Adult Day Care: Social vs Medical Models: Which is Best for Your Loved One?

As COVID cases are ebbing and flowing, many programs for seniors have started opening their doors again after over a two-year hiatus. Adult day care programs are a wonderful way for seniors to be active and for their caregivers to get a break and some needed respite. But which one is the best fit for your loved one?

Social vs Medical?

There are two main models, social and medical. The social model is for seniors who may have a new diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s but can still do their activities of daily living (ADL’s) on their own, or with minimal prompting. The social model is focused on social interactions such as activities, meals, and companionship. Attendees of this model must be ambulatory, can feed themselves, toilet on their own and need minimal assistance. The social model also works for seniors who do not have cognitive impairment but want to remain social.

The medical model of adult day care is like the social model but provides more hands-on medical care if needed. This model still provides meals, social activities and companionship but can also offer therapies on site such as physical and occupational therapies and often a nurse to help with medication management. This model also provides room for more assistance with ADL’s than the social model.

What’s best for Dorothy?

So, let’s look at a real-life scenario. Dorothy lives with her daughter, Kate. Dorothy was just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but can still ambulate with a walker, feed, and dress herself, communicate, but needs prompting for toileting. Kate still works full time and wants to keep her mom engaged and as social as possible. Kate is unsure of which model would be best for her mom. At this time, the social model would work for Dorothy as she can still do all her ADL’s and only needs prompting for toileting. Her biggest need currently is to stay safe, independent, and social. As Dorothy starts to decline and needs more assistance, transitioning to an adult day center with a medical model might be a better fit.

Our care coordinators at Hurley Elder Care Law can assist our clients in finding an appropriate adult day care center for their loved one. To find an adult day care center in your area, please call your county’s senior services department, or local Alzheimer’s Association for more information. We welcome you to call our office at 404-843-0121 with any questions.

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