For family members of adults who are disabled or unable to take care of themselves because of age or illness, finding a solution for care can be challenging. There are many options, like residential facilities and assisted living or in-home caregivers, as well as staying home to take care of a loved one instead of going to work. For various reasons, these options don’t work for everyone.

An alternative is a type of care known as adult day care. This care is provided in a facility staffed typically by unskilled workers who provide supervision, activities, recreation, and socialization opportunities. Adult day care allows caregivers to get a break but also provides an option for adults to stay living at home, while getting care during the day and outside the home.

What is Adult Day Care?

Adult day care is a service that provides day-time supervision in a facility or recreation center for adults who are unable to stay home alone. The level of services provided may vary by facility, but is limited to supervision and recreation. Day care can provide an alternative to in-home care. It may provide a more affordable option and it also has the benefit of offering the patient opportunities to socialize and engage in activities and recreation.

Plans for adult day care are often flexible, so that someone may make use of the on a regular schedule or on an as-needed basis. While some facilities may provide some level of skilled care, most are limited to unskilled caregivers who provide supervision and who organize and lead activities. They may even offer off-site recreation, like trips to a movie. Some day care facilities also offer transportation to and from care.

Who Can Benefit from Adult Day Care?

Any adult who cannot stay home alone can benefit from the services offered in adult day care. This includes seniors who are unable to manage daily activities safely on their own. It also includes adults with degenerative brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Adults of any age living with disabilities can also benefit from adult day care. This includes those who are developmentally disabled, and any adults who are unable to work or stay home without supervision.

Services Offered

The main reason that most people turn to the services of adult day care is for supervision, recreation, and socialization. These are the main services offered by nearly any adult day care facility. The staff provides supervision so that the adults are safe during the day; they offer recreation and activities to keep them busy and stimulated; and they offer the opportunity to interact with other adults, something they can’t get at home.

Beyond these basic services, what an adult day care facility may offer varies. You can shop around for a facility that offers more than just supervision and recreation by asking what additional services your loved one can benefit from. Some of the possible services adult day care centers may offer and that you may want to ask about include:

  • Assistance with necessary tasks, like walking or going to the bathroom.
  • Managing and administering medications.
  • Educational and vocational classes.
  • Therapy or counseling.
  • Guided exercise.
  • Prepared meals and snacks.
  • Transportation to and from day care.
  • Transportation for appointments or activities.
  • Monitoring of health, including blood pressure or blood glucose levels.

Benefits of Adult Day Care

Adult day care is an important type of care because it has the potential to provide a number of benefits that go beyond simple supervision and safety. It allows family members to work outside the home, for instance. For the adults in care, there are many potential benefits. These include being able to stay home at night and to not have to go into residential care.

The adults in day care also benefit in other ways. They have safety and supervision, but also structure and routine, which can help stabilize emotions and behaviors. They also get mental stimulation through activities and educational programs. The ability to socialize is also very beneficial to overall well-being. For home caregivers, using day care on an as-needed basis provides flexibility and the ability for a break from caregiving and the opportunity to practice self-care and to get rest.

Paying for Adult Day Care

Regular adult day care can get expensive, but in many cases it costs less than hiring a full-time, in-home caregiver. Most adult day care centers charge between $25 and $100 per day. Some health insurance plans may cover adult day care, but Medicare typically does not. Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, and other government programs may provide assistance. Community and non-profit organizations may also help. Some facilities offer discounts or free services to veterans.

Adult Day Care Caregivers

The caregivers that staff adult day care centers are not usually skilled workers in that they are not nurses or even nursing assistants. Some centers may include a nurse on staff, especially those that offer some degree of medical care. Even when the staff is unskilled, they should be experienced in working with adults with special needs. They should be compassionate, patient, and caring.

Choosing the Best Adult Day Care

When you send an adult loved one to a day care facility you expect they will get the best possible care. To ensure this is the case, take your time finding the right facility and continue to check on what happens there over time. Visit several locations before you make a decision and be sure you and your loved one feel comfortable with the setting, the staff, and the level of services offered. Ask a lot of questions about the staff, services, policies, pricing, and other factors before you make a choice.

It is also important to select a facility that is equipped to handle your loved one’s particular needs. For instance, if your family member has Alzheimer’s be sure the staff is experienced with memory care and takes into account safety needs, such as keeping doors locked. A good day care facility will assess each person’s needs, limitations, and abilities at the beginning to be sure they can provide the best care.

Adults unable to care for themselves at home can truly benefit from quality services offered at adult day care. It is a big responsibility to choose the right place, but once you do, your loved one will enjoy activities and meeting new friends while also staying safe. Continue to monitor the level of care your loved one gets and look for any warning signs of abuse or neglect. Any reputable facility should be comfortable with letting you observe for a day or even set up a camera to monitor your loved one. Getting good care is important, and by taking the right steps you can ensure your family member gets it.