A day care for adults with memory issues may be open at the Wood County Senior Center early next year.

At the September meeting, the Wood County Committee on Aging heard a presentation by the director of Toledo-based Memory Lane Care Services. The non-profit would also operate the Bowling Green site.

“We provide a lot of services to older adults, their caregivers and individuals with dementia,” Salli Bollin, executive director, said.

Memory Lane serves five counties in the Northwest Ohio area, including Wood. The largest service they provide is adult day care.

There is one day care option provided, in Toledo. They hope to add Bowling Green soon.

Adult Day Services offer respite and support for caregivers, and socialization and support for participants.

The service started in 1993; it closed for nine months during the pandemic.

The day care is for the very frail and very sick, Bollin said.

“Their lives have really shrunk,” she said. “The people who come to the center meet what’s called a nursing home level of care … they could be in a nursing home tomorrow.

“They’re living at home, which is where they want to be,” Bollin said. “But they really are meeting a nursing home level of care.”

At the day facility, they are offered showers, nursing services, activities and programming, social work services and education.

“We just want them to have a good day,” Bollin said. “We want them to feel like they have meaning and purpose and fun when they come for the day.”

A nurse and social worker are on staff.

The day care has been shown to improve cognition and decrease emergency room visits, Bollin said.

There’s a need for this type of care because 65% of older adults have long-term care needs, and informal care is their only care. Also, 80% of care is provided in the community setting by family members. It also helps them remain in their homes, Bollin said.

Adult day care also provides a relief to caregivers.

“We might be the only break they get,” Bollin said.

Currently, 48% of the participants are between the ages of 74-85; 36% are over age 85; 11% are between ages 65-74 and 5% are under age 65.

She said that 42% of the participants at Memory Lane have been diagnosed with dementia and 32% with Alzheimer’s.

“They all typically have some type of cognitive issue going on,” Bollin said.

All of the participants have two or more chronic conditions, with 32% needing nursing care; 70% need partial or complete assistance in the restroom.

The Toledo center is the only one for older adults that specializes in memory care in the county. There used to be six, Bollin said.

They operate on limited resources, Bollin said. They have contracts with Veterans Affairs and Medicaid. They also do some fundraising and grant writing.

“It’s a juggling act,” she said. “Running adult day services is challenging. It’s staff intensive, and you’re lucky if you break even by the end of the year.”

At the August meeting, the Wood County Committee on Aging Board agreed to go along with the release of state fund totaling $35,432 for staffing and supplies for the Bowling Green day care site. The money is from Older American Act funds.

“That’ was a huge shot in the arm for us,” Bollin said. “It was very generous.”

Denise Niese, executive director of the committee on aging, said they are also advocating at the state level, which she said is sitting on $2 billion.

Bollin said a budget has been put together to operate the Bowling Green memory day care site for three years; each year will operated at a loss right now.

It costs about $100 a day to serve a client; typically, the participants pay about a third of the cost, Bollin said.

“We don’t want to open up a center if we can’t sustain it,” she said.

They should know a timeline in early December, Bollin said.

The Toledo center has capacity for 52, and prior to the pandemic they were serving 40, she said. It currently serves around 25.

The Bowling Green center, which has capacity for 22, would possibly start with six clients, Bollin said.

The Toledo center is open 10 hours a day.