Guilford County government has a good problem on its hands right now: It has an excess of funds that can go toward helping the elderly and disabled in the community.

Diane Hayden, the county’s aging and adult services program manager, said this week that in the past there’s been limited funds for these services, however, currently, due to a generous federal grant and other circumstances, the county now has the ability to help many more elderly and disabled who need adult daycare.

“In the past there’s been a waiting list,” Hayden said of the service, adding that right now is a great time for people to apply because the funds are available.

The county program that’s now accepting new applicants provides the elderly and the disabled with care during the day by contracting with private centers to offer those clients the chance to socialize, get some minimal medical monitoring and generally have fun during the day – while the caregivers get a break.

The program is based on the needs of the adult and isn’t means-tested; so, Hayden said, no one should refrain from applying because of that common misconception.

Qualifying applicants are people age 60 and older with a need for socialization or a need for assistance with daily living tasks. The program also helps those with disabilities even if they aren’t elderly, so, Hayden said, anyone not sure whether they qualify should call and ask.

Hayden said those who think they could qualify should call the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services at 336-641-3447 and speak with staff to see if they are in fact eligible.

Caregivers overwhelmed with looking after a loved one should also call on behalf of their family members.

Under the adult daycare program, seniors and others are dropped off at centers that are generally open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“We do not run the centers,” Hayden said, adding that, instead, the county uses the grant money as well as county funds to pay the private providers.

The clients in the adult daycares get looked after very well. They engage in crafts workshops, sing-alongs, light exercise classes and other activities – and, of course, there’s also quite a bit of Bingo played.

The centers have newspapers and other reading materials and they even have areas where the elderly or disabled clients can take a nap.