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Non-Profit Plans to Build New Adult Day-Care Facility

November 27, 2012, 4:47 PM HST (Updated November 27, 2012, 4:52 PM)
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Plans are underway to relocate the Hilo Adult Day Center to a new home to be built adjacent to a senior rental housing project now under construction.

The Hilo Adult Day Center is currently located at the former Hilo Hospital building on Rainbow Drive. It provides support every day but Sunday for adult and elderly clients with physical or mental disabilities, including Alzheimer’s disease, by providing social, recreational and educational activities.

The new facility will be located next to the Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood, a 160-unit rental housing project being built for low-income seniors. Work began in March on the first  phase of 60 units.

According to a final environmental assessment issued last month, the new adult day-care center will have 8,000 square feet of space to accommodate up to 80 clients. That’s about the same capacity as the existing center.

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Having the day-care facility in close proximity to the senior rentals will foster a symbiotic relationship between the two, allowing each to share facilities and amenities, the EA said.

The document said the new facility could include a transit area for arriving and departing clients, a beauty and barber shop, a small retail space and an office for visiting doctors. It may also feature office space for visiting agencies, a mini-theater, central kitchen and an exercise room.

Desired exterior features would include garden plots, a fenced dog run, barbecues and outdoor eating and lounging areas.

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The new facility is being developed by the non-profit Hawaii Island Community Development Corp., in conjunction with Hawaii Island Adult Care, Inc. HICDC is the same entity developing the Mohouli Heights senior rental complex.

The HICDC is looking to secure a variety of private, state and federal funding sources for the $7 million the new facility is expected to cost. The EA said if sufficient funding is found, the facility could be constructed within three years.

It will be built on a portion of a 16-acre parcel of state land given to the county via governor’s executive order. The subdivided property, which is located on the Mohouli Extension just above Komohana Street, also hosts the Mohouli Heights rental complex. It is also the proposed site for a new Hawaii Fire Department administration complex.

According to the EA, there is a strong need for senior support facilities.

One study by the University of Hawaii cited said that between 2000 and 2030, the population of residents age 60 and older is expected to grow at more than four times the rate of the state’s general population.

By 2030, people age 60 and older are expected to comprise more than a quarter of Hawaii’s residents.

The Hilo Adult Day Center currently has 105 registered participants with daily attendance ranging from 60 to 78 individuals. More than 70% of the participants are at least 80 years old and more than half suffer from some form of dementia.

The center not only provides daytime respite for family members and caregivers of its clients, the EA said, it also serves as an alternative for the estimated 40% of the participants who would otherwise have to be placed in a care home or nursing home.

According to the county Office of Aging, the move is also needed because the center’s existing location, the old Hilo Memorial Hospital, was built in 1924 and is “rapidly deteriorating.”

“The facility is being leased on a month-to-month basis and the construction of a new functional and modern facility will be essential to ensure that these services will continue to be available for the community,” the environmental assessment said.

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