In the last few decades the percentage of women in the labor force has dramatically increased from 11% in 1940 to 56% in 1980 with 62% of the women between the ages of 45 and 65 employed (U.S. Department of Labor, 1986).The extent to which such employment affects caregivers is apparent in the results of a survey conducted by the AARP. Findings reveal that 55% of the women caring for frail relatives were simultaneously employed outside of the home (American Association of Retired Persons and the Travelers Foundation, 1989).
(Cox, 1993, p. 112)
Individuals, be they spouses of children of the frail elderly are under increased risk of duress, as a result of the intensity of pressure associated with work and care giving. These individuals need alternatives that will significantly reduce their stress and help their family member better interact in the community and therefore stay healthier longer. Another group that is beginning to show interest in the development of services for the frail elderly are the baby boomers, as they constitute a significant portion of the individuals caring for frail elderly individuals and are seeking support in doing so, just as their children and grandchildren are seeking support in caring for their children. Additionally, the largest generation in human history, will also be seeking such care in the very near future, for themselves and their demographic is so large that the ensuing generations will not be capable of maintaining traditional care giving roles, as a matter of logic.
The Golden Ages Adult Daycare will be a combination facility, that offers respite care to families caring for medically fragile individuals, who are at least partly ambulatory, or who have alternative mobility and who are in need of assistance with daily living tasks, such as cooking, an issue that often determines one's ability to continue to remain independent, grooming and other necessary daily activities. Additionally, the center will offer medical and social transportation to individuals utilizing the service, so they may continue to independently pursue needed services, whenever possible. The center will also offer opportunities for social interaction and age appropriate activities that will be offered daily if not hourly, in both a structured and informal manner.
Adult day-care concentrates on serving the functionally impaired by offering a comprehensive program of health, social, and special support services in a protective setting (the National Institute on Adult Daycare, 1984). Day-care can therefore play a significant role in the lives of the frail elderly as it offers support and social interaction while providing caregivers with respite assistance. In a survey of 60 day-care programs, three models of day-care were identified (Weissert et al., 1989). These models are those associated with a nursing home or rehabilitation hospital that serve the most dependent elderly; centers affiliated with a general hospital that serve a less physically frail but often more mentally impaired population; and centers which serve only one population, such as Alzheimer's patients or patients belonging to the Veterans Administration. Each model offers in varying amounts case management, health assessment, nutrition education, transportation, and counseling. (Cox, 1993, p. 72)
The value of such care is paramount to the ability of families to continue to monitor the health of the frail elderly as well as maintain lives outside of their care responsibilities. The growing demographic of older adults will also likely lead to more and more cases of neglect and abuse, as families becomes overburdened or incapable of caring for the frail elderly. As these abuses mount, laws will likely be created and strengthened that could potentially devastate a family, and without preventative institutions such situations will likely increase tenfold in the coming years.
A the lack of satisfying treatment alternatives on behalf of abused older people is a disincentive to reporting of risk status. A frequent solution offered to victims of elder abuse is safe haven in a care facility, but this comes with a loss of personal liberty (Sadler, 1994). (Litwin & Zoabi, 2004, p. 133)
Though there is little research that can definitively say that elder abuse is caused by lack of services for the elderly, and therefore increased burden and stress on family, the logical connection can be made easily. Anyone who has cared for a loved one, for any length of time 24 hours a day 7 days a week is aware of the stress that such care causes on ones person and life. Abuse of children is also linked to such stress, as are many other seemingly personally incongruent crimes against others. Abuse of the elderly can range in severity from neglect to outright violence, and stress is clearly a significant factor in most if not all of these cases. If these same people were given respite care alternatives, even a few hours a day this trend could be halted and the occurrences could be reduced. Equitable, non-cost prohibitive care for the frail elderly, such as that offered by an adult daycare institution could be a social response that would actually reduce this growing trend and protect individuals and families from facing such extreme situations.
The natures of opportunities for social interactions, on the part of the current community for the frail elderly are limited to say the least. For the most part when individuals become to frail to drive, cook, clean and groom themselves, they are either rejected by the community and must depend on family to meet their social and physical needs or they are neglected, as a result of fear of loss of independence and secrecy, sometimes on the part of the individual. Those who seek help, are afraid that they will lose everything that makes them an independent adult for the whole of their lives, so they remain silent about problems, living conditions and/or medical needs. It therefore can become a very extreme situation, over a relatively short period of time. If prior to the recognized need for daily assistance the individual can expect a phone call or visit from family once or twice a month the situation can become almost deadly before interventions can be taken. (Holstein & McCurdy, 1999, p. 168) Additionally, those already being cared for in the home of a family member can be neglected, inadvertently by care givers as a result of the need to meet other obligations, or worse intentionally as a result of increased stress and demands. The services of a safe, clean healthy environmental alternative for the frail elderly in the form offered by an adult daycare will be successful, because they will meet the needs of a growing population for alternatives to institutionalization and increased care inclusive of independence and dignity. (Suggs, 1999, p. 87) Most, importantly, if a frail elderly individual is offered alternatives to extreme dependency on loved ones he or she will be more capable for longer of coping with their own needs and responsibilities as adults, as they will be lacking in the guilt and depression that is often felt by such people when they "become a burden to loved ones." People who feel as if they have become a burden are at higher risk of depression, declining health related to stress and suicide. (Brown & Vinokur, 2003, p. 131) Adult daycare can offer an individual the opportunity to continue pursue their own independent adult life, with the nominal aide of others, without straining their family or putting them in a position of constant fear, associated to living without a safety net.
The primary goal of the Golden Years Adult Daycare center is to offer alternatives to families, for the care of frail elderly, during daytime hours while providing these adults with the opportunity to continue to pursue independent interests and holistic health in a clean, comfortable and supportive environment.
The mission of the Golden Years Adult Daycare center is to recognize the inherent value in the elderly by allowing them to live safely and express independence through the pursuit of activities and the reception of needed care, in a safe and inclusive environment with their peers. This mission will allow individuals the ability to continue to live healthy and independent lives, despite their medical frailty.
The Golden Years Adult Daycare will be located in a rural area, as the demographic need for such care is greater outside of urban areas. (Cox, 1993, p. 73) the need for alternative care is greatest in areas of traditionally underserved populations, as the demographic shortfalls in rural areas grow, with regard to medical services alternatives must be offered. The center will attempt to obtain a lease or purchase on one of several old town buildings currently underutilized by the community, as a part of downtown redevelopment organizations and to centralize services. Two particular building of interest is the former lodge, and the former grange buildings as these buildings offer the infrastructure (i.e. A full commercial kitchen) as well as the space, on a single floor that would allow for all needed spaces and services. Individual elderly people…