In February, 2018, I wrote an article about Irvine’s amazing Adult Day Health Services (ADHS) that provides “structured adult day programs in a safe and encouraging environment for seniors and disabled adults, while they continue to live in the comfort of their own home.”  They also provide “health monitoring and protective supervision, personal care assistance and specialized therapeutic services.”  The article, entitled: “John Inmon’s New Activity” centered around his experiences with ADHS.  He compared it to a private facility he had attended prior, and described the differences as dramatic.  He said that the ADHS staff was far more engaging and made him feel like an “honored guest.”

I spoke with Hollis Parmely, Program Director of Irvine ADHS on June 8th, being particularly interested in how and what services they are able to continue to provide in spite of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the required closure of their facility on March 12th.  Although they are licensed to serve 60 people, their roster is now larger.  After closing, she said “they very quickly moved into action,” and had to be very creative to provide services to the seniors at home.  Within a few weeks they were fully functioning, remotely, and continue to add services trying to meet the unique needs of each participant.

Some of the participants are using iPADS or other electronic devices with a wide range of tech abilities, while some require the assistance of their caregivers.  Some use Zoom while others prefer phone calls. Initially, there were a lot of social calls, trying to meet the unique needs of each participant, such as providing accessibility to medications, which was very important.  The staff also had concerns about levels of depression among the seniors arising from social isolation while juggling professional boundaries.

Physical therapy is being done remotely, although without the machines.  Even speech therapy is done remotely.  For some of the activities the staff mails crafts to people who want to do that or chapters of books that form the basis of a discussion group.  Their services include two meals and a snack delivered every day.  They are fortunate that all meals are prepared in the Lakeview Senior Center kitchen that provides restaurant-quality meals.  And another huge advantage is that the Lakeview Center can prepare special meals with low sugar or modified texture, for example.

A common theme among the participants is that they miss the gym and are ready to return.  Of course, upon the return to the facility things will be different.  The staff has not yet figured out how to maintain effective social distancing or precise sanitation practices.  They are all in the planning phase.  And some of the practices they had to develop and are continuing to develop while the facility is closed will continue when they are again open.

And how is John Inmon faring?  He is among the many who miss the gym activities and can’t wait to get back to their regular activities.  Although he also misses the socialization with staff and other participants, his favorite staff member calls very often to see how John is doing and makes specific suggestions of things for him to do while not at the facility.  He says he feels very cared for.

Funding for the ADHS comes from private payments, insurance and the State’s Community Based Adult Services.  The State funding is in great jeopardy, so much so, that ADHS may have to close their doors.  Donations are a significant portion of their funding.  In fact, their biggest fundraiser, the “Take a Chance for Seniors” takes place in October and they are hoping it can be an in-person event.

For information call (949) 262-1123 or email them at adhs@irvineadhs.org.

Harvey H. Liss