Adult Day Care vs. Assisted Living
By Elder Law Estate Planner Rick Law of Law Elder Law. Providing wills, trusts, estate plans, guardianship, probate, and more. Adult day care is typically a stage between independent living and living in a nursing home. The ailing individual and their family decision makers usually visit a few facilities prior to picking one to ensure the program offered is what their loved one requires at this stage of the Alzheimer’s journey. Clients’ family members and/or decision makers should look for the following:
- Is the program licensed? Check with your state’s guidelines to see what type of license is required.
- Is the atmosphere friendly? Your loved one should be as comfortable as possible.
- What medical care is available?
- Are the activities aimed at socialization and mental stimulation?
- What is the staffing level? Generally, it’s good to aim for one staff member per four adults in adult day care.
- Is the program exclusively for people suffering from dementia?
- Is a contract necessary? Alzheimer’s progresses at unpredictable rates, so avoid you may want to avoid long contracts.
- Is the facility licensed? Check with the state’s guidelines to see what kind of licensing is required.
- What is the environment like? What are the common areas like? Is there an enclosed yard or patio that is a safe area that an Alzheimer’s patient could not wander away from?
- What kinds of activities are offered? Ask to see the activities calendar. Is there a full-time activities director? It is important to find a place that offers a wide variety of activities to provide social interaction and mental stimulation.
- What is the staff to patient ratio? Generally, look for one certified nurse’s aide (CNA) per five residents during the day, and a ratio of 1:10 at night.
- How well trained are the staff? Look for a facility where staff instruction includes interaction with an instructor, group discussions, and role-playing activities to ensure a quality staff that is ready to help a loved one.
- Does the facility have a special Alzheimer’s unit? Some facilities have residents with a variety of needs, while others have a unit for people with dementia, and others are completely dedicated to residents with dementia. The best choice may be a facility with a special care unit devoted to residents suffering from dementia. In these facilities, the staff is more experienced in handling people with dementia and more extensive care can be provided. Integrated units that have residents with dementia mixed in with otherwise healthy residents can cause problems for the residents with dementia because they may be excluded from group activities due to disruptions just when they need socialization and mental stimulation the most.