Help for the Exhausted Caregiver

You want your elder family member to be able to live at home. You don’t want to have to move him or her to assisted living, board and care, or a nursing home.

On the other hand, sometimes you need a break from care giving. You need to give yourself some care to tend to your own needs. Or maybe you just need some time alone, even just time to take in a movie.

What can you do? Consider having your family member attend an adult day service facility. These facilities provide a variety of activities and services for older persons, several hours a day. Their services are designed to help attendees be mentally and physically active, to reduce their isolation, and to prevent declines in skills.

Depending on the particular facility, activities can include art, singing, games, meals and health monitoring. Physical, occupational and speech therapy may also be available. Many facilities also offer information and referral services, and caregiver support services.

Generally, the hours are flexible: the attendee’s number of hours each day and number of days each week are a personal decision. Charges vary according to the time spent at the facility and the level of service offered. At times, financial aid or reduced rates may be available.

The State of California license must be posted at the facility. Adult Day Care Programs (licensed by the Department of Social Services) provide personal care, supervision, health monitoring and caregiver support. In addition, Adult Day Health Care Programs (licensed by the Department of Health Services) provide skilled nursing, therapy and social services.

To find an adult day service near you, telephone your local Area Agency on Aging (in the government section of your telephone book) or go on-line to, and check the box stating “find a center”.

In selecting an adult day service, get answers to questions like these:

  • Do the services provided match those that your family member needs?
  • Is there real variety in the activities offered?
  • Do the staff members treat the attendees with kindness and care?
  • Are the attendees encouraged to do as much as they can for themselves?
  • If special meals are needed, are they offered?
  • Is needed transportation available?
  • Will the facility accommodate the attendee’s equipment needs (wheelchair, oxygen tank, etc.)?
  • What are the costs and possible payment arrangements?