When you first started working with your elderly mom or dad in helping them settle into their retired lifestyle, you exposed yourself to all kinds of services that can help take care of senior citizens. If you feel your parent could use to be with people during the day but you are not able to be free to provide that support because of your job, the idea of an adult day care is often suggested as a solution to the problem.
Of course the phrase “adult day care” can be upsetting because it only goes to reinforce the image of your adult parent becoming an infant and having to be treated as such.
So when you suggest that you work together to find a place they can spend time at during the day, don’t refer to it as an “adult day care” if you can. Immediately the senior citizen will feel that you are just “putting him away” somewhere so he won’t be a nuisance to you. And you don’t want him to get that idea.
But many seniors are open to going to a senior citizen’s center or to a church program for the elderly that serve the same function. The best way to find the right adult day care situation for your parent is for you and your elderly parent to take a tour of what is available locally and make the decision together. To do that, you will want to come armed with some pertinent questions for you to get some peace of mind about letting your mom or dad spend time there each day. Some questions to include might be…
. Do they provide transportation to the different assisted care facilities in town? Does that transportation continue to run all day? You don’t want your parent going to the center and “getting stuck” there. If there is transportation, that wont happen.
. Do they have qualified medical people on hand should any problem come up?
. How many seniors are there on any given day? Too few implies that the center isn’t providing good service. Too many and your parent could get lost in the shuffle.
. Do you provide food and beverages if the stay is all day? Are your food services sensitive to diet issues if your parent is diabetic or has other diet restrictions given to him by his doctor?
. What are the costs?
Of course for your mom or dad, the activities that the day care center offers will be a big part of their willingness to go there. During football season, if the center just provides a place where elderly men can cheer for the game or have other sports programming available, that is a lot more fun for your dad than sitting alone in his apartment and watching those same sports.
If the day care center has a variety of activities that appeal specifically to each gender and then others that everyone can enjoy such as card games or puzzles, it could be an upbeat and fun place for your parent to pass the day. By spending some time there, you can get a feel for the friendliness of the staff and the general atmosphere of the center to determine if this will be a warm and welcoming place where your parent will have some fun and meet new people or a place where he will feel alone and out of place.
But if you can find a good day care center for your senior citizen, it can take a big load off of your mind. And if you know he is having fun each day and getting out with people, you know that will be healthy for him and be invigorating so he will eat better and sleep better that night. And that solves a lot of problems all at once.