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Adult Day Care Introduction (What is it?)
Adult day care centers, also known as adult day services, have been providing a form of respite for caregivers for more than twenty years. In 1978 there were only 300 centers nationwide. By the 1980s there were 2,100 centers, and today there are about 4,000 centers nationwide, according to the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA). NADSA reports that the need for such centers has "jumped sharply to keep pace with the mushrooming demand for home and community based services."
This growth also is due in part to new funding sources such as Medicaid waiver programs, which support alternatives to institutional long-term care and rehabilitation. According to Mary Brugger Murphy, director of NADSA, "many of the people served by adult day centers would have been institutionalized just ten years ago."
Adult day care centers provide a break to the caregiver while providing health services, therapeutic services, and social activities for people with Alzheimers disease and related dementia, chronic illnesses, traumatic brain injuries, developmental disabilities, and other problems that increase their care needs. Some adult day care centers are dementia specific, providing services exclusively to that population. Other centers serve the broader population.
One difference between traditional adult respite, both group and in-home care, and adult day care is that adult day centers not only provide respite to family caregivers but also therapeutic care for cognitively and physically impaired older adults.