Branford adult day care facility gets grant

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
July 18, 2008

BRANFORD — State and local officials gathered at Orchard House Wednesday to announce an $80,000 state grant for the adult day care facility.

Thomas Romano, Orchard House’s president, said the grant will help keep the business afloat at a time of rising food and fuel prices.

“If it wasn’t for the $80,000, I really would have had to cut back on the help, cut hours, and that would hurt the people we’re taking care of,” he said.

Romano said that Orchard House ran a deficit of about $18,000 for the first three months of the year. Anticipating that deficit, he wrote to several state legislators in January about the possibility of financial assistance.

State Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, responded to the appeal. With state Sen. Donald Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, and the state Office of Policy and Management, he found the $80,000 for the facility.

Orchard House, located on Shore Drive, provides day care for about 75 elderly residents in Greater New Haven.

The services include nursing, recreation, counseling and education.

Romano said 95 percent of Orchard House’s clients participate through the state Department of Social Services, which pays about $63 per day for each person.

But he added that the actual cost of the programs and nursing services is between $76 and $80 a day per person.

Meyer noted that adult day care can improve elderly clients’ quality of life and keep them from having to enter nursing homes, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars a year.

“I feel very good that we got (the grant),” Meyer said. “It’s not my money, it’s the state’s money, (and) it’s exactly what the state should be doing.”

At Wednesday’s event, Meyer presented Romano with a ceremonial large check for $80,000. Orchard House already has received the actual check, he said.

Romano said that many of the people who use Orchard House would have to go into residential care if the facility closed, since it provides care for them while family members are working.

First Selectman Anthony “Unk” DaRos said that supporting Orchard House is a goal for local officials.

“I feel that it is so important to have this facility here and I’m also very, very proud that this facility is here in Branford,” DaRos said. “I want you to know that this town will support this facility.”

With many costs continuing to rise, Romano said he is hoping the state will raise the per-diem costs it pays to Orchard House through the Department of Social Services.

In the meantime, he plans to use about three-quarters of the $80,000 grant this year and save the rest for next year’s expenses.

“This is the greatest generation and we’re ignoring them, we’re not providing proper care,” he said. “Something’s wrong with the way we’re spending our money on a state level and a national level.”

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