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Seniors Experience New Life In Adult Daycare

Adult day care offers a stimulating social environment while giving caregivers a break. Start exploring your options and find the best center for your needs.

Services vary between facilities, including the level of care offered. While one type of center focuses mainly on social and recreation services, with a few health-related and personal care services, another type will provide more comprehensive medical and therapeutic services. These could include physical, occupational, or speech therapy, for example, or medical services administered by a registered nurse or other health professional. Finally, a third type of facility will offer specialized services for adults with a specific health condition, such as dementia or a disability.

Adult day care centers tend to operate during daytime hours, Monday through Friday, although some services may be available in the evenings or on weekends. Whatever the range of services, the intent is primarily two-fold:

· To provide older adults an opportunity to get out of the house and receive both mental and social stimulation, as well as the continuing care they need.

· To give caregivers a much-needed break in which to work, attend to personal needs, or simply to rest and relax.

Whether you’re looking at day care services for yourself or an older adult you’re caring for, these tips can help you find the center that best fits your needs.

Services provided by adult day care centers

A well-run adult day care center’s goals will focus on enriching participants’ lives, building upon their skills and strengths, and providing lots of social interaction. Each facility differs in terms of features, but services may include:

Social activities. Planned activities tend to be tailored to the participants’ abilities and health conditions, but may encompass such things as arts and crafts, musical entertainment and sing-a-longs, mental stimulation games such as bingo, stretching or other gentle exercise, discussion groups (for books, films, or current events, for example), holiday and birthday celebrations, and local outings.

Nutrition. Day care centers provide seniors with nutritious meals, including those that accommodate special diets, along with snacks.

Personal care. Center staff can help with the activities of daily living such as grooming, toilet hygiene, walking, and feeding.

Health services. These services may vary from medication dispensing, blood pressure monitoring, hearing checks, and vision screening, for example, to symptom management and more intensive medical or therapeutic services.

Transportation. Some adult day care centers provide transportation to and from the center and for any local outings.

Services for caregivers. Some centers may provide counseling, support groups for caregivers, help for care planning, and caregiving education.

Though each adult day care center is staffed according to the needs of its participants, most programs operate with:

· Activity staff, usually an activity director and assistants

· Program assistants who aid with personal care

· A social worker

· A registered nurse or licensed practical nurse

· A center director

Benefits for the older adult

For the participant, an adult day care center’s benefits can be extensive.

· Adult day care provides a safe, secure environment in which to spend the day or part of the day.

· Offers enjoyable and educational activities.

· Appropriate physical exercise to reduce falls.

· Meaningful social interaction to improve both mental and physical health and help to prevent or delay cognitive decline.

· Mental and social stimulation during the day can improve the quality of your sleep at night.

· Participation in adult day care activities may even enhance or maintain your level of independence, keeping you living at home longer by relieving caregiver fatigue and delaying your escalation of dependence.

· Having control over activities you partake in can bolster your self-esteem.

· Adult day care offers the chance to build new friendships and enjoy peer support.

Benefits for the caregiver

Seeking support and maintaining your own health are key to managing your role as a caregiver, so it’s not selfish to use the services of an adult day care center to give you some time to yourself. If you’re overwhelmed by the daily grind of caregiving, your patience and compassion will wear thin, you’ll find it harder to connect with the person you’re caring for, and you’ll probably both feel unfulfilled.

· Taking regular breaks from the demands of caregiving can reduce your stress levels and help you to avoid burnout.

· Being able to recharge your batteries can leave you feeling more energetic, focused, and reinvigorated about your caregiving role.

· Using an adult day care facility can enable you to continue working, attend school, or devote more time to other family members.

· Can give you peace of mind that your loved one isn’t home alone but is in a supervised and safe environment.

Content from:

Authors: Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., Lawrence Robinson, and Monika White, Ph.D.

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