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Activities in Adult Day Care
Clients Stay Involved with Adult Day Care Activities

Adult day care is a relatively new care option for adults needing care and supervision during the daytime hours.

The activities offered to adults in day care centers, give enjoyment, entertainment, and companionship. The greatest benefit of all; engagement with peers like them.

Day services allow seniors to interact with peers in their community. It's so different from living in a nursing home facility. In one, an adult is left feeling the end is near, whereas day services incorporate fun activities and companionship to brighten one's life. Recipients share meals, play games, and sometimes enjoy outings with others like them.

Activities in Adult Day Care

Planned activities
Planned activities

While a variety of activities and services offer seniors companionship and enjoyment, they vary from center to center. But all day care centers offer seniors scheduled programs that builds consistent routines. Ones they can count on.

A typical Day at an adult day care center might look like this:

Time Activity

8:00-9:00: Breakfast Bunch

9:00-10:00: Current Events & Devotionals

10:00-12:00: Programming (movement, hands-on activities, etc)

12:00-1:00: Lunch Bunch

1:00-2:00: Wait a Minute Rest Period

2:00-3:30: Programming

3:30-4:30: Happy Hour (games, singing, etc)

4:30-5:30: Homeward Bound

Cognitive Stimulation

Activities designed to stimulate the mind are one of the major components of adult care activities. Games with pattern recognition and repetitive interaction can help seniors who suffer from a failing memory. Monopoly, Scrabble, and other word games require seniors to exercise their minds while encouraging social interaction with other players. Card games are also great for cognitive stimulation.


At some point, everyone needs a break. Seniors may sit in a lounge area and shoot the breeze with friends or get their hair and nails done. Other fun but relaxing activities include watching old movies and eating popcorn.

Daily Tasks

For seniors who miss the days when they could perform many routine tasks on their own, spending a day in the kitchen cooking and baking are a real treat. Other times, activity coordinators may plan special outdoor gardening activities or trips to the local supermarket. These activities allow seniors to perform routine tasks for themselves in a safe environment.

Medical Activities

Adult day care programs sometimes offer health services. Activities for seniors that involve medical care such as physician visits, podiatry, nursing visits, and nursing staff help with medication management; while therapists help with rehabilitation services like physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.

Many centers have special programs for the elderly with medical conditions including dementia and Alzheimer's, stroke recovery, diabetes, heart disease, and common aging-related issues such as frailty.

Adult day care facilities offer add-on programs that transport the recipient to and from the center. For additional costs, your loved one can get a ride to a doctor's appointment, therapy appointments, and other personal appointments.

Fun Activities for Entertainment


Activities that engage adults of all ages
Activities that engage adults of all ages

Games are multi-functional: for mental exercises and sometimes to strengthen the body. The activities director adds games create interaction between recipients, so you won't find just bingo and cards.

The director encourages seniors to participate in video games, since research says these game build stronger eye-hand coordination.

The