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Adult Day Service Programs in Jeopardy

by Iya Bakare
Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s proposed budget for FY09 includes an additional $4.8 million for adult day services programs that would edge the Illinois agencies toward a more financial stability in an industry losing money for years.

“It will send us to the break-even point,” said Cindy Cunningham, a lobbyist for adult day services programs in Illinois.

Adult Day Service centers, along with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Administration on Aging, offer health care and recreational activities for senior citizens and adults with physical disabilities who live at home or with caregivers. The centers work to improve the overall quality of life for those who use their services. Therapeutic activities, nursing services and family support services are among services offered. Other services at adult day centers include meals and rehabilitation services.

Adults considering moving to a nursing home, requiring assistance with day-to-day activities and functions and unable to attend a senior center are all eligible for use of adult day services.

Cunningham, who works for Illinois Adult Day Services Association, Forever Young Adult Day Services and the International Cultural Education Association, said centers are currently losing about $30,000 a year. “This breaks down to about $2 an hour per client,” Cunningham said. Since 2006, Cunningham said nine centers throughout the state in the Chicago’s Hyde Park, Arlington Heights and St. Claire County (near St. Louis) have closed because of financial problems. When asked if these agencies have a chance of reopening, Cunningham said she believed the three centers would remain closed.

“We have to be continually present in Springfield,” Cunningham said. “The people we represent can’t do it, and their caregivers battle work schedules, which makes it difficult for them to be in Springfield as often as possible.”

Illinois State Rep. Kevin Joyce (D-Worth), chairman of the Aging Committee, was unavailable for comment about the state budget and how senior citizen services in Illinois are funded.

Cunningham started working for Illinois Adult Day Services in 1988. She works from her home as an Adult Day Services employee as she rears her teenager and two toddlers. “I get to do everything I love from home, and that’s perfect, Cunningham said.

Cunningham has lobbied for rights of senior citizens and day services for them in Springfield for six years.

“I want to see more and better programs for senior citizens, but we have to be realistic,” Cunningham said. “There’s only so much we can do.”

For more information on adult day services, contact the National Adult Day Services Association at (800)558-5301 or visit the agency’s Web site at

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