Adult Daycare for Someone With Alzheimer's

The benefits of day services usually outweigh the qualms that caregivers and older adults may have about them
Aging healthy at adult day care

The difference between adult daycare and senior centers

What is adult daycare?

An adult daycare center, or adult day center, provides structured activities and therapy in a safe, supportive environment to adults who need mental and social stimulation. Typical daycare clients have lost a degree of independence due to normal aging, a medical crisis, or a chronic condition such as Alzheimer's disease or other dementias, but they live alone or with a caregiver. Half of all users have cognitive impairment. As the name suggests, it's a day service, not a housing option.

This increasingly available type of eldercare may be affiliated with (or run by) medical centers, nursing homes , assistive-living facilities, or other organizations either on site or at another facility (such as a community center or church). Some are established as "stand-alone" private businesses. There are more than 3,500 adult day centers in the United States.

How is adult daycare different from a senior center?

Senior centers tend to cater to a healthier, more mobile, and more independent clientele. Adult daycare programs generally offer services that are more intensive. Some specialize in Alzheimer's disease, and staff members have special education and/or training in working with geriatric clients and in managing behaviors characteristic of a disease like Alzheimer's.

Why should I consider adult daycare for the person in my care?

Adult daycare is a form of respite care that's provided outside the home by professionals (as opposed to in-home respite care). It's designed to benefit both the person using the services and, especially in the case of Alzheimer's disease, that person's caregiver.

SEE ALSO: Find Memory Care Near You

For the elder with Alzheimer's, adult daycare offers:

For the Alzheimer's caregiver, adult daycare provides:

  • Stress relief, lessened depression
  • Predictable hours of relief in order to attend to personal needs, run errands, and release stress
  • The ability to continue caring for a patient at home
  • Cost savings over mo re expensive in-home care
  • Reduced guilt because the patient's independence is supported
  • An improved mood in the patient, making care giving easier
  • Possible family counseling or training through the center, to help cope

Programs run from several hours to a full day. Participants may attend daily, a few times a week, weekly, or just for special activities. Weekend and evening care are less common, although this is changing as demand for adult daycare rises. (All options vary by center.)

What happens at adult daycare?

Programs typically include organized and supervised hands-on activities that may involve:

SEE ALSO: Find Memory Care Near You

  • Stimulating recreation (such as crafts, group conversation)
  • Music therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Sensory stimulation
  • Physical therapy
  • Access to a library
  • Entertainment (such as music, movies)
  • Outings to museums, parks, or other local attractions
  • Support groups and counsel ing
  • Socialization activities
  • Personal and nursing care (including help in keeping up with medications)
  • Meals (usually lunch) and snacks

Activities are usually customized to individual needs and abilities, but at the same time, there's an emphasis on group participation. The setting is often homelike and comforting.

Additionally, some programs offer medically oriented care for patients who need it (administering medication or caring for basic medical or personal needs, such as podiatry services). Some offer counseling and educational services to caregivers and families.

Some adult day programs are connected with children's daycare centers. An advantage to this arrangement is that intergenerational connections that are made. A potential disadvantage that some researchers have found is that the adults can feel that they're being treated like children themselves, if the activities are largely child-centered.

Does a patient with Alzheimer's need a special kind of program?

Any daycare provides caregiver respite. But the ideal type features services tailored to people with Alzheimer's. Some adult daycare programs specialize in people with dementias of all kinds and stages, while others specialize more narrowly in early-stage Alzheimer's. In these dementia-specific programs, you're most likely to find tailored activities and staff who are specially trained in the disease.

SEE ALSO: Find Memory Care Near You

A 1991 study found that Alzheimer's-specific daycare tended to provide more support for families and a greater emphasis on therapeutic recreation (rather than on clinical or rehab services) than general adult daycare. Be aware, however, that there's no special licensing required for a facility to call itself an "Alzheimer's/dementia daycare."

Adult daycare is especially useful in the early stage of Alzheimer's, when the afflicted person retains some good cognitive and social skills and might find it easier to become acclimated to the center and people there. There's also evidence that early stimulation of the type provided by adult day centers can slow cognitive decline.

Daycare is also useful in the middle stages of Alzheimer's disease, when the burden of care becomes greater and c aregiver burnout is a strong risk. People in the final stage of the disease tend to be unable to manage daily care tasks without help and are often nonverbal; when the burden of 24/7 care completely overwhelms, it may be a nursing home rather than respite care that the caregiver really needs.

Who can attend and what about the costs?

