Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Case for Adult Daycare Extends Beyond Costs

Adult Daycare provides a low cost alternative to nursing home care while maintaining the senior’s health and connection to home.

Somewhere between 25 - 35 percent of seniors will require nursing home level of care at some point during their retirement. Nursing home care costs approximately $77,000 per year. Most Americans cannot afford $77,000 per year in care costs even if they sell their homes and everything in them. This means Medicaid (the federal government entitlement program) will continue to fund the majority of nursing home care.
Photo by Univ. of the Fraser Valley. A happy participant at the Pleasantview Care Facility.

The Baby Boom Generation are starting to retire and many will require nursing home level care over the next 20 - 30 years. Even though there is a declining percentage of seniors in Medicaid funded nursing homes, we face a looming care funding crisis. The demand for elder care is expected to triple by 2050.

Enter adult day care. Full-time adult day care, 5 days / week for a year costs approximately $18,000. This is less than one quarter of the cost of nursing home care. If there were such a thing as 24 hr adult day care, it would still be less expensive than nursing home care by 10%.  Approximately, two-thirds of nursing homes are private, for-profit companies. The opposite is true with adult day care: just over one-quarter are private, for-profit organizations.

Photo by Univ. of the Fraser Valley. One girl twirls around a senior in a wheelchair
 as part of the final dance at the Pleasantview Care Facility.
While the American Elder Care Research Organization focuses most of our research on costs and financial options, we believe that the reasons to consider an adult daycare program as an alternative care go beyond just the economic. Surveys show that over 90 percent of Americans want to grow old living at home, even if they require long term care. Adult day care allows them to do so. If not in their own homes, then in the homes of family members. The staff to patient ratios in adult day care and nursing homes are surprisingly similar; about 1 to 6 in both.  Adult day care also provides recreational activities and social interactions, both of which improve health outcomes and can further reduce the need for care.

For help discovering financial assistance and adult daycare programs near you or to read about state Medicaid policies visit our page on Adult Daycare.