As life expectancy in the United States continues to increase, the population is seeing a growing need for adult daycare. Adult daycare centers are designed for older individuals who can no longer cope with all the demands of everyday life on their own, as well as for those who may feel isolated, vulnerable or lonely. Learn more about the role and challenges faced in this growing sector of health care.
How adult daycare is managed
Adult daycare is normally managed through a designated daycare center. These care centers are nonresidential and differ from other permanent, full-time care institutions. They operate a set program or offer various activities to maintain the health and well-being of attendees. Activities are usually conducted during daytime hours, Monday through Friday. Adult daycare centers provide the attendees with a safe and supportive social environment and can also give caregivers at home some much-needed time off.
Regulation and funding
Adult daycare in the United States may be funded privately or publicly, either on a nonprofit or for-profit basis. Currently, more than 4,500 daycare centers are operating in the country, regulated by different state-based authorities. The National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) provides guidelines and standards for these centers to follow.
Adult daycare benefits
Adult daycare can have a number of benefits. Activities provided in these centers provide social and educational benefits to the attendees, who might otherwise have very little contact with other people. Attendees often see improvements in mental and physical health by attending daycare center activities, where they are encouraged to become more active. Adult daycare also encourages greater independence by helping attendees get out of the house and take on more tasks than they might otherwise have done.
When to choose adult daycare
Suitability for adult daycare should be assessed on an individual basis, as no set rules determine eligibility. However, certain factors may suggest that adult daycare would be an appropriate option. If a person is unable to structure and maintain all daily activities, is isolated and lonely or cannot be left safely at home throughout the day, then daycare should be considered. Situations where a person is reliant on a caregiver who cannot always be with them also suggest that adult daycare may be an option.
Choosing the right adult daycare center
Different centers offer different facilities and services, and you should do your research and think carefully before making a final choice. The NADSA Web site offers resources and details of various groups that can help identify appropriate centers. Talk to your family doctor, social services or health department personnel for further guidance and advice. Assessing individual needs, such as help with transportation or assistance with walking, can also point you in the right direction.