Can both spouses go together?

Many day programs accommodate both the adult with dementia and a partner without, or a couple whose members each have some kind of disability. If it's a dementia-specific program, though, the healthy spouse may feel out of place. In such cases, look into whether she might be able to volunteer there. What's possible depends on the individual program.

SEE ALSO: Find Memory Care Near You

Bear in mind that a key purpose of adult day programs is to provide relief for the caregiver. (And many nonprofit programs described as &quo t;respite" obtain funding because of this.) If the well spouse is the main caregiver, she's supposed to be taking a break while her partner attends. Even if the spouses prefer being together, limited separation through a day program can benefit both of them.

What does adult daycare for a patient with Alzheimer's cost? Who pays?

Daily fees average $56, according to the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA). Costs vary depending on where you live, the type of program you choose, and how many hours the patient uses it. Most programs are nonprofits, which may cost less than for-profit programs. Ask if a center offers a sliding scale of fees based on income.

Some places charge a fee per session; others charge monthly "tuition." Many centers charge an added fee for transportation, while some offer it free.

Adult daycare may be covered by Medicaid , long-term-care insurance, Veterans Administration policies, and possibly health insurance (though the latter is least likely, with the exception of some long-term care insurance). Medicare will not cover adult daycare services.

Finding the right program

Are there any reasons not to like adult daycare?

Some people hear the phrase "daycare" and, associating it with children's daycare, imagine being talked down to and babied. Getting past suspicions and resentment can be a challenge. Run through the many benefits. Suggest a no-strings trial run: "Let's just go once and see what it's like." You could also avoid describing it as "adult daycare" and find terms more palatable to the person you're caring for, such as "a senior club" or "therapy for people with early Alzheimer's disease."

Most participants quickly come to enjoy the new faces and varied activity. Some, however, refuse to participate and may even become belligerent or disruptive; in such cases, they're usually not allowed to return.

How do I find the right adult daycare program for the person in my care?

To sign up, see " A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Adult Daycare if Your Parent Has Alzheimer's ".

3 months ago, said...

My father is 85 years old and living in Alexandria VA and has Medicare insurance, but he speaks Farsi. so I am looking for Iranian community for him near his home Alexandria VA, actually his friend need that services too, day care, so my mother could have some time off in day. do you know any place? My father is 85 years old and living in Alexandria VA and has Medicare insurance, but he speaks Farsi. so I am looking for Iranian community for him near his home Alexandria VA, actually his friend need that services too, day care, so my mother could have some time off in day. do you know any place? Hide

4 months ago, said...

Is there a senior daycare in Woodstown, NJ. What is the location. I need to find something for my 72 year old mother who has dementia. Is there a senior daycare in Woodstown, NJ. What is the location. I need to find something for my 72 year old mother who has dementia. Hide

12 months ago, said...

My other has just been diagnosed with dementia/Alzheimers. She livesesw with me and I work fulltime. I need to place her in adult daycare 3 days a week. I am looking for any organizations that are quality and affordable. I live in Bergen County, NJ, My other has just been diagnosed with dementia/Alzheimers. She livesesw with me and I work fulltime. I need to place her in adult daycare 3 days a week. I am looking for any organizations that are quality and affordable. I live in Bergen County, NJ, Hide

almost 2 years ago, said...

My husband has mixed dementia. Guess he's at beginning late stage. Needs help with all ADL's. He doesn't speak much but is still somewhat mobile. He was in the county Senior center adult day care 12 hrs a week, but that didn't work as he became irratated by the noise. It got so that he physically struck out at some of the staff. It was very noisy and lots of activity there. He needs more calmness and not so much running around. But the prices in this area (33511) are very steep for a memory... Show more My husband has mixed dementia. Guess he's at beginning late stage. Needs help with all ADL's. He doesn't speak much but is still somewhat mobile. He was in the county Senior center adult day care 12 hrs a week, but that didn't work as he became irratated by the noise. It got so that he physically struck out at some of the staff. It was very noisy and lots of activity there. He needs more calmness and not so much running around. But the prices in this area (33511) are very steep for a memory care not in the neighborhood of $50 a day!! More like $20-$30 an hr. By the time I drop him off, get into my vehicle, drive to the store, shop, go get him I've used 2 hrs. Therefore I don't take him. It would be really nice to have a break. Now we even have Dr appts at the same time with our PCP so there is NO seperation, EVER. Idk what will happen if the day ever comes I can't be with him 24/7. Hide

over 2 years ago, said...

