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Senior Citizen's Guide to South Jersey

Adult Medial Day Care Services
A Safe, Secure Caregiver's Option

Did you know that adult day care centers, also known as adult day services, have been providing a form of respite for caregivers for more than twenty years?

In 1978 there were only 300 centers nationwide. By the 1980s there were 2,100 centers, and today there are about 4,000 centers nationwide, according to the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA). NADSA reports that the need for such centers has jumped sharply to keep pace with the mushrooming demand for home and community based services.

Adult day care centers provide a break to the caregiver while providing health services, therapeutic services, and social activities for people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia, chronic illnesses, traumatic brain injuries, developmental disabilities, and other problems that increase their care needs. Some adult day care centers are dementia specific, providing services exclusively to that population. Other centers serve the broader population.

One difference between traditional adult respite and adult day care is that adult day centers not only provide respite to family caregivers but also therapeutic care for cognitively and physically impaired older adults. Adult day care allows caregivers to continue working outside the home, receive help with the physical care of a loved one, avoid the guilt of placing a loved one in institutional care, and simply get a break from what can be a "24/7" responsibility.

The care receiver can also benefit from adult day care. He or she is able to remain at home with family, but does not require 24-hour care from the primary caregiver. Adult day care participants also have an opportunity to interact socially with peers, share in stimulating activities, receive physical or speech therapy if needed, and receive assistance with the activities of daily living with dignity.

A day at an adult day care center could include: supervised care; small group and individual activities, such as reminiscence, sensory stimulation, music, art, and intergenerational activities; nutritious meals; transportation; case management; recreation and exercise; nursing care; education; family counseling; assistance with activities of daily living; and occupational, speech and physical therapies. These services are customized to each participant's needs.

If you're a caregiver and you need a break or you need to work while also caring for your loved one, adult day care could be a lifesaver for you. Adult day care provides your loved one with supervision and social interaction outside of the home for a few hours or the whole day.

To aid in selecting an adult day care center for family members, here are some helpful tips:

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