Adult day centers provide safe and social environments for older adults

Wednesday, July 17, 2019


Adult day

Click here to watch a short video about the Logsdon Family's experience with adult day services.

For many caregivers, there is no time off from the responsibilities of caring for a loved one. But what is a caregiver to do when it’s necessary to leave their loved one and go to work outside of the home, or tend to other responsibilities? Thankfully, there are roughly 4,600 adult day services centers in the United States that provide a home away from home for hundreds of thousands of older adults on any given day.

Adult day centers provide care and companionship for older adults who need assistance or supervision during the day. Many also offer more intensive health and therapeutic services for individuals with serious medical conditions.

“Adult day services are very important for the caregiver and the family of the older adult,” said Council on Aging (COA) Business Relations Partner LaTricia Long. “By having a place to bring older adults where they have everything they need, it gives a sense of relief to a caregiver, knowing their loved one is safe and being cared for by professionals.

COA offers adult day services to individuals enrolled in its Elderly Services Program (ESP) and PASSPORT or through federally funded Title III services. A client’s assigned care manager determines if they are eligible – and would benefit – from the service. COA clients attend 11 different adult day programs throughout its five-county service area.

Anita Logsdon’s father has attended Active Day in Hamilton County for six years, beginning after his Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. Her parents live with Logsdon’s family. Her mother is unable to care for her husband due to her own health issues, and Logsdon and her husband work full-time and are raising a family of their own.

“I contacted Council on Aging and learned about Hamilton County’s Elderly Services Program,” Logsdon said. “My dad qualified for adult day care five days a week and loved it from the moment he went through the doors. He plays his harmonica, sings in the choir and enjoys the pet therapy program. Adult day care has been a tremendous help to my husband and I as we now have time to work and save for retirement.”

Thousands of older adults and their families have come to rely on adult day services thanks in part to the caring and dedicated individuals who establish and manage the programs.
At Otterbein Lebanon Adult Day Service, director Cheryl Williams, RN, works to make the program feel like a home away from home for seniors and their families.

“Older adults with dementia often fear that we are a nursing home,” Williams said. “When they come on their first visit, we like to reiterate that we close at 5 p.m. and everyone goes home. We understand that change is scary, but we try to break those walls down by showing that Otterbein is a safe environment and they can stay in their comfort zone.”

Dan Murphy and his sister, Karen Jansen, own and operate Senior Deserved Day on the west side of Cincinnati.

“It's been a long haul from when we first started, but we've noticed more and more with each passing year, just how much it benefits our folks,” Murphy said. “It could not be more rewarding, just seeing how much we've improved every person's life who attends our program. We do this by creating an atmosphere filled with love, compassion and by simply treating each person with respect.”

In some cases, older adults choose on their own to attend day programs simply for the social interaction they provide.

“A common misconception regarding adult day services is that one must be severely debilitated (either physically or cognitively) in order to benefit from our services,” said Helen Simms, RN, regional director for Kentucky East Active Day. “Adult day services can also serve as a social outlet for those who are otherwise self-sufficient. Many join us weekly or daily for friendship, crafts and games, musical entertainment, community outings, and an overall sense of joy and purpose.”

Adult day programs adapt their offerings to changes in the older adult population over time to ensure that those attending are comfortable and their care needs continue to be met.

Bayley Adult Day Services is the oldest adult day service currently operating in Cincinnati, having opened in August of 1985. Prior to that, the Salvation Army offered the first program, but has since shut down. Bayley’s director, Chris Parks, has seen how their services have changed over the years. “We now have different programs and activities based on the memory level of our patients,” she said. “We used to have all of our activities available for everyone, but we quickly realized people are in many different stages and some may need more help than others. Grouping people together based on memory level can help our guests be more comfortable around people who are the most like themselves.”

For information about Council on Aging’s adult day care service providers, click here.

National Adult Day Services Week is September 15-21, 2019. This week is set aside to raise awareness of the availability, accessibility and success of adult day programs nationwide.