Selecting a Center - Part 1:
Adult day centers are independently run and their programs will vary. It is important to consider carefully the key components of the best setting for the person with dementia. Here are some things to evaluate:
Assessment: Will the center evaluate the person’s needs and functioning? How will this evaluation be done and how often will it be repeated? Will it cover medical needs, social and family history, cognitive functioning and social skills? Some centers perform assessments in the person’s home.
Services: Does the center offer the services that you and the person with dementia need? Listed below are some of the services that may be offered. (Few adult day programs offer all of the services described and not all the services are necessary for a program to be of high quality.)
- Activities: does the center offer activities that the person with dementia can participate in and enjoy?
- Behavior Management: Is the center prepared to deal with wandering, incontinence, hallucinations, etc. What sort of problems can they not handle?
- Nutrition: Does the center provide nutritious meals and snacks? You might want to visit at mealtime to sample one of the meals.
- Help for Families: Does the center provide support and guidance for families – e.g., about community resources or caregiver issues? Do they have educational workshops for families?
- Health Service: Will the center dispense medication and/or medication reminders/ Will they provide blood pressure checks and physical, dental, foot, eye and ear examinations?
- Personal Care: Will the center staff provide help with hairstyling, toileting, eating, showering and other personal care tasks?
- Therapy: Will the center arrange for needed physical, occupational or speech therapy? Are therapists onsite or on-call?
- Special needs: Is the center equipped to deal with someone who uses a wheelchair or is hearing or visually impaired or is handicapped in another way?
- Occasional Use Program: does the center have a program allowing participation on an occasional, as-needed basis? This is to accommodate caregivers who may need respite but not on a regularly scheduled basis.