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Alaska's Adult Day Services (ADS) Program is a network of adult day care centers located throughout the state. These centers provide supervision and basic care services during daytime hours to individuals with Alzheimer's, related memory disorders, and other frail, elderly persons. Like most "home and community based services," this program was created with the objective of reducing the unnecessary placement of individuals in skilled nursing facilities. Helping families keep their loved ones living at home by providing daily care in a supportive, safe environment goes a long way towards achieving this goal.
The Adult Day (Care) Services Program is under the administration of the Department of Health and Social Services, Senior and Disabilities Services. Services are paid for through a combination of Medicaid, the state's general fund, and private pay. Click here to see the list of providers for this program.
To qualify for Adult Day Services, there are several requirements. The first of which is to be a legal resident of Alaska. Applicants must also be at least 60 years of age. However, one exception is if the individual has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's or a related disorder and the condition has progressed to the point where care is required.
Applicants must have a functional need for supervision and should they not receive this supervision, they might be at risk of placement in a nursing home. To be clear, not all of an individual's care and medical needs can be met through this program. It is possible to have needs that exceed the capabilities of the adult day care centers, and therefore, one may not be eligible.
Unfortunately, qualifying for this program does not automatically mean an individual may begin receiving services. A waiting list for services is fairly common and prioritization is not first come, first serve. Rather, prioritization is weighted toward those who are at the greatest risk of nursing home placement, those with the greatest financial need, and those who reside in rural areas of the state. Native Alaskans are also given priority.
In the Adult Day Care Centers, the primary benefit is personal care and assistance with the activities of daily living, such as moving from one location to another, using the bathroom, and eating. A variety of therapies are also provided, as well as snacks and meals, recreational activities, and medication oversight. In some areas, transportation assistance is also available. This program is also a means to provide respite care to relieve caregivers of their caregiving duties, as well as to provide the opportunity for education.
To begin the application process, it is best to contact one's local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). Contact information for all AAAs by county is available here. Although it is not intended to be a guide for consumers, one can find additional helpful information about this program in the downloadable Program Manual.