/ Caregiver /
Caregivers Challenge: Finding Daycare Options /
By Cheryl Ellis, Staff Writer
Some facilities may be difficult to get into, and switching from one to
another isn’t an easy solution. Inquire about
temporary admission, which will free up space in the
program for long-term care needs, and allow you to
test how that particular center meets everyone’s
needs. If you are able to set up more than one
of these situations, it can stave off the anxiety of
finding a permanent program, or passing the time of
being on a waiting list for your first choice.
WHAT IS DAY CARE, REALLY?
Day care is a managed program that is designed for
specific individuals who cannot stay at home by
themselves. Frail elderly persons, individuals
with memory loss, or seniors with other challenges
are candidates for day care.
Facilities are managed by state or local programs,
including non-profit organizations. Private
day care may be a franchise, or run by an individual
who rents or owns a facility.
Clients are overseen during the hours they attend.
Hours will vary, but generally span regular business
hours (9 a.m to 5 p.m) to accommodate caregivers who
work outside the home.
Meals, snacks and activities are part of the day
care experience. There may be trips to
shopping centers (with caregiver permission),
restaurants or other off site expeditions.
Each facility offers a calendar of activities to
orient loved one and family to the day care
structure. Most programs include arts and
crafts, music, time for rest and visiting with other
Reputable day care programs focus on “caring.”
Clients are offered a place to enjoy the day with an
emphasis on retaining self esteem. Day care is
not a “dumping ground”! Although loved
ones (especially those with dementia) may resist
attending, staff members are skilled in making
clients feel comfortable. Loved ones will
share stories about their day, perhaps bringing home
crafts made in “class.” Activities will span
the range of clients’ abilities.
Day care is an enhancement to the journey of
caregiver and loved one. Family members can
enjoy a sense of security that their loved one is
attended to. Loved ones can develop a life
outside the home that is interesting, fun and safe.
They do not have to worry, and if they show concern
or anxiety, staff will reassure them as needed.
As an arrangement to delay or eliminate placement in
a long term care facility, day care is a preferred
option by lay and professional caregivers. The
combination of activities, change of atmosphere and
competent personnel can deliver quality care.
For some individuals, day care offers a unique type
of “therapy” that doesn’t require a doctor’s
Caregivers will have an improved relationship with
their loved one. Stress reduction may be the
apparent bonus, but the joy of seeing a loved one
interact with others can improve everyone’s overall
outlook. Even the “normal” aging process has
its progressive side, but day care can become a
restorative force in a loved one’s journey.
Programs may offer caregivers options for counseling
and support, and information about other
possibilities such as at home respite care.
Connecting with other caregivers serves as a
reminder that many individuals have chosen the path
to work with their loved one by delivering “hands
on” care. Relationships outside of day care
may be formed over time, creating new friends and
Feeling alone is an unwelcome side effect for
caregiver and loved one. Day care reaches out
to both individuals, creating a solid atmosphere of
support. The miracle of connection with others
can be explored in a professional environment that
yields many personal benefits.