The Dish on Adult Day Care

Mar 22, 2016

The Dish on Adult Day Care

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Adult day care services provide a great deal of benefits for older adults in need of assistance and their families. These services were designed to provide companionship, assist individuals with daily tasks, provide supervision for loved ones, and give caregivers a break.

Since the late seventies, adult day services nationwide began establishing standardized criteria to educate caregivers and their loved ones. Designed with the goals in mind to encourage socialization, boost self-esteem, and put health related services within reach, adult day care is a fairly new concept as an alternative to nursing homes.

The National Adult Day Services Association, or NADSA, identifies 5,685-day programs in the United States, and this number represents a 40 percent growth in the past decade. So what is causing such a rapid growth? For starters, adult day services provide comprehensive skilled health care, which includes a full range of nursing professionals.

According to NADSA, there is one direct care worker for every six participants, enabling the staff to provide thorough care for even the most complex of needs. Also, adult day services are growing to be an emerging power of transitional care and short-term rehabilitation following hospital discharge.

Types of Adult Day Care Services

  1. Social: Typically, these centers provide meals, recreation, and select health services
  2. Medical/Health: These centers provide the same benefits of a social center, but the main difference is that they provide more intensive health and therapeutic services
  3. Specialized: These centers cater to those that require specific care, such as those with diagnosed dementia or developmental disabilities

So how exactly do adult care centers operate? Essentially, these care centers aim to provide transportation, medication management, socialization, respite care, physical therapy, meals, health screenings, exercise, and counseling. Adult day care centers have a wide variety of benefits for participants, families, and caregivers, with services ranging from therapeutic to intense. Adult day services also provide enjoyable leisurely activities such as hair and beauty services, crafts, massage therapy, exercise classes, art therapy, cooking classes, field trips, and even pet therapy.

Generally, a care recipient can benefit from adult day care because:

  • It allows the participant to stay within his or her community while the caregiver goes to work
  • It reduces the risk of caregiver burnout
  • It provides needed social interaction
  • It provides greater structure to his or her daily activities

Why Adult Day Services are a Good Option

  • Chronic disease management- With skilled nurses on staff, adult day services provide disease-specific programs to address chronic conditions
  • Alzheimer and Dementia Care- Adult day services provide specialized programs in an interactive, safe, and social environment that can delay nursing home placement. Programs offered include:
    • Cognitive stimulation
    • Memory training
    • Educational programs
  • Provide essential support for family caregivers- Day services offer reliable support for families, and can restore balance and harmony in times of crisis

Are Adult Day Services Right for You? Questions for Caregivers and Families:

  1. Do you feel like taking care of a loved one is bringing physical or emotional strain?
  2. Do you worry excessively about a loved one while you are not there?
  3. Does the thought of your loved one being alone make you worrisome?
  4. Have you or your loved one felt depressed or isolated?
  5. Do you or a loved one need someone to talk to?

If you answered yes to even one of these questions, an adult day care service could be a very helpful service that enriches loved ones while relieving some of the stress of caregiving for family members.

Finding a Center

When searching for the adult care center that best suits your loved one, it is easy to search by city, state, zip code or required specialized care.

In addition to adult day programs, research a broad range of topics such as in-home services, elder abuse protection, housing options, healthy aging, and financial assistance.            

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Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between home care and an assisted living facility?

There are several differences between home care and assisted living. Home care means hiring a trained professional to provide care right in your home, while assisted living involves moving to a community to receive similar care. The amount of assistance that home care provides depends on your senior's needs and can be tailored accordingly. Home care can range anywhere from weekly companionship and therapy to 24-hour skilled nursing care or even hospice. In contrast, assisted living provides seniors with an enriching community of their peers and medical attention as needed, making it a flexible option for many. 

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What will be provided to my senior if they move to an assisted living community?

In most cases, the basic monthly fee covers what is necessary for your loved one to live securely and comfortably in assisted living. This includes an apartment or living space, housekeeping, laundry services, varying medical services, meal plans, and other essential amenities. These communities focus on promoting senior well-being through opportunities for entertainment or exercise classes as well.

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