Elderly Day Care: A Great Way To Spend The Day

Elderly day care centers provide a safe, supportive group environment for seniors who need care and/or assistance with personal tasks during the day. Day programs for elders are usually staffed by a nurse, a geriatric recreation specialist and a number of personal support workers.

These centers provide relief to caregivers and family members who are caring for an elder in their home, as well as offering the senior a chance to get out of the house, socialize and participate in fun activities with others. There are more than 4,500 elderly day care centers currently operating across the country, three-quarters of which are non-profit and/or public.

Who Attends Elderly Day Care?

Generally men and women aged 65 and older are eligible to attend elderly day care. According to the National Adult Day Services Association, the average participant in senior day programming is 72 years old, and usually lives with a spouse, adult children or other friends or family members.

Approximately half of all participants in elderly day care have some type of cognitive impairment such as memory loss, and many of these seniors need support with activities of daily living such as personal hygiene and meal preparation.

Where Are Elderly Day Care Centers Located?

Elder day care programs are typically located in nursing homes, community and senior centers, hospitals, schools and churches. Other locations include centers in shopping plazas, rehabilitation centers and private homes.

Day programs usually operate Monday through Friday during the day. However, some facilities may offer evening, holiday and weekend programming to accommodate caregiver schedules.

What Types Of Services Are Provided?

Depending on the location, the following services may be included with elderly day care:

  • Transportation to and from the center.
  • Snacks and meals during the day.
  • Physiotherapy services, including help with rehabilitation programming.
  • Personal care support, such as personal hygiene and grooming.
  • Medication monitoring and administration.
  • Social activities, including organized groups and outings.
  • Supervision of seniors who may wander, such as those with memory impairments.

What Are The Benefits Of Elderly Day Care?

Many seniors enjoy the social interaction with both the staff and other participants that elderly day care provides, and the therapeutic activities can be beneficial for both physical and mental health.

Since most participants in these programs live in the community, either at home or with a family member, elderly day care services are an important part of preventing long-term institutionalization of seniors.

Caregivers often enjoy the respite they receive by having their elderly parent attend a day program, allowing the caregivers to work, take care of their children or simply relax knowing that their parent is safe during the day.

How Much Does It Cost?

The costs for elderly day care are usually charged on a daily basis, with fees ranging from $20 to over $100 per day depending on the services, location and funding model. This is generally much less than is charged for in-home care.

On average, the daily national rate for elderly day care is $67 and the average rate for home health care aides is $19 per hour, or about $152 for an eight-hour day, according to a 2010 MetLife Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs.

Medicare usually does not cover the cost for senior day programs, which can make paying for elderly day care difficult for some seniors and their families. However, financial assistance may be available through subsidies or other sources. These may include veterans benefits, private insurance, government funding and sliding-scale fee programs.

Written by senior housing staff writer.