Adult day care is a planned program of activities designed to promote well-being though social and health related services. With life expectancy continuing to rise, we may need assistance as we age. While help of all types is available, a valuable though not well-known service is adult day care, designed for older adults who can no longer manage independently, or who are isolated and lonely. Re-evaluate your need for day care. At some point the person with Alzheimer's may need more care than the center can provide. Center staff and support groups can help evaluate your needs for future care. Visit more than one center so that you can compare the types and quality of services provided. Visit each center before enrollment. Talk to the director, look at the center, and visit all classes. Think about your feelings when you visited each center.
Adult day care centers may be public or private, for profit or non profit. The common theme for all of these types of day care centers is they provide older adults an opportunity to get out of the house for outside stimulation as well as allow caregivers a break, a chance to attend to personal errands or simply a chance to relax. Good candidates are seniors who can benefit from the assistance a day care center offers. Seniors who may be physically or cognitively challenged but do not require 24 hour assistance are also good candidates for what day care services offer. For the participant, adult day care's benefits can be extensive:
* a safe, secure environment in which to spend the day
* enjoyable and educational activities
* improvement in mental and physical health
* enhanced or maintained level of independence
* socialization and peer support
* nutritious meals and snacks.
The National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) recommends you start by asking yourself what specific services both elder adult and caregiver most need. For the day care participant, are social activities primary? Assistance with walking, eating or medications? Mental stimulation? Exercise? As a caregiver, is support what you need most? Some free time? Help with transportation? Answering these questions will help you determine which of the three main types of adult day care centers (social, health-focused, and Alzheimer's/dementia oriented) will best serve you.
Call the center director or the Bureau of Day Care again if you have further questions. Be sure that the center you choose has a current license and meets your needs for location, hours, and cost. Go over the checklist for each center you visited before making the choice.
Choose the day center that meets your needs and the needs of the individual with Alzheimer's Disease. Remember that it may take many visits before the participant feels comfortable and adjusts to the new setting and routine. Talk with the staff about how to make the transition easier.