You may be used to packing up some snacks and shuttling your toddler to day care, but did you ever think you’d be doing the same thing for your parents?

If you are not now, you may be soon. More and more seniors are enrolling in adult day care, a situation that benefits both the enrollee, who gets to join a community of peers, and the family, who no longer is responsible for looking after a loved one during the day. 

The truth is that caring for an elderly loved one at home can put a lot of financial and emotional stress on a family. Even if your loved one doesn't need skilled nursing care, caregiving can interfere with work, family and personal obligations. Adult day care allows caregivers to get back to their own lives while enjoying the peace of mind that their loved one is well cared for and safe. These community service programs are typically open during working hours and provide the opportunity for seniors to socialize with others and engage in a variety of activities.

Adult Day Care: What to Look for
Finding a suitable adult day care center is similar to finding a long-term care facility. It’s best to look at the ones closest to you first, so transportation doesn’t become an issue. Some adult day care centers offer pick-up and drop-off services. Before choosing a center, do your own research to make sure it is a safe and healthy environment for your loved one. Check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau and your state's attorney general or health department. Many states do not license or certify adult day care centers, however.

Visit potential centers to make your own evaluation. Talk to other families who use the center and to the staff. Make sure you know and understand all of the center’s policies and what services are provided.

There are two different types of adult day care:

  • Adult social day care provides activities, meals and recreation.
  • Adult health day care also provides health and therapeutic services for those with debilitating medical problems.

Make sure you know exactly what services your loved one can expect to receive and make the center aware of your loved one’s specific needs. Some centers may not be capable of providing enough support services for your loved one, and you may need to look elsewhere.

Adult day care can range in cost from $25 to $100 a day depending on what services are provided and other factors. Medicare does not usually cover this expense, but Medicaid and other government assistance programs may provide some assistance. Long-term care insurance policies typically cover adult day care programs.

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