No one needs a break more than a full-time caregiver for a senior with dementia or Alzheimer’s. An adult day care center with a program for Alzheimer’s patients might be the solution. And it’s an option, as well, for working people who can’t be care-givers in the daytime.
These programs offer socialization and therapeutic activities that may – possibly – help to slow the progress of the dementia. And they often offer flexibility in terms of usage, ranging a half-day per week (with or without lunch) to full-time day care five days a week.
Your state office on aging, your local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, a hospital social worker, or a nearby nursing home would have the names of good centers. Then visit the center in advance, to see if the program is right for your loved one and your situation. It’s no unusual for the program director to request a meeting with your loved one, to ensure the center can provide appropriate care.
Here are some things to consider…
- Is the center licensed by the state? State regulations may include requirements for staff training, health inspections and fire inspections. Incidentally, the National Adult Day Services Association is now developing accreditation standards.
- Is the atmosphere friendly? Watch the staff go about their business, and watch them interact with the seniors. Do you feel a comfort level? If not, go somewhere else!
- Is the environment homey and comfortable? Or is it drab and institutional-looking?
- What type of medical care is available? (Centers can vary widely.) The best programs include a nurse who can provide assessment, dispense medication, and perform screenings.
- Do the activities seem to have a goal, such as socialization or mental stimulation, or just plain fun? Or are they just taking up time?
- Find out the staffing ratio!!! For Alzheimer’s patients, a ratio of one staff member to every four adults is considered good.
- Is the program exclusively for people with dementia? This is important! In a mixed environment, people with Alzheimer’s don’t do as well as in programs designed specifically for them.
- Is a contract necessary? Alzheimer’s progresses at unpredictable rates – so you shouldn’t sign a contract for more than a month at a time.
The Elder Care Journey can be a very intimidating process for families. But it doesn’t have to be.
At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we’ve been helping South Florida families find Elder Law solutions for 33 years. We’ve walked thousands of them through the process, in addition to providing them with services such as estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, long-term care planning, asset protection, and assistance with Medicaid or the VA.
We can help. And we’re just a phone call away.
How To Evaluate Adult Day Care Services