Q. My mother, age 82, has become increasingly frail and confused. I would like to move her into my home but I am unable to care for her full time. I promised I would never put her in a nursing home; what other options are available?
A. Consider adult day care (ADC) as a safe alternative during the day while you are at work. These centers provide the basic supports for older adults such as socialization, meals, exercise, and therapeutic activities.
Most ADCs will provide door-to-door transportation for an older adult, or will help you make those arrangements. ADCs differ in the additional types of services they offer; some have shower facilities, arrange structured outings, or hold intergenerational programs.
Costs for ADCs can vary greatly. If you are considering one of these facilities, contact your area agency on aging, as each agency can help locate ADCs in your area, and can make arrangements for transportation and payment. These agencies can be found online at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging website (www.aoa.gov; search for “area agency on aging”).
For many, ADCs provide the much-needed opportunity to socialize in a supportive environment while delaying or avoiding entirely the need for nursing home placement. Most ADCs also provide support for you as the caregiver as well as ongoing education.
Ilene Warner-Maron, Ph.D., is a licensed registered nurse and co-directs the master’s program in aging and long-term care administration at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.