Hello, To locate an Adult Day Care or Adult Day Service provider in your area you may go to Caring.com's Senior Care Directory at: http://www.caring.com/local/adult-day-care. Hello, To locate an Adult Day Care or Adult Day Service provider in your area you may go to Caring.com's Senior Care Directory at: http://www.caring.com/local/adult-day-care. Hide

over 2 years ago, said...

Good afternoon, My mother is presently in a Long Term Facility but I am trying to see if I can find and Day Care Program for her and bring her back home. She needs daily activities to keep her busy. I appreciate any information that you can give me. We live in Osceola County. Good afternoon, My mother is presently in a Long Term Facility but I am trying to see if I can find and Day Care Program for her and bring her back home. She needs daily activities to keep her busy. I appreciate any information that you can give me. We live in Osceola County. Hide

over 2 years ago, said...

Hello, Thank you for reaching out and asking for assistance in locating Adult Day Services in your area. Caring.com has a Senior Care Directory that may be helpful in locating providers in your area: http://www.caring.com/local/adult-day-care. If I can be of further assistance, please let me know. Hello, Thank you for reaching out and asking for assistance in locating Adult Day Services in your area. Caring.com has a Senior Care Directory that may be helpful in locating providers in your area: http://www.caring.com/local/adult-day-care. If I can be of further assistance, please let me know. Hide

over 2 years ago, said...

Hello, I am looking for adult daycare for my grandfather who is in the early to moderate stage of Alzheimer's. Do you know of any centers in the Santa Clarita, CA area? Thank you. Hello, I am looking for adult daycare for my grandfather who is in the early to moderate stage of Alzheimer's. Do you know of any centers in the Santa Clarita, CA area? Thank you. Hide

about 3 years ago, said...

Hello, I am looking for info to try to help my mother and father who live in Spring Hill, Florida. My mother is close to 87 and went through two surgeries about 2 months ago. She had heart surgery and then aneurism surgery. She has recovered pretty well from the surgeries but is suffering from Alzheimer's and is still in Health South rehab center in Spring Hill. She was home for a few weeks and wouldn't do the PT excersizes on her own. My dad is 90! He has done a fantastic job taking care of... Show more Hello, I am looking for info to try to help my mother and father who live in Spring Hill, Florida. My mother is close to 87 and went through two surgeries about 2 months ago. She had heart surgery and then aneurism surgery. She has recovered pretty well from the surgeries but is suffering from Alzheimer's and is still in Health South rehab center in Spring Hill. She was home for a few weeks and wouldn't do the PT excersizes on her own. My dad is 90! He has done a fantastic job taking care of her up until this point. I am afraid he had reached his limit and her care is going to be to much for him now. They are both strong Catholics and my mother did volunteer work for her church year round right up until she was no longer able to help. We were wondering if you know of any programs where someone could come to their house everyday and help them. Not a nurse but someone who could work with my mom with PT and maybe help out around the house with everyday things that they are no longer able to do. We think assisted living and making them sell their house and move would be way to much for both of them. I am in Maryland and unable to help them the way I would like to. Please let me know if you know of any way to help them. Thank you SO much for your time and effort. Sincerely, Beverly Keel. 1-410-544-5995 Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

Difference between daycare and, senior center; highly rated daycare. Difference between daycare and, senior center; highly rated daycare. Hide

almost 4 years ago, said...

Good morning to All! My mom is in stage three of Alzheimers and is also Diabetic. I have tried to find an agency that Medicare or Medicaid pay for Pedicure services which come to the home. I am unsuccessful; the ones I've called do not come to the home. Mom is very much uncomfortable with long nails and her walking is being affected. I've tried to help her but I am not a professional and am affraid of cutting her. I've taken her to salons but they do not want the liability. Can't blame them... Show more Good morning to All! My mom is in stage three of Alzheimers and is also Diabetic. I have tried to find an agency that Medicare or Medicaid pay for Pedicure services which come to the home. I am unsuccessful; the ones I've called do not come to the home. Mom is very much uncomfortable with long nails and her walking is being affected. I've tried to help her but I am not a professional and am affraid of cutting her. I've taken her to salons but they do not want the liability. Can't blame them but something needs to be done. We live in Miami Florida so if anyone has any suggestions; please HELP us. Thank You! Hide

over 4 years ago, said...

