BRENTWOOD — A daycare program that has assisted adults in Rockingham County for more than 30 years will close today despite pleas from state representatives and families who fought to keep it open.
“It’s closing,” Commissioner Kevin Coyle of Derry insisted Monday.
Coyle and Commissioner Katharin Pratt of Hampton voted in November to end the Adult Medical Day Program at the Rockingham County Nursing Home due to the cost and low enrollment.
Commissioner Tom Tombarello of Sandown voted against the closure.
State representatives serving on the county delegation’s executive committee held a press conference on Dec. 19 to urge commissioners to reverse their decision, but Coyle said the commissioners have planned no meetings since then to discuss saving the 33-year-old program.
“There’s been no movement,” he said.
The program offers a place for seniors and other adults to spend their days, providing social support, recreational activities, exercise, nursing supervision, therapy, and other services.
Coyle criticized state representatives for their last-ditch effort to try to keep the program.
“I think it was unfair of the state representatives to provide (families) false hope without talking to us or trying to understand why we made the decision that we did,” Coyle said, adding that he feels there’s been a lot of “misinformation.”
Commissioners have said that there are programs offering similar services nearby, but some state representatives and families who use the county daycare disagree.
At the recent press conference, state Rep. Gene Charron, R-Chester, a former county jail superintendent, was among those who asked commissioners to change their minds.
“Being a 30-year employee, now retired, I have seen first-hand the interaction of these folks when they are here. They are alive, laughing, and enjoying being here. Now just as importantly, the caregiver at home has the opportunity to go shopping, meet with friends, and maybe even a movie or just to get away. That is what this is all about. How much would it cost if the elder entered the system 24/7?” he said.
State Rep. Mary Griffin, R-Windham, said the “cost of caring can never be considered too costly” and suggested that the program remain open on a trial basis.
“It would be a start in solving the problem,” the 87-year-old legislator said.
State Rep. Debra DeSimone, R-Atkinson, said that through her work as a geriatric LPN she’s learned what’s important to seniors.
“After productively contributing to society, all they needed was to have friends their own age to talk to face to face, to reminisce with these people who understood and remembered what they were talking about,” she said.