What to Look For in an Adult Day Care Center

Considerations given to the selection of an adult day care center need to account for your needs as the primary caregiver, as well as the needs of your loved one. This means that when deciding which care center is right, meeting your scheduling, cost and location requirements is as much a factor as meeting care service requirements for your loved one.

Adult day care centers are in place to offer support to you, the caregiver, as well as to provide for your loved one’s daily care needs.

Considering the Needs of the Primary Caregiver

While most adult day care centers are only open during businesses hours from Mondays through Fridays, there are some that have evening and weekend hours.  Some caregivers work full-time jobs and need to ensure that their loved one is cared for during those hours of the day consistently on a weekly basis, while others may just need a break from the work of providing daily care on occasion.

Whether or not transportation is needed is another factor worth considering. Some caregivers can drive their loved ones to the adult day care center, while others may benefit from door to door transportation services.  Such transportation is provided by most of these centers, but there may be an additional cost involved.

Your Loved One’s Needs

What type of care does your loved one need?  Some seniors benefit from just spending time around other seniors in a supportive environment, while others may need specialized programs such as those for people suffering from dementia.

If your loved one has a condition such as hypertension or diabetes, you will want to make sure that there is a licensed nurse at the center.  Whether or not your loved one needs speech or physical therapy can be another factor to consider.  Also determine if the center offers medication management, and whether or not the center can deliver prescriptions if this is an important consideration.

Food, Activities and General Environment

Determine if meals are served and ask to see menus of the food that is prepared. Also, confirm that any specialized dietary needs can be met.

See if a schedule of activities is posted and determine whether or not it is appropriate for the needs of your loved one.  For instance, a center that is specialized for dementia patients would have different activities than for those who only have physical disabilities.

The center should provide a safe and secure environment. It should be clean and odor-free. The comings and goings of non-residents should be closely monitored. Basic safety precautions should be in place, such as non-slip materials on the floors and railings in walkways and bathrooms.  Fire extinguishers should also be visible.

Adult Day Care Staff

Ask about the ratio of staff to clients.  The industry standard is to have no fewer than one staff member for every six clients.  However, centers that specialize in caring for seniors with dementia typically have a higher staff member to client ratio.  They average one staff member for every four clients.  Determine the qualifications of the staff.

Typically, adult day care centers are staffed with a center director, an activities director, assistants, a nurse on duty at all times, and often a social worker as well. Ideally, the staff should have a background in person-centered care that emphasizes engaging the senior and maximizing their individual experience.

Licensing and Accreditation

Find out how many years the center has been operating and whether or not it has been accredited.  Is it licensed by the state specifically for providing adult day care services?  Is it freestanding or part of a larger entity such as an assisted living or continuing care retirement community that is well-equipped to deal with the needs of the elderly? These considerations alone can help eliminate certain non-qualifying adult day care centers and help you arrive at a decision as to which one in your area will meet your needs, and the needs of your loved one.

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