For many families, adult day care is an affordable option when compared with the financial burdens of alternative care options. Almost two-thirds of seniors (age 65 or older) need some type of long-term care. It's no secret that any medical service is expensive these days, but did you know that you can actually save money by utilizing adult day care for your senior or other disabled relative?
A typical day at an adult day care is 8 to 12 hours long, and is open around the needs of most working families. While adult day care facilities differ in their offerings and prices, most centers provide socialization opportunities, supervision, and scheduled recreational activities for seniors and Alzheimer's or dementia patients. Personalized health care, med management, transportation services, outings, bathroom help, meals, and rehabilitative therapies may also be offered at some facilities.
These programs allow loved ones to keep their jobs while continuing to provide care and support for their elderly relatives. Something else to consider, especially if you are the primary care giver, is that, while your loved one is away at day care, you will find yourself with a lot of free time on your hands. If you were thinking about picking up a part time job, adult day care can offer you the spare time to do just that, while giving you the peace of mind that your loved one is in a safe and productive environment.
The cost of adult day care varies significantly between facilities across the nation and even within the same city. We have compiled various statistics about what a person would expect to pay in a given area. Much of the data comes from the Genworth 2012 Cost of Care Survey which is the most comprehensive study of its kind. Genworth Financial surveyed over 15,000 care providers. Please understand this is an estimated cost, based solely off averages and changes from facility to facility. There may be additional costs for various services provided. We urge you to ask for a specific quote from each facility you are interested in that meets your needs.
Adult day care centers have a variety of payment structures. Some charge by the hour while others charge by the half or full day. All estimates below are intended to be the cost for a full day and do not include any government subsidies. Monthly rates estimate that you will need services for 5 days per week.
While adult day care rates may seem steep, compare them to other types of senior care.
|Care Type||National Average|
|Five Year Increase|
|Adult day care |
1 year increase
|Home care |
44 hours per week
|Nursing Home |
double occupancy room for one person
|Nursing Home |
single occupancy room for one person
Many seniors and their families are on a fixed income and they may not be able to afford care every day. As long as safety is not a concern, it may be that the senior would benefit from just a few days per week or even half days. If that is the case, look for a program that offers flexible rates to accommodate such schedules.
Medicare, Medicaid, veterans' benefits or private health insurance may pay for a portion or all of the costs of long term care needs, but adult day care may not be covered by these programs. For example, it is not covered under Medicare, but depending on the state, Medicaid payment may be an option. However, payment benefits depend on finances and functional eligibility. If the senior has a medical condition like MS, dementia, or Parkinson's, for example, then Medicare for health insurance may be more likely to cover such care. Many long-term care insurance policies will cover some or all of the costs associated with adult day care services. Keep in mind as well that out-of-pocket expenditures may qualify as a tax-deductible medical expense.
For many families, paying for long-term care out of pocket can be a challenge. Ask about reduced fees or scholarship programs. Veterans, if not able to get direct aid through the VA, may be eligible for local, state, or regional benefits or scholarship dollars to help defray the costs of adult day care fees.
* Data from the 2012 Genworth Cost of Care Survey