Adult Day Care for Alzheimer’s Patients

Aug 3, 2016

Adult Day Care for Alzheimer’s Patients

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Adult day care centers, also called adult day centers, provide structured activities and therapies to support mental and social stimulation for older adults in a safe and supportive environment. An adult day care gives a much-needed break for caregivers of seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

These centers may be affiliated or run by various groups including medical centers, nursing homes, assistive living communities, and other organizations like community centers or churches. Most people who attend adult day care have lost a degree of independence due to dementia or Alzheimer’s and live with their caregiver and about half have cognitive impairment.

Adult Day Care Services

Adult day care offers services that are generally customized based upon individual needs with an emphasis placed on group participation. Beyond recreational activities, education, and therapies, Alzheimer’s day care centers provide activities specifically tailored for dementia patients.

Most programs run for multiple hours or an entire day throughout the week. Evening or weekend care is less common, though this may change as the demand for adult day care continues to rise. Some centers may also provide transportation for free, or at an added cost.

Some of the other activities in an adult day care may include:

  • Therapy (music, art, physical, speech, occupational, etc.)
  • Recreational activities (crafts, group outings, social activities, etc.)
  • Support groups and counseling
  • Behavior management
  • Personal and nursing care
  • Meals and snacks

Dementia and Alzheimer’s specific adult day centers provide activities designed specifically for dementia patients. These centers also tend to have specially trained staff with dementia care experience. They will pay attention to senior behavior and keep elders safe from wandering off the premises.

Paying for Adult Day Care

According to the National Adult Day Services Association (NASDA), the average cost of adult day care is about $56 daily. This may be higher or lower depending on your geographic area, how often your senior attends the adult day center or the type of program you choose. Most adult day care centers are non-profit and will typically have lower costs associated with them.

Adult day care services are not covered by Medicare but may be covered by Medicaid, long-term insurance, Veterans benefits, or your health insurance. Be sure to check with your insurance provider to see if they cover adult day care services.

Benefits of Adult Day Care

Adult day care provides many benefits for the seniors with dementia and their caregivers. Seniors can go daily, a few times a week, or even just for special activities.

Studies have shown that for seniors in early stages of Alzheimer’s, adult day care activities can help them retain some cognitive and social skills, as well as help slow cognitive decline. 

For seniors in middle stages, adult day care services provide a needed break when the burden of care for the senior is greater, and the risk of caregiver burnout is stronger. 

Benefits for Seniors with Alzheimer’s/Dementia

Older adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s can greatly benefit from adult day care services. Some of these benefits include:

  • A chance to get out of the house
  • A break from their caregiver
  • Interactions with other people
  • Stimulating activities
  • Therapies as needed
  • Prolonged independence

Benefits for Caregivers of Seniors with Alzheimer’s/Dementia

The key purpose of adult day care centers is to give respite for caregivers and avoid caregiver burnout. Other benefits for caregivers include:

  • Stress relief
  • Predictable hours of relief (can schedule appointments, run errands, etc.)
  • Can continue caring for senior since they get a daily break
  • Feeling less guilty because the senior is being properly cared for in caregiver absence
  • Savings over the more expensive in-home care
  • Possible counseling or support from adult day care center
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Frequently Asked Questions

My husband has recently become more forgetful and I don't want to jump to conclusions, but I'm scared that it might be Alzheimer's. What are some of the symptoms to look for?

Don’t worry; mild forgetfulness is actually a normal part of growing older for many people. His forgetfulness may even be caused by treatable side effects from medication, or perhaps a vitamin B12 deficiency.

However, there are several other more serious conditions that may induce memory loss. The main symptoms of Alzheimer’s include: confusion during routine tasks or familiar settings, difficulty with spatial judgments, and sharp changes in mood or personality. In any case, scheduling an appointment with your doctor to evaluate his condition is a great way to put your mind at ease.

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I've heard that eating certain foods can actually work to help prevent Alzheimer's. Is that true?

An emerging number of studies would suggest that eating certain foods could promote brain health, while others can be harmful. Current research is investigating whether fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, along with a low-fat diet can serve to protect the brain against Alzheimer’s. Though, regardless of your predisposition to Alzheimer’s, it’s still vastly beneficial to eat as best as you can throughout your golden years.

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