Officials with Midland Care Services of Topeka got the chance to hear about the need for an adult day care program in Lawrence.
"There is no option here," said Connie Davis, Lawrence. "The purpose is to keep our parents at home. They need to stay active and be in a social setting. Lawrence needs this so much."
Davis was among about 40 caregivers and senior service agency representatives who shared their personal stories during a forum Monday at the Lawrence Senior Center.
On Oct. 1, Douglas County Senior Services had to close its adult day care program because of county budget cuts. It had been in operation since 1980.
Davis said her 82-year-old mother, who has Alzheimer's disease, had participated in the program for two and half years. Since its closure, she said, her mom's health has slipped.
"She's in a state of confusion. She doesn't get what's happening," Davis said. "Unfortunately, now we have to take her out of Douglas County."
Midland is considering establishing a new adult day care center in Lawrence with the help of Douglas County Senior Services.
Karren Weichert, president and CEO of Midland, said she heard "a lot of passion and a lot of desire to see this service here."
She said the tricky part for the nonprofit agency would be making it financially feasible. In order to do that, she expects the agency would need to expand its program so that it could serve clients with basic medical needs.
Barbara Little, who was the adult day care program manager in Lawrence for four years, agreed.
"We were quickly becoming very narrowed in our scope of what we could provide," she said. "They were leaving because it was no longer feasible for them to stay in the program because of required medical care."
Other suggestions that were brought up during the forum included:
¢ Working with Kansas University and local schools. Many said it would be beneficial for the younger and older generations to work together. One woman cited an adult day care program where high schoolers provided a "senior prom" and Halloween party.
¢ Changing the program's name. "Adult day care" has a negative connotation, someone said.
¢ Expanding the program's hours. Several attendees agreed that expanding the hours would be more feasible for full-time workers. The hours were 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. They also suggested expanding the service to include Fridays.
Weichert expects Midland will make a decision by year's end.
Mary McGee, of Lawrence, hopes that Lawrence is able to fill the void that her 90-year-old mother is feeling.
"She misses it," McGee said.
During the past year, her mother enjoyed playing dominoes, bowling, doing armchair aerobics, crafts and watching "The Price is Right" with her friends.
"Now, she's home sleeping," McGee said.