I've frequently written about adult day care. It's a wonderful resource for many who have elders who can't be left home alone during the day. The family must work or be gone from time to time. They may just need respite and/or the person with Alzheimer's may need some stimulating activity. Adult day care - or day services, as I prefer to call it - is a quickly growing field. However, a story on nydailynews.com gave me a real "aha moment." Titled "Elderly with dementia get help with ElderServ at Night program in Riverdale," the story tells of a night program for elders with dementia. Yes, nights.
How many of you, who have a person with Alzheimer's by your side, are getting a good night's sleep? Does a night here and there knowing your loved one is cared for, while you sleep, sound good?
The story tells about Hebrew Home, where individuals with dementia, who have been home all day, can go to engage in activities from music and crafts, to meals and even spa evenings. They have activities until 2.a.m. and then they have time to rest. Since many people with dementia have a hard time sleeping, if they are up in an hour, there is staff to care for them. If they want to do a craft, they can. And their mate or caregiver at home? He or she is getting a good night's sleep. According to Hebrew Home, they have, unfortunately, the only such program in the country.
This home has a vehicle to pick up people and take them back home. According to the article, they can offer Medicaid coverage, which I find thrilling and a huge step forward, however I doubt that Medicare would cover it. Considering that the people who run the service say nursing home placement can be delayed by up to five years, for people attending, it would benefit Medicare to start covering more of these programs - both day and night care. Hebrew Home, at $215 a night, would be too expensive for a lot of people to consider, at least on a regular basis. If Medicare paid for some of the cost, that would make a huge difference.
However, every good idea has to start somewhere, and I do think this one is a winner. I'm hoping that Hebrew Home's example is a good business model, as well, so that other providers will consider doing this kind of care.
The metro area where I live has a drop-in center where people can stay a day, a night, or a weekend. This is in a home setting with just a few other seniors. So, while not exactly the same, the services do have something in common. It's often hard for a spouse or family to take a weekend trip, when the person with Alzheimer's finds travel difficult or upsetting. Ezekiel's Valley Care Homes, here on the prairie, offers this advantage.
But Hebrew House definitely is onto something unique. I applaud every effort to give people with dementia a better quality of life, and their caregivers a chance to have some time away from the stresses of caregiving. Let's hope this is one idea that catches fire and spreads quickly throughout the country. Quality care is needed in all settings. So is quality sleep.
Published On: August 20, 2008