It is Day 15 of Dementia Awareness Month 2015, and I feel that it is time we talked about the use of the term “Day” care or “Day” respite. Yes, I know it refers to an adult service, that does not include accommodation overnight, hence the rationale to use these terms, but as far as adults feeling like they are an appropriate place to go, is a totally different bucket of fish! But the picture to the left, of a day care centre for children, is the first image that springs to mind, for most of us.
For some time now, I have been in conversations with others living with dementia discussing whether the use of “day” care/respite is appropriate for adults requiring support. Most of us have said, we will refuse to go if it is called “day care” as that is the place we took our small children, and it not the right term for adults, no matter how good it is.
Personally, I have the same thoughts on the use of Montessori for adults, and for now (yes, I know, I might change my mind!), believe it is wrong, and that the programs that are based on this philosophy are probably excellent, but should be called something else. As always, there is more to the words we use than meets the eye.
Regarding support for people with dementia who only need it during the day or part of the day, calling it “day care” infantilises us. I think the alternatives can vary, depending on what ‘style’ or setting. Why would I want to go to “day care”, and sit in groups with strangers, doing activities such as Bingo or bus trips to visit a shopping centre, if I could join a club that was of interest to me? Yes, institutional care has its place, but really, calling it “day care”…
If it is a group for adults that meets during the day, then it could be called a social club, car club, coffee, group, music group, choir, painting group, gardening club, walking group, and so on, just like it is for everyone without dementia.
If it does all of these things, and more, which to be person centred it needs to, it would work to just call it a community club.