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Adult Day Care Helps Seniors and Their Families
Adult day care centers offer a dual solution. They help family caregivers who need a respite from caregiving responsibilities as they provide seniors health-promoting opportunities to socialize with other seniors.
Open during daytime hours, adult day care centers provide a safe, supportive environment for older adults who need assistance with independent living as they receive essential mental and social stimulation through the center's organized activities. At the same time, the centers offer family members peace of mind that their loved one is in good hands when they are involved with work or other responsibilities.
Adult day care centers promote well-being and quality of life by providing social and health-related services. They also offer nutritious meals and snacks to accommodate special diets.
Activities provided at adult day care centers may include:
- Arts and crafts
- Musical entertainment and singing
- Games that provide mental stimulation
- Exercise appropriate to ability
- Local outings
- Discussion and reminiscing
Some adult day care centers also coordinate programming with children to provide intergenerational opportunities for the seniors and children, and some have special programming for persons in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and other dementia-related conditions.
Additional services provided by some centers include transportation to and from the center, counseling and support groups for caregivers, and health screening and monitoring services for the seniors.
According to the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA)there are about 4,000 adult day care centers in the U.S. The growth in adult day care in the past 20 years has been driven by the tremendous growth in the nation's senior citizen population and seniors' increasing preference for in-home and community-based services over institutionally-based care.
Adult day care is appropriate for seniors who:
- Are alone during the day while family members are at work or taking care of other responsibilities
- Need companionship, social stimulation and functional assistance
- Are physically or cognitively challenged but do not require 24-hour supervision
- Are in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.
- Can not be safely left alone at home
Adult day care services are not covered by Medicare. However, Medicaid will assist with the costs of licensed adult day care for persons who have limited income and assets. Some centers offer services on a sliding fee scale, based on income.
Some private medical insurance policies cover a portion of adult day care costs when licensed medical professionals are involved in the care. In addition, some long-term care insurance may pay for adult day care services, and dependent-care tax credits may be available to caregivers in some cases.