Adult day care centers are designed for older individuals who need help with activities of daily living or who are isolated and lonely. At the centers, seniors are able to socialize with others while receiving assistance and supervision. It’s especially beneficial for those who can no longer structure their own daily activities, desire social interaction or can’t be safely left alone at home. At the same time, the centers give caregivers a break from around-the-clock care and provide peace of mind that their loved one is in good hands. There are varying levels of adult day care that cater to seniors’ specific needs.
Three Adult Day Care Options
Social Day Care
These facilities focus on enriching seniors’ bed for hospital patient lives through an engaging social community and activities that build upon each individual’s skills, knowledge and unique abilities.
Daily activities usually include:
Creative expression through arts and crafts
Musical entertainment and group sing-a-longs
Mental stimulation games like bingo
Stretching and gentle exercise like chair yoga
Discussion groups about books, films or current events
Holiday and birthday celebrations
Nutritious meals and snacks
Besides recreational activities, some programs provide transportation to and from the center, social services like counseling and support groups for caregivers, and health support services such as blood pressure monitoring and vision screening.
Adult Day Health Care
These facilities typically use the term Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) because they provide medical services and physical, occupational, and speech therapy to seniors. They are usually staffed with an RN and other health professionals. It is common practice for the program to require a health assessment by a physician prior to admission.
ADH centers provide frail adults experiencing physical, mental or social problems associated with stroke, isolation, confusion or other conditions with the opportunity to meet new people, participate in activities and enjoy daily life in a comfortable, supervised setting.
Joint Medicare and Medicaid participants may be eligible to receive ADHC from a local Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). These programs serve individuals who are 55 or older, certified by their state as needing nursing home level care, able to live safely in the community at the time of enrollment and living in a PACE service area. While all PACE participants must be certified to need nursing home care to enroll, 93 percent live in the community and get their daily care at a PACE adult day health care center.
Delivering all needed medical and supportive services, a PACE program provides the entire continuum of care and services to seniors with chronic care needs while maintaining their independence in their homes for as long as possible.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia Day Care
These programs provide social and health services specifically for seniors with cognitive challenges. In this setting, activities appropriate for the participants’ functional abilities are provided in a secure environment to prevent wandering, and the staff has specialized training in dementia care.
How to Select a Care Center
First, start by considering the needs of your loved one. Are social activities important to them? Do they need assistance with walking, eating or taking medications? Is mental stimulation a priority? What are their exercise needs?
It is important to consider your own needs as well. Are you looking for general support? Some free time? Help with transportation? These questions will help you determine which of the three main types of adult day care centers (social, health-focused or specialized Alzheimer’s/dementia care) will be the best fit.