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Five Things to Know about Adult Day Services

Adult Day ServicesThis week is National Adult Day Services Week, and Wilder’s Adult Day Health program is celebrating in style: music, art, dancing and more. Despite the festivities and recognition, this week reminds me that adult day services remain unfamiliar or misunderstood among a majority of Americans. This unique model of care can be essential to the health of families and communities as our population ages.

But what exactly does “adult day services” mean? Here are the top five things to know about the adult day services model of care:

1. It’s Professional Care

The National Adult Day Services Association defines adult day services as: “a professional care setting in which older adults, adults living with dementia, or adults living with disabilities receive individualized therapeutic, social, and health services for some part of the day.” When people come to Wilder’s Adult Day Health program, they are surprised to learn we have a staff of social workers, nurses, occupational therapists and other professionals. This team works together to make sure participants—and their caregivers—enjoy the best possible quality of life.

2. It’s Not Just for Older Adults

A common misperception about adult day services is that they are strictly for the elderly, and more specifically, frail older adults. This isn’t true: adult day programs offer services to older adults as well as adults at any age with memory loss or disabilities. Each program is different, but most will offer services to these groups without restrictions on age or ability.

3. It Gives Caregivers a Break

Caring for a family member, loved one or neighbor can be physically and emotionally taxing. Adult Day services offer caregivers a break from their caregiving duties so they can work, run errands, or just take a break to relax. Many families report this as a “win-win.” Caregivers get a chance to take a break and recharge, and adult day participants can enjoy social, recreational and healthy activities among friends.

4. It Encourages Independence

According to a 2011 AARP study, nearly 90 percent of people over age 65 indicate they want to stay in their home as long as possible. With adult day services, older adults receive care and assistance with daily living activities, and at the end of the day can return to the comfort of their own home. Many adult day programs offer transportation to make such arrangements possible.

5. It’s Worth a Look

People who tour our program often comment that they had no idea such a program existed. During National Adult Day Services Week, I encourage everyone to learn a bit more about adult day services. You can start by checking out a few of the links below. Adult day services aren’t appropriate for everyone, but knowing what options are out there is an important step in finding the right resources for you and your loved ones.

Adult Day Resources

Wilder Foundation Adult Day Health program
The National Adult Day Services Association
Eldercare Locator: Adult Day Care

Barb Zeis
Barb Zeis is the manager of Wilder Foundation’s Adult Day Services. In her 35 years at the Wilder Foundation, Barb has championed adult day programming and has helped integrate creative arts and occupational therapy into the program model. In 2014 Barb was named “Director of the Year” by the National Adult Day Services Association.
 
 

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Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, 451 Lexington Parkway North, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104 Phone: 651-280-2000
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