Selecting an Adult Day Care Center
|by Nancy Bryce
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Adult day care centers, also known as adult day centers, provide social, medical and emotional support for those with Alzheimers disease and dementia. They also afford the caregiver relief from exhausting responsibilities of caring for a loved one with Alzheimers Disease. Many prefer the term "adult day center" in describing the program because "adult day care" implies the adult person with Alzheimers Disease is being cared for like a child.
What is an Adult Day Center?
According to the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA), adult day centers provide a planned program that includes a variety of health, social and support services in a protective setting during daytime hours. This is referred to as a "community-based service" and is designed to meet the individual needs of functionally and/or cognitively impaired adults. Many of the adult day centers are located in hospitals, senior centers and privately owned businesses.
What services do they offer for persons with Alzheimers Disease or related dementias?
While many adult day care programs focus on people with dementia, many elderly people can benefit. Day care programs may provide:
Donna Albright, Adult Day Care Aide at the Riverside Adult Day Care in Newport News, Virginia, discussed some of the special activities designed for its participants. They play mind stimulation-type games, BINGO, have sing-a-longs, and make craft projects.
What services do they offer for the families of those with dementia or Alzheimers?
Adult day care offers benefits to families as well as care recipients. For families, adult day care provides:
When is it a good time to place your loved one in a day center?
Daniel Kuhn, MSW and Author of, Alzheimers Early Stages: First Steps in Caring and Treatment, advocates adult day centers when the individual with Alzheimers Disease:
What to look for in an adult day center.
Nancy Wexler, Director, Gerontology Associates in California and author of Mama Cant Remember Anymore, strongly recommends adult day centers. She said, "in advising my clients on the selection of an adult day care center, I work hard to find programs which are sensitive to the special needs and predicaments of Alzheimers victims."
It is also important to look for a day center that meets your specific needs and makes you and your loved one feel comfortable.
What is the daily cost of adult day centers?
The average cost of adult day centers is $40 or $50 per day, but can vary considerably depending on your location. Medicare does not cover this cost. Although the cost is significant for most, many believe it is worth the price. Lela Knox Shanks, author of Your Name is Hughes Hannibal Shanks, A Caregivers Guide to Alzheimers says, "Day care has been like an oasis in the desert for Hughes and for me. The costs are now a necessary and integral part of our household budget, as much built in as food and heat and electricity, because AD is now a normal part of our lives."
How do you find a day center close to you?
Begin making calls to the adult day centers in your area.
Call for fliers, eligibility criteria, monthly activity calendar, a monthly menu and application procedures. Review the materials looking for the following:
Visit the day centers that meet your needs.
Albright from the Riverside Adult Day Center recommends the person with Alzheimers Disease and the caregiver come in and take a tour of the facility. Some questions to ask yourself and/or the staff during your visit:
Check references by talking to two or three people who have used the center you are considering.
Try it out
Choose the day center that meets your needs and the needs of the individual with Alzheimers 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.
Shanks recalled her favorable experience as her husband, Hughes Hannibal Shanks, went to day care. "Day care was in fact a blessed relief for both of us," she said. It "gave Hughes a new life. The members of the staff, usually caregivers by choice who have had some training or experience in caring for persons with dementia, were immediately less judgmental and more accepting of Hughes than I was. They were not emotionally involved with him or personally threatened by his deterioration, not having known him before AD."
Written with help from "Your Guide to Selecting an Adult Day Services Center," published on the web site for The National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA)
- "About Adult Day Centers," brochure number 19471B-9-93, published by
Channing L. Bete Co., Inc., 200 State Road, South Deerfield, MA 01373 (800) 628-7733
Available from ElderCare Online www.ec-online.net ©2000 Prism Innovations, Inc.