Budget cuts threaten North Carolina adult daycare

A slot at the Total Life Center adult day care in Garner has been a lifesaver both for Margaret Toman, 65, and for her mother, Lou Longest, who is 97.

"It means my sanity," Toman said. "My mother is an inherently social person who loves people, likes to be around people, interacts beautifully with other people.

"For her to be closed up here 24 hours a day would be bad for the mental health of both of us," Toman said in a telephone interview from her home.

But a proposal in Gov. Bev Perdue's budget would take away about $1.1 million in funding in the State Adult Day Care Fund for anyone older than 59. Instead, the care is supposed to be paid for through Home and Community Care Block Grants - money that counties can use for in-demand services such as Meals on Wheels and in-home care. Across North Carolina, such block grant programs typically have as many as 15,000 people on waiting lists.

"The reason it's cut out is that it was a duplication of services," said Chris Mackey, a Perdue spokeswoman.

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