It’s normal to be nervous about your family member attending an adult day center. Knowing what to expect can help ease the transition for both of you. Below is a summary of common questions and comments that are addressed by caregivers.

What will my family member do all day?

An activity list is available for you to review. Activities offer many different types of stimulation and focus on social, emotional, cognitive, and physical activity needs.

What if my family member is unable to participate in certain activities?

We do our best to accommodate individuals with varied abilities. All physical activities can be done while seated, if necessary. Cognitive activities are chosen based upon the needs of your family member. Additionally, staff are always available to provide assistance to those who need it. All staff have been trained to be sensitive to the emotional needs of the participants.

Our sensory stimulation groups are designed to meet the needs of individuals who choose to withdraw from activity or are unable to participate because of cognitive and/or physical limitations. The program emphasizes the use of all of the senses and is adaptable depending on the abilities of each participant.

What do I do when my family member complains or refuses to come?

A new environment often causes anxiety for people with dementia. However, the discomfort usually eases within a couple of weeks. To help relieve temporary anxiety, each new participant has an assigned staff member. It is the responsibility of this staff member to make the client feel comfortable and welcome. Participants are given frequent reminders that this is a senior center and that their family member will be picking them up at whatever time you have specified.  

Why does my family member say that he/she doesn’t have anything to do all day?

It is very common for participants to forget what they have done during the day. We schedule many activities throughout the day, and all participants are invited to join our groups. Feel free to call the Center or ask the staff directly about your family member’s participation.

Every time I mention coming to the Center, he/she argues with me or refuses to come.

There are several suggestions that may help minimize confrontation. First, most participants find the concept of “day care” degrading, so it is best to refer to our program as “The Center” or the “Senior Center.” In addition, the concept of going into an unfamiliar environment may cause anxiety and resistance. Therefore, it may not be necessary to tell the participant where you are going when you leave your home.

I get embarrassed when I have difficulty getting my family member out of the car or when he/she becomes agitated.

The staff of the Adult Day Center are experienced in handling difficult situations and understand that this disease often causes anxiety and aggression in individuals who would otherwise be cooperative and social. We understand the emotional stress that often accompanies dementia and hope you do not let embarrassment deter you from getting a much-needed break.

Does everyone resist at first?

No. Some participants may have some difficulty adjusting in the beginning; others enjoy it from the first day.

My family member says, ‘I never have anything to eat, they don’t feed me.'

All participants are offered a continental breakfast and a hot, hearty meal at lunchtime. Snacks are also served throughout the day. From time to time, participants may have forgotten that they have had lunch. You will be notified if there are any changes in your family member’s appetite while he or she is at the Center.

My family member will sometimes bring home items belonging to the Adult Day Center without my knowledge.

Participants often put items belonging to the Center in their pockets. The participants usually believe that these articles are theirs, and it is best not to challenge them. Just gather the items and return them to the Center at your earliest convenience.

My family member is incontinent and I’m worried about his/her embarrassment.

Many of the participants attending the Adult Day Center require assistance in the restroom. Staff are trained to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of participants and will patiently talk them through each visit to the restroom.