My sisters and I want our mom to attend an adult day center for more socialization, but she is very hesitant to the idea. How do we make such a transition more comfortable for her?

Adult day services offer a variety of benefits for the individual with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and research indicates stimulation early in the disease process can assist in offsetting some cognitive decline. Attending a day center gives the participant opportunities for socialization and to enjoy meaningful activities. Additionally, it gives the caregiver a needed break from the stress of caregiving.

Your mom is probably confused about what is involved in attending a day center or even what it looks like. Plus, she is most likely being resistant to avoid her fear and/or failure. Individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia need to be constantly assured, so remain positive about this transition and keep a good attitude while explaining to her about what she can expect.

Don’t overwhelm her by sharing a lot of details. If it doesn’t make her too anxious, involve her in the process, allowing her to tour the day center and to meet the staff. You and your sister could schedule an outing prior to the tour, take her to lunch and then tell her that you are all going to look at a senior center to get her involved in activities and to meet new friends.

Outline the benefits of attending the day center, such as meeting new friends and getting out of the house more often. Other explanations could include that her physician suggested attending the day center would be good for her and that the center could use her help and assistance during the day.

Don’t talk about the visit with your mom until the first day. Planning ahead may make her more nervous. The first few days of attending the day center and her change in routine may be difficult for her and she may experience some anxiety. An adult day center can serve as a viable community-based option for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia. The National Adult Day Services Association has identified 5,685 day programs operating in the U.S. in 2014. To find a center in your area, contact nadsa.org. For information on Alzheimer Service’s day center, Charlie’s Place Respite and Activity Center, visit alzbr.org.

Questions about Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia disorder? Contact Dana Territo, the Memory Whisperer, Director of Services at Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area, (225) 334-7494, advice@alzbr.org, or visit the organization at 3772 North Blvd., Baton Rouge.