Adult Day Care Vs. Nursing Home: What’s The Difference

Recently updated on May 30th, 2024 at 11:50 am

When it comes to taking care of adults, particularly our parents or grandparents, we tend to look for senior care services that can provide them with the best care. It is becoming a desirable choice to hire services that can take ample care of a senior citizen, be it related to their specific medical condition or assisting them with their daily life chores. There are many options available for private care for the elderly; however, what leaves people confused is to choose between an adult day care or nursing home.

Most of us are unaware of the difference between adult day care & nursing home and what the benefits of each of them are. Therefore, here is everything that you need to know about adult daycare and the nursing home:

What is an adult daycare?

Adult daycare is the best-suited option for those who want to take care of their loved ones by themselves but somehow also need a helping hand. It is like a midway between sending an older person to health care service entirely and being around an elderly yourself 24/7. They also provide daytime assistance facilities, if ones requires daytime assistance for senior-aged person they can easily avail. Adult daycare is the most popular option these days due to the benefit they offer and their excellent senior home health care service

What are adult day care centers?

Adult daycare centers are cost-efficient and reasonably priced, especially when compared with nursing homes. They offer a wide range of necessary resources to the patients and their primary motive is client satisfaction. These centers also do not make you spend a fortune, and anyone can afford it easily.

What are the common services provided by an adult daycare?

Three primary forms of adult day care are often offered:

What are the common services provided by an adult daycare?

Social Day Care:

To avail social daycare facility, you can drop the person at the activity center where the service is provided. Being alone without any family member or a caregiver gives a sense of independence to the seniors. The seniors can get engaged in a wide range of activities that keep them busy and entertained. These social activities are:

  • Group discussion; about books or films
  • Arts and crafts
  • Musical activities; karaoke
  • Playing mentally engaging games such as bingo or trivia
  • Gardening, walking, bird watching

These social day activities are amazing to keep your loved ones happy and healthy. Meeting new people who either belong to the same age group or have similar circumstances prevents seniors from feeling lonely.

Adult Day Health Care:

There are many seniors who have serious health problems and cannot spend any moment without a professional caregiver. Adult day health care provides all the necessary services to the senior citizen as per their health condition. This usually includes physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, necessary medical and support devices, group activities, assistance from nurses and other medical experts.

Day Care for Patients with Alzheimer’s and Dementia:

Alzheimer’s and dementia are disorders that have no cure, and their symptoms get worst as a person ages. Alzheimer’s disease causes are still not known. Elders having these issues often require specialized care since they have unique problems. As dementia symptoms include anxiety and social withdrawals, adult daycare centers cater to these patients and help them in getting off some stress. Being around a group of people gives them a sense of community, and they feel loved and included.

Nutrition and Transportation:

Adult daycare centers give nutritious meals to the patients and customize the food if a person has any medical condition. Adult day programs also have senior meal plans facility. Moreover, some adult daycare centers often senior transportation to and from the daycare center and also take the seniors for local outings.

Serving Caregivers:

Caregivers are the ones who carry a lot of stress. Honestly, taking care of an elderly person is not easy and above all, seeing a loved one going through pain is even more emotionally draining. Adult health care centers also offer counseling sessions for the caregivers to help them cope up with the stress. Also, they are given the training to facilitate patients with special medical conditions better.

Serving Caregivers

What does adult day care solve??

Adult daycare is perfect for people that need some help here and there, but not around-the-clock assistance. In this type of care, seniors are taken from their homes and brought to the facilities where they take part in many different activities such as arts and crafts, drama, music-making, exercise, field trips or just socializing with other seniors.

Many times, seniors are not able to live with their children. It is either due to the fact that they live alone or they do not want to leave the house they have lived in for years. Adult daycare gives them a platform where they can be helpful and productive without leaving their homes. Seniors living alone find it really lonely and a daycare gives them a chance to be around other people.

How much does Adult daycare cost?

Adult Daycare Centers offer many different types of programs for Seniors. There are facilities that only require patients to pay a small fee which includes transportation costs. Other daycare centers may charge by the hour, week, or month. The charges should cover the cost of activities and other services being provided to your loved one.

How do you know which adult daycare is best for your loved one?

