Day programs improve quality of life for seniors and caregivers
When your older adult can’t safely be alone all day on their own or if they feel lonely or isolated, an adult day program might be a good solution. These weekday programs allow seniors to socialize while getting the care they need.
Adult day programs are also a great way to get much-needed breaks to reduce stress and prevent burnout so your own health doesn’t significantly decline while caregiving. They can be especially helpful if you work full-time outside of the home and your older adult needs affordable care during the day.
We explain what adult day programs 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 programs?
Adult day programs are designed for older adults who need supervision, companionship, and assistance on 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 programs 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 programs 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.
Adult day programs 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 and keep your job.
Seniors who might benefit from adult day programs
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 an adult day program 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.
Adult day programs include extra benefits for caregivers
Adult day programs are also a relief for family caregivers.
When your older adult 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.
How much do these programs 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
Recommended for you:
- Local Respite Care Services Give Caregivers a Break
- Caring for the Caregiver: 6 Ways to Get Help and Improve Your Health
- 10 Ways to Help Seniors Deal with Isolation and Depression
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Thriving In the Middle