Deciding to put a loved one in an adult day center for part or all of the day is a decision that is never made lightly. Handing a vulnerable family member over to strangers is difficult for the caregiver and scary for the individual, but eldercare is a growing service industry and adult day services is growing with it.
The person most likely to benefit from adult day services will be physically or cognitively challenged and:
- needs help, but not 24-hour professional support;
- feels isolated and would benefit from social engagement;
- canâ€™t be safely left at home;
- receives care from someone that has to work or needs respite;
- is in the early stages of dementia.
These are not set rules. Some high functioning and alert elders love attending day services, and many of the most reluctant individuals end up benefiting the most. The decision depends on personal circumstances, but adult day services helps many.
You should visit adult day centers in your area (hopefully you have them) and talk with staff and clients. Speak with family and friends. They can help you decide if day services is the right choice, but even then, you may only if you give it a try. Speak with the one you want to take.
Things to consider when selecting an adult day center:
- Client pool – Some centers are dementia specific and offer secure environments with programs specifically designed for dementia. Others are open to people of varying needs.
- Professionalism â€“ Who owns the agency? Are they licensed? Is the space clean and comfortable? Is it well staffed? Are there daily events? Do they offer diet specific meals?
- Transportation â€“ Do you need transportation help? Do they offer it?
- Cost – Daily costs can vary widely depending on location and services. A professional health centered adult day center will cost more than one that’s strictly social. Fees can be by the hour or the day. The center should offer a free visit if you want to try it.
Funding Sources for Adult Day Care:
- Medicaid – pays for adult day care if the person has little income and assets, but it may require that the person needs a certain level of care. This requirement varies by state.
- Private long-term care insurance – check your policy if you have this insurance. It is often covered if a doctor’s note is provided.
- Veterans Administration – the VA awards contracts to some adult day centers and they cover the cost if the person qualifies. Check with the VA or the adult day center to learn more.
- Charity care – some centers may offer financial help through their own funding sources. United Way funds some adult day service centers.
- Private pay – paying out of your own pocket always works.
While Medicare (not to be confused with Medicaid) has reimbursed a few experimental, skilled service (nursing and therapy) programs at certain adult day centers, Medicare generally does not cover the service.
For more information visit the National Adult Day Services Association. To find an Adult Day Center near you, contact your Area Agency on Aging through the Resources by State page.