Adult day centers are community settings can provide respite care for primary caregivers and family members of those with Alzheimer’s disease. Today there are over 4,600 adult day centers in the U.S. according to the National Adult Day Services Association. These centers are state licensed, strictly regulated and were specifically created in order to provide a safe environment for older adults with memory loss, and other deficits that result in the loss of ability to perform activities of daily life (ADL’s).
There are different types of adult day centers including social adult day centers and adult day health care centers. The adult day health care centers require a physician’s order and provide services such as speech, occupational and physical therapy.
Most adult day centers provide recreational activities while allowing for an opportunity for socialization during the day while caregivers work or take a much needed break during daytime hours-usually Monday through Friday. There is usually a healthy hot meal offered for lunch, and many centers even offer a healthy snack and breakfast. Volunteers may offer services to read, play music, or just assist with meals and provide more social interaction as part of the daily routine. This is an excellent way for caregivers to carve out some time to perform some self-care while allowing their loved ones to reap the benefits of having others around all day for social interaction and participation in stimulating activities such as games like bingo and even daily stretching exercises and social outings.
It’s recommended by many experts to start looking for an adult day center BEFORE its actually needed, that way you can be prepared in advance and your loved one with AD can get involved in the selection process. It’s time to implement the plan when your love one can no longer manage planning the structure of his/her daily routing, is isolated and wants some daily companionship, and/or is unable to be left alone safely.
But how do you choose the best adult day center for your loved one?
According to the National Adult Day Services Association, it’s vital to ask yourself the following questions when starting the process of finding the right adult day center:
Is assistance needed for walking, eating, and toileting, or is the need primarily for socialization, mental stimulation, exercise and safety?
Is support for caregivers the primary motivation for adult day services? If so, is transportation needed?
Are there any other supportive services needed such as speech or physical therapy?
These questions will help you select the type of structure required in an adult day center. Be sure to consult with the primary physician to find out what his/her recommendations are.
Suggested resources available for finding an adult day center in your local community include:
Online resources such as the Alzheimer’s Association- CLICK HERE to see our resources page
Social workers-hospital discharge planners or local human services office
Mental health centers in your geographic area
Local Community Senior Center
The Area Agency on Aging- call (800) 677-1116 for referrals in your local area
CLICK HERE to join our 25 topic Caregiver’s Course at AlzU.org.