Caregivers who are just beginning their journey
may feel day care services are for later stages of
their loved one’s situation. The sooner
caregivers locate and enroll their family member in
a program, the greater the benefit for all
concerned. Finding the appropriate day care
can be challenging, but has grown much easier over
More adult day care centers are
popping up in different areas. You may begin
to notice more of them than you did previously,
which expands options for places to start.
THE FIRST HURDLE
meaning family and friends may have suggested day
care, using a variety of rationales that can
sometimes border on invasive. If you are the
primary caregiver, take the suggestions into
consideration, while firmly stopping anything that
makes you uncomfortable. But, take the
opportunity to tell everyone offering advice that
when you are ready to look for a site, you will
appreciate their help.
The concerns you may
have about quality of care and cost are valid.
The intangible concerns of whether it is the “right”
decision may require more thought and even some
counseling through local support groups. You
must feel comfortable about your choice to utilize
day care to enhance your relationship with your
loved one, and improve their day-to-day experience.
Once you come to the decision that day care
will enhance your loved one’s experiences and offer
you peace of mind, you can begin looking for
facilities to meet your needs.
National organizations are
especially helpful if your loved one spends time
with family out of your area. See
Begin by learning which resources are state managed.
A consumer guide is available to help navigate the
The Alzheimer’s Association has
care resources, a zip code locator for the division
serving your area, and other service friendly
carriers to help with your search. Their
section on adding caregiving skills can be utilized
to help caregivers manage their experience before
and after the loved one has entered a suitable day
care environment. Since caregiver and loved
one’s needs change after daycare placement,
evaluating caregiving skills diminishes stress
levels. Find them at
Do navigate the entire site to find hidden gems that
will enhance your creativity in searching for
Your city and county guides online
will connect you with day care centers. Some
facilities are privately owned and operated, and
will be found through phone directories or
advertisements. Interview every facility to
your comfort level, remembering that you will
eventually need to make a decision.
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?
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.
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
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
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.
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 order.
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
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
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