Tuesday, August 30 , 2016, 12:25 am | Fair 66º

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Your Health

Adult Day Centers Beneficial to Participants and Caregivers

Baby boomers — those born after World War II between 1946 and 1964 — will turn 65 at a rate of 10,000 per day for the next decade, the Census Bureau recently reported. Chances are you know a boomer or are one yourself.

Many are caring for parents, in-laws or other elder family members and expect community resources and services to meet the ever-changing needs of caregiving. The services and programs provided by adult day centers (ADCs) is an increasingly popular option in enhancing and supporting quality of life for seniors and their family caregivers.

As a supplement or alternative to in-home care or residential facilities, ADCs allow the continuation of community-based living for aging and dependent adults with a focus on activities designed to enrich participants’ daily lives. Programs include music, walking and wellness, discussion groups and games for mental stimulation, and programs specifically designed for people with memory loss, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The secured and supervised environment, socialization, daily structure and nutritious meals additionally benefit participants.

ADCs also benefit family caregivers, offering respite from the daily responsibilities of being a caregiver and allowing them to continue working or fulfilling other commitments.

Here are a few things to consider when looking for a program to best fit your needs:

» Experience — Look for a facility that offers solid experience and is well-established. The Friendship Center has been serving the needs of our community and sharing the care since 1976.

» Environment — Indoor and outdoor areas allow participants to have options. Both the Santa Barbara and Goleta Friendship Center locations offer beautiful courtyard and patio choices for meals and activities.

» Activities — What does your loved one enjoy doing? Arts and crafts, gardening, musical entertainment, walking, visiting with children, discussions, games? The Friendship Center offers a full day of activities, socialization, mental stimulation and fun.

Tour the facility, ask questions, and look at the activity schedule to determine which program best meets the needs of your loved one.

The benefits of ADCs to participants who go at least twice a week are tremendous. They often come home more alert and talkative and sleep better after enjoying a day of activities and socialization. Benefits to the caregiver are immeasurable — a chance for rest, relief and peace of mind, knowing their loved one is safe and happy.

— Jackie Kennedy is the Family Services director for the Friendship Center.

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