According to the Health Council of Canada, a majority of older Canadians prefer to stay at home and “age in place,” as opposed to living in a long-term care home or hospital.1 As a result, the government offers subsidies to assist aging adults with home or community-based services. One of these subsidized services is adult day centers - costing families a few dollars a day (or less) to provide care and socialization for aging loved ones.
It’s hard to think about your parents growing older and losing their independence, but often it’s just a fact of life. The good news is, that there are ways to provide them with the care they need while taking some of the burdens of caregiving off your shoulders. Adult day centers may be the answer, but how do you know what is suitable for you and your family?
What Is an Adult Day Center?
Adult day centers provide a place for older adults to socialize and enjoy time with others their age while giving caregivers or family members a break. Adult day centers have trained staff members present who are well-equipped to work with and care for aging adults. Across Canada, there are public daycare centers as well as private.
Adult day center programs are typically run during the workweek and offer activities such as games and crafts and opportunities for older adults to socialize with others.
Types of Adult Day Cares
Adult day programs tend to fall into three categories: specialized centers, medical programs and social centers.
These types of adult day centers are designed to accommodate participants with conditions, primarily Dementia or Alzheimer’s - although there may be day centers available for other specific health conditions.
Medical or Health Programs
In addition to socializing the participants, these programs may offer physical therapy or other medical care.
While there are still medically trained staff typically on-site, these programs focus primarily on offering meals and social activities designed for older adults.
How to Select an Adult Day Care
Tip #1: Review Basic Safety Measures
Leaving your loved one in the care of someone else is stressful, but reviewing the facility’s safety protocols and measures can help ease some anxiety.
You, and every other caregiver utilizing the facilities, want to make sure your elderly parents are being treated with the best care.
When checking out the facility, there are certain things to look for, such as tripping hazards and overall cleanliness.
Tripping hazards: These can range from electrical cords and steep steps to slippery floors and surfaces. While it can be difficult to remove all hazards, make sure that stairs and other objects that cannot be moved are marked appropriately.
Overall cleanliness: Older adults may have compromised immune systems or have trouble recovering from common illnesses like the flu and colds. You’ll want to make sure the facility seems clean, has a pleasant odour, the surfaces are sanitized, and the participants themselves seem to be well cleaned and cared for. Is there hand sanitizer? Are the soap dispensers filled? Just keep an eye out for anything that may look unsanitary or questionable.
Tip #2: Ask About the Menu
Ask someone in the kitchen or a manager if you could see a menu of the types of meals that are offered. Please make sure they are nutritious and well-rounded. If your parents have any special dietary restrictions or are diabetic, make sure they have a meal plan that can accommodate this.
Tip #3: Check Province Regulations
Each province has its own regulations and rules regarding adult care center programs. Before researching or visiting facilities, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with these regulations and requirements.
Some things to inquire about include:
- Medication distribution procedures
- Staff training
- The ratio of staff to participants
- Any special services that may be offered
Tip #4: Review Your Budget
While you want the best care possible when it comes to the well-being of your loved one, the cost is important to keep in mind. The government does subsidize public adult day centers, meaning admission could be free to your loved one or cost just a few dollars a day.
While public centers come at a lower cost to you, availability may be limited. You may also choose to utilize a private day center, which could cost you more per day.
Some provinces offer financial assistance for aging adults who need it if cost is an issue.
Tip #5: Get All Your Questions Answered
In addition to the main questions above, there are some other ones that you can ask including:
- Is transportation to and from the facility available? If so, what is the additional cost?
- What types of activities do you offer? Do you ever go off-site for excursions or trips?
- Are any support groups offered for caregivers?
- What is the minimum number of days that my loved one can attend?
- Are there additional benefits offered onsite, such as screenings, hair appointments, etc.?
When it comes to making this important decision for you and your parents, make sure that the adult day center program you choose is suitable for you and your loved ones. Though the decision can be difficult, if you do your research and find one that is a great fit, it will make things easier for everyone in the long run.
Please consult financial, legal, or tax professionals for information specific to your situation. The information and material presented are general, may have changed since the published date shown, and should not be considered financial advice. LetsPlan.ca is published in Canada exclusively for residents of Canadian jurisdictions where our products and services may be legally offered. The services offered within this site are available exclusively through our Canadian advisors. While we often provide original content, Twenty Over Ten initially provided the subject matter for this post. It has since been edited, reviewed and approved by our Privacy and Compliance Officer. Advisors may only conduct business with residents of the province(s) in which they are licensed and registered.