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Selecting an Adult Day Center

Adult Day Centers provide a planned program that includes a variety of health, social and support services in a protective setting during daytime hours. This is a community-based service designed to meet the individual needs of functionally and/or cognitively impaired adults.

STEP #1 - Determine your needs. What specific services are important to the older person?
— A safe, secure environment
— Social activities
— Assistance with eating, walking, toileting, medicines
— Therapies - physical, speech, occupational
— Nutritious meals & snacks
— Special diet
— Health monitoring - blood pressures, food or liquid intake, weight
— Exercise
— Mental stimulation
— Personal care - bathing, shampoos, shaving

What do you, the caregiver, need?
— Occasional free time
— Coverage while working
— Assistance in planning for care
— Transportation
— Support

STEP #2 - Find adult day centers. Identify services in your area. For names and phone numbers of the adult day centers, try:
— Yellow Pages ("Adult Day Care;" "Aging Services;" "Senior Citizens" Services," etc.)
— Area Agency on Aging (AAA) (Call 1-800-677-1116 for the AAA in your area, or search for them online.)
— A senior center, your family doctor, this guide

STEP #3 - Call first!
Call adult day centers and ask for a flier or brochure, eligibility criteria, a monthly activity calendar, a monthly menu and application procedures.

STEP #4 - Know what to ask. Look for the following information in the material received.
— Owner or sponsoring agency
— Years of operation
— License or certification (If required in your state)
— Hours of operation
— Days open
— Transportation
— Cost - Hourly or daily charge, other charges, financial assistance
— Conditions accepted - such as memory loss, limited mobility, incontinence
— Staff credentials
— Number of staff per participant
— Activities provided - Is there variety and choice of individual and group activities?
— Menu - appeal, balance

STEP #5 - Pay a visit. After reviewing materials, make an appointment to visit two or more centers that might meet your needs.
The following list will help you decide which day center is the right one for you.

Site Visit Checklist
Yes / No Did you feel welcomed?
Yes / No Did someone spend time finding out what you want and need?
Yes / No Did someone clearly explain what services and activities the center provides?
Yes / No Did they present information about staffing, program procedures, costs and what they expect of caregivers?
Yes / No Was the facility clean, pleasant and free of odor?
Yes / No Were the building and the rooms wheelchair accessible?
Yes / No Was there sturdy, comfortable furniture?
Yes / No Loungers for relaxation? Chairs with arms?
Yes / No Is there a quiet place for conferences?
Yes / No Is there a place to isolate sick persons?
Yes / No Did you see cheerful faces on staff and participants?
Yes / No Do volunteers help?
Yes / No Are participants involved in planning activities or making other suggestions?

STEP #6 - Check references
Talk to two or three people who have used the center you are considering. Ask for their opinion.

STEP #7 - Try it out
Select a day center. Try it for three to five days. It sometimes takes several visits for new participants to feel comfortable in a new setting and with a new routine. If you have questions or are experiencing any problems, ask for a conference.

STEP #8 - Take care of yourself!

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