Caregiving

7/14/2020 | By Rachel Marsh

Adult day services are programs in which adults – usually older adults – with dementia or other disabilities receive care outside the home during the day. These are sometimes referred to as adult day care. Adult day programs provide supervised care, social experiences, and some health services. Many programs (about 70%) are affiliated with larger organizations like skilled nursing facilities or home care.

If your loved one needs supervision or care during the day – every day or just a few days a week – adult day services might be a good option. These programs allow your loved one to continue to live at home, or in a family member’s home, while still benefiting from some professional senior care and supervision. Taking advantage of adult day services can delay the need for your loved one to move into a full-time residential facility like assisted living or a skilled nursing facility. They can spend the day under the care of professionals, but still return to the comfort of a familiar home at night. It’s also a lower-cost alternative to moving into a residential facility.

These services give regular caregivers a respite from the demands of caregiving. If you’re a full-time caregiver, it gives you a chance to rest, run errands, or do other tasks. These programs are valuable for caregivers trying to balance a job or other family commitments with caregiving duties. Most adult day services offer care during normal business hours, five days a week, but some may offer weekend or evening programs. Most provide meals and snacks, and some offer transportation.

Services Offered

Different programs may offer different services. In general, most provide socialization opportunities, meals and snacks, recreational and social programs, and limited health-care services. Some programs may help with activities of daily living (ADLs), like bathing or taking medication.

Benefits of These Services

Your loved one can benefit from adult day services in many ways. Social isolation is common among the elderly, and these programs encourage socialization. They often organize social and recreational activities that a caregiver just can’t provide. Being away from a caregiver, in a setting outside the home, helps preserve a sense of independence. Many of these programs provide activities like music and art therapy; exercise and balance classes; games; and even outdoor activities like gardening. Studies have even shown that the elderly people who attend adult day services are more active and more alert.

Family caregivers benefit, too. Caregiver stress and burnout are common, and these provide a much-needed break for caregivers. In a recent study, caregivers reported less stress and exhibited fewer symptoms of depression when their loved one attended day services. Taking care of yourself means you can take care of your loved one.

Specialized Adult Day Services

If general adult day services don’t fit your loved one’s needs, there are specialized programs for people with dementia or other cognitive issues and for those with chronic medical conditions. Over half of people who attend have some form of cognitive impairment, like Alzheimer’s or other dementia. For these people, adult day programs that specialize in dementia care provide a secure environment  in which to spend the day. They also provide social and therapeutic activities. Other programs specialize in other chronic health conditions. These programs might offer wound care, administration of injections, or monitoring of blood sugar or blood pressure.

Rachel Marsh

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