Adult Day Care

As we age, we often lose the ability to remain at home alone. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to care for a senior at home while attempting to run a busy household and hold a job. This is the reason that seniors are placed in alternative settings such as group homes, assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Even though this provides the care the senior requires, it also removes the senior from an environment he finds familiar.

There are other alternatives to removing a senior from his home environment; one is to hire an in-home caregiver to remain in the family home with the senior so that the family is able to work, attend school, etc. This can be expensive because most of the time it must be paid out-of-pocket. It’s possible that a long-term care insurance policy will cover some of the cost of the care, but not all long-term policies provide for in-home assistance. Some do, but require nurse’s aides or nurses to provide the actual care which can drive the cost up above the amount the policy pays. There are in-home caregiving agencies that provide this type of care; generally they require a four hour minimum at a cost of around $15.00 per hour. These services are rarely covered by Medicaid.

Another option is to locate an Adult Day Care program. These programs cost anywhere from $50 to $150 per day, depending upon the location and the senior’s physical status. Much of the time the cost includes transportation to and from the program, and in many areas the care is provided on a 24-hour basis. This is important in areas that have 24-hour shifts, such as Las Vegas or Atlantic City, or where there are factories that run 24-hours per day. Not all communities offer day care programs; a local social service agency or Area Agency on Aging can provide information about any day care programs in your area.

Adult day care programs are wonderful, in that they provide a safe environment for seniors. They offer activities, meals, and the opportunity to socialize with others, although most don’t offer medical care. Depending upon their licensing and the senior’s ability to assist with administering his medications, it’s possible that a senior with a condition such as Diabetes can be served in a day care program. Some day care programs offer medical assistance such a Physical & Occupational Therapies, nursing assistance, etc. but the cost of this type of program is much higher than a program that offers socialization. Unfortunately, with the current economic climate, payment for day care is being cut severely in many areas.

There are still ways to have day care services covered, but the avenues for funding are rapidly decreasing. Each state is required to offer a Medicaid waiver program that meets the regulations of the Olmstead act, which was created to allow services to be provided in another, less restrictive setting than a nursing home. In order to qualify for one of these Medicaid programs, the senior must be a resident of a nursing home with the ability to discharge to another setting with assistance. The Medicaid program waives the requirement that the senior be located in a nursing home and helps him discharge to another setting. The program provides supportive services at a lesser cost than if he remained in the nursing home. It’s possible that one of these programs covers adult day care as a service.

There are specific adult day care providers that serve seniors with Alzheimer’s and other dementias; they offer fenced yards and activity programs designed specifically for these residents. Day care providers must be licensed and are subject to inspections just the same as many other facilities. For additional information about adult cay care providers in your area, contact your Area Agency on Aging.