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Some caregivers experience difficulty convincing their family member to attend an Adult Day Center.  Here are some tips that might help.

  • Convince yourself first.  Call for a tour to see what value an Adult Day Center might offer you and your family.
  • Benefits.  Attending an Adult Day Center benefits participants with increased independence, improved self-worth, greater mobility, better health and increased confidence as they participate in new and challenging activities with encouragement from staff and peers. In addition to respite, caregivers often find more joy in family relations as they recognize the positive changes in their family member.
  • Don’t over-plan.  It is often easier to simply go to the Day Center and invite your family member to come with you (without notice) to see a friend.  No pressure.  No preparation.  No fretting ahead of time.  They just come along with you for a casual visit.  Then you can talk about how they felt about the Center afterward.
  • Provide a convincing reason.  Some people attend because they consider the center as their “club” or as a “class”.  Others attend because of a particular activity or to be with a new friend.  Some attend to help others, as a volunteer would.  Ask the doctor and others to help encourage your family member to try it out.
  • Look for a “hook”.  Schedule the first visit when there is an activity of particular interest to your family member, such as a musical performance, a favorite sport, a craft or art project.  They are likely to enjoy a familiar activity in which they might be able to apply their skills or interest.
  • Take one step at a time.  The goal for the first short visit is simply to have the person agree to return.  Don’t push too hard.  Use a try-it-and-see approach.
  • Be firm.  Initially, the person may enjoy the program, but complain to you of being unhappy.  This is normal.  Change is scary.  Use encouraging phrases like “They are expecting you today.” Or “I want you to go for a little while.”
  • Get the right person to take him or her, at least the first few times.  Choose someone who is persuasive and can be successful at convincing your family member to do difficult things.
  • Start with a few short days.  Two visits a week is the minimum to establish a routine.   Two to four hours for the first few visits is long enough and will be more likely to establish favorable connections with the center.  Longer days are much easier after the routine becomes familiar.
  • Reinforce the positive.  Support all positive experiences that your family member had at the center.  Discuss the details with a staff member to help understand how the experience has helped your family member.
  • Give it time.  It usually takes a few weeks for most attendees to adjust.  It is important that your family member receives all the continued support and encouragement possible to continue attending.
  • If at first you don’t succeed…  Give it a rest for a week or two if the first attempts are not successful.  But try, try again, and you are likely to find success and new life for you and your family member as they engage in the enriching experience of an Adult Day Center.
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