According to the National Center for Health Statistics, around 4,600 adult day care centers in the United States serve more than 286,000 participants.1
It’s hard to think about your parents growing older and losing their independence, but often it’s just a fact of life. The good news is, there are ways to provide them with the care they need while taking some of the burdens of caregiving off of your shoulders. Adult day care may be the answer, but how do you know what is right for you and your family?
What is Adult Day Care?
Adult day cares provide a place for older adults to socialize and enjoy time with others their age while giving caregivers or family members a break. Adult day cares have trained staff members present, who are well-equipped to work with and care for aging adults. They can often be associated with larger organizations, such as medical facilities or home care organizations.
Approximately three-quarters of participants are older women who live with a spouse, adult child or other caregiver.2
Types of Adult Day Cares
Adult day cares tend to fall into three categories: specialized centers, medical programs and social centers.
These types of adult day cares are designed to accommodate participants with conditions, primarily Dementia or Alzheimer’s – although there may be day cares available for other specific health conditions.
Medical or Health Programs
In addition to socializing the participants, these programs may offer physical therapy or some other type of medical care.
While there are still medically trained staff typically on-site, these programs focus primarily on offering meals and social activities designed for older adults.
How to Select an Adult Day Care
Tip #1: Review Basic Safety Measures
Leaving your loved one in the care of someone else is stressful, but reviewing the facility’s safety protocols and measures can help ease some anxiety.
You, and every other caregiver utilizing the facilities, want to make sure your elderly parents are being treated with the best care.
When checking out the facility, there are certain things to look for, such as tripping hazards and overall cleanliness.
Tripping hazards: These can range from electrical cords and steep steps to slippery floors and surfaces. While it can be difficult to remove all hazards, make sure that stairs and other objects that cannot be moved are marked appropriately.
Overall cleanliness: Older adults may have compromised immune systems or have trouble recovering from common illnesses like us and colds. You’ll want to make sure the facility seems clean, has a pleasant odor, the surfaces are sanitized, and the participants themselves seem to be well cleaned and cared for. Is there hand sanitizer? Are the soap dispensers filled? Just keep an eye out for anything that may look unsanitary or questionable.
Tip #2: Ask About the Menu
Ask someone in the kitchen or a manager if you could see a menu of the types of meals that are offered. Make sure they are nutritious and well-rounded. If your parents have any special dietary restrictions or are diabetic, make sure they have a meal plan that can accommodate this as well.
Tip #3: Check State Regulations
Most adult day care facilities are required to follow certain regulations determined by the state. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with these regulations and requirements before researching or visiting facilities.
Some things to inquire about include:
- Medication distribution procedures
- Staff training
- The ratio of staff to participant
- Any special services that may be offered
Tip #4: Review Your Budget
While you want the best care possible when it comes to the well-being of your loved one, cost is important to keep in mind. Medicare does not cover adult day cares, however, some Medicaid state plans may cover the costs.
The cost will vary per state, but the average daily rate is around $70, or $2,100 monthly.3 If cost is an issue, you may be able to ask the facility or its parent organization if there is any financial aid available.
Tip #5: Get All Your Questions Answered
- In addition to the main questions above, there are some other ones that you can ask including:
- Is transportation to and from the facility available?
- Are there any special activities, and what are the costs?
- Are any support groups offered for caregivers?
- What is the minimum number of days that my loved one can attend?
- Are there additional benefits offered onsite, such as screenings, hair appointments, etc?
When it comes to making this important decision for you and your parents, make sure that the adult day care center you choose is not only right for you but for your loved ones as well. Though the decision can be difficult, if you do your research and find one that is a great fit, it will make things easier for everyone in the long run.
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