There are many Adult Day Care Centers that offer a variety of activities and services. When choosing a center it is important to know what type of activities you would like your loved one to participate in. There are facilities that provide language groups, exercise classes, music therapy, and educational programs.

What are nursing homes?

On the contrary, nursing homes are full-time living facilities. Nursing home care requires a patient to their 24/7. Be it medical needs or just routine work; the nursing home care staff is always there to serve the patients. It is nothing like at-home help for seniors. They are more expensive than the adult daycare facilities.

What services do nursing homes provide?

Nursing homes are completely responsible for the overall wellbeing of the patients. Following are the services that they provide:

Giving a safe, clean and secure environment to all the patients.

Keeping constant check of a patient’s health 24/7.

Ensuring the engagement of all the residents in routine social activities and social interaction.

Take instant measures in case of any health issue or a medical emergency.

Taking care of the hygienic condition of residents.

What are the benefits of nursing homes?

Nursing homes are an excellent option for those who cannot take good of older adults at houses. These facilities reduce the burden of family members of the residents to a greater extent. However, there are two significant drawbacks of nursing homes. Firstly, they are prone to the mistreatment of the nursing home’s staff. Secondly, not being surrounded by their loved ones makes them prone to mental health issues.

What are the benefits of nursing homes

Is a long-term care facility the same as a nursing home?

No. Long-term care facilities are the ones that are designed to provide short-term assistance to seniors who need medical help immediately after leaving a hospital. They cannot be compared with nursing homes because they lack the services that nursing homes offer.

What are the different levels of care in a nursing home?

There are three levels of care that nursing homes offer:

Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF):

Care offered in SNF is required by patients with serious conditions such as heart issues, stroke, and pneumonia. Moreover, they also provide rehabilitation therapies for recovering seniors. Also, most often than not, this level of nursing home care cannot be provided by home care service providers.

Intermediate Care Facility (ICF):

This level of nursing care is similar to the above-mentioned one but includes patients with mental health issues too. These facilities are highly recommended to keep seniors safe and secure.

Adult Daycare Centers:

Adult daycare center falls under non-medical assistance services for seniors, and they are more like adult daycare centers. The best part about the nursing homes is that they offer both non-medical assistance services as well as medical assistance (if required).

What does it cost?

Nursing homes can be expensive, but most often than not, it is worth every penny spent. Keep in mind that nursing home care is much more expensive than daycare facilities, but they offer a lot more services too.

How to know if your loved ones are treated right by the nursing homes or adult day care centers?

Although there are more chances of the mistreatment of residents in nursing homes, you should not turn a blind eye towards the adult daycare center either. Here are the signs that you should look for to know if seniors are being mistreated by the at home care for elderly:

See if they have a messy appearance, uncombed hair, or unshaven face.

Presence of bedsores.

Signs of anxiety or trauma.

Having bruises, cuts, or any other signs of physical trauma.

See if they are violent towards you.

Any apparent signs of depression.

If you see any signs of mistreatment, do not shy away from further investigating the matter and taking legal action against the health care facility.

Is in-home care cheaper than nursing homes?

This is the question that scares many people. While it might be slightly cheaper than a nursing home, but you need to keep in mind that for this price range, your loved one will not get the same quality of services as provided by nursing homes. Moreover, if their condition worsens at any time during the period of in-home care, then you will have to shift them to a nursing home.

To Conclude:

Here is the conclusion for adult day care vs nursing home. The differences between adult day care and nursing home are quite evident. You should choose wisely what will suit the medical and emotional needs of your loved ones the most. Ensuring the best health care services has to be our priority!

Tanner Gish

Tanner Gish (Certified Dementia Practitioner, CDP®) is president of Loving Homecare, chapter leader of the Foundation for Senior Services, and community educator on topics relating to home care, aging, dementia, and the relationship between adult children and their aging parents. He is also a Gallup certified Strengths Coach, and he loves empowering the Loving Homecare care team to overcome challenges and to build deeper relationships through Strengths-based coaching. He has his master’s degree in New Testament Theology and bachelor’s degree in International Business from Biola University. Tanner and his wife live in Historic Uptown Whittier, California where both love serving their community, escaping to Northern California to visit their families, and traveling to visit friends living and working overseas as much as possible.

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