BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As part of the state begins to open back up amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Adult Day Health Care centers around New York State still remain closed. There are 7 facilities around Western New York that provide basic care, physical and occupational therapy, and socialization for older adults or adults with disabilities.
Executive Director of the Adult Day Health Care Council says there are hundreds of people in Buffalo and thousands across the state who have been unable to get equivalent services, and the impact is huge.
“We have seen a rise in hospitalizations, nursing home placements, and other higher levels of care,” Director Anne Hill says.
Hill says the reason for those hospitalizations are mainly due to stability and falls, pressure sores and psychiatric mental health issues.
As a caregiver to her disabled son, Chris, Charlotte Kregg says it feels the state has forgotten about them.
“I don’t have the strength it takes to help him get up, and it just breaks my heart to see him struggle so hard to get up,” Kregg says.
News 4 reached out to the New York State Department of Health to ask why there haven’t been any moves to reopen.
“Our goal is to foster independence and enhance quality of life by using Telehealth to offer the right mix of services and support, while keeping this virus out of congregate settings such as Adult Day Health Care programs as asymptomatic spread remains a concern in all corners of the state,” the DOH said in a statement.
Hill says with filtration systems in place, and the buildings cleaned, the centers are ready to welcome patients back.
The state also says they offer virtual options that registrants can use.
“The DOH guidance allows ADHC’s the flexibility to provide services through telehealth or by telephone,” the Department of Health said.
But Hill says everyone’s needs cannot be met virtually or through caregivers.
“Perhaps a caregiver isn’t able to lift that person to give them a shower, or feed them appropriately, or give them help around the house with mobility,” Hill says.
And without an end in sight, Kregg says she feels lost.
“Life is hard enough when you have a disability, but to be left behind … its like they don’t matter. But they matter to me.”
Abby Fridmann is an anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of her work here.