All Adult Day Programs are Different: Find the Best for Your Loved One

~ By Tia Sauceda ~

Choosing an adult day program for a loved one with dementia is a difficult task for everyone involved. It’s going to be time-consuming, emotionally-charged and a very personal decision. But there are a few tips that can help know what to look for in an adult day program to help ensure you can find one that’s a good fit for you and your loved one.

When I talk to caregivers, they tell me they want their family member to be well-cared for, have his/her needs met and be loved by the staff. Participants go to a day program for socialization, activities, meals, camaraderie and friendship.

Once you’ve narrowed down the choices, it’s time to take a tour of the center, meet the staff and ensure the participants are engaged. Staff should be able to answer any questions you have.

Consider this when choosing a day program:

  • Are there comfortable places to sit and relax?
  • Are there activities, such as exercise classes, entertainment options, crafts and games?
  • Can special dietary accommodations be made?
  • Is there a shower, hair salon or massage room?
  • Is transportation to and from the center available?
  • An adult day program also should have a high staff-to-participant ratio. Some states require a specific number, so be sure to check with the facility.
  • An adult day program should have a clinical component, such as nursing and medical staff onsite.
  • Finally, don’t forget about yourself. Many day programs offer assistance for caregivers, including support groups, family dinners to encourage community and help connecting with other caregivers.

Tia Sauceda is the executive director of the InnovAge Johnson Adult Day Program in Englewood, Colorado.

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