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The Ohio Department of Aging

Ohio Department of Aging Aging Connection

Aging Connection

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September 2010

Adult day services
Helping individuals stay at home as long as possible

For more than 20 years, adult day services (ADS) centers have been providing care in supervised community settings for men and women of all ages with partial disabilities and dementia. Centers provide opportunities for adults who are socially isolated to find friends and learn skills. They also enable individuals to obtain the care they need without being forced to live in institutions. They are a cost-effective, community-based service option in the long-term care continuum, and help keep individuals at home, with family and friends, for as long as possible.

Adult day services

ADS programs potentially can delay or prevent nursing home placement in large part by supporting informal caregiving and offering needed respite to caregivers. More than seven million Americans provide 120 million hours of care to about 4.2 million elderly persons with functional limitations each week. Research has found that caregivers who experience stress and burden are more likely to institutionalize relatives suffering from dementia.

The National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) has identified 4,601 day programs today, a 35 percent increase from 2002. These programs provide care for more than 150,000 care recipients each day. The increase in centers corresponds to the growing demand for home- and community-based services to meet the needs of a rapidly growing older population.

In general, there are three types of adult day centers. Social centers provide meals, recreation and some health-related services. Medical/health centers provide social activities, as well as more intensive health and therapeutic services. Specialized centers serve only specific care recipients, such as those with diagnosed dementias or developmental disabilities. Although each facility may differ in terms of features, most adult day centers offer social activities, transportation, meals and snacks, personal care and therapeutic activities.

According to ElderCare Online, you should consider using adult day services when an older adult:

  • Can no longer structure his or her own daily activities;
  • Is isolated and desires companionship;
  • Cannot be safely left alone at home; or
  • Lives with someone who works outside the home or who is frequently away from home for other reasons.

Candidates for adult day services are seniors who can benefit from the friendship and functional assistance a day services center offers, may be physically or cognitively challenged but do not require 24-hour supervision or are in the early stages of dementia. Participants need to be mobile, with the possible assistance of a cane, walker or wheelchair, and in most cases, they must also be continent.

The cost for an adult day services ranges from $25 to $70 or more per day, depending on where you live and the services provided. Professional health care services will mean higher fees. Many facilities offer services on a sliding fee scale, that is based on your income and ability to pay. While Medicare does not cover adult day services, Medicaid will pay most or all of the costs in licensed adult day health care settings and Alzheimer's focused centers for participants with very low income and few assets. Be sure to ask about financial assistance and possible scholarships.

Private medical insurance policies sometimes cover a portion of adult day service costs when licensed medical professionals are involved in the care. Long-term care insurance also may pay for adult day services, depending on the policy. Additionally, dependent-care tax credits may be available to you as a caregiver.

HelpGuide.org offers references and resources to help locate adult day service centers in your area. You also can ask your family doctor, the local social services or health department, a local senior center or within Ohio call toll-free 1-866-243-5678 to contact your area agency on aging.

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Former Ohio Department of Aging director honored
Merle Grace Kearns, of Port Clinton, is one of 10 inductees into the 2010 Ohio Women's Hall of Fame. Ms. Kearns served as the director of the Ohio Department of Aging from 2005 through 2007. She is a former member of the Ohio House of Representatives, representing the 72nd House district, and served as Majority Leader in the 126th General Assembly. She also was a member of the Ohio Senate from 1991-2000, representing the 10th Senate District. Kearns was named "Legislator of the Year" by 10 different organizations. She became the first woman ever to be elected as a commissioner in Clark County in 1980. The Ohio Women's Hall of Fame was established in 1978 to publicly recognize the many outstanding contributions Ohio women have made to our state and nation.

Elder Caregiver Award nominations sought
The Ohio Department of Aging has issued a call for nominations for its annual Elder Caregiver Award. The honor recognizes outstanding individuals of any age who sacrifice their time and independence to provide much-needed care to a loved one who is aging or who has a disability. Individuals and organizations interested in nominating a neighbor, colleague, family member or friend may submit a nomination online or download a nomination form at www.aging.ohio.gov/news/nominations/. The department will accept nominations through Sept. 30, 2010. Those chosen will receive the award in the spring.