Research indicates that stress on caregivers is lowered, and mood is improved, on days when dementia patients attend adult day care programs.
Even one or two days a week can make a difference, and keep the dementia patient at home and out of a nursing home or memory care facility.
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room
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Health care providers, and health care regulators, are beginning to understand that the combination of day care and staying at home are a real, more cost effective, and better way of caring for patients with dementia as opposed to placement in a nursing home or memory care facility.
"We realized it is cheaper to keep people at home. We can save a lot of money, and it is what they want."
~ Teresa Wood, Vermont home-care project, Waterbury, Vermont
"Family members who care for dementia patients are susceptible to experiencing high levels of stress. One way of alleviating stress is through the use of an adult day care, which allows a predictable break from caregiving responsibilities."
~ Steven Zarit, professor and head of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State.
Social Adult Daycare for Dementia Patients and Alzheimer's caregivers
Adult Day Care Considerations
Not only do caregivers benefit from using such services, but dementia patients also gain from the break.
"Caregivers who live with and care for someone with dementia can experience extraordinary amounts of stress."
Family caregivers of older adults with dementia are less stressed and their moods are improved on days when dementia patients receive adult day services (ADS).
"The use of adult day services appears to provide caregivers with a much-needed break that can possibly protect them from the negative health effects caused by chronic stress."
The Findings and Benefits of Social Daycare
"The changes we have seen are as large as you'd get with medication, but with no side effects."
Researchers found that caregivers had lower exposure to care-related stressors and more positive experiences on days when their family members with dementia used adult day services.
The overall effect of the use of adult day services on caregivers was lowered anger and reduced impact of non-care stressors on depressive symptoms.
Researchers conclude that the use of adult day services has a buffering effect on the relation of non-care stressors on depressive mood.
Note: There are often hard to find state programs that pay for some amount of respite care. I tried to find this kind of service for my mom and never did. However, I learned while speaking to Janet Steiner at the Brevard Alzheimer's Foundation that such a program did exist in Florida; and, there were no financial requirements it was available to everyone. I suggest you call your local Area Agency on Again, and a local adult day care center and speak directly with them to see if there are any financial services available to help persons living with dementia and/or caregivers.
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Sources of information for this article: Caring for Elderly Parents, Steven H. Zarit .
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