Five Things to Know about Adult Day Services as a Long Term Care Solution
National Adult Day Services Week in September is much more than a yearly celebration of this important resource for older adults and adults with memory loss or chronic health conditions. The week also serves as a reminder to us all that older adults and elders in our families, neighborhoods and communities need access to long term care services that support healthy aging and provide much-needed respite for caregivers. The federal government first recognized National Adult Day Services Week in 1983. Today, 4,600 adult day service centers serve across the country, but adult day services remain unfamiliar or misunderstood by many people.
Long term care services include support with daily living activities, health and personal care, but vary based on the setting: in community, at home, in a nursing home or a customized (or assisted) living facility. Adults who want to live at home or in the community, but require a long term care solution, can spend their day at a center that offers adult day services. As our population ages, this unique model of daytime care, that supports adults to live independently but not isolated, can be essential to the health and well-being of families. Here are the top five things to know about adult day services:
1. A team of social and health service professionals provide adult day services.
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 learn about the offered at the Wilder Community Center for Aging, they are surprised to learn we have a team of direct support professionals, including social workers and nurses, with a wide variety of aging and caregiving education and expertise. This integrated team approach ensures that our participants—and their caregivers—enjoy the best possible quality of life.
2. Anyone 18+ needing long term care can participate in an adult day program, not just older adults.
A common misperception about adult day services is that they are strictly for the adults 65+, and more specifically, frail older adults. This isn’t true. In fact, aging or adult day centers offers programs for older adults as well as adults at any age with memory loss, mental health concerns, physical or chronic health conditions, as well as those who just want to remain active and engaged or make friends. Each center or program is unique with the types of long term care and support they provide for adults during the daytime, but most will offer these community services without restrictions on age or ability.
3. Adult day services give family and friends a break from caregiving duties.
Caring for a family member, friend or neighbor can be physically and emotionally taxing. Adult day services offer caregivers respite 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.” While they get a chance to recharge during the week, adult day participants can enjoy social activities among friends and get the daily assistance they need. that help them understand caregiving and care decisions with a group of people in similar roles.
4. Going to adult day services and returning home encourages older adults to remain independent.
According to a , nearly 90 percent of people over age 65 indicate they want to stay in their current home or community, or in other words, age in place. With adult day services, older adults receive personalized care and support to maintain their health; spend time on creative activities that interest them, such as gardening, painting or singing; and are able to socialize and connect with friends. At the end of the day can return to the comfort of their own home. Many adult day programs can also arrange for pickup and drop off such as taxi service or a shared public transportation service for adults who are unable to use regular buses due to a disability or health condition.
5. Didn’t know about adult day services but you do now? Share this article!
People who tour our Adult Day Health program often comment that they had no idea such a program even existed. During National Adult Day Services Week, I encourage everyone to learn a bit more about adult day services. 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. Feel free to contact us or stop by the Wilder Community Center for Aging and we’ll be happy to help: