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Guest Column: Adult daycare a safe, affordable eldercare option
By Pastor Randall Hargate, C.A.P.S. — C.L.T.C.
Crossroads Christian Fellowship
“Aging in place” is an industry phrase that means “a well thought-out strategy designed to keep an aging person at home instead of resorting to an institutional setting such as a nursing home.” There is a substantial menu of tools to choose from as a part of your plan for aging in place. In-home care, home-delivered meals, emergency response systems, family support groups and adult daycare are a few examples.
Adult daycare is one of the most affordable and beneficial options to choose from. The intent behind an adult daycare program is to host a site where elderly people who are not capable of remaining alone can be brought during the daytime hours. A comprehensive program has the objective to provide an environment where the elder can enjoy the benefits of socialization, memory care, medical monitoring, mental stimulation and physical activity. Games, crafts, hobbies, meals and other activities serve to enhance the seniors’ lives while providing a lifestyle where they can maintain self-respect and personal identity.
Caregivers who are employed and cannot be with their elder during the daytime hours may choose to use adult daycare five days a week. Without the option of adult daycare, some member of the family support team may otherwise need to quit their job to be with their aging family member.
Most facilities are open early enough to either have the elder picked up from home, or they can be dropped off on their way to work. Other families may choose to use adult daycare on an “as needed” basis. This provides an affordable solution for the caregiver to tend to their personal needs or to just take a break from the demands of caring for an aging loved one. Many times, the primary caregiver is the spouse who is spending seven days a week as a caregiver, and the cumulative toll can wreak havoc upon their own health.
Nursing homes are an expensive option. It is not uncommon for costs to exceed $70,000 yearly, and this must be paid by the elders’ estate until their “spend down” is met.
By devising a strategy that integrates a family support team along with programs such as adult daycare, the costs will be only a fraction of what nursing home care would be. More important than the cost is the goal of keeping your loved one at home for as long as possible. At a time in their life when they have lost many of their closest friends and family, and are experiencing the struggles of declining health as the result of the aging process, a nursing home is the last thing most elderly desire. Adult daycare is an affordable option that can accentuate your elderly loved one’s life, while providing an environment safe from the risks of remaining home alone.
Our intention is to help you develop a plan before a crisis occurs. Equally, we hope to offer helpful ideas if you are in the midst of an eldercare crisis. Any questions you would like to see addressed in future articles can be forwarded to my e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pastor Randall Hargate, C.A.P.S. — C.L.T.C., is pastor of Crossroads Christian Fellowship in Rockford and founder of an adult daycare called Crossroads Adult Day Services. He is also author of the book The First Commandment With Promise, a Christian guide to eldercare planning.
From the Oct. 19-25, 2011, issue