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Introducing an Adult Day Program

Many of our families believe their loved one will not try an Adult Day  program. We understand that an Adult Day program  is an unfamiliar concept and it can be challenging to convince your family member to try it. Caregivers frequently encounter disinterest, fear, mistrust, anger and/or resentment when they bring up the subject. 

Here are some approaches to help you minimize this resistance. 

Communication tips

  • Listen to your loved one’s fears and reasons for not wanting to try an Adult Day program. Connect with them on the level of their feelings first, and look for the messages behind their feelings. Work with your loved one in selecting a center, and which day he or she will go. 
  • Express your concerns/ feelings by using “I” statements such as, “I am very worried because you might fall at home.” 
  • Approach gently, and don’t expect immediate results in one conversation.

Positive framing of Adult Day programs

  • “This is the way to help you stay living independently in your own home and we will do this together.” Almost all seniors prefer to live in their own home as they age. Emphasize that the objective of an Adult Day program is to help seniors and at-risk adults to achieve that goal. 
  • “This is the way to get ongoing physical therapy.” Some people are motivated by the benefits of physical therapy and exercise and this will make the program attractive to them. 
  • Strategize other names for an Adult Day program. Some people will find the prospect more attractive if it is presented in terms of “the club,” a class or school, an exercise group or a volunteer opportunity.

Responses to resistance

  • “Please do this for me as a favor.” Expressing the need as yours allows them to maintain their sense of dignity and independence. For example, tell your loved one that coming to a center gives you peace of mind while you are away. Make it clear that it is important for you to know that he or she is in a safe place getting good care and why that is important. If you are still working, tell him or her that this will enable you to continue working. 
  • “This is prescribed by the doctor.” Doctors are often seen as authority figures and your loved one may be more willing to comply if he or she understands his or her doctors support the program to improve your loved one’s health. 
  • “It’s covered by your insurance.” This strategy may be necessary if your loved one worries about money and the cost of things. 
  • Emphasize that this is just a trial. Ask your loved one to commit to trying the program out for one month. This will lower resistance and preserve a sense of control.

Start gradually
Identify any variables that might discourage participation. For instance, if your loved one normally gets up late, you can consider providing private transportation in the beginning to make the transition easier. Try not to schedule too many activities the next day to allow time to recover from the group. If friends or relatives normally visit on weekends, avoid scheduling Monday as their regular day. Do not schedule too many days in the beginning until your loved is used to the routine and structure. 

If you would like to explore your options further before you talk to your loved one, please contact or call the center at 720-922-0100.