An organization that provides respite for those diagnosed with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia — and those who provide their care — is in jeopardy of closing its doors for good.

Valley Adult Day Services located at 227 E. Oak in the old Veterans Hall needs considerable financial help if its going to make it through the COVID-19 crisis. The facility closed for 2 ½ months during the COVID-19 pandemic but since has re-opened.

But the number of clients the facility can serve is still considerably limited due to COVID-19. Valley Adult Day Services executive director Kayla Muller said up to 30 clients a day were served by the organization before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

She now said the organization serves 6 to 8 clients a day. “That's not going to sustain us,” Muller said.

And if the organization has to close its doors again “the possibility of re-opening is almost non-existent,” said Muller about the operation re-opening after the COVID-19 crisis is over. “It would cause a financial burden on our program.”

So the organization needs funding to sustain it through the COVID-19 pandemic, Muller said.

The organization is limited to how many clients it can serve because of requirements such as face coverings and social distancing. But Muller admitted “there's that fear of the virus” which has also caused a decline in clients.

The organization has obviously also been impacted by not being able to hold fundraisers due COVID-19. It hasn't been able to hold its Rock-A-Thon, one of its major fundraisers. Proceeds from the Buck Shaffer Spectacular have also gone to the organization.

Muller said the organization is “trying to avenues of other fund sources to keep us going through” as far as raising funds to keep to keep going so it can still operate when the COVID-19 pandemic passes.

The organization provides an Adult Day Program for adults age 18 years and older. Persons who are diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia are eligible to participate without regard to age or financial resources. 

The program is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Clients who are served by the program receive physical and mental treatment to allow them to stay in their homes as long as possible. Clients do exercises and also do writing, reading and math.

But just as important the program gives the caregivers of those clients such as their family members a chance to take a break or to do other necessary tasks such as scheduled doctor's appointments or picking up prescriptions.

Valley Adult Day Services is the only program of its kind in Tulare County.

In a letter asking for the community's support, Muller wrote: “We are diligently attempting to maintain operations during this historic time in history. Along with many businesses attempting to maneuver through this virus, we are finding it difficult to provide the services we were able to provide prior to the pandemic. The ability to fund our program has been crippled by the fear of leaving one’s home, limiting the number of participates in the facility, and the costs of securing equipment and supplies for the health and safety of those participants that are attending.

As a result, we are in a financial situation that could lead to the closure of our program. It is disheartening to be aware that a program that has serviced this community since 1989 will have to close due to spread of this virus in our country.

Muller went on to write: “We understand that times are hard and that everyone is in need. What we are asking currently is for your assistance to get us through,” Muller also wrote referring to when the COVID-19 pandemic will be over.

We will need donations to help support our program through the next few months or we will be forced to close with little to no ability to reopen when this virus is no longer threatening our community.”

Bob Patel, one of the organization's top supporters, has set up a GoFund Me page and a goal of $50,000 has been set to be raised. Those who wish to donate can visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/valley-adult-day-services

Also for more information, visit valleyadultdayservices.org or call 783-9815.

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