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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

By , Caring.com contributing editor
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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.