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It goes without saying — activity and independence are the keys to maintaining good quality of life. While this seems easy to understand, there are still many questions to be answered. Where can older people or individuals with disabilities remain active, independent, make new friends, and still maintain their dignity? How does a working spouse or family member make sure a loved one is cared for through the day? Where can caregivers get a much-deserved break from the strain of caregiving for their family members?
The answer could be in the option of adult day centers. These are community-based group programs designed to meet the individual needs of functionally and/or cognitively impaired adults. According to the National Adult Day Services Association, an estimated 25 percent of American households care for an aging friend or relative, and that number is expected to grow as an increasingly number of elderly Americans become infirm and baby boomers face their own health crises.
Adult day centers and programs provide a variety of health, social, medical, intellectual and physical stimulation to older or disabled people during the weekday. The person then returns home to their family or caregiver at night and on weekends. The programs generally run through the work week, allowing family members to continue working or take a much-needed day to themselves. Some centers offer flexible scheduling to allow family members or caregivers to fit the care into their needs.
Adult day programs focus on the specific adults who attend, from elderly participants to participants with dementia, physical or mental disabilities. Social day programs offer meals and snacks, transportation, personal care, exercise and recreational activities. Medical model programs offer the same as well as more intensive health assistance. Both types of centers provide peace of mind to a family member who must find alternate care during the day.
How do you know when adult day care is an alternative?
The average cost of adult day centers is $35-$75 per day, depending on location and services. Medicare does not cover adult day programs; private pay, long-term care insurance and Medicaid waiver are different forms of payment.
Care4Ever Senior Care Center in Elizabethtown is a social model program; Active Day Services in Elizabethtown and Sunrise Adult Day in Hodgenville are two medical-model programs. The centers encourage families to visit, talk and interact with staff and participants. For families and participants, activity and independence are just the start of the list of the benefits of adult day programs.
Monica Ruehling can be reached at mruehling@then