When older adults need extra support to live at home, family members often step in to help prepare meals, check medications, and provide companionship. Still, some people need more care during the day than family or a hired caregiver can provide.
One option to explore is an adult day center, also commonly called adult day care. Older adults who participate in adult day care have a higher quality of life than adults who stay home alone. Day centers offer a safe environment where your loved one can enjoy social activities, make new friends, and get the daily support they need. They are a great solution for older adults that need a bit of extra support but want to maintain independence at home. And these facilities give caregivers some much-needed time off.
Here are the basics…
Adult day care provides two essential services. First, they improve senior health and well-being by offering some companionship, social engagement, and planned activities. Second, they give a break to caregivers who need some time to take care of themselves.
There are three main types of adult day care, and all three help improve the quality of life for participants and support senior independence.
The social model focuses on activities, recreational opportunities, socialization, and meals for older adults. Scheduled group activities encourage seniors to connect with others and keep the mind and body active. Social adult day centers are great for companionship.
This model focuses on therapeutic services in addition to social activities. It is designed for those who require special medical attention and care. With intensive health programs and services like physical therapy, occupational therapy, or even speech therapy, a higher level of care is provided. Similar to a nursing home, this type of program has skilled nurses on hand.
The specialized adult day care provides specific services to older adults with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or those with a physical disability who require extra help.
First and foremost, Adult Day Centers provide seniors and caregivers a chance to socialize, enjoy more outings, and nurture friendships outside the home.
As a caregiver, you’ll have a respite from the constant physical and mental demands of providing care. You’ll be able to work, deal with personal matters, and have some time to relax and recharge, ultimately avoiding caregiver burnout.
Physical activities are designed to maintain mobility and flexibility. Regular physical activity reduces the risk of an accident or fall, both at the center and at home. This daily exercise helps maintain independence and mobility.
Social events and activities challenge one’s mind, helping to maintain cognitive function and reduce the risk of developing dementia. As your loved one nurtures meaningful relationships with other participants and staff, they won’t feel isolated or alone, and their mental health will improve. Adult day centers also help older adults lower their risk of depression and experience higher self-esteem.
Physical and social activities during the day can also help improve one’s sleep. Being active requires you to expend more energy and helps you feel more tired and ready to rest at the end of the day. These activities help your loved one fall asleep quicker and into a deeper sleep, ultimately leaving them more rested.
Benefits for Caregivers
As a caregiver, you’ll have a respite from the constant physical and mental demands of providing care. You’ll be able to work, deal with personal matters, and have some time to relax and recharge, ultimately avoiding caregiver burnout. When you permit yourself to rest, you’ll be able to provide better care to your loved one during evenings, nights, and weekends when you’re together.
Does your loved one have a hard time asking for help or admitting that they sometimes feel lonely at home? If they’ve been independent their whole life, telling their family they need help can be a difficult conversation to have. Be supportive and allow them to express their concerns.
Caregivers also find it hard to admit they’re getting tired. Remember that one person can’t do it alone. Without some extra support, you may get burnt out. Admitting you need help doesn’t mean you’re not providing excellent care. To provide the best care, you also need to look after your own health and well-being.
It’s always a good idea to know what services are available before you need them. If you’re an older adult, the best time to consider adult day care is now. This way you can put a plan in place for when you need the extra support.
To learn more about Mary Wade’s Adult Day Center, call (203) 562-7222 or email [email protected].
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