Assuming full or part-time care of a parent can be a daunting experience, especially if you have a job and family of your own. You want to make sure your parent is healthy and comfortable, but taking on their care usually means you also want to make sure they remain as active as possible as they age without always having to be the designated planner and chauffeur for all their social and medical needs.
Fortunately, the more than 54 million Americans who provide care to a relative, elder, or friend 50 years or older don’t’ have to do it alone. There are numerous organizations in or near your community that offer senior services and programs to help you keep your parent active while you work, play and even travel.
One of my favorite services is adult day care programs, which my family has utilized in some capacity for more than 10 years. There are several programs for adults with special needs and disabilities in Kansas, but only two Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) in Kansas. Via Christi Hope operates the PACE program in the Wichita area. Midland Care in Topeka, operates the PACE program in the northeastern part of the state.
In addition to providing daily activities and meals for adults 55 years and older for several hours a day, PACE can provide transportation, including escorts to and from the client’s front door (my personal favorite), in-home attendant care, on-site medical care and restorative therapy. PACE also provides temporary overnight or respite care at their facility or nursing home for your relative if you have to travel or want to take a vacation.
Other adult day programs may not provide the medical assistance PACE does. Those may be the programs to consider if you want to keep your parent’s personal doctor.
In general, all adult day program provides ample activities to keep your elder socially connected and you from becoming overwhelmed. And each program allows their client’s primary caregiver to meet regularly with staff members to plan a parent’s care.
Honestly, I would not have been able to bring my mother into my home and care for her and continue to work full-time and start my own family without the help of an adult day service. And I know it would have been harder for my mother to establish her own set of friends in a new city if she hadn’t been enrolled in an adult day program.