How does an Adult Day Center help people with dementia?
People with dementia need assistance with planning their day because they lack the ability to plan time. If there is not enough structure in a day the person either becomes bored because they cannot figure out what to do next, or they feel anxious, awareness of the need to do something but can’t remember what is next. The anticipated activity and social interaction raise expectations and the person becomes anxious.
In the day center, the world of expectation and high performance are adapted to meet the needs of the client so the client is successful. Success, in turn, generates feelings of self worth. Activities are not just busy work. They spark interactions between the participants and help people with memory loss by stimulating immediate thoughts and memories. Talking about those memories with others who are non-judgmental helps people form relationships.
Everyone at the day center has some level of disability. Generally speaking, those with less disability see themselves as the helpers. We all have a human instinct to help each other. Our staff uses this “ helper” role in many of our therapeutic activities. They defer to the helper under their direction to set up and run the activity to assist the other participants during the activity.