What’s the Difference Between
Adult Day Care and Respite Care?

What’s the Difference Between
Adult Day Care and Respite Care?

For individuals who serve as caregivers for friends or family members, having some time to themselves is critical. Taking breaks is necessary, whether for family responsibilities, work commitments, personal health needs, or destressing and relaxing.

Respite care and adult day care both provide important options for millions of caregivers around the country. What do these two types of temporary care offer, and how can caregivers choose between them?

Respite Care: A Much-Needed Break

Respite care is a short-term, supportive option designed to provide a break from normal routines for both caregivers and the individuals they support. It offers a vital reprieve to caregivers, but also provides opportunities for people who need their care to be in a different environment where they can interact socially with others.

Services provided in a respite care setting include companionship, mentoring, meals and personal care services such as help with dressing and bathing. Respite care providers may also assist with administering medications. In skilled nursing settings, they may also provide additional medical services.

Caregivers can use respite care on a regular schedule or only occasionally and as needed.

Multiple Settings for Respite Care

The term “respite care” can generally apply to a variety of care settings and can be provided in a number of different environments, including home-based care. Skilled nursing, home health, adult day care and short-term care in a formal community are all examples. Respite care may also be offered in a church or community center.

This type of care can take multiple forms and can be provided informally by volunteers, who may be friends, neighbors, family members or individuals from a charitable group such as a church. These friends and acquaintances may offer to stay with an individual who requires care, giving the usual caregiver time to run errands, attend to personal needs, or even take a vacation. Some church groups or local aging councils engage in more formal programs that provide volunteers for respite care on a scheduled basis.

In-home respite care may also be provided by paid assistants who offer companionship, help with household chores and meal preparation, drive the individual to medical appointments and provide some personal care services. Assistants with the proper training and credentials may also provide some nursing services, including medication administration, in the home.

In a formal setting such as a retirement community, participants may have access to organized activities such as games and social events. Some individuals who require supportive services may use respite care as a way to try out a living environment before making a permanent move.

Respite care may be provided for varying time periods, from just a few hours to multiple days or weeks.

Adult Day Care: Companionship, Supervision During the Day

Adult day care is a specific type of formal respite care that offers companionship, supervision and supportive services for individuals during the day. Services are provided in community-based, group settings and enrichment-oriented communities such as Cedar Grove.

By using a reliable adult day care program, caregivers can feel confident that they can go to work or attend to other responsibilities and that their relative will be comfortable and safe.

Programs offering adult day care provide services such as entertainment and scheduled activities, opportunities for socializing with others, personal care services and meals.

A Caring, Daytime Environment

Adult day care offers a variety of services and amenities personalized for the needs of older adults. Services may include medication reminders, assistance with activities of daily life such as eating and dressing and nutritional services. In addition, some communities offer programming that can assist with cognitive functioning, along with physical exercise and activities designed to promote socialization and friendship.

Many adult day care communities operate between 10 and 12 hours a day, with participants going home for the night. Pricing may include a minimum stay and a typical 8-hour stay. In addition, communities may offer a daily rate for respite care.

For many older adults who live alone, adult day care provides an option for staying active and meeting friends during the day. In many cases, adult children who care for their parents or other relatives may need to go to work during the day. Adult day care services provide a convenient option for such needs.

In addition to providing a safe, supportive environment, adult day care services can help individuals who would otherwise be alone avoid the negative effects of isolation, promoting overall well-being.

Primary Differences Between Respite Care and Adult Day Care

Does your friend or family member need care on a short-term basis? If so, adult day care or respite care may suit your needs.

Adult day care is ideal for individuals who need care on an ongoing basis during the day only. It works well when full-time caregivers need to go to a regular job during the day and seek a supportive, safe and stimulating environment where their relative can stay for a few hours.

Respite care in a formal setting, on the other hand, typically involves overnight stays for multiple days or even several weeks. It is an ideal option when a full-time caregiver needs to be away for an extended period of time — for example, to go on vacation or a business trip.

With both types of care, the full-time caregiver gets a “respite” — or a hiatus — from their normal responsibilities. Respite care is sometimes used as a general term for any type of care, provided in a variety of settings, that offers a break for the usual caregiver.

In both formal respite care and adult day care, participants benefit from a range of services and amenities provided in a comfortable, homelike setting by highly trained staff members.

Choosing a Supportive Program for Your Family Member

Whether your relative would benefit most from adult day care or respite care depends on your individual needs. If you will be away for overnight periods, consider respite care.

In respite care, you can expect services to include three daily meals, around-the-clock security and supervision, assistance with managing medications, laundry and housekeeping, both in-house activities and outings as appropriate to your family member’s level of ability, social programming, transportation as needed and personal care services including help with bathing and dressing.

Adult day care works best for caregivers who are home during the evenings but need a safe, comfortable place for their relative to stay during the day while they work or attend to other responsibilities. Services in adult day care include meals, social activities and scheduled events, educational programming, exercise classes, assistance with personal care and medication management and transportation as needed.

To choose between the two options, consider your schedule, how often you need assistance with caregiving and the individual needs of your relative.

Care Options at Cedar Grove

Cedar Grove offers adult day care services at our beautiful community in historic Parkersburg, West Virginia. With this care option, your relative will benefit from a safe, welcoming environment with all the comforts they enjoy at home. To learn more about our adult day care services, please contact us.