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´╗┐Adult day care booms in Valley more than other areas

Some day care owners attribute their proliferation to a growing elderly population and a culture that makes it more acceptable to place elderly people in day care rather than in a nursing home.

The 166 adult day care centers operating across the Valley are spread out over city centers and country roads. Remodeled garages, shiny strip malls and old schools now wear signs advertising centers with names like Amor y Paz, Happy Hearts and La Amistad.

Shes already on her second consecutive hour of chalupa, or bingo, of the morning. Playing the game is second nature for the 79 year old woman. Her attention is divided Belt Versace

In between outings and meals, clients pass the time sitting quietly, socializing or playing games. At Glory Days Adult Day Care in Harlingen, they play pool, paint, knit and work with construction paper, said Irma Garza, the owner and director.

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Aleidas is part of an enormous adult day care industry in the Rio Grande Valley, where one out of 20 adult day care centers in the United States operates even though the area is home to fewer than one in 300 of the nations people aged 65 and older. Unlike most of the rest of the country, adult day care centers in the Valley face fierce competition from one another and have changed the way entire neighborhoods of poor people grow old.

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Otherwise lonely residents are checked regularly by the nurse and receive help taking medications and exercising.

Private day care centers compete for business from thousands of elderly residents like Rodriguez, vying for the chance to feed them two meals a day, take them to the doctor, help them with errands, entertain them with field trips and throw parties for them. Clients who have Medicaid and a medical condition dont pay a penny for the services.

hands shake slightly and her eyes are bleary, but Maria Rodriguezs stiff, bent hands dont struggle a bit when they drop the bottle cap on the bingo card.

The Valley is one of only a handful of areas in the United States where the adult day care market is saturated. counties, there arent enough of the centers to serve aging populations, said Nancy J. Cox, director of Partners in Caregiving, a program at Wake Forest University funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that has studied day services for adults since 1988.

I like to walk around and talk to the ladies, he said in Spanish, winking.

He wanders the building much of the day, talking to whomever will listen and smiling at a group of employees and neighbors who have come to play pool.

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Davila said she and her staff go to great lengths to make their clients many of whom have little or no family feel like they are at home in the day care center.

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Rodriguez spends about six hours each weekday at Aleidas. She has six children who work full time, none of whom can stay home to help her with daily tasks.

WINDOW TO THE WORLD

Drivers at the centers spend their days shuttling clients to and from doctors appointments, churches, flea markets and discount stores. At the start of each month, clients who receive Social Security checks are eager to cash them at the bank or spend them at Wal Mart or the grocery store, said Aleida Davila, owner of Aleidas Adult Day Care Center.

For clients like Rodrigo Guerra, adult day care offers a unique opportunity to socialize with peers. He lives with his family, but everyone at home is busy with their children and they have little time to talk with him, he said. One morning at Aleidas, he was in the nurses office taking respiratory treatments for his weak lungs, but rushed back to the main room, excited, Gucci Belts For Cheap

State law requires that the centers have a registered nurse or a licensed vocational nurse on site for eight hours each day. There must be at least one staff member for every eight clients.

Since Medicaid began paying for patients with medical conditions to attend day care, thousands of people in the Valley have had an entirely new social and health care world opened to them. Department of Agriculture.

In Coxs study, researchers counted more than 3,400 adult day care centers in the United States and sent surveys to all of them. The results were released this year, and they confirmed what Cox had been hearing anecdotally for years South Texas is overflowing with adult day care centers.

The growth here in recent years could have more to do with government reimbursements. Other pockets of the country that have seen similar booms in the adult day care industry have been in states that, like Texas, give day care owners some of the highest reimbursements for accepting Medicaid patients, Cox said.

A total of 5,400 new adult day care centers would have to be built across the country to serve existing needs, Cox said.

among each of the two cards shes handling and the caller with a huge smile who is making jokes at Aleidas Adult Day Care Center in San Carlos. Rodriguezs mouth hints at amusement over the callers enthusiasm.

All these people have a story and have problems, said Davila, who remodeled her garage and opened the center in February 2002 after she saw the troubles her mother faced as she grew older. What we try to do is make them forget for a while.

The Brownsville Herald

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Here the story is different. Adult day care centers have enough space to serve more than 13,500 people, but many of them operate under capacity. Clients often switch from one center to another since there are plenty of options.

when he heard that it was time for pre lunch exercises.

Because of the competition, some owners are hesitant to talk about details of their businesses. Many clients tell how they learned about a particular facility when a representative from a day care center came to their home to ask them to enroll. Day care centers that receive Medicaid reimbursements are allowed to perform what is called outreach in the interest of educating people about what they do, but they are not allowed to use traditional advertising.

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Its Mens Louis Vuitton Belt like theyre beating each other to death down there, Cox said. There is some heavy competition.

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This converted garage is the second adult day care center that Rodriguez has patronized in four years. She left the previous one when Aleidas opened because she didnt like the way she was treated at the last place, and there were plenty centers from which to choose.

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For some clients, adult day care centers are the only providers of basic necessities. Many residents live alone and are too frail to cook for themselves, so the centers provide their only meals. Others dont have hot water, so they shower at Aleidas.

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