Adult day care is one of the newest and least known ways of providing peer interaction and activities for elders and others who need daily care, while also providing time for the primary caregiver to work or have time with friends.
Adult day care centers are widely varied in the services they offer and should be considered by those looking for care options.
Types of Adult Day Care
Attached to Nursing Homes
Even if the day care does not have a Registered Nurse, which most don't, a day care attached to a nursing home generally has an agreement where a nurse is just a room or two away. Therefore, in a medical emergency, help is nearby.
People who are in the earlier stages of dementia or Alzheimer's disease where they will eventually need nursing home care for dementia are generally easier to transition to the nursing home when that time comes. Sometimes a family member can just gently guide the elder toward a different door than the one they have used to board the bus or get in the family car. This door leads into the nursing home and the elder goes to his new room. With a family member along, the elder often doesn't mind the change as much, since the staff and atmosphere will seem familiar.
There are a few negatives with adult day care centers that are attached to nursing homes.
For elders who are still very much aware of their surroundings, a day care attached to a nursing home can send the signal that moving to the nursing home is next. If they fear a nursing home, then they may also fear the day care center.
When preparing your elder for adult day care, it's often advised that the caregiver say they are getting ready to go to "the club" or to "volunteer." Let's face it, in our society, day care is considered a service for children and many adults find this term insulting. For this reason, many adult day care centers refer to their care as adult day services. If the center is attached to a nursing home, it's harder to pull off the "club" idea.
Free Standing Centers
The main advantage to a free standing center is that it seems more like a club, so an adult who would fight a "day care center" may feel okay going to this nice building where there are all kinds of activities and people about.
Private Homes Turned Into Day Care
The strongest draw of a private home turned into a day care center is that there are generally only four to six people being cared for. Some folks love this small family-like atmosphere, where others find it too confining.
Not everyone lives in a community that can offer a choice among all three of these types of care. Some other care centers may be hybrids. However, the three types above, if you are fortunate enough to live where you can choose, can give you and your loved one options.
When you are looking for adult day care services, think about your loved one's personality. Is he outgoing or social? Does she like to play games or read books? Does he value his privacy or like to have people around all day? Thinking about your loved one's personality may help guide you to the right center.
Larger centers, such as free standing buildings and those attached to nursing homes, may offer more advanced services. Many offer some or all of the services below:
- Beauty salons and saunas
- Whirlpool baths for hygiene services
- Woodworking shops
- Computers, Wii game system and pool tables
- Outdoor activities areas
- Certified for veterans
- Physical therapy for prescribed therapy; exercise equipment
- Child care center in the building
- Client kitchen for baking and cooking
Many home-based day services don't offer these more hi-tech advantages, but they may offer the individual a place to have a garden and be with animals. They may bake in the family kitchen or play pool in the family basement. They generally offer family style meals and a more confined atmosphere, which can be either positive or negative, depending on the person involved.
If regular medication is needed, you will have to inquire about the center's licensing for dispensing medication. With all of these options, it pays to look around and compare. Your elder may truly enjoy the stimulation of seeing other people as well as the programming of many centers, and you, the caregiver, will know your elder is being cared for while you work or run errands.
For spousal caregivers, day care also lets the well spouse get used to being alone in their home, which can help with the transition should the spouse that needs care have to move to a nursing home.
Unfortunately, at this time, adult day care is nearly always an out-of-pocket expense, unless the person involved has a very good long-term care policy that pays for this type of care. However, the benefits of adult day services to the elder and caregiver can be enormous. At this time, there are even a couple of night services open in large cities, so stayed tuned for new choices.
If you are looking for adult day care, use the AgingCare adult day care locator to find help in your area.