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Adult Day Care Centers seek to fill vacancies

Affordable support services are available for those in need

Maui Adult Day Care Centers Executive Assistant Margie Dela Cruz (foreground) leads staffers in a “Kiss Me, Kiss Me” dance for clients in Kahului in July when the centers reopened. The centers are now trying to fill vacancies in their programs for adults and kupuna with physical, mental and social disabilities or handicaps. — The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

With fewer clients since it reopened in July, Maui Adult Day Care Centers is hoping to fill the vacancies as it slowly brings back higher-risk adults and kupuna who were advised to stay home during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With centers in Kahului, Lahaina, Kihei and Hana, MADCC President Bill Kinaka said Thursday afternoon that clientele is slowly increasing, but is still much lower than it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic even though day care services for adults and kupuna with physical, mental and social disabilities or handicaps have “remained critical.”

“The need out there is so great, so there should be no vacancies at any of our facilities,” Kinaka said. “We should have a waiting list of people waiting to get in because they need our help because we are here to help, but when we have vacancies, it saddens me because I know how people are struggling.”

Kinaka noted that it’s possible that many residents are unaware that the facilities have been back open since last summer, “not realizing that many of them could take a break by coming to us.”

“Hopefully we’ll start to see an increase soon,” said executive assistant Margie Dela Cruz, who’s also the acting executive director.

A lot of family caregivers may have had more time to look after their loved ones because they have either not yet returned to work or are working from home, Dela Cruz added.

Some others might still be fearful of utilizing facilities like the day care centers because of COVID-19. However, both Kinaka and Dela Cruz assured that the majority of clients and staff have been fully vaccinated and that operations are compliant with health and safety protocols.

“It’s honestly safer to be here during the day at the center, where we take all of these precautions,” Kinaka said. “Our staff is so, so committed.”

Maui Adult Day Care Centers received about $24,000 through the Adaptability Fund, a program funded by the CARES Act and administered through the Maui Economic Development Board.

Dela Cruz said that the majority of the grant went toward supplying staff with personal protective equipment, especially gloves, installing touchless hand sanitizer and soap dispensers throughout the facilities and modifying operations.

MADCC is also supported by Maui Economic Opportunity, Maui County Office on Aging, Maui United Way, Hawaii Community Foundation and others. The organization also runs its own fundraisers.

For a while, the only licensed adult day care centers on Maui were unavailable to the community, which relies on MADCC for supportive care services and programs that stimulate the physical, mental and social well-being of elderly, disabled or higher-risk individuals 18 years and older.

“When we had to close during the initial time of the pandemic, many of our clients reported to us that they could see their loved ones just going downhill because they don’t have the socialization, the exercise they can have at the day care center,” Kinaka said.

Now that the centers have been back open on weekdays, recently expanding to the weekends, Kinaka hopes that more people will take advantage of the help and affordable services, including programs to promote a better quality of life, “talk story” time with friends and light physical activity.

“We do everything possible to accommodate and make it easier for the caregivers, but again, it’s very disappointing to me when there are vacancies when I know there are families out there that could really use our help,” he said.

The Kahului center has been averaging about 34 clients per day on the weekdays and about 10 to 15 on the weekends, Dela Cruz said. Lahaina averages about 10 clients per day, Ocean View in Kahului has about 23 and Kihei is the lowest with about seven.

Prior to the pandemic, the facilities had maximum capacities between 28 and 78.

Caregivers can call the main center in Kahului to learn more about eligibility requirements, as well as what services and scheduling might work best for them.

The current rate is between $60 to $70 a day. Each location is open the majority of the week, offering families and caregivers flexible hours and days to choose from.

Kinaka said that there are scholarships available.

Some MEO transportation services are paused until further notice, but personal care services, such as showers, have resumed.

Other programs like the “sun downing,” which offers social activities and dinner from 4 to 9 p.m. on Friday nights at the Kahului center, are still on pause, but only because there hasn’t been enough clientele.

“We don’t have that many clients that take advantage,” Dela Cruz said. “We have staff available to work, but right now it’s still on hold, but we can always put that back as long as the demand is there.”

The programs are beneficial for kupuna and individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias by keeping them physically and mentally active through games and socialization.

Established in 1974, MADCC also offers family services, an intergenerational program, counseling, education and monthly support groups and workshops for caregivers at all six locations “because we see them as equally important,” Dela Cruz said.

“We need to support them and their needs too, especially during this pandemic,” she said.

Documentation of a negative COVID-19 test result is required prior to entering the Kahului center — all employees are required to submit to a PCR nasal swab test and clients are required to submit to a rapid test within five days before admittance.

Temperatures are taken three times a day — upon entering the building, midday and before the client leaves.

A daily questionnaire will need to be completed along with a release of liability waiver. All staff, clients and medical personnel are required to wear face coverings.

Facilities are open during the following hours:

• MADCC Kahului, the central office at 11 Mahaolu Street, 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sundays.

• Ocean View Center, Nisei Veterans Memorial Center site near Kahului Harbor on Kahului Beach Road, 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

• Kihei center, 16 Ehiku Street, 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

• Lahaina center, 810 Kelawea Street, 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays.

• Hale Hulu Mamo, a drop-in senior center at 5101 Uakea Street in Hana, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, visit www.madcc.org or call 871-5804.

* Dakota Grossman can be reached at dgrossman@mauinews.com.

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