Caregiving is hard work, and it’s easy for caregivers to become exhausted. Adult day care centers provide care and companionship in a group setting to seniors who need supervision during the day, allowing their caregivers to go to work or take a much-needed break.
There are about 4,600 such programs in the U.S., according to the National Adult Day Services Association. They typically operate Monday through Friday during business hours, and are often affiliated with another facility, such as a nursing home, home care agency or medical center.
Adult day care centers can offer a variety of services such as counseling, exercise, assistance with medication, social activities, physical therapy, and educational programs. Social activities can include crafts, games, gardening, book clubs, field trips, music, pets, and parties. Often the service includes a meal, and some centers provide transportation.
Many centers focus on a specific area, such as social interaction, health care, or Alzheimer’s patients.
The cost can vary widely. According to one recent survey, the median daily rate in the U.S. is $65, but it can be as high as $215 or as low as $12.
Medicare won’t cover the cost, but some day programs may be covered by Medicaid, long-term care insurance, or private health insurance.
To find an adult day care center near you, you can contact the federal government’s Eldercare Locater service at 800-677-1116 or www.eldercare.gov.
Before signing up, it’s a good idea to visit the center and spend some time there to get a feel for what it’s like. You might want to ask questions about how long the center has been in business, the ratio of staff to participants, what training the staff receives, whether financial assistance is available, and what special services are offered. Also, you can ask for references.