VA’s Adult Day Health Care program closing
There’s a place where a veteran’s hesitant expression changes to a welcoming grin after walking through its doors.
The Veterans Affairs Adult Day Health Care program, which has been housed in a leased space at the Northtown Plaza Business Center on Sheridan Drive in Amherst, has provided veterans with a sense of camaraderie and assistance that they may not have found elsewhere.
While the VA Adult Day Health Care program has impacted more than 100 local veterans, the VA Western New York Healthcare System will soon be ending the program.
“I have seen men come in, for the first time, not knowing anyone, only to be received by his fellow veterans, come out of his shell and make new friends,” said Judith Czora. “These men/women come from all walks of life and are accepted as equals, which they are.”
Czora has been a volunteer with the program for more than 10 years and has been trying to find a way to keep the program in the same space.
According to the VA Western NY Healthcare System, the lease for the current Adult Day Health Care space in the Northtown Business Center is ending and the building will be demolished. The program expects to be out sometime this fall.
With this transition, the VA Western New York Healthcare System has decided to give local eligible veterans the choice of where they get their ADHC services.
Veterans who now use VA ADHC at the Northtown Business Center will have the opportunity to receive these services through community providers closer to home, and VA will pick up the expense, the system said.
The ADHC is an outpatient therapist day program for veterans that has provided physical, occupational and recreation therapies and health maintenance to veterans in a group setting.
The program is open Monday through Friday, and veterans typically attend twice per week. There is also an admission process upon admission to the program.
Its two components include a memory program for those with significant impairment and needing 24/7 supervision, and a rehabilitation program for those in need of ongoing physical and occupational therapy.
The available services have included nursing care, such as medication monitoring and setup if needed; nursing care as ordered by the VA; and weight and blood pressure monitoring, which takes place at least monthly.
Every morning, coffee, juice and crackers are provided, in addition to a hot lunch each afternoon. Activities range from therapy, exercise programs and outside entertainment to baking activities and games.
“You get more out of it than you give,” Czora said. “There’s no amount of money on earth that could bring you the happiness you get seeing the vets come in scared and lonely because they don’t know anybody and the others welcoming them.”
Czora added that a veteran may know if someone’s having a down day and then they bring the other person up.
Marilyn Emerson’s late husband was attending the program for a couple of years.
Emerson said her husband was informed by another veteran at the program that he could get hearing aids free at the Veterans Affairs hospital.
“It was great they gave him all the therapy he needed, and then some,” Emerson said, adding that the environment was helpful in many aspects.
There’s a lot of veterans coming out of the service that could use this program,” Czora said. This program needs to go on for all of the military people.”