Ask Nancy: Adult day care can be a valuable activity

Q. My husband is 67 years old and has dementia. I work full-time, and must be available for meetings and have time to work at home. We have a caregiver who comes in a few days a week for just a few hours, but I need more help. Can you suggest ways to have full-time assistance that isn't so expensive?

Anna P., West Palm Beach

A. Have you considered adult day-care services? Adult day-care centers provide structured activities and social engagement in a safe environment for those who require close supervision. Many specialize in providing day care for Alzheimers’ patients. This could be a good solution for you.

There are more than 3,500 day-care centers throughout the country operated by private companies, nonprofit organizations or government agencies and while they can be pricey — up to $60 a day including meals and transportation — they cost significantly less per day than eight hours of companion care at home. There are day-care centers to meet all budgets and many, even privately run ones, take Medicaid waivers.

Adult day care for those with dementia can provide stress relief for spouses and other family caregivers. A good resource for this is the National Association of Adult Day Care Services ( where you'll find information on how to choose an individual center, how to make certain it addresses your loved ones' needs, and links to states’ day-care associations, along with lists of individual centers.

There are other programs that provide some respite care for family caregivers that operate through state, county and municipal government agencies. A good place to start searching for such programs would be the Administration on Aging's website ( www.AOA.Gov). This will lead you to information on programs in your area.

As you start exploring different resources, you'll meet many like-minded individuals who are traveling the same path and will share their experiences. Always be ready to take notes.

Nancy Stein, Ph.D., is the founder of, a local caregiver advisory and referral service for South Florida seniors and their families. You can contact her at nancy@