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Senior Living: Consider adult day care

September 29, 2010

Q. My husband has Alzheimer's and although I try to do everything I can to take care of him, he spends a lot of time staring at the television. I don't think that is very good for him but I don't know what to do to stimulate his mind. Do you have any suggestions?  

You are right to be concerned about your husband's mental stimulation, but another concern is your well-being. You need a break, too.

I would suggest adult day care. Adult day care centers are designed to provide care and companionship for seniors who need assistance or supervision during the day. The program offers relief to family members or caregivers and allows them the freedom to go to work, handle personal business or just relax while knowing their relative is well cared for and safe.

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The goals of the programs are to delay or prevent institutionalization by providing alternative care, to enhance self-esteem and to encourage socialization.

There are two types of adult day care: Adult social day care provides social activities, meals, recreation and some health-related services. Adult day health care offers more intensive health, therapeutic and social services for individuals with severe medical problems and those at risk of requiring nursing home care.

Seniors generally take part in the program on a scheduled basis and the services that are offered will include exercise, socialization, mental stimulation and meals. There may also be counseling, education, health screenings, as well as physical therapy.

Adult day care is generally private pay, although some Medicare HMOs might pay for a limited number of days. The VA is another source of possible payment.

NANCY TURNEY received a bachelor's degree in social work and a certificate in gerontology. If you have a specific question you would like answered in this column, e-mail it to lcnews@valleysun.net or call Turney at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA, (818) 790-0123, ext. 225.

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