I used to associate day cares solely with organizations that took care of children, but not anymore.
Recently, I discovered similar services are available for adults, and they are providing caregivers a much-needed avenue of relief.
Since I wasn’t aware of this service during my own caregiving journey, I decided to find out more about these institutions and what they offer.
Main Services Provided by Day Cares
Adult day care facilities provide a coordinated program of professional and compassionate supervised services. They cater to adults in need of full-time care and a safe place outside their homes during the day.
A team of interdisciplinary professionals, including nurses, social workers and doctors, run these institutions. They accommodate the physical, emotional and social needs of the men and women in their care.
Volunteer care workers play a vital role in helping run the various activities.
Men and women can attend day care for only a day, or every day of the week if they wish.
Adult day care services also provide transitional care and short-term rehabilitation following hospital discharge. They usually operate throughout the week, but some are open weekends.
The National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) describes three main types of adult care facilities and the various services they provide:
- Social: Meals and health-related services and activities
- Medical/health: Intensive health and therapeutic services, plus interactive social activities
- Specialized care: Specific activities for those diagnosed with dementia or other developmental disabilities
Although features differ among facilities, they all focus on enhancing the physical and emotional well-being of their participants. Generally, caregivers choose the type of center that best suits the needs of their loved ones.
Day care facilities also are about adults having fun. Depending on their physical ability, men and women are encouraged to participate in a wide range of activities designed to bring enjoyment and improve health.
These activities may include:
- Arts and crafts
- Gentle exercises that can be done while sitting in a chair or wheelchair
- Music therapy, including listening to music or participating in a sing-along
- Card games
- Pet therapy
- Daytime excursions appropriate to their condition
Benefits for Care Recipients
Besides the fun activities at adult day care centers, care recipients can gain structure in their lives and improve their social interaction with others. The centers can possibly alleviate the need for a nursing home by keeping participants living at their own homes longer.
Day care facilities also:
- Provide the opportunity to make new friends
- Remove feelings of being a burden to their families
- Give participants something to look forward to each day
- Help foster creativity
Benefits for the Caregiver
Adult day care centers can be the answer to a caregiver’s dream.
Where else could they leave their loved one with the confidence they are in a safe, supervised facility that meets all their needs?
The services these centers provide make it possible for caregivers to temporarily relinquish their caregiving role and concentrate on other aspects of their lives, like their own health, without feelings of guilt.
Some day cares operate for more than 12 hours daily, providing working spouses or family members the ability to continue working without interruption.
Other services provided by the day care facilities that benefit the caregiver include:
- Transportation to and from the facility
- Meals and snacks that meet the dietary requirements of each care recipient
- Personal care like feeding and toileting if necessary
- Administration of medications
Despite the benefits of adult day care, this service may not be suitable for all caregivers.
The National Caregivers Library explains that some worry their loved ones will feel resentful if they are placed in a day care institution. Other caregivers feel guilty about leaving their loved ones in another person’s care.
Costs of Adult Day Care
The MetLife Mature Market Institute conducted a survey in 2012 titled, “Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs.” It showed the national average daily rate for adult care services was $70 – a figure that had not changed since 2011.
It is important to note that costs are directly related to license requirements and regulations, which vary from state to state. Those differences can be substantial.
For example, the Montgomery area of Alabama showed the average daily rate for adult care was $26 – the lowest in the nation, according to a report that surveyed 1,363 facilities. Vermont logged in the highest rate at $141.
Caregivers may qualify for financial aid from federal and state governments. Medicare may cover the costs, partially or completely, if the adult care center provides the resident with physical, occupational or speech therapy.
Meanwhile, Medicaid can cover costs if the center meets state standards for reimbursement and guidelines for eligibility.