We have an Adult Daycare center here in Harrodsburg ,Kentucky. They are wonderful people.Everyone likes it there.I take my Husband there around 8AM every morning.I can pick him up By 4PM in the afternoon. No weekends.They feed them breakfast,Lunch and a snack .There is activity and movies and etc..They are good people.I am very satisfied..I feel very Lucky to have found this place.My husband has Dementia and Alzheimer's. He has had this for 2 years. We have an Adult Daycare center here in Harrodsburg ,Kentucky. They are wonderful people.Everyone likes it there.I take my Husband there around 8AM every morning.I can pick him up By 4PM in the afternoon. No weekends.They feed them breakfast,Lunch and a snack .There is activity and movies and etc..They are good people.I am very satisfied..I feel very Lucky to have found this place.My husband has Dementia and Alzheimer's. He has had this for 2 years. Hide

over 4 years ago, said...

Hi, For those posting questions in their comments about finding adult day care in their communities... A great resource to start your search is the Caring.com Senior Living Directory. Here is the search page for Adult Day Care service providers: http://www.caring.com/local/adult-day-care. Enter your city, state or zip code, to find service providers near you. Thanks for asking! Show more Hi, For those posting questions in their comments about finding adult day care in their communities... A great resource to start your search is the Caring.com Senior Living Directory. Here is the search page for Adult Day Care service providers: http://www.caring.com/local/adult-day-care. Enter your city, state or zip code, to find service providers near you. Thanks for asking! Hide

over 4 years ago, said...

DOES ANY ONE KNOW OF A ADULT DAY CENTERS IN THE BARTLETT IL LOCATION?? PLEASE NEED HELP DOES ANY ONE KNOW OF A ADULT DAY CENTERS IN THE BARTLETT IL LOCATION?? PLEASE NEED HELP Hide

over 4 years ago, said...

Is there a day care facility in San Pedro California for patiences with Alzheimers. My mom is 87 and is still at home with a part time caregiver and my father. She needs to get out of the house to help give my dad some needed time alone. Is there a day care facility in San Pedro California for patiences with Alzheimers. My mom is 87 and is still at home with a part time caregiver and my father. She needs to get out of the house to help give my dad some needed time alone. Hide

over 4 years ago, said...

Alrighty then, the adult daycare program I took mom too isn't going to work for her..and therefore , me. She was mad as a hatter (to me only), demanded I take her out of there, etc. etc. We stayed for an hour's worth of Bingo, I had to play her chips, and she wouldn't touch her snack. Unfortunately, the majority of the folks there were very physically and mentally challenged. Mom has a real soft heart for people in that condition and it saddens her immensely, but THAT came out much... Show more Alrighty then, the adult daycare program I took mom too isn't going to work for her..and therefore , me. She was mad as a hatter (to me only), demanded I take her out of there, etc. etc. We stayed for an hour's worth of Bingo, I had to play her chips, and she wouldn't touch her snack. Unfortunately, the majority of the folks there were very physically and mentally challenged. Mom has a real soft heart for people in that condition and it saddens her immensely, but THAT came out much later. So, back to square one, and other facilities which may have higher functioning folks just aren't around here. :'-( Hide

over 4 years ago, said...

This article offers a lot of good information that is really needed and appreciated! It is important the caregiver also takes good care oh hem/her self to avoid burnout. Adult Day Care centers are the perfect way to provide some time to unwind. A great way to relax and prevent Alzheimer's at the same time is the Kirtan Kriya meditation. Studies have shown that it improves memory, depression, anxiety and energy. For more information on the Kirtan Kriya go to www.alzheimersprevention.org. This article offers a lot of good information that is really needed and appreciated! It is important the caregiver also takes good care oh hem/her self to avoid burnout. Adult Day Care centers are the perfect way to provide some time to unwind. A great way to relax and prevent Alzheimer's at the same time is the Kirtan Kriya meditation. Studies have shown that it improves memory, depression, anxiety and energy. For more information on the Kirtan Kriya go to www.alzheimersprevention.org. Hide

over 4 years ago, said...

Thank you for those responding to my messages. My prayers and hugs go out to all of you. It is so helpful to read responses to those with memory loss, and those who are caregivers. With your recommendations I will attempt to take my father to a center near his home, which deals primarily with AD. My father has become even more social as his disease progresses, so I hope he will find this a beneficial place to visit! Thank you for those responding to my messages. My prayers and hugs go out to all of you. It is so helpful to read responses to those with memory loss, and those who are caregivers. With your recommendations I will attempt to take my father to a center near his home, which deals primarily with AD. My father has become even more social as his disease progresses, so I hope he will find this a beneficial place to visit! Hide