Choice in Aging (CiA) has been providing services to our community’s frailest members 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 has always kept the mission: “To promote dignity and independence of people with disabilities and special needs.” Currently, Choice in Aging provides: two Adult Day Health Care programs serving east, central and south Contra Costa and Solano Counties; two Multipurpose Senior Services Programs serving all of Contra Costa County, Napa County, and Solano County; and the California Community Transitions project serving Contra Costa and Solano Counties.
Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) is a program that was 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 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 provides therapeutic activities disguised as fun throughout the day, making socializing and exercising meaningful and pleasurable – so folks want to come back.
When it began, the goal was to prevent costlier care and provide respite to caregivers. Over the decades, there has been a great deal of industry reform and the program now serves a very frail population and eligibility is complex. Payers may, depending on contractual relationships and eligibility, include Medi-Cal, the Veterans Administration, Regional Centers, Long-Term Care Insurance, scholarships and private pay.
Our oldest Adult Day Health Care program serving central and southern Contra Costa County is the Mt. Diablo Center (MDC). MDC was the 16th licensed ADHC in California in 1985. MDC is unique in that it provides nursing, physical, speech and occupational therapies, social work, transportation, a healthy meal, and most importantly a sense of community all disguised as FUN, while giving caregivers and their families much needed respite. MDC also offers a licensed program, called Alzheimer’s Day Care Resource Center, for people who are in the mid to late stages of Alzheimer’s or related dementia. Additionally, we provide special programs for monolingual Russian speakers and monolingual Farsi speakers to better meet their cultural sensitivities. Our facility is large and allows us to provide multiple therapeutic activity options for 60-70 people per day. We are also a teaching institute and take advantage of opportunities to provide internships for CNAs, nurses and social workers.
We also provide ADHC at The Bedford Center, the only licensed adult day facility located in Antioch, which serves East Contra Costa County. Named for Ray Bedford, a long time supporter and board member, the center began as a one day per week program at Concordia Lutheran Church founded by Pastor Roger Kuehn in 1980 to serve frail and isolated elders and to give their caregivers a break. The center moved to its current location at 1811 C Street in 1984 and expanded the program to 5 days a week to meet the demand for respite care. East County Day Care Center merged with Choice in Aging in 1995. The merger created the only adult day center in East County providing social work, nursing, physical, speech, and occupational therapies, transportation, as well as providing a nutritious lunch and snacks.
Choice in Aging provides other services such as transportation, caregiver support groups, community education, conferences, and more. We are the only agency providing the wide array of long-term supports and services required to maintain dignity and independence in our aging population.