How to choose adult day care for loved one

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By Micha Shalev

No matter how efficiently and effortlessly you have adapted your life to the role of caregiver, eventually you are going to need a break. Occasional breaks are essential for your emotional well-being and for your relationships with your family, friends and the person for who you are caring.

Taking an occasional break is also essential to maintaining your capability as a caregiver. For some caregivers a nearby family member can step in and provide the care. But, many who provide care do not have that option. In those cases, adult day care is one of the better options.

The role of adult day care is gaining attention as the nation prepares for the large cohort of baby boomers entering their later years. Many boomers are aging with physical and cognitive impairments, including Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Moreover, these boomers have a strong preference to age in place in their communities. It is estimated that 70 percent of individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease reside at home while receiving care from family members.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are central ideals in American society. Health and aging issues in this country are shaped by “independence, autonomy, the application of principles and a preeminent concern for individual rights.”

The National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) provides leadership in all areas of adult day care. The most current definition for adult day care comes from the NADSA Standards and Guidelines that states that adult day services are community-based group programs designed to meet the needs of adults with impairments through individual plans of care. These structured, comprehensive, residential programs provide a variety of health, social and related support services in a protective setting. By supporting families and other caregivers, adult day services enable participants to live in the community. Adult day services assess the needs of participants and offer services to meet those needs. Participants attend on a planned basis.

Family members must do some research to determine whether the adult day care center is right for their loved ones. The components of a quality adult day care program should include the following:

•Conducts an individual needs assessment before admission to determine the person’s range of abilities and needs.

•Provides an active program that meets the daily social and recreational needs of the person in care.

•Develops an individualized treatment plan for participants and monitors it regularly, adjusting the plan as necessary.

•Has clear criteria for service and guidelines for termination based on the functional status of the person in care.

•Provides a full range of in-house services, which may include transportation, meals, health screening and monitoring, educational programs and counseling.

•Provides a safe, secure environment.

•Provides transportation.

When exploring a program, be sure to ask what services are included, and whether or not supplemental services may be purchased to complement the specific care and services required.

Micha Shalev, MHA, is the owner of Dodge Park Rest Home at 101 Randolph Road, Worcester. He can be reached at 508-853-8180 or by e-mail at [email protected]. View more information online at www.dodgepark.com. Archives of articles from previous issues can be read at www.fiftyplusadvocate.com.