Q: What are adult day care centers like, and at what stages in aging would an elderly parent most benefit from them?

A: Adult day care centers provide a safe, secure environment for adults who are unable to stay alone during the day. They serve people challenged with the effects of aging, such as Alzheimer's and other types of memory loss, Parkinson's disease, stroke, or other ailments.

Adult day care centers provide socialization, community, stimulating activities, healthy meals and snacks, and support with activities of daily living. Some centers also offer nursing and healthcare services.

Adult day care centers can be an essential aid to caregivers. They allow caregivers to hold a job, take care of household responsibilities, see friends, and pursue other activities, knowing their loved ones are safe and entertained during the day.

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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.

It's important to note that adult day care centers are typically open during weekdays. Some offer additional evening or weekend care. But participants do not live at the centers; they live at home.