More than 3,500 adult day centers are operating in the United States which provide care for 150,000 older Americans each day.

Circle of Friends Adult Day Health Center is now offering those services locally.

“We are the only social-medical model care center in Valdosta,” owner and Center Director Roxanne Farr said.

The center is a community-based, social-medical, day-respite program that provides social, health and rehabilitative services to individuals who are impaired. It is an alternative to premature nursing-home placement and is determined to enhance the quality of life.

It also provides program benefits for individuals who are cognitively or physically impaired, socially isolated, or anyone in need of supervision.

Farr added that the center strives to provide care which will increase a person’s ability to live within the community, maintain dignity and function as independently as possible.

“The social aspect of our center is the socialization of interacting among peers. Especially their peers. The medical aspect is that we have nurses on staff to monitor vital signs, give medication and monitor disease management,” said Farr.

Family members can benefit from services as well. Daily caregivers who work or have consuming demands on their time may find Circle of Friends a beneficial option.

Case managers believed there was a need to have an adult day health center in the Valdosta area since there were two in region — one in Waycross, another in Douglas.

Once Farr realized the need for the center in Valdosta, it took her a year to finalize the legalities of owning and operating the business.

Valdosta and Baxley are the newest centers and provide individuals time during the day to participate in activities that are organized and supervised.

Daily service fees are about half the cost of a skilled nursing facility. Daily fees for adult day services depend on the services that are being provided.

The center’s patients are not necessarily those who are elderly. Any adult 18 years of age and up can utilize the Circle of Friends Center.

There are home-delivered meals which are nutritionally balanced for individuals who are unable to prepare their own food.

Regular telephone contact provides a sense of security for people who are living at home.

Transportation is also provided which allows patients to maintain their appointments and enjoy recreational activities.

Farr’s goal for the Valdosta Center is to hold 20 to 25 patients in the facilities since the staff ratio is one to four.

She added that people often confuse an adult day health center with nursing homes. The center works closely with the Community Care Services Program (CCSP) to provide assistance for individuals.

There are long-term care insurances and Medicaid waiver programs which will cut the costs of services.

More than seven million Americans provide 120 million hours of care to 4.2 million elderly individuals with functional limitations each week.

Adult health care is a licensed, Medi-Cal-certified health facility that treats health and supportive needs of older adults with multiple, chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, post-stroke complications, cardiovascular disease, diabetes with complications, depression, mental illness and many others.

Farr and her staff encourage hesitant families to allow their loved ones to come to the center for a day or two a week to get a feel for the facility and what it can offer.

To be eligible, an individual has to have a functional impairment caused by physical limitations, an unmet need for care, services fall within the average annual cost of Medicaid reimbursed care provided in a nursing facility.

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