Adult Day Care Centers
Caring for a senior can cause a lot of stress and hardship for caregivers. There are several options to consider when choosing a long-term care solution for an elderly loved one. Senior day programs are one option that can relieve the daily burden of caregiving needs.
Family members of elderly individuals should consider the types of services that are available as well as the benefits of such care. Most notably, facilities like these allow aging men and women the opportunity to have some time away from home doing fun things while interacting with others. Day programs also allow caregivers a reprieve from their demanding caregiving duties.
Most facilities provide residents with nutritious and regular day time meals, a circle of friends and social support. In addition, seniors can look forward to many arts and crafts, games, musical entertainment, and stretching and exercise. Most programs also offer medical care like blood pressure monitoring as it is needed. Some centers offer transportation to and from the facility. In some centers caregivers may also benefit from the use of caregiver support groups. As seniors attend programs during the day, many will experience greater mental and physical health.
Additionally, elderly individuals will be able to maintain a high degree of independence while they enjoy many educational and recreational activities. Caregivers of the elderly enjoy knowing that their loved one can spend the day and be cared for in a safe and secure environment.
Unfortunately, adult day care is one option which is often under-utilized and over-looked. In-home care and assisted living are some of the more popular care options; however adult day care should be considered for a number of different reasons. While awareness of the benefits of adult day care is limited, trends do show that adult day care is growing in popularity.
Types of Adult Care Centers
These centers usually fall into one of three categories. The first are little more than dressed up clinics that warehouse patients sitting around in wheelchairs as they hibernate and sleep away their time instead of being actively engaged in mind games that keep them active and alert. Great for the caregiver, but not so good for the patient.
The second type of facility is a slightly better-dressed version of the first. Staffed by a resident nurse and a mixture of trained staff and volunteers who provide little stimulation and the activities that are so vital to keeping seniors and the memory impaired from truly using their minds.
The third offers a whole new approach to caring for the elderly and those with memory disorders. First off, these facilities bare no resemblance to the clinical environment you are likely to see in an adult daycare centers. They are bright, cheery, contemporary and inviting – looking more like a Starbucks than the usual adult daycare center.
Secondly, their approach to seniors and memory impaired patients differs in they way participants are treated – like people, not patients. The entire system is set up to maximize thought and physical activity and fun through interactive computer games and exercises presented on a huge widescreen high definition TV screen.
There are sing-along’s, bingo and word games that not only occupy the participants’ time but their minds. Along with healthy lunches, they also provide flexible scheduling that benefit both the patient and caregiver. In a sense, most participants look forward to spending time there rather than dreading it
Tips for Selecting Adult Day Care Center
- Research, research, and more research. Don’t settle.
- When you look at different day care centers, ask the staff what they do or say to a person that asks what he has or why he has it. If your loved one does not know, you will want to let the day center’s coordinator to know. There’s a conflict about whether or not the person with dementia has the right to know. I will be focusing on this issue in a future article. If you have a view on this subject, please let me know. I would love to include them in my article.
- When you call about day centers, ask if you can come by the center and see what it is like. Keep a mental note of how many clients are there, and observe their activity levels. If your loved one is quite active, you may not want to place your loved one in a less-active crowd. The idea is to enhance your loved one’s physical ability.
- Ask if you can bring your loved one to the center. Some places will allow you to spend several hours there to see how your loved one interacts with the other clients and how he likes it.
- Not all day centers are alike but they should be similar. Some centers are small, others are large. It depends on the environment that you live in. If you live in a small area, chances are the day centers will be small. But, the size of a center does not matter. The important thing is that your loved one is properly being cared for.
- Each center may have different requirements, costs, and hours. Some day centers do not permit incontinent persons. Create a question list and be sure to ask the coordinator all of the questions on your list.
- When you visit a center, notice the staff. If there are 15 clients with one person watching them, you may want to keep looking. A ratio that is useful to go by is three to four clients for every worker. This is just an approximation.
- If your loved is incontinent, make sure the center can handle incontinence. If they do, ask if they are trained to do so. Helping an incontinent person can sometimes be difficult, especially if the cared for individual is in a wheelchair. You want to reduce any chance of an injury to your loved one.
- Keep in mind that your loved one may not care for the center at first. He or she is going to go through a transition period. Try it for a couple of weeks. If after two weeks your loved one still doesn’t like it, you may want to consider other options.
- To see why your loved one doesn’t want to go to the adult day center, speak to one of the coordinators. Perhaps there is a reason that you are not aware of, such as other clients misbehaving towards your loved one or your loved one may not want to be without you.
Benefits of Adult Care Centers
Following are some of the benefits of adult care centers:
Adult Day Care is an Affordable Care Option
Most adult day programs cost a fraction of what other care services cost. Typically a day at an adult day care program costs averages $60 per day including meals. In-home care costs average about $20 per hour or $160 for a full day of care (8 hours).
Socialization is a Key to Successful Aging
Adult day care offers a great social opportunity. Adult day care programs offer a wide variety of social activities way beyond TV and Bingo. Both the elderly and their caregivers experience rich benefits from participating in senior day care. There is exercise, art, music, brain games, computers, current events, and so much more. Most notably, facilities like these allow aging men and women the opportunity to have some time away from home doing fun things while interacting with others. Day programs also allow caregivers a reprieve from their demanding caregiving duties. Most day care facilities provide residents with nutritious and regular day time meals, a circle of friends and social support. As seniors attend programs during the day, many will experience greater mental and physical health. Additionally, elderly individuals will be able to maintain a high degree of independence while they enjoy many educational and recreational activities. Caregivers of the elderly enjoy knowing that their loved one can spend the day and be cared for in a safe and secure environment.
Adult Day Care Offers Quality Health-Related Care and Support
Adult day care often has medical support services like nurses to help manage medications and other daily clinical needs. in addition, at an adult day care the staff remains consistent, allowing for better continuity of care. With in-home services, often the caregivers change daily or weekly, creating gaps in the care.
It is important to note that most adult day programs are regulated and licensed by the county and state level, assuring proper staffing ratio and qualifications. Many centers have special programs designed specifically for older adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, creating safe and engaging environments. Many adult day care centers also have rehabilitation services to support individuals who are recovering from a fall or stroke. Services can include speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.
Family Support and Respite for Caregivers
Adult day care provides much needed respite to families who struggle daily with the pressures of full-time caregiving. Most centers offer support groups where caregivers will find that they are not alone when having to manage the care of a loved one. The stress can be overwhelming, but finding others who share the experience can offer a great deal of relief.
Disadvantage of Adult Day Cares
- Cost of attending programs at the adult day care. Attending an adult day care costs money, and sometimes this has to come out of pocket. The average cost of adult day cares vary, but much like with any other industry you get what you pay for. Medicaid and Medicare will sometimes cover part of the cost to attend adult day cares.
- Lack of One-on-one attention at the adult day care. Staffing patterns and state laws usually dictate the staff to individual ratio. Talk to your adult daycare director and ask about the staffing ratio before you commit to having your loved one attend the adult day care.
- Limited Social activities due to budgets or because of the way the program is designed. Not every person can go on every outing, or participate in every activity. This can sometimes result in an upset individual. Ask about the programs that the adult day care offers and check to make sure there are alternative activities that your loved one will enjoy if they cannot participate in their first pick.