Angie Bedolla uses the exercise ball at the Yolo Adult Day Health Center. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By Anne Ternus-BellamyIf it weren’t for the Yolo Adult Day Health Center, Pearla Stump would be in a long-term care facility, a stroke a few years ago having limited her ability to move around and care for herself. Instead, she’s living with her son, Sam, and his wife in Woodland, and watching her 1 1/2-year-old granddaughter grow up.

Because her son and daughter-in-law work full-time, Stump spends her days at the center, staying busy with various activities and having her medical and personal needs tended to by staff members, until her son picks her up after work and brings her home with him.

It’s hard to say where Rosie Hedge would be without Yolo ADHC.

You can help

What: 13th Annual Blues Harvest

When: Friday, Nov. 7, from 6:30 to 11 p.m.

Where: Heidrick Ag History Center, 1962 Hays Lane, Woodland

Why: Fundraiser to benefit the Yolo Adult Day Health Center, now celebrating its 30th year of providing care to frail elders and disabled adults. The event is organized by Friends of Adult Day Health Care, an independent, non-profit organization that supports the center and its programs.

Tickets: $50 – available at the door and at Avid Reader Active, 605 2nd St., Davis; Watermelon Music, 527 Main St., Woodland; Yolo Adult Day Health Center, 20 N. Cottonwood St., Woodland

Information: 530-666-8828 or FriendsofAdultDayHealth.org

Hedge, who suffered a stroke few years ago, is homeless. She spends her nights at the Fourth & Hope overnight shelter in Woodland, but the shelter is closed during the day. So ADHC staff pick her up in the morning and bring her to the center, where she receives medical care, food, socializing and activities, before returning to the shelter.

She is on the county’s housing voucher waiting list, said ADHC program manager Dawn Purkey, and other living options are being explored, but for now, the center is what stands between Hedge and days spent on the streets.

Stump and Hedge are just two of the more than 90 clients who spend time at the Adult Day Health Center, socializing, exercising and being cared for by a team of nurses, therapists, social workers and activity directors. That’s up from the 20 clients served when the center opened 30 years ago. And the center is still unable to accommodate all that need it — some 30 people are currently on a waiting list.

“We are serving at capacity every day,” Purkey said.

But she is hopeful that as the county makes plans to transform the Woodland property that houses ADHC and the adjacent shuttered Yolo County General Hospital into affordable housing, that a larger center will be included in the plans, making it possible to provide adult day health services to everyone who needs them.

So just who needs those services?

Of the 90-plus clients currently being served, the average age is 75, but there are clients as young as 18 who are unable to care for themselves on their own because of traumatic brain injuries or mental illness. Nearly 40 percent of clients have a mental illness ranging from depression to schizophrenia and 54 percent suffer from dementia.

Two-thirds of clients need assistance with basic care like dressing, bathing and using the bathroom.

Many, like Pearla Stump, have primary caregivers who work full-time or are simply no longer able to care for their loved ones 24 hours a day, so they come to the center up to five days a week, Monday through Friday. And without the center, most would be in nursing homes.

That’s why the center was created 30 years ago, the result of a grassroots effort by Yolo County residents to find alternatives to 24-hour nursing home care — a place that would allow individuals like Pearla Stump to continue living with family while still receiving essential care when family members weren’t available.

Following the creation of an Adult Day Health Planning Council in 1978, funds were procured from the state and in 1983, ground was broken on county land behind the Yolo County General Hospital, creating California’s very first built-to-purpose adult day health center, which opened its doors in 1984.

Initially the county contracted with Eskaton Health Corp. to run the center’s day-to-day operations; then in 1998, those duties were taken over by Woodland Healthcare — since renamed Dignity Health: Woodland Healthcare — which remains the service provider today.

The Friends of Adult Day Health Care, meanwhile, have remained active and essential in keeping the center running, constantly fundraising for programs and upkeep. In the last year, the Friends spent about $100,000 remodeling and refurbishing the Woodland building, including updating bathrooms, installing new cabinets and doors and giving the front lobby a makeover.

On a recent Tuesday morning, the center was full of clients. Some were receiving physical therapy, others speech or occupational therapy; an exercise class was underway in the main room, with clients participating as best they could, while some took to the outdoors, strolling along the pathways in the center’s leafy backyard.

Stump was among those exercising indoors.

What her son, Sam, most appreciates about Yolo ADHC is the way the center keeps clients active. During a brief stint in a nursing facility, Stump said, his mother would be invited to join activities, but she would usually decline, and end up staying in bed watching TV.

Here, he said, “They’ll say, ‘OK, we’re going to do this now, or do that,’ and she does it. And she has fun. She really enjoys herself.”

Stump had been living on her own in San Jose until a stroke six years ago led to a decline in her mobility. A relative cared for her in her home for a while, Sam Stump said, but eventually that relative needed to move on, necessitating Pearla Stump’s move to Woodland to be with her son.

Purkey describes Sam Stump as “the quintessential sandwich generation guy,” working fulltime, raising a child and caring for an aging parent.

It’s not easy, he concedes.

When his mom is not at Yolo ADHC, Sam is Pearla’s primary caregiver, mornings, evenings and weekends. But it’s worth it, he says.

“It’s really nice to have her at home,” he said. “She sees her granddaughter every day. I’m happier. She’s happier.

“There’s a point where I’ll have to put her in long-term care,” he added. “But for now, it’s great that she’s able to have adult day care.”

Purkey, meanwhile, is optimistic that in partnership with the county and Dignity Healthcare, more people will have that option.

With plans in the works for affordable housing to replace the old Yolo County hospital on the corner of Beamer and Cottonwood streets in Woodland, Purkey is hopeful that a larger center, capable of accommodating twice as many clients, can be incorporated as well.

“It’s a perfect opportunity to integrate care and housing,” she noted. “We really need a center twice as big. We’re feeling the crunch.”


Yolo Adult Day Health Center participants take a walk in the center's large back yard. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo


Yolo Adult Day Health Center volunteer Ji Young takes Rosie Hedge's blood pressure at the center. Hedge, who suffered a stroke few years ago, is homeless; ADHC staff pick her up in the morning and bring her to the center. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo