Choice in Aging (CiA) has been providing services to the community’s frailest people since 1949 when it was created by volunteers to serve children severely disabled by Polio. Over the years, the organization has provided a wide variety of programs but with the mission: “To promote dignity and independence of people with disabilities and special needs” until bringing on the county’s premier Intergenerational Montessori preschool in 2017 after which the mission became, “To create opportunities where people can learn, grow, and age independently with dignity in community.”
Currently, CiA provides: two Adult Day Health Care programs serving east, central and south Contra Costa County; the Multipurpose Senior Services Programs serving Contra Costa, Solano and Napa Counties; the California Community Transitions project serving Contra Costa, Solano and Sacramento Counties; an intergenerational Montessori preschool in Pleasant Hill; Prevention and Early Access for Seniors; specialized transportation services; caregiver support and education; and policy and budget advocacy.
Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) is a program created in California in 1978 in response to a need to have an alternate solution to institutionalization. The program mirrors the skilled nursing staffing model, but is based in the community and typically operates on only Monday through Friday during the day. It is akin to a senior center for those who can no longer attend a senior center independently and need additional support to do things like ambulate, eat, toilet, participate in activities and more. Staff provide therapeutic activities disguised as fun throughout the day, making socializing and exercising meaningful and pleasurable – so folks want to come back.
CiA’s oldest Adult Day Health Care program serving central and south Contra Costa is Mt. Diablo Center (MDC). MDC was licensed in 1985 and was the 16th licensed ADHC in California. MDC is unique in that it offers a special program, called an Alzheimer’s Day Care Resource Center, for people who are in the mid to late stages of Alzheimer’s or related dementia. Additionally, MDC provides specialized programs for monolingual Russian speakers, monolingual Farsi speakers, and a general program.
The second Adult Day Health Care program serving eastern Contra Costa is the Bedford Center. Bedford Center was licensed as an ADHC in 1996. The Bedford Center is located centrally in Antioch and is the only licensed program serving east county providing a general and mid-to-late stage Alzheimer’s program.
The Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) is a Medi-Cal federal waiver program serving people 65 and over, who have Medi-Cal, and who are at a skilled nursing level of care. The program provides home/community based complex care management provided by a registered nurse and social worker who conduct a comprehensive health and psychosocial assessment in each person’s home. Based on the assessments, the team develops an individualized plan of care to help people remain living independently that includes things like ensuring they get to physician visits, their medication is managed, they have appropriate in home care, they have the continence supplies and equipment needed, they have a way to summon help in an emergency, and connecting them to other services such as meals and friendly visitors. Their care manager talks to them at least monthly and visits them in their home quarterly.
The California Community Transitions project is part of a federal Medicaid program that started in 2007 called Money Follows the Person. This program was created to help people who have been long-term residents in institutional care safely move back into community living. This is a highly complex and dynamic program with skilled Transition Coordinators who identify housing, make adaptations, connect people to services, and ensure a safe transition back to independence.
Choice in Learning, an intergenerational Montessori preschool, brings an added layer of therapeutic joy and learning for all with its partnership with MDC and the four unique programs there.
Finally, the Prevention and Early Access for Seniors (PEAS) program serves Solano county older adults providing mental health care management, stigma reduction, community wellness and suicide prevention education, and support for people with or at risk of mild to moderate mental health concerns.
In addition to the aforementioned programs, CiA provides other services such as transportation, caregiver support groups, community education and more. CiA is also a teaching institute and take advantage of opportunities to provide internships for CNAs, nurses and social workers. CiA is the only agency providing the wide array of long-term supports and services required to maintain dignity and independence in the frail and older adult populations.