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Adult Day Services

When you are at work, you are trying to concentrate on the business at hand, but your attention is divided with questions that are uppermost in your mind: Is my elderly parent safe at home? Did my mom turn on the stove and accidently set a fire? Did my dad get lost because he wandered out of the house?

According to the National Family Caregivers Association, more than 65 million Americans take care of elders, and for many of them, keeping their loved ones at home for as long as possible, despite frail their health, is their main goal. Adult day services can be a seamless solution to help families postpone or avoid having to ask themselves if nursing home care is the best option for someone who can’t live entirely independently but who does not need around the clock supervision. It can offer families in that situation a way to make sure an elder spends the day in a stimulating, safe place while giving a caregiver peace of mind and time to work, run errands or just relax.

There are many adult day care centers across the country, so it can be a daunting task to find the best one for your spouse or parent; a good program strives to become an extension of the home environment with caring, personalized attention for every individual participant. Right away, make sure the basics that your loved one needs are available. These can include everything from medical treatment, to assistance with daily tasks of living, to a lot of social interaction. For instance, depending on the facility you choose, participants with special medical needs such as diabetes, hypertension and post-stroke disabilities can be given their medications as often as necessary by medically trained staff members. It is also a plus when vital signs, such as blood pressure, are monitored, treatments are performed and other nursing services are available. Additionally, seniors with mental health challenges, such as dementia, confusion and Alzheimer's disease, can take part in activities especially designed to help them with their memory recall.

Another thing to ask about is what kind of help is offered with personal grooming, bathing and toileting throughout the day. It is encouraged to visit the adult day center that you are considering for a loved one. Make an appointment to meet the staff to see for yourself the activities going on and the atmosphere of the center. If you are able, it is a good idea to drop by without an appointment for added insight.

Another important thing to consider when choosing an adult day care center is that each participant has his or her own comprehensive, coordinated treatment plan, which ideally should be developed in consultation with the participant's private doctor. Something else to remember is that just because a person ages does not mean that he or she does not enjoy life’s pleasures just like the rest of us. That is why it is vital that there are therapeutic recreation specialists or activities’ coordinators who lead dynamic programs.

Current events sessions, arts and crafts, intergenerational opportunities, music, cooking classes, exercise classes, movies, discussion groups, live entertainment and trips into the community are just a few of the variety of activities that facilities often include in their curriculum. Don’t forget that these kinds of goings-on are good for socialization and encouraging friendships.

The few more things to keep in mind are the meals and snacks that are served, that they taste good, and that they are nutritious. Assistance with feeding should be provided as needed, and special dietary requirements should be accommodated. With all of the running around that caregivers do these days, check to see if transportation to and from a participant’s front door to and from the center is provided with specially equipped vans for the handicapped.

Finally, with all of this planning, do not forget that a good adult day services program not only benefits a participant but his or her family members as well. Some of those advantages include giving caregivers:

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Boomers Resource Guide is a special supplement to the Senior Citizen's Guide