Kenosha Area Family and Aging Services Inc. is suspending its Daybreak program due to a lack of participation and funding, according to KAFASI executive director Katie Oatsvall.

The program, which operates out of Trinity Lutheran Church, 7104 39th Ave., offers activities designed to promote well-being through social and health-related services for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of memory loss.

KAFASI recently announced the program will be suspended on June 21.

A front-page story in Wednesday’s News reported on the program’s closure and how it’s affected those around it. KAFASI Daybreak program coordinator Sylvia Martens, several participants and multiple caregivers offered information on the program and expressed their concerns moving forward.

The number of participants, reported as a group of about 20, was a highly inflated figure, according to Oatsvall.

Oatsvall said the Daybreak program currently has 10 active clients and averages 3.8 users per day. In 2018, the daily average participation was 5.4 users per day.

“Decisions to suspend programming are always difficult, even when the service is only being utilized by three to five families,” Oatsvall said. “Our hearts go out to caregivers and their loved ones.”

Oatsvall said the program, due to insurance liability, requires three paid staff members. There was also a monthly cost for the church rental space.

“Families aren’t using respite care, as referenced by an average of three participants per day,” Oatsvall said. “Of those participants, we’re not seeing the managed care organizations support such programs in the numbers we used to. The funding for such programs just doesn’t exist.”

Even with the lack of funding, Oatsvall said KAFASI continued to operate the program.

“As a nonprofit whose mission is to care for the community, we’ve done our best to keep those doors open,” Oatsvall said.

“These decisions are not made lightly. We looked at ways to continue service in a way that’s viable and safe for the participants and also allows the organization to at least break even. We look for nothing else.”

Daybreak operated for nearly 25 years at multiple locations throughout the county.

“It has always been a social, respite model, meaning we are not a certified, adult day facility nor have any of our staff ever been licensed,” Oatsvall said. “We hire para-professionals with caring hearts and ask volunteers to help as well.”

KAFASI serves more than 10,000 residents each year. The organization will continue its memory programming with Memory Masters, Music and Memory and Dementia Live, according to Oatsvall.