Lets Put an End To Sitting Home Alone


Joy Loverde

eldercare, adult day careYou know the type. No senior care for these older adults. Elderly people who are busy and active maintaining friendships, participating in hobbies and sports, and having no problem at all getting around on their own. They’re on the go and engaged in life, hanging out at senior centers, signing up for classes at learning centers, volunteering for worthy causes, and taking part in neighborhood recreation programs. But that’s not the case for every senior. People who are caring for family with Alzheimer’s knows first hand that their eldercareresponsibilities at home are maxed out when an elderly parent or loved one can’t just “get up and go”

Keeping up with active, older adults who are mobile and void of serious physical and mental ailments makes participating in social and physical programs and activities for some elderly people next to impossible, if not downright frustrating. The pace is far too hectic, especially when medical issues get in the way and daily elderly parent care is inevitable. So what’s the alternative? Watch aging parents and loved ones sit home all day and stare at the TV? No way!

If you are caring for an elderly parent or loved one, and provide care at home, and it’s breaking your heart to witness your elderly parent or loved one wasting away in front of the television, have you investigated the possibility of your elder joining the wonderful people at your local adult day center? Importantly, adult day centers help bridge the gap in eldercareand take a lot of stress off you and your daily caregiver routine. In many ways, adult day services are an important method of caring for the caregiver, and no eldercareplanning process should be without the consideration of adult day services as a senior eldercaresupplement.

Everybody wins. Adult day centers typically provide skilled nursing, physical therapy, social services, and personal care for adults who require assistance, but not 24-hour care. While adult day care centers are not necessarily federally licensed, members of the staff must include a director with a professional degree in the field of health and human services, a social worker, and a registered nurse (R.N.) or licensed practical nurse (L.P.N.) supervised by an R.N.

There are excellent programs at adult day centers since they are specifically designed for older, frailer people to succeed in a more supportive environment. While people come to adult day centers needing some level of nursing care and extra doses of TLC, they end up looking forward to all of the fun activities and meeting new friends.

The process of finding the right adult day center for your elderly parent or loved one requires knowing which questions to ask. Here’s a checklist of questions from my eldercarebook, The Complete Eldercare Planner:

Does participation in this adult day center require a physician’s prescription?

Do you provide reports on my elder’s activities?

What’s the staff–participant ratio? (One staff member for every eight participants is typical. In cases where participants are severely mentally and physically impaired, one in five is an acceptable ratio.)

Do you offer transportation options?

Are participants generally the same age as my elder?

Do you offer services for people with severe cognitive problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease?

How do you encourage people who may not want to participate in an activity?

What meals are served? How often?

How do you address dietary needs?

Who and how are medications managed?

Will you provide me with a calendar of events and activities?

Will you customize activities for a person’s range of interests?

Do you have a trial program? Is it free?

What is the cost of your services? Does insurance pick up the tab?

And speaking of costs, in a move that would further shift the focus of long-term care away from nursing homes and expensive home care nursing and toward other home- and community-based services, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) introduced a bill that would allow Medicare to pay for adult day care services.

Under the Medicare Adult Day Care Services Act of 2009, older adults and those with disabilities who qualify for home-care services would be able to choose whether they would like to receive care at home or at an adult day care center. Currently, adult day services are not covered under Medicare.

For more information visit the National Adult Day Services Association website at www.nadsa.org


2 Responses

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  3. The problem with this is that not every senior would be willing to attend something like this. My mother-in-law does not have Alzheimer's but, at 81, experiences some forgetfulness and confusion which escalates any time something outside of the routine happens. She has always been reticent to meet new people and has never done well in crowds and new situations. Going to something like this would scare her to death. She is in an assisted living facility, partly because our home is not conducive to her needs, partly because, with a teen at home, we're still in the "taxi" years, and she's forgetful enough that I would not feel comfortable leaving her home alone, yet she does not have a lot of energy or mobility and would not want to go with us everywhere we need to go, but also partly because we knew that if she lived here, we would be her whole world, and we thought in a facility she would get to know a few more people. But she loves to stay in her room and read. She does go down to the dining room to eat and says hello to people in passing, but she never wants to go to any function they have, not even sitting and listening to music. She does come with us to church where a few ladies haven't specifically reached out to her, and for some reason she loves my son's home basketball games. She comes to our home for dinner every Sunday and for special occasions, and sometimes for pizza and Scrabble nights, and one of us goes to see her pretty much every day. A couple of ladies from church go to see her almost every week. But that's about all she wants in social interaction.
  4. Thank you, Barbara for your insights. You are correct, adult day services is not for everyone - especially as is the case for your mother-in-law who has never been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and quite capable of making choices that continue to please her. Adult day is a God-send for dementia caregivers.

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