Aug 3, 2014

Social Daycare for Dementia Patients Reduces Caregiver Stress

Research indicates that stress on caregivers is lowered, and mood is improved, on days when dementia patients attend adult social daycare programs.

Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Social Daycare for Dementia Patients Reduces Caregiver Stress | Alzheimer's Reading Room

The importance of adult social day care as a tool in effective caregiving cannot not be underestimated. Even day care one or two days a week can make a difference and keep the dementia patient at home.

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.

Welcome to Vermont. Vermont pays caregivers, and its not limited to Alzheimer's caregivers, $45 a day. They also pay an additional $175 for fuel and phone bills.

Here is the logic being used in Vermont --
"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

Sounds expensive doesn't it? Not really. Vermont has reduced its Medicaid nursing home population by about 20 percent. This program actually saves Vermont money. Imagine.
"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 center, 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.
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Social Adult Daycare for Dementia Patients and Alzheimer's caregivers


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.

Sources of information for this article: Caring for Elderly Parents, Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living, Steven H. Zarit, Alzheimer's Reading Room

Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized writer, speaker, and influencer in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community worldwide. The ARR Knowledge Base contains more than 4,900 articles. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room