Adult Day Care Opens in Metro Health Village

May 28, 2008
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WYOMING — A day care service for the elderly has become the 21st business to locate in the Metro Health Village.

A franchise of SarahCare Adult Day Care Inc. opened last week at 2024 Health Drive in Metro Health Village, the second location in Michigan. Owned by Kendra Schumaker of Caledonia, the center offers social interaction as well as personal care, such as bathing, and medical care, such as medicine dispensing, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Schumaker, a social worker with 15 years of geriatric mental health assessment experience, said she believes adult day care will grow in the future.

“We traveled to Ohio to see a SarahCare center in action, and it made so much sense,” Schumaker said. “I really feel like this is the direction that elder care is going. It meets people’s needs during the day and allows them to go home at night.”

She said she worked with First Companies to find the right location. “This seemed like a really good fit,” said Schumaker, a native of nearby Cutlerville.

Starting with a single client and two part-time employees, Schumaker said she expects to be able to accommodate 40 to 50 clients, who may attend as little as one day per week or as many as five days. Costs range from $80 to $90 per day.

“We are a medical model and can monitor a multitude of medical conditions” from medication to tube feeding to incontinence to showers, she said. The program is open to those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. There is a hair salon as well. There also will be recreational activities.

“We really can handle most of those needs that generally the families do at home,” Schumaker said.

SarahCare started in 1985 in Ohio, said CEO and founder Merle Griff, and has been offering franchises since 2004. There are more than 60 locations in 18 states. Franchises sell for $300,000 to $500,000, Griff said.

“I thought that the next place that people who had money to invest to go is adult day care,” said Griff, a board member and previous chairwoman for the National Adult Day Services Association. “I think it’s the next rising form of senior care.”

Griff said the two centers she owns are accredited by CARF, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and franchises are held to similar standards. Adult day care is not licensed in Michigan, but that varies state by state, she added.

More than 3,400 adult day care centers care for 150,000 people in the U.S., according to the association. Just 22 percent are for-profit. Most are affiliated with a larger organization such as a nursing home or a medical center.

Michigan has between 75 and 100 adult day care facilities, said Debbie Conarty, president of the Michigan Adult Day Services Association. Most of them are nonprofit, she said.

“The Office of Services to the Aging and other funding sources, such as the MI Choice Medicaid Waiver Program and the Veterans Administration, all have standard guidelines for centers providing adult day care,” Conarty said. Other funding sources include Area Agencies on Aging and long-term care insurance policies. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently said it would relax rules for states considering the addition of such coverage under Medicaid.

According to a September 2007 MetLife study, the average cost of adult day care in Grand Rapids is $83 per day.

“The growth in adult day centers is due to the dramatic increase in the aging population and the illnesses related with aging,” said Conarty. “The incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is significantly increasing because it is an age-related disease. Many caregivers are experiencing extreme stress in providing for the care needs of their loved ones and adult day care centers provide them with badly needed respite, allowing caregivers to keep their loved ones home longer.”

Although Schumaker has a daughter named Sarah, the “Sarah” in SarahCare is not a person, Griff said: It’s an acronym for Senior Adult Recreation and Health.

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