CONCORD, N.H. – Two new adult day care facilities in Hooksett and Merrimack have received licensing from the state, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
This comes just weeks after Sevita Connected Care announced it was shuttering three facilities in New Hampshire, leaving participants scrambling to find alternatives. The two newly licensed centers will operate in locations formerly run by Sevita. It’s a sign of hope for some adult day care operators seeking to reverse the decade-long trend of facility closures and address the rising need for the critical services provided by adult day care programs.
Dhan Timsina is opening a new facility in the space Sevita had previously operated in Hooksett. He said he’s been licensed to receive up to 90 adults, and has retained four of the staff members who previously worked for Sevita.
He said the facility is currently accepting new clients and plans to open the first week of January. Timsina, who is the CEO of Universal Care Alliance, said he has spent five years working in health care. He has a personal tie to the Hooksett location that his grandfather used to attend.
“I know the importance of this day care,” he said. “It’s very valuable and in the heart of my family as well.”
Kathy Remillard, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, said that another facility will open in Sevita’s Merrimack location but under new ownership. Kerensarai Reyes, the former program director of Nashua Adult Day Health, which was operated by Sevita, was involved in efforts to keep the center open. Reyes did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
Adult day cares offer socialization, light physical exercise, and meals, and some can administer medicine, and provide a safe place for people with dementia or other forms of memory loss. It gives family members and other caretakers a break, and it’s less expensive and less of a commitment than a nursing home.
When Sevita closed, the company pointed to the challenging economic climate and low enrollment. Asked how he would operate a business under those conditions, Timsina said he’s not opening the facility to make money. He also hopes to work with the state to secure additional financial support.
Easterseals, which runs an adult day care facility in Manchester and one in Rochester, is hiring for two positions in Manchester to prepare for anticipated demand, according to director of senior services Laurie Duff. She said slots are currently available at both locations.
Duff, who also serves on the state’s commission on aging, said in addition to charging participants, Easterseals receives funding through the Older Americans Act and other grants. She said not depending on one funding source has helped the program succeed.
And, she said, greater numbers of participants can provide financial stability. She noted a growing demand for the services provided by adult day facilities.
“It’s a very valuable level of care. It answers social isolation concerns. It answers mental health concerns for older adults. It answers fall risk,” she said. “They get medical supervision all day long if that’s needed.”
But, she said, the state needs to raise awareness about the service. Too often people learn about adult day care services when it’s too late, after caregivers are burned out or have decided to look for a nursing home or assisted living, Duff said.
Duff said Easterseals is aiming to increase its capacity to pre-COVID numbers. Some facilities were shuttered during the pandemic, and some were never able to reopen. Among all facilities nationwide, Duff said numbers dipped from around 7,000 centers before the pandemic to around 5,500 centers after. She said there are currently around 10 adult day centers in New Hampshire.
“We’re slowly rebuilding and trying to acquire staff as our numbers increase,” she said.