Adult day care centers have been providing care and companionship to seniors for over 30 years. These facilities cater to individuals who cannot manage without help or who are secluded or lonely. They also serve as a form of respite for this country’s nearly 50 million caregivers.
Deciding to send your loved one to an adult day care center is difficult. A caregiver’s feelings of guilt and failure to provide for their loved one can make it even more agonizing. So, how do you know if it’s the right thing to do? Families should give serious consideration to the idea if:
When it comes to adult day care centers everyone reaps the benefits. These facilities allow participants to leave the comfort of their own home for unthreatening, sheltered and supervised surroundings. Once there, seniors can take advantage of a variety of fun and educational activities designed to improve their mental and physical health.
These activities include:
- Arts and crafts
- Sing-alongs or storytelling
- Bingo, cards or other mentally challenging games
- “Sittercise” (stretching exercises performed while sitting)
- Discussion groups
- Field trips
- Holiday celebrations
Staff administer medications, help individuals improve or preserve their degree of independence, provide physical and speech therapy, and assist with performing activities of daily living. Only individuals who are continent and ambulatory are allowed to participate. Canes, walkers and wheelchairs are permitted.
Equally important, adult day care centers accord caregivers a welcome break from the stress of what oftentimes is a round-the-clock job. Just a few hours away from constantly caring for a family member can re-energize a person. Caregivers can enjoy some time for themselves without feeling guilty while recharging their physical and emotional batteries.
Families can expect to pay between $25 and $70 per day, depending on what services are offered. Most adult day care centers provide transportation. Fifty percent of those facilities do so at no cost, while others may charge per trip or by total miles. Meals often are included and the majority of them have full-time nursing services on site.
Many centers employ a sliding fee scale, which adjusts payment based on a family’s income and their ability to pay. Adult day care costs are not covered by Medicare. Medicaid, however, will cover most—if not all—of the expenses for licensed adult healthcare settings and Alzheimer’s-related programs for families with limited incomes and assets.
In some cases, private medical insurance policies will pay part of the costs when licensed medical professionals are on staff. Other payment options include long-term care insurance, dependent-care tax credits, scholarships and financial assistance, such as through the Older Americans Act and the Veterans Administration.
For more information on adult day care centers visit these websites:
- National Council on the Aging
- National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA)
- National Aging Information Center
- Family Caregiver Alliance
Written by home care expert Mary S. Yamin-Garone.