No matter how great of a caregiver you are for your loved one with dementia, there will be times when you’ll need to take a break. For shorter periods of time, this could look like a close relative or friend stopping by while you go shopping or exercise. For those days you may need several hours or even a full workday, adult daycare is an option.
Adult daycare programs offer a secure setting for senior citizens to interact with others, participate in activities, and receive medical or rehabilitative assistance as needed. While some centers specialize in specific conditions like Alzheimer’s, others serve a wider range of clients.
The benefits of adult daycare for both the individual with Alzheimer’s and the caregiver are numerous. For the caregiver, it offers an opportunity to take a break or complete other tasks, while the individual with Alzheimer’s can interact with others and engage in activities in a safe environment outside of their own home. Adult daycare centers offer varying hours of operation, with some open seven to ten hours per day, and others offering weekend and evening hours. Meals and transportation may also be provided.
Adult day centers offer people with Alzheimer’s and dementia a chance to interact socially and take part in staff-led activities like music and fitness programs. Remember that the dementia patient will require some time to get used to the experience of visiting the facility.
When choosing an adult daycare center, it is important to consider all options and determine which facility best suits the needs of the individual with dementia and the caregiver. The local Alzheimer’s Association chapter, senior center, or regional agency on aging can provide useful information on available options. It is also recommended to try out a facility for a month before making a final decision.
Ask the staff if they are able to give medical aid if the individual with Alzheimer’s needs medical services (such as insulin shots, assistance with medication, etc.). Certain centers may even offer full health services in addition to their daycare.
The facility might offer dementia counseling services. This can include therapy as well as connecting or making arrangements for supportive care in the home. They can also provide knowledge and advice on other services.
Centers may offer assistance with grooming, bathing, and other personal care activities. The type and level of personal care services offered may vary depending on the center and the needs of the individuals they serve, but most centers will have qualified staff that can provide adequate support.
Check that the facility is offering adequate and healthy meal options. If your patient has dietary restrictions, check that the care center can accommodate them. Some facilities may even offer dietary education programs for seniors or regarding a specialized condition.
A typical day can involve music, art, recreation, conversation, and support groups. Inquire about activities available and see if your loved one would be interested.
Costs for adult daycare can vary and may be based on income or sliding scales. Medicaid may provide financial assistance for those with low incomes and few assets in certain states. It is important to inquire about costs and financial assistance options when researching adult daycare centers.
Ask other caregivers about their experiences, consult your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter about adult daycare options, and give your neighborhood senior center or regional agency on aging a call.
Have a good handle on what you are able to afford and what your dementia patient will most enjoy and gain fulfillment out of — you should settle on a place that’s an ideal intersection between the two.
Before making a final choice, think about doing a “trial run” of a few days spread out over a couple of weeks — ideally up to a month. This can insure that you and your loved one have made the right decision.
Adult daycare centers can provide an invaluable service for caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. They offer a secure environment for individuals with dementia to interact with others and participate in activities, while also providing much-needed respite for caregivers. When choosing an adult daycare center, it is important to consider all options, determine which services are required, and try out a facility before making a final decision. Additionally, it’s also important to ask about cost and financial assistance options. With careful research and planning, adult daycare centers can offer a valuable resource for both individuals with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.