Know the Difference Between Adult Day Care and Assisted Living

Enjoying Retirement

Many of us in the “sandwich generation”, namely, those providing care for elderly parents while trying to raise and rear our own children, can find it difficult to understand the options available in assisting with the care of aging parents. It is very important to examine these options and develop a more solid understanding of which path we may have to take if we become stressed and feel over-burdened by the constant back and forth everyday routine that we must seem to perpetually juggle, and not always with the highest level of grace.

Adult day care centers are community-based services that are intended not so much as a form of support for home living, as they are a critical element of a care recipient’s ability to continue living at home. These services are designed to be most beneficial to the informal care providers, most often family members, by allowing them to go to work or to have some form of daily respite. Adult day care centers can be quite costly, depending on the state or county within a state. These centers offer weekday custodial care and supervision to people with light to moderate impairments (individuals who can ambulate and use the toilet independently, but need assistance in some other “Activities of Daily Living”, ADL, such as bathing, continence, eating, dressing, or transferring from one place to the next, or have some form of cognitive difficulties). Patients with Alzheimer’s disease or senile dementia are appropri¬≠ate candidates if their conditions are not severe.

Assisted-living facilities on the other hand, are also called residential care facilities for the elderly. They focus on supplying higher levels of formal care for people who, while having difficulties with ADL’s or a cognitive impairment, can still function through most of their daily routine. Many assisted-living facilities can be rentals, but a few require substantial down-payments in the form of admission fees.

These facilities will generally provide care in a secure home-like environment, where residents live in individual apartments. Frequently, meals, activities, and services are provided in central social rooms. Since they are not subject to the same regu¬≠latory requirements as nursing homes, assisted-living facilities offer greater innovation in physical structure, staffing arrangements, and residential services than would be available nursing homes. As their residents usually do not require the skilled care needed by many nursing-home clients, assisted-living facilities will often employ well-trained yet lower-cost professionals. Most facilities will maintain a nurse-on-call for residents who need limited health care. They also usually have on-site Alzheimer’s units. Although the monthly cost for this would be greater, they offer the advantage of keeping people in a home-like environment 24/7. This setting may be particularly appropriate for a couple, when one is fairly healthy while the other needs more care. In the facility, they would be in the same living area or in close proximity to one another.

Both of these options for a parent or parents can be helpful in trying to determine what is best for them. If more care is needed from family members during the day only, then an Adult day care center might be the best choice. If much more care is needed around-the-clock and can no longer be provided at home, then an Assisted-living facility might be a better fit. Every individual family circumstance warrants a different reflection.

About the author: Kyle McDonald holds FIC, FICF, FSCP® & CLTC designations. His viewpoint on life insurance is simple, “Anyone with a family must have life insurance. In the end, life insurance is for others you care about, not you.” He is ready to help you and your family get the best option available. Contact Kyle today at   1-800-651-1953 or