Join an Adult Day Center

 

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’re probably starting to get exhausted by the thought of actually doing all the suggestions I’ve written about-or even just doing a daily activity!  Don’t worry.  I don’t expect you to do it all alone, in fact, I’d prefer you didn’t.  That’s why adult day centers were invented.  They give caregivers some well-deserved respite and time away from their caregiving responsibilities while giving the person with memory loss a safe, stimulating place to go.  Many families worries that their loved one won’t want to attend, and to be honest, they may not-at least not at first.  However, many families are happily surprised to discover that once the person with memory loss attends for a while and gets into the “routine” or going, they actually enjoy their time out of the house.

If you’re worried about how to present the idea of attending a day program to the person with memory loss, feel free to use one the strategies below (adapted from the Dorothy and Peter Brown Jewish Community Adult Day Program ):

1. Highlight the social aspects and downplay the care aspects of the center. Describe the program as a “social club” rather than “day care.”

2. Highlight the productive aspects of the center.  Explain that s/he is there to attend a meeting or volunteer to help others.

3. Highlight the activities that may be of interest to the person, whether old favorites or new ones to discover.

4. Encourage him/her to just try it for a week or two.

5.  Ask them to do it for you, because you love and worry about him/her.  Say knowing s/he is safe lets you go to work/run errands/etc without worrying about him/her being home alone.

6. Remind him/her it will be a break from you-and you’re nagging!

7.  Highlight the health or physical aspects of the center; for example, that they can participate in exercise classes, a nurse can monitor blood pressure, nutritious meals, etc.

8. Have the doctor write a prescription “ordering” the person’s attendance at the program as part of their treatment plan.

9. Attend with the person for the first day or two until they feel comfortable.

10. DON’T!!!! If the person with memory loss is highly anxious, simply get him/her in the car under other pretenses and drive to the center.  Explain where s/he are and what’s happening once inside the center.  Use one of the tips above, if necessary, to help introduce the program in a palatable way.

 

 

For a list of local adult day centers, call the Alzheimer’s Association at 1-800-272-3900.

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