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Adult Day Care Increasing In Importance

Armen Hareyan's picture

The Wall Street Journal on Thursday examined how adult daycare, an "industry that began in church basements with bingo and baglunches, is becoming an increasingly important player in the burgeoningbusiness of elder care." The Journal reports that some peopleseeking elder care for their parents are "looking for relief from the carethey're providing around the clock" and others "want an option thatlets them go to work but is more affordable, reliable and stimulating thanhiring a home health care aide."

According to estimates, demand for adult day care is growing between 5% and 15%annually, depending on location. Adult day care facilities serve about 400,000elderly U.S.residents nationwide. The care "usually goes beyond a glorified sitterservice ... offering everything from medication management and physical therapyto nursing care, exercise and grooming," and activities that "rangefrom cognitive games for dementia patients to baking and art classes,"according to the Journal.

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CMS last year implemented a three-year pilotprogram that allows a portion of funds designated to home health care to beused for adult day care. Medicare receives a 5% discount on what it would payfor home health care, under the program. Medicare officials "say theresults of its pilot program have been encouraging," and noted that one ofthe five Medicare pilot program locations has seen hospital readmission ratescut in half for those participating in the program, according to the Journal.

Medicaid also pays for care received at the centers, but "many elderly peoplehave too high an income to qualify for Medicaid," the Journalreports. Sara Myers, executive director at the Washington Adult Day Services Association, said, "There's a growingdemand among people who pay privately, and whose parents live with them, andwho see this as a way to afford the care their parents need" (Opdyke, WallStreet Journal, 1/10).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.