Adult Day Care Programs

There are 2 types of adult day care programs available outside the home for adults who need care or supervision.

  • Adult day care

    Adult day care offers a safe place to spend the day with other people. Programs provide activities and meals. Some provide transportation to and from the center. Adult day care programs are available from 1 to 5 days a week. They are usually day-long but some may offer half-day programs.

    Meals and snacks may be served. Activities are scheduled throughout the day. They may include exercises, games, gardening, cooking, discussion groups, art, music, and trips. Some programs provide activities that involve children as well. Programs try to plan interesting activities for both men and women.

  • Adult day healthcare
  • Adult day healthcare (ADHC) are programs licensed by each state to provide health-related care. Each state has different rules. ADHC may include things like:
    • Personal care such as bathing, grooming, and foot care
    • Medical checkups, blood pressure checks, exams by a nurse, and blood tests

    In some cases, day care staff may give medicine to people who are unable to take it themselves. Services may also include physical, occupational, or speech therapy. Programs may be available to help people who have:

    • Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Stroke
    • Developmental disabilities
    • Visual problems
    • Mental illness

What are the benefits?

  • Adult day care can be very helpful for caregivers who work during the day, who need to run errands, or just need a break.
  • Day care centers have a greater choice of activities than you can offer at home.
  • It usually costs less than paying someone to provide care in your home.
  • It can help prevent loneliness and provide a feeling of belonging.
  • The center may be open year-round.

What are the drawbacks?

  • Not all adults want to do activities or be around a lot of people.
  • The center closest to you may not provide the level of care needed, such as for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The program may be costly. The cost depends on the number of hours a person attends the program, whether the program is nonprofit, and what services are offered. Some day care centers charge fees based on income. Others charge a set daily rate for everyone. There may be an extra charge for some services, such as foot care, haircuts, managing medicines, and transportation.

    Medicare does not pay for day care. Medicaid may help pay for the cost of adult day healthcare. Insurance companies may pay for adult day care if a healthcare provider states that the person would otherwise need to live in a nursing facility. Check your healthcare insurance policy to see if it will pay for adult day care.

How do I choose a day care program?

Choose an adult day care center that provides the level of care needed. There should be 1 caretaker for every 4 to 6 adults. The center should provide a variety of activities. Tour the center to ensure that it is clean and safe. Ask for references. After you choose an adult care center, plan visits on different days and at different times to be sure the level of care is what you expect. If you are choosing an ADHC, a nurse and a social worker should be on the staff.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-12-08
Last reviewed: 2014-12-08
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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