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What is an Adult Day Care Center?

The aim of Adult Day Care is to provide senior citizens with social interaction, entertainment, and health services.   Adult Day Care is most commonly administered in a non-residential setting such as a community or recreation center, stand-alone building, or religious institution.  Some centers are referred to as Adult Day Healthcare Centers, and focus more on rehabilitation and therapy services for seniors recovering from an injury.   Adult Day Care is also one form of respite care, designed to give regular caregivers a much needed break. 

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Non-Medical Services Provided at Adult Day Care Centers

Adult Day Care Centers are usually staffed by a director or administrator, a cook, an administrative assistant, and a social worker, in addition to the general staff.  Below is a list of services most commonly provided by Adult Day Care Centers: 

Entertainment & Social Engagement - Social isolation is a very serious problem among the geriatric population.  Adult Day Care Centers provide different types of social activities including field trips, board games, bingo, holiday parties, exercise classes, arts and crafts, etc.  The aim is to provide a “community-like” setting, where seniors feel a sense of belonging.  Some Adult Day Care Centers even throw birthday parties for their members, further reinforcing those feelings of belonging.  Field trips are considered one of the greatest benefits of Adult Day Care Centers.  Excursions to the zoo, local museums, botanic gardens, and casinos, are regularly organized by theses centers; with transportation and meals included.  Some Adult Day Care Centers will even bring in guest speakers to discuss important topics pertaining to seniors, such as Medicare regulations and updates.  

Meals – Adult Day Care Centers usually provide one or two meals per day.  Since they operate during normal business hours, most Adult Day Care Centers offer breakfast and lunch.  Meals are typically cooked in an onsite kitchen and served in a dining hall; furthering community and social bonding.  Adult Day Care Centers usually put out snacks and coffee/tea in between meals.

Exercise Classes – The average Adult Day Care Center attendee is 75 years or older, which means that most exercise classes are non-intensive.   Chair exercises, light weights, walking groups, tai chi, and stretching are the most common forms of exercise.   Regular exercise is critical to maintaining good health, especially for senior citizens, who commonly suffer from conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, or arthritis.   

Beautician Services – Licensed beauticians are often brought in several times a week to provide hairdressing, cosmetology, and massage.  

Prescription Assistance / Medication Monitoring - Most Adult Day Care Centers have licensed nurses on staff who monitor medication, ensuring it gets taken (even during field trips and other social activities).  

Services at Adult Day Health Care Centers / Specialized Day Care Centers

Some Adult Day Care Centers focus more on medical (skilled nursing) and rehabilitation services than recreational activities.  These centers are commonly referred to Adult Day Health Care Centers (ADHC), and usually require a physician’s referral for admittance.   Adult Day Health Care Centers are typically staffed by Registered Nurses (RN’s), and will often have Licensed Physical Therapists (PT’s) and Social Workers on staff.  Some centers provide intensive health support services for conditions like dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease), multiple sclerosis, various mental illnesses, and brain injuries.  These centers are referred to as Specialized Adult Day Care Centers.  Below is a list of common services provided by Adult Day Health Care Centers and Specialized Day Care Centers:

It is important to note that many Adult Day Health Care Centers also provide the same social and recreational activities provided at non-medical centers.  

The Benefits of Respite Care from Adult Day Care Centers

One of the greatest benefits about Adult Day Care is that it provides a break for both the senior and their caregivers.  This is commonly referred to as Respite Care.  Because most Adult Day Care Centers allow for daily and intermittent use, caregivers can drop off their senior patient on an as-needed basis.

How is Respite Care Beneficial for Caregivers?

Full-time caregivers often get worn out when they do not get regular breaks, especially when dealing with Alzheimer’s and memory loss patients.  This is commonly referred to as caregiver burnout.  Adult Day Care Centers allow full-time caregivers to drop of their patients on an as-needed basis.  This not only gives the caregivers a mental and emotional break from the stress of caring for the senior, but also time to run errands, relax, and spend time with other family and friends. Adult Day Care Centers assure caregivers the peace of mind that their patients are well cared for by a trained, professional staff.  

How is Respite Care Beneficial to the Patient?

Caregivers tend to fall into two categories: professional caregivers and family caregivers.  Regardless of whether the senior’s full-time caregiver is a trained professional or family member, there will come a time when the care provided becomes routine and stale.   By taking regular breaks and participating in Adult Day Care, both seniors and caregivers get a refreshing change of setting, which is vital for mental stimulation and maintaining a positive attitude. 

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