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How to Find Day Programs for Adults with Disabilities

How to Find Day Programs for Adults with Disabilities

Day programs serve individuals by helping them spend the day away from home. These programs help them learn and practice skills via structured activities. These day programs ultimately enhance their lives and their perception of their ability to handle whatever may come along in their futures. Caregivers and family members also benefit by getting time to themselves for whatever else they need to do, including work, errands, and self-care (an often overlooked, but critical item). The biggest challenges are finding an appropriate day program for an individual, getting into the program, then funding the person’s attendance in the program. There are a number of routes to take when looking for a program. All of them need to start with the same thing:  

Get clear on everyone’s needs and wants

The very first step in finding the right day program is finding out from everyone involved what kind of day program they want to participate in, both actively and passively. In most instances, if there is any hesitation about attending a day program, it is on the part of the family members, not the disabled person. The best way to deal with this is to visit prospective facilities together.  

Ask for Help

After figuring out what the real needs and wants are, the next step is to approach the agency the disabled person is associated with. If there is no association with an agency that provides at least case management services, this is a great time to establish such a connection. Agencies deal with placing people in day programs and finding funding  all the time. The agency’s staff will most likely have some great ideas. The agency itself may have a day program, which may be just the right fit for the disabled person.  

Check out online resources

Even if you have a terrific case manager chasing down day program info for you, it never hurts to do your own research. Go online and do a search for “day programs for adults with disabilities.” The search will return in the neighborhood of 108,000,000 results (no, that is not a typo). Some results will not be relevant. That’s OK. Make a note of the promising hits, then make some phone calls. It’s important to get all questions and concerns answered, so make sure to bring up any issues that come to mind. Schedule a visit to the facility if that helps the decision-making process. Make sure to take travel/commute time into account when making day program choices, especially if a caregiver or family member is doing the transportation honors. Also, make sure the case manager is in the communication loop. That way, there is a much smaller chance of duplication of effort.  

Phase into the new routine

Everyone likes to approach something new on their own terms. A day program is no different. In order for everyone to get used to the new routine and minimize any anxiety or fear that may be lurking behind a cheerful face, it is often best to agree that the day program will be approached on a gradual basis.  

Sources  – gives lots of general info that families and caregivers need to consider when deciding on a day program for a disabled loved one/client.  – provides info specific to RISE day programs.