Spending two days driving around a new part of the country, one tends to notice restaurants and stores that are unique to that region. South Texas certainly has its share of chains that are not found in the Midwest (Whataburger, Stripes Convenient Stores, etc). While these places offer food that tends to have a negative impact on a person’s health, South Texas is home to something that I feel greatly improves overall public health–adult day care centers. Never really having heard of adult day care before, it is intriguing to notice the abundance of these centers along the road everywhere we drive. My project group even had the opportunity to give an interview to the director at one of the centers.
Well, what exactly is day care for adults anyways? It has the same principle as the day cares we are more familiar with for children. An adult child will drop their mother or father off at the center while they go off to work and then pick them up at the end of the day. While this may not seem like a groundbreaking concept, it really emphasizes the family-oriented culture here in South Texas. Instead of sending their parents to nursing homes like is often done in other parts of the United States, the parent remains rooted to their family while still being able to engage with their community. The adult day care centers offer games, music, and dancing throughout the day and even help coordinate doctors appointments. These centers provide a positive social network for older adults and help reinforce healthy behaviors and the utilization of health services, resulting in a healthier older adult population.