Adult Day Care programs have been a proven benefit … and blessing … to seniors and caregivers alike. For seniors who are living at home, adult day care programs provide meaningful social interaction. Even when there is a caregiver present, adult day care augments the services seniors need, such as substantial activities for stimulating the mind and exercising the body.
A survey taken by MetLife National almost a decade ago showed about 4,600 adult day care centers in the United States provided services for more than 260,000 people with three-quarters of participants attending full days and nearly half attending five days a week.
There is a growing recognition caregivers can’t always provide everything a senior or disabled adult living at home needs to lead a happy, fulfilling life. Day programs provide benefits beyond increased social interaction to cognitive stimulation and health care.
The Alzheimer’s Association suggests adult day care offers an opportunity for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia to be social within a safe environment. Individuals can participate in staffed activities such as music and exercise programs, games, day trips, and even pet therapy.
Benefits for Seniors
Adult day care programs provide meals, activities, and social interaction in a center where older adults are monitored by trained staff and licensed nurses. Participants return home at the end of an active day. Families report loved ones in such care were more active and more alert. They experienced less depression and were more at ease; they looked forward to their days at the center.
Adult day care allows older people with special needs a chance to leave the house and be involved. It helps give them feelings of independence, a quality high on a senior’s wish list. They enjoy having control over the activities they choose to participate in, which increases a sense of well-being. They appreciate opportunities to make new friends and enjoy new social interactions.
In addition, adult day care programs can help improve senior health overall. They can remedy health issues by offering older adults a place to go to receive care, nutritious meals, mental and physical stimulation, and companionship.
Benefits for Caregivers
The break from the stress of balancing caring for a loved one with work or other family obligations gives peace of mind to caregivers. Services delivered by adult day care centers often extend beyond what the caregiver is equipped or able to do, such as monitoring blood pressure and performing physical, dental, foot, eye or ear examinations, typically for a separate fee. Centers may also offer physical, occupational, or speech therapy; nutrition; and behavior management programs at additional cost.
Caregivers report reduced stress and decreased symptoms of depression. Their concerns about how their loved one might react during the time at daycare and afterward when returning home were eased. They could see the positive results in their loved ones created by days spent at the center.
Improving Senior/Caregiver Relationships
Relationships between the senior and caregiver can often be strained due to the stress of responsibilities and the dynamics involved in the change of roles. Adult day care relieves both for several hours a day, allowing caregivers time to do personal tasks, errands, or work while their loved one is under safe, professional, and loving care at the center.
Benefits for All
While the benefits of adult day care are numerous, the basic finding is that for seniors it is a chance to socialize and participate in activities, increasing the potential for staying healthy and living at home longer. For caregivers, it provides peace of mind that your loved one is in good hands and enjoying different experiences even when they cannot be with them.
In addition to housing, health care, adult day care, and programs for seniors, SALMON Health and Retirement communities offer support groups and resources for caregivers and family members. To learn more about the options available to you and your loved ones, contact us today by calling 800-446-8060 for more information.