Half of SDC residents have been there more than 40 years
LENGTH OF TIME residents have lived at SDC
The resident who has been at the Sonoma Developmental Center (SDC) the longest was admitted before Prohibition ended. Admitted Aug. 20, 1933, that individual has lived there continuously for more than 80 years.
Of the 523 residents, half were first admitted 40 or more years ago, and 144 of them – 28 percent of the total population – have been at the state-run facility in Eldridge for 50 years or longer.
Just 15 percent of the total population has been at the facility for less than 15 years, according to data obtained from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) by the Index-Tribune. The last complete demographic breakdown of SDC’s population DDS could provide, from September 2012, counted a total of 523 residents (by Nov. 28 that number was down to 517), with 221 females and 302 males.
The total number of residents being cared for at SDC has dropped precipitously in the last two decades, falling from more than 1,000 in 1996 to the current 517.
In July 2012, DDS implemented a moratorium on developmental center admissions, with limited exceptions. In a May 2012 budget proposal introducing the moratorium, the DDS cited “significant discussion regarding the importance of reducing the long-term reliance” on the state developmental centers.
The population of SDC is rapidly aging: 63 percent are over the age of 52, with 207 between 52 and 61 years of age and 119 older than that, according to the September report; 117 were 42 to 51 years old, 58 were 32 to 41 years old, 20 were between 22 and 31 years of age, and two were 18 to 21.
Should the state Department of Public Health make good on its threat to decertify the facility (a Jan. 4 deadline to bring the center into compliance with federal Medicaid standards has come and gone), it’s unclear if this aging population would need to be moved out of SDC, and when that could occur.