“How do I know when it’s time for my loved one who has dementia to begin an adult day program?” A question like this is something we’re asked all the time. Adult day programs benefit adults living with short-term memory loss or dementia, older adults without dementia, but who are frail, and their caregivers.

Let’s start by defining what we mean by adult day programs. Programs, like the Adult Day Center at MemoryLane Care Services, provide care, support, and companionship for older adults, especially adults living with dementia and those who need assistance and supervision during the day. Adult day programs provide valuable benefits for participants as well as their family caregivers. Program participants receive vital cognitive enrichment and socialization they may not otherwise receive during the day. Family caregivers receive a needed reprieve from their caregiving duties or can go to work, knowing their family member is safe.

Adult day programs also address important issues including loneliness, safety, and caregiver wellbeing.


Loneliness and social isolation

Earlier this year, the Surgeon General of the United States issued an advisory declaring loneliness an epidemic. Loneliness is harmful to our health. It’s associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, depression, anxiety, and dementia. Family caregivers and their loved ones can suffer loneliness and social isolation.

Regular opportunities for social interaction and participation in activities can help keep your mind engaged. Participation in an adult day program has also been shown to create a needed routine, alleviate boredom, and promote a sense of independence.


Safety during the day

The benefits of adult day programs extend beyond the participants. The programs are an invaluable resource for family caregivers who cannot safely leave loved ones home alone during the day. If your loved one has difficulty structuring their daily routines or cannot perform activities of daily living, it may not be safe for them to be alone during the day.

Symptoms of dementia can vary from day to day. When symptoms such as confusion and disorientation become more frequent, an adult day program can be a great option to ensure your loved one is cared for and safe.


Caregiver wellbeing

Caring for a loved one who is aging, ill, or living with dementia is challenging. Most family caregivers are playing double, or even triple duty. They may be working outside the home, caring for their own families, and caring for an older person. Arranging time for the person you’re caring for to participate in an adult day program can reduce stress and enable you to work or take care of other responsibilities without worry.

There are also benefits to the caregiver’s overall wellbeing. A study published in Aging & Mental Health found that caregivers slept better, with fewer disturbances, on the nights before the person they cared for attended an adult day program. The study also found that the participants slept better, too.

If you’d like to learn more about the Adult Day Center at MemoryLane Care Services or take a tour, call 419-720-4940.