the most expensive setting, a skilled nursing facility (nursing home).

Of course, when the government pays for the more desirable assisted living facilities or care in your home, everyone wants in, upping the usage exponentially and raising rather than lowering costs.  Spreading the available dollars among more recipients also lowers the dollars available for each one.

So now the reimbursement for adult day care is so low that the adult day care facilities cannot afford to remain open.

But it only costs $45 to $80 per day to pay for adult day care out of pocket, and on a monthly basis of one day a week that is about $200 to $400 per month, surely affordable for many, you would think.

Apparently, the problem is that the families are wanting to save the available funds to use when an assisted living facility is needed.  Often times, if you do not have enough funds to pay for assisted living for at least 2 years, the facility may not accept your loved one.  This is because once the money runs out and you turn to Medicaid (of which Family Care is part of) the facilities will be losing money on the care.

A LTC facility cannot require you to leave when your funds run out (unless you agreed and signed off on this at admission).  It is also not possible to remain open for business if you lose money on every resident.  Thus the facilities often require that you have funding available for a period of time before they will admit you.  If you have no money other than Medicaid or Family Care you may end up searching far and wide for a facility that will accept you.  Will it be the place you want to spend the rest of your years?

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