The Surprising Benefits of an Adult Day Program for Seniors


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There are many advantages of growing older, and many reasons why seniors today are thriving more than ever. Increased wisdom, life satisfaction, and the accomplishment of milestones all explain why the elderly are doing better than ever. Unfortunately, we all know that the aging process also brings inevitable challenges. Some of these are related to chronic medical issues or a general decline in health. However, many people don’t factor in the isolation and loneliness that can also come with aging.
Solitude can occur for many reasons – spouses and friends may pass on, or grown children move away or become busy with their lives. As such, seniors often find themselves spending too many hours at home without any company. One solution is to hire a private companion or caregiver to stay with them. But if your loved one enjoys the company of a larger group of peers, you may want to consider an adult day program as well.

Memory and intellectual stimulation

Many people think that a senior day program is a way to keep the elderly busy or entertained during business hours. But the truth is, it’s so much more than that. Individuals with varying levels of cognition can benefit from this type of program and in more than a recreational capacity.
For instance, a client with memory loss from Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related conditions may be a perfect candidate. This is because the more intellectual and social stimulation they receive, the higher the likelihood of slowing the disease’s progression. One of the worst things you can do for a dementia patient is leave them alone all day with no human interaction. Not only can this threaten their physical safety, but it can lead to more rapid deterioration of their already-fragile mental condition.

Enhanced creativity and self-expression

The need for people to vent their feelings doesn’t decline as we grow older and doing so through art has proven useful to those of all ages. In fact, many seniors find it helpful to express the challenges of aging through creative means. These can include drawing, crafts, music, and more and is another area where adult day programs can be very effective. Many programs customize their offerings to the cognition level and personality of the senior. Recreational healthcare professionals at these programs can offer a level of art therapy that the senior may not be able to receive at home.

Helping loved ones lead their own lives

Sometimes family members and senior caregivers are so wrapped up in their loved one’s needs that they forget to take time for themselves. If you look after an elderly person, you know that it can often seem like a full-time job. This may be in addition to your actual job, family responsibilities, and personal health issues. Often, things like relaxing and going on vacation are left by the wayside as your days are filled with worrying and taking care of your loved one.
This is why senior day clubs can be advantageous to the whole family, and not just the client who goes there. Once you have the peace of mind that comes with knowing your loved one is safe, supervised, and engaged during the day, new doors open up for you as well. You can focus on work without constantly checking in on your loved one and have time for your own errands and appointments. Finally, you’ll know that you’re doing everything possible to enhance their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Getting started with an adult day program

Getting started with an adult day program is actually quite easy. A qualified, reputable home care agency can put you in touch with a quality program – or may even provide a day program themselves. These programs are often flexible, meaning your aging loved one can choose to go once in a while, a few days a week, or every weekday. Whatever option you and you senior decide on, you’re sure to find even more surprising benefits the longer your senior is involved in this supportive program.
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home senior care. Contact us to find out more.

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Patty has dedicated her career and volunteer efforts to support older adults and adults with disabilities in San Francisco. As the Resident Services Coordinator for Institute on Aging's Support in Independent Living program, Patty wears many hats to ensure that the 120+ residents of Martin Luther Towers Senior Housing can age in place comfortably. Her talent for connecting individuals with resources has enabled her to go above and beyond to ensure accessibility and inclusivity for all. Patty's commitment to her work has been unwavering, and we are grateful to have her on our team at IOA. 

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One of those social workers is Caina Li, whose impact on the San Francisco community far exceeds her role as a Care Manager on the IOA Case Management team. When she's not managing a caseload, Caina continues her efforts through volunteerism, specifically supporting the Richmond District Neighborhood. In the past, Caina has volunteered with the SF Marin Food Bank, Mercy Housing, and even IOA's very own Friendship Line. Thank you Caina for your ongoing commitment to IOA and for your unwavering dedication and commitment to improving the lives of those around you!
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