Day care center for seniors living with Alzheimer's or Dementia to close

Published: Dec. 13, 2017 at 3:35 PM AKST
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Day Break Adult Day Care Services will shut its doors near the end of the month.

The day care center for seniors with Alzheimer's or Dementia will close officially December 29.

Jerry Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer for Anchorage Community Mental Health Services, which runs Daybreak, was unavailable for an interview Wednesday, but sent a statement to Channel 2.

The statement said in part, "Despite the efforts of the advisory council, other volunteers and staff, the business model is not robust enough to continue operations. Anchorage Community Mental health Services is having to look critically at all services lines. The current finances dictate that we focus on core behavioral health services and streamline operations to reflect the current financial reality. Closing Day Break has been a very hard decision for all involved but is necessary for financial health of the company."

Jenkins wrote that staff was notified on November 2 and the decision was made after three years of trying to make the center financially viable.

Other factors went into the closure, including the decreasing hours of services since 2010.

"We went from 35,644 hours in 2010 to 19,075 during the last fiscal year (ending 30 June 2017). The expectation had been for the hours to increase by at least 60% during the same time" Jenkins wrote.

In addition, Jenkins said more providers have come online and Day Break did not provide transportation to and from services.

The closure means Alaskans like Norrine Melton will have to find other resources, according to her niece Judy Voorhis.

"She goes there every morning and comes home every afternoon. She's been at Day Break for over 20 years and it has helped her so much," Voorhis said. "Prior to Day Break, somebody always had to stay home with her 'cause she's got mental issues and other stuff going on so she couldn't be left home alone."

Melton's sister, Corrine Finnie, said Day Break did a good job caring for her sibling.

"My sister would not be at the level she is now without Day Break. They were very instrumental in taking care of these people on a one-on-one basis and trying to, you know, open them up rather than just sitting there like a vegetable," Finnie said.

Voorhis said she would have liked to have more notice to be able to try to save the center from closing.

"That's just really sad that our senior people who need us the most right now are being pushed aside," Voorhis said.

Day Break was founded in 1982.