NewsTeam 10 InvestigatesThe Cost of Care


The Cost of Care: An affordable option for daily dementia care

Cost of Care daily daycare
Posted at 5:39 PM, Nov 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-10 18:10:35-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Every day, millions of people across the country are taking care of loved ones living with Alzheimer's and other types of dementia.

Many are struggling to afford care or looking for options that offer a short daily break so they can rest or complete daily life tasks.

One type of program in San Diego offers those living with dementia a daily program for mind and body stimulation while also giving caregivers a window of time back in their day.

The Time Break that Won't Break the Bank  

There are things in life we do that seem routine. Every day, the same with little to no deviation. Movements in time that most of us take for granted.

"I just get up, get dressed, take a shower," said 86-year-old Sara.

Sara lives in the moment, and a few minutes later, she may not remember what just happened.

"I'm 86, right? I'm pretty old, but I'm still here," she said.

There's no exact start to when Sara's memory began to fade, but it gotten to a point where living on her own wasn't safe.

So, as any good parent would do, Sara's daughter Diann moved her mom back in — three generations under one roof.

ABC 10News reporter Adam Racusin asked Diann how she manages three kids in a house with someone who needs full-time caregiving.

"I don't know," Diann said. "It's doing what you have to do every day."

The load is lighter with a little help from some friends.

Sara rides the bus to and from the Balboa Avenue Older Adults Center four days a week.

It's a couple-mile journey that takes less than 10 minutes, but an adventure that opens up a world of possibilities for Sarah and her family.

Inside a small room at Jewish Family Service is a program for people like Sara.

There's only one main requirement to get in.

"It's a program for people with dementia," said program coordinator Aviva Saad.

Saad has been at the forefront of the center for the past 16 years and says every day is different, almost.

"They will forget what they ate. They will forget what they do because they will, but the following day, when they come back, they enter with such love and excitement because they know this place is such an amazing place and they are going to have fun," Saad said.

The cost is $48 a day.

"People don't have those thousands and thousands of dollars to pay for caregiving or daycare centers; it's too much money," she said. "So when they bring their loved one here, those four hours are amazing. Amazing."

It's a lifeline for people like Patricia and Bill.

"Bill was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and depression," Patricia said.

They've been married for 26 years, but as the dementia progressed, the days became more difficult.

"That persistence of needing to help someone who needs you — I'm going to tear up — [the break] was so important," Patricia said.

"Probably exhausting," Bill added.

The program offered by Jewish Family Service allows a daily break that won't financially ruin them.

"For me, it's just, it's getting my husband back because for two years, he wasn't the man I married," Patricia said.

Saad understands that the time loved ones have with each other is precious.

"Every day that I leave, I leave knowing that if one of them dies right now, because we don't know, I made their days and hours better and happier, and we were here to make them feel important," Saad said. "Even knowing them, they are not the same as they used to be, but at this point of their life, they are amazing."

Every dance, every smile, every laugh is a moment not to be missed.

"I feel like when they are not here anymore, I have to be at peace with how I handled this," Diann said.

Unlike the certainty of the bus picking up, you don't know which moment may be your last.