Headwaters Adult Day Services (HADS) is using a Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) grant to provide scholarships to people who may be interested in attending the program, but who don’t have the funds in their budget.

The day program, providing a respite for caregivers as well as social activities, exercise and mental stimulation for participants, was awarded $63,000 through the DHS’ Live Well at Home grant program.

According to a flyer provided by HADS, the cost for a full, 6.5-hour day of care is $87.62, including lunch and snacks. Hourly care is $13.48 per hour. Meanwhile, the scholarship could pay anywhere from 10 to 75 percent of clients’ daily or hourly costs, depending on need. Also, transportation will be provided as part of the scholarship.

Steve Schoener, director of HADS, explained that their clients include people whose caregivers cannot safely leave them at home alone, while others drive themselves there for the social interaction.

“They just need an outlet,” he said. “The fun activities stimulate them. It’s better than sitting at home alone.”

Schoener added that older adults also need to exercise. “People tend to fall if they’re not using their muscles,” he said. “It helps with balance.”

Kathy Shepersky, whose husband Paul had a stroke and has been attending HADS since February, said the program has been good for both of them. “It gives me time to be by myself,” she said.

HADS client Eva Hagen said she enjoys the fellowship with other participants. Client Pixie Snyder says she enjoys the projects she gets to do.

“I like it because you meet different people, and you can talk to them,” said Snyder.

“Without this, my husband would probably not be at home,” said caregiver Ruth Ann Brady, whose husband John attends HADS two days a week. “This means everything to me. It makes my life doable…. These people are phenomenal – wonderful and kind.”

Schoener agreed that a program like HADS can prevent or delay an elderly person’s need to move into a nursing home, “so they can stay at home longer.”

Headwaters Adult Day Services was created by the board of the Hubbard County Developmental Achievement Center (DAC) and opened in July 2018 at 1009 Hollinger St., using space rented from A Better Connection.

“We know that it’s good for the caregiver and for the participant in many different ways,” said DAC Executive Director Laura Johnson. “What we hear, oftentimes, is that there’s a hesitancy if they think they can’t afford it.”

Regarding the Living Well grant, Johnson said, “We really feel that this is going to help cover that gap and, maybe, bring some people in who wouldn’t otherwise be able to consider it.”

Schoener pointed out that their space includes a general activity area, a commercial kitchen for preparing Meals on Wheels and a quiet room. As of this week, they had 17 clients served by a staff of five, including a part-time nurse, an activity coordinator and two direct support professionals.

Disabled American Veterans has also raised money, Schoener said, to “make sure that, as a last resort, if veterans or their wives can’t afford our services, they have money set aside to help.”

In addition, Johnson noted, a Veterans Affairs benefit pays for services – typically one to two days a week, not including transportation – as do Medicaid elderly waivers and alternative care waivers available through Hubbard County Social Services.

“The scholarship may also help cover an extra day or two,” said Johnson. “Like, say, the VA only approves two days, but the participant would really like to come more.”

The Medicaid waivers are income based, she added. “What we’re trying to cover that area where they have too much money, so they don’t qualify for waivers, yet the cost of paying for that is really going to hurt their budget. We’re hoping to cover that mid-ground.”

Four tiers of scholarships are available for clients 60 or older, based on income. For more information, call 366-3031 or email sschoener@hcdac.org.