At Hong Fook Adult Day Health Center in Oakland, seniors and disabled adults gather during the week for services that range from nursing care to speech therapy and recreational activities. Thanks to the services offered at the Center, many of our area’s seniors and disabled adults live independently in the community.
Seniors and disabled adults receive these valuable services at Hong Fook Adult Day Health Center as well as at 6 other locations in Alameda County because of a state-wide program called Adult Day Health Care (ADHC). ADHC provides elderly and disabled Californians with the medical and therapeutic services they need to continue living in the community.
Unfortunately, due to state budget cuts, ADHC may be eliminated on December 1st, putting the lives of at least 35,000 seniors and disabled Californians at risk. This includes nearly a thousand people in Alameda County who also depend on this critical program. The consequences will be devastating for the people who depend on ADHC and the effects will be far-reaching throughout our community and our state.
According to a recent ADHC statewide survey, a total of 17,184 nursing home placements will need to occur statewide in the three months following the elimination of ADHC. However, the number of currently available beds in nursing home doesn’t even meet this staggering number. Many seniors and disabled adults will be forced to seek long-term care in hospitals instead.
The effects of eliminating ADHC may also have a profoundly negative effect on our state’s economy. 7,000 workers are expected to lose their jobs as a result of ending ADHC, adding to the number of Californian families who are already struggling to make ends meet.
Yet, despite the gravity of the situation, the State of California has not developed a thorough plan to transition the people who currently depend on ADHC to other services or addressed the economic fallout for the thousands of workers who may soon be without jobs.
This week, I held a rally in Oakland to draw attention to the looming catastrophe of eliminating ADHC. Community leaders, health care workers, caregivers, and local residents joined me at the Alameda County Government building, where I called for the state government to stop the ADHC elimination now and make sure these critical services are funded for next year and future years.
Support for ADHC will give seniors a greater opportunity to continue living in their own homes; it will help save thousands of jobs; and, it will be better to care for these patients and to support their caregivers. Given the gravity of the situation, it’s the very least that the State of California can do to protect the lives of our seniors and disabled adults. In the meantime, I’ll keep fighting to preserve Adult Day Health Care. Our seniors and disabled adults deserve nothing less.