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Adult Day Care De-stigmatizes the Nursing Home Image

Here is an excerpt from the Vancouver Sun on Adult Day Care and my take below…

“Adult day programs that provide meals, social connections and activities for older adults — and a reprieve for stressed caregivers — are sparking greater interest as one answer to the question of how countries such as Canada will deal with an aging population.”

These programs have existed for three decades, but they are often underused and unknown resource. Yet those in the eldercare field say they could be crucial in saving Canada’s health and long-term care systems from collapsing as the population ages.

For years people had the image of caring for the elderly as sending them off to a cold, impersonal and institutional-feeling nursing home. Visions of shared rooms, bad food, poor treatment of the elderly and the crazy, screaming roommate are all too common.

Thankfully the idea that we must force the elderly into these types of places is going away. Adult day care is one option, where though it sounds juvenile, but it is actually a good experience for the elder and a welcome reprieve for the family caregiver. Again from the article:

“People see it as babysitting for seniors, and we really have to get through that perception,” says Sarah Price, president of the fledgling Canadian Coalition of Adult Day Services and director of dementia care programs with the Alzheimer’s Society of Calgary. “The concept is similar, certainly, in the sense that you have a family member and you’re taking them somewhere to spend the day, but the social programming, the peer support that they’re getting … that’s all very different.”

My Take:

I serve on the board of my local Senior Center (Medford, MA) with a wonderful person, Gina Hughes, who is the director of a local Adult Day Care Center that focuses on dementia patients. The staff members there are tremendous and care deeply for the people they serve. Gina is a huge advocate for elders with dementia too so there’s no doubt these people are getting good care.

Due to the fact that paying for full service long term care through Medicaid is pushing many states to the verge of bankruptcy, many states in the US are likely to adopt programs where lower cost at home care or day care is reimbursed as opposed to only funding nursing home care (by only funding nursing care, families are often unfortunately motivated to put parents there instead of caring for them at home, which would be better and cheaper!). There is an ethical issue with this also because, and I am torn about this, many people are tempted to “hide” assets in order to make the elder “poor” so that they qualify for Medicaid, which is a poverty program (you have to be poor to qualify!). If increased use of day care could cut down on the desire to make this ethical decision, then I am all for that.

Better for Your Loved One

Furthermore, it is a better setting for the family oftentimes for the elder to be cared for in an adult day care center. Interaction is increased, activities are more frequent and freedom of movement is a bit higher in many cases – i.e. people can go for walks in the yard or around the center as opposed to being relegated to a room.

Don’t Know What to Do?

If you are facing a situation like this for a loved one, and don’t know what to do, give me a call. We have helped people at all levels in this matter – from helping people qualify for Medicaid, to creating income plans which allow you to use their assets to pay for care services, we can help. If you would first like some questions answered give us a call – 781.393.0021 or send us a quick contact and we can go from there. Thanks for stopping by!

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