Day programs improve quality of life for seniors and caregivers
When your older adult can’t manage all day on their own or feels lonely and isolated, adult day services might be a good solution.
These weekday programs allow seniors to socialize while getting the care they need. They also give caregivers much-needed breaks to reduce stress and prevent burnout.
This overview tells you what adult day services are, why they help seniors live at home longer, who would do well in these programs, how they help caregivers, and how much they cost.
What are adult day services?
Adult day services are programs designed for older adults who need supervision, companionship, and assistance during weekdays.
These programs provide engaging social activities and nutritious meals and snacks. The goal is to improve quality of life for both seniors and caregivers.
Seniors who attend adult day services usually live alone or with their family caregiver. These programs give older adults a chance to get out of the house and socialize with a larger group of people. They also give caregivers much-needed breaks.
Activities may include:
- Arts and crafts
- Music and sing-a-longs
- Mental stimulation games
- Stretching or other gentle exercise
- Discussion groups (books, films, current events)
- Holiday and birthday celebrations
- Local outings
Additional services may include:
- Transportation to and from the center
- Social services like counseling and support groups for caregivers
- Health support services like blood pressure monitoring and vision screening
Adult day services help seniors stay at home longer
Adult day programs are important to know about because they can help you keep your older adult living at home longer and delay the need to move to assisted living. The stress and fatigue from constant caregiving may cause serious illnesses that could make it impossible for you to continue caring for them.
Having your senior attend an adult day program gives you the regular respite you need to reduce stress, care for yourself, and stay healthy enough to care for them over the long term.
Adult day services are also a good option for caregivers who work full-time outside the home. Instead of being forced to choose between quitting your job to care for your senior or moving them to assisted living, a day program could allow you to keep them at home.
Seniors who might benefit from adult day services
In general, older adults who would benefit from adult day programs:
- Can benefit from socialization and assistance a day care center offers
- May be physically or cognitively challenged but don’t need 24-hour supervision
- Are in the earlier stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia
- Are fairly mobile – independently or with a cane, walker, or wheelchair
- Are not incontinent (in most cases)
These aren’t hard and fast rules, but some general guidelines to help you decide if adult day services would be good for your situation. Each program is different so if, for example, your older adult is incontinent, just ask if that type of care is included.
Extra benefits for caregivers
Adult day services are a relief for family caregivers. While your senior is there, you can go to work, run errands, or get some much-needed time for rest and self-care. Your mind will be at ease because you’ll know that your older adult is safe, well cared for, and having fun.
Most adult day centers also have additional caregiver support like educational programs, support groups, and one-on-one counseling.
How much do they cost?
The cost of these programs really varies – possibly from $25 to $100+ per day. It depends on the services offered, location, and available financial assistance.
Medicare doesn’t cover adult day services, but financial help might be available through Medicaid, non-Medicaid state assistance programs, Veterans Aid & Attendance, and possibly long term care insurance.
How to find a local adult day program
To find an adult day program in your local area:
- Ask a social worker at the local hospital
- Call the county Area Agency on Aging office
- Call the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 Helpline at 1-800-272-3900
- Enter zip code to search via the ElderCare Locator
- Search in your state via the National Adult Day Services Association’s state association directory
An adult day program is a great way to get regular breaks from caregiving so your own health doesn’t significantly decline. It’s also a good option if you work full-time outside of the home and your older adult needs care and socialization during the day.
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
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