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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - A unique card game means more than meets the eye because each of the card stimulates a players' mind. Minds, that are growing weak battling diseases like Alzheimer's, dementia and the struggles that come in the twilight years of life.
"Most of our participants call it their club and they are joyous," said Brenda Fox, who works for the Tri-County Community Action Agency.
This week card players at the table were dealt a bad hand. Between Kentucky's Department of Aging and Independent Living and KIPDA, the agency that grants state dollars, a decision was made to cut funding from certain adult daycares. Not all of them, just the social adult daycares, like the one Fox works for in LaGrange. "It broke my heart. Absolutely broke my heart. Without that money the whole ship sinks," Fox said.
These centers watch the state's most vulnerable elderly people as their loved ones work or seek respite during the day. "Here is good people, good food and exercise. I don't do it everyday," said Anita Maum, who attends the center. Maum's daughter, Rosie, pleaded with KIPDA this week to restore her mother's full funding. The 87-year-old Italian immigrant suffers from dementia and a stroke last year left her confined to a wheelchair.
"I'm also a cancer survivor. I just had surgery three months ago so for me it's very difficult to take care of her because I'm not supposed to lift her or lift the wheelchair. So this program gives me a little bit of a break because it's not easy to take care of a stroke victim and also take care of yourself as a breast cancer survivor. So it's difficult," Rosie Maum explained.
The Department of Aging released a statement to WDRB saying a program review found the social model of adult daycare services used by very few seniors. KIPDA reports 51 people in its seven-county region.
The gradual reduction in funding started July 1. "Their supply of money is less than what it needs to be for all of these services, so they're re-doing and transferring money into other programs to spread it across," Jack Couch, KIPDA's Executive Director, said.
KIPDA officials said all seniors currently enrolled will be served in some way. People like Rosie may find funding in Medicaid, home care or a health-centered adult daycare like the ones operating in Louisville. Social adult daycares have said that without state funding they can't survive. Shelby County may cut their hours in half as a result.
WDRB has learned it's the only adult daycare in the county. "Some of our caregivers may have to find alternate sources because if we're only open three days a week now, and if you have a caregiver that works five days a week, what do they do the other two days? You know they're going to have to come up with something. Well what if that something is putting their loved one in a nursing home,"said Kim Embrey-Hill, of Multi Purpose Community Action.
"We have a friendship, we really are," said Anita Maum. She and her friends are hoping for a wild card very late in the game.