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What Would My Loved One Do at an Adult Day Care?

Friday September 20, 2013

For National Adult Day Services Week, we want to raise some awareness about the benefits of adult day services. Help us spread the word by sharing what adult day programs have to offer!

Many people have a very misguided notion that an adult day care center “warehouses” individuals and that they sit and do nothing all day. Nothing could be further from the truth for those that are run well. While every adult day care operates a bit differently, the best ones work diligently to keep their participants actively engaged while they are at the center. Adult day programs are an excellent middle ground between around-the-clock in-home care and residential nursing home care.

While there are differences in offerings at adult day care centers, at Page Robbins we divide our participants into groups based on their cognitive functioning to encourage conversation and friendships. We have so many men that attend, they have formed their own men’s group! We want a comfort level to be felt among the participants. Each group has a daily schedule that might look similar to a school schedule, including some form of art, music and exercise; however, all activities are adult appropriate – nothing childlike.

Participants come to us after a long life of working or homemaking. Many of them have had no real hobbies, so it is interesting to observe them painting or working on jigsaw puzzles. We have many opportunities for participants to express their creativity and learn new skills through art, music, and dance. Remembering how to dance seems to come quite easily for our participants and some clearly were stars on the dance floor in their day.

Music and the lyrics learned years ago seem to be some of the very last memories to leave those with dementia. While they may not be able to remember their children’s names or what they had for breakfast, many can sing multiple verses of favorite hymns that have been sung over a lifetime. “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and patriotic songs are also remembered and sung with gusto. We even use music from The Beetles, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen and Elvis during exercise and sing-a-longs. We also play a variety of musical instruments and move to music, incorporating range of motion in exercise.

The remainder of the day is spent doing other productive and engaging activities. Many of the women, in particular, have missed food preparation. We bake cookies, make banana pudding, snap beans, shell peas, and shuck corn that we then get to enjoy for lunch or snack.

In our garden, we have some raised flower beds that can be tended and bird feeders to be filled. We may sit on the screened porch and have lemonade and talk about catching lightning bugs as children or reminisce about by-gone days. Should an individual want or need to be in a quiet place, we have a den that has low lighting and soft music playing along with comfortable chairs and picture books to unwind a bit.

Individuals with dementia have much greater levels of stimulation and interaction in a group day care setting than single individuals can ever provide for them at home. You are invited to come to Page Robbins at any time for a tour and to envision your loved one here.

Written by: Herbie Krisle, Executive Director