Sometimes it seems as though all Doreen Tiseo does is care for her 87-year-old father, who has memory loss from Alzheimer’s disease. She supervises him in the shower and gives him reminders, such as “pick up the soap” and “wash your face.” In the morning, she helps him dress and slips a handkerchief into his pocket. At night when he wanders, she tells him, “It’s dark out, time to sleep.”
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 14, 2008; Page A02
But during the day, she gets a respite to go to her job as her father attends a city-funded program. It offers people with dementia and Alzheimer’s art and music therapy, lunch, physical activities, and guided discussions and socializing — critical, Tiseo says, to keeping her father alert, happy and relatively healthy.
Now, because of a budget crisis, New York City plans to eliminate funding for all 12 of these adult day-care programs at the end of this month, saving $1.2 million before the next fiscal year begins in July. The programs, which receive most of their funding from the city, are facing immediate closure unless they can raise fees dramatically or find new donors — in a climate in which other government agencies, corporations and individuals are also cutting back. Even then, they may be able to remain open only a few days a week.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said Tiseo, an office manager and single parent of 51 who also supports her 20-year-old son, a college student. She said she pays $40 a day for her father to attend the program and could not afford $15 an hour for in-home care. “If he was to stay home, he would spend all his time in front of the TV,” she said. “That would probably further the progression of the disease.”