Why Activity and Day Centers are so Important for IDD Family and Clients

According the the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA), there are more than 7,500 Adult Day Centers in the United States. For many, day programs for adults with intellectual and physical disabilities are the preferable long-term care option, as the provide a safe and inclusive place for social interaction, mental stimulation, physical activities, and nutritious meals. But these valuable resources are often under-utilized. So why are these Day Habilitation and Activity Centers so important and why should we work harder to support them.

  1. Caregiver Confidence – Providing care for someone with developmental disabilities can be emotionally draining and even a physical challenge. Caregiver burnout is a real and reoccurring issue. Everyone needs a break and attending and Activity Center or a Day Center can help provide a safe place to relax also engaging with like minds. Day centers offer respite support for families and caregivers, allowing them time to tend to personal needs, responsibilities, and self-care. Respite care not only strengthens the family unit but also prevents caregiver burnout, ultimately benefiting the individual receiving care as well.
  2. Socialization in a Safe Place – Day centers for individuals with developmental disabilities play a vital role in offering comprehensive support and services tailored to their unique needs. These centers create a safe and nurturing environment that fosters personal growth and development. Services offered may include therapeutic activities, skill-building programs, educational assistance, vocational training, and opportunities for social interaction. Such holistic approaches aim to enhance the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and ensure their active participation in society.
  3. Better Quality of Life – In the dark Alaska winters, isolation can be a significant issue, and individuals with developmental disabilities may experience heightened feelings of seclusion. Day centers can act as social hubs, promoting inclusion and community engagement. By providing a space for social interaction, shared experiences, and common interests, these centers foster a sense of belonging and combat feelings of loneliness. Additionally, they facilitate connections with the broader community, bridging the gap between individuals with developmental disabilities and the rest of society.

Activity and Day centers for individuals with developmental disabilities are indispensable resources that promote inclusion, social engagement, and personal growth. By offering specialized support and services, these centers empower individuals to lead fulfilling lives and contribute to their communities.  Bright Horizon Homes supports an activity center that is free for day habilitation and often hosts activities for their clients and those in the community! Be sure you to seek out a local activity center or day center in you area to see what they hae to offer! Chances are you will find support there in more ways than one.

Be sure to check out www.brighthorizonhomes.com or any of out social media pages to find out more information.




Supporting the Mental Health of those with IDD

Working to provide adequate mental health seems to be a common trending challenge for people in many areas. From stigmas, to long wait lists, finding the right care provider can be difficult for anyone. However, providing the  specialized type of mental health care that those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) require is becoming and increasingly common challenge for all who work in this field. Along with life’s common emotional challenges, anxiety and depression can make live for those living with IDD much more vulnerable. It is a commonly underserved area of psychology.

Often, depression in those with IDD goes undiagnosed or simply mistreated as the signs and symptoms are often so different from that of a neurotypical person. People with IDD often don’t have as many things going on in their lives that would help them take their minds off of stressful things. They may argue with caregivers more. They may not want to socialize as much as before. Taking care to view individual habits is key in noticing if mental health is plaguing your loved one. Waiting for help from a professional can be agonizing and difficult, often leaving caregivers feeling lost and confused.

While mental health is not something you can totally avoid or often help on your own, what can we do to help those in need? Below are a few  ways you can help to encourage and support a loved one while awaiting help.

  1. Stick to an active routine: Everyone does better when they understand what is expected through their day.  When you develop regular opportunities to be active, you stimulate your brain to process things differently. You also encourage your brain to create new neural pathways. Interacting with others and being active tends to have a positive outcome.
  2. Actively seek out non-verbal stress relief rituals: Everyone has nonverbal habits which they perform in order boost their own spirits. Help the person to identify healthy ways that they can relax, and support them so they can relax more. They are particularly helpful to people with intellectual disabilities who cannot find solace in the written or spoken word. Noticing what helps a person with IDD can encourage personal daily habits of self care.
  3. Promote independence: Studies have shown how increasing independence can improve quality of life for IDD individuals as well as boost their mental health. Most experiencing mental health crisis decrease their own personal care, which only worsen their symptoms.
  4. Be honest and inclusive: It is difficult to talk about difficult things in most any situation. Many caregivers find themselves quite unable to be honest or to include and involve the person with a developmental disability.  Simply understanding that their feelings are acknowledged and that help is offered is useful to anyone with mental health issues.
  5. You are doing things right: Referrals for consultation with mental health specialists are typically difficult to determine and are often feel like they were made late. It is challenging to decide when a mental health crisis is occurring and noticing when additional help is required. Building awareness and continuing conversations relating to the mental health needs of people with IDD is critical. . As we work together to increase knowledge surrounding this need, we can better advocate for those we work the and those we love!
  6. Surround Yourself with Like Minded Individuals:  Being around those who are experiencing similar difficulties is often the key to discovering new paths to healing. Though everyone’s path will be different, having people to confide in can support you while helping others. If you are looking for a new support group don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Bright Horizon Homes!


Further Reading







Developmental Disabilities in Adults and Care Plan Tips

The needs of adults with developmental disabilities can vary. This means that the
care plan for our loved one’s case of developmental disability can also differ.
Sometimes, they can stand on their own. They can improve more and be
independent as they continue with therapy and treatment. Other times, they can
call for a more specialized set of care, yet still continue to live with us. In other cases,
long-term residential care is necessary. This can depend on the quality of life that our
loved one has at the present. We should also consider the growing needs of our loved

We’ve gathered tips that can be helpful in planning the care for our elderly loved ones with
developmental disabilities.

  1. Review long-term care guidelines provided by the state: Information about rights and provisions helps keep our loved ones safe. It guides us on qualities to look for in a residential home. Our loved ones
    can have complex needs. Seeing these necessities provided is of utmost importance.
  2. Ask for the physician’s advice: Our loved one’s attending physician may be able to tell us on the direction and the options we can take in long-term care. Based on the physician’s
    recommendations, we can further plan and coordinate with other health care professionals about our loved one’s long-term care plan.
  3. Contact care coordinators: Looking for residential homes in Wasilla, Alaska can be made easier with the help of a care coordinator. Care coordinators can help lay down the best possible option for our loved ones’ care needs. They can answer our questions and give us a realistic view of what’s going to happen when our loved one transitions to long-term residential care.
  4. Consider Medicaid waiver services: We can’t always sustain our loved one’s needs on our own, especially when it comes to long-term care. Check for your state’s eligibility requirements. This can help us provide our loved ones with quality care at a price we can sustain.

Considering our best possible options help us and our loved ones with the transitions they may go through such as residential care. Bright Horizon
Homes helps you plan for your loved one’s long-term care. We provide developmental disability care services in Alaska. Coordinate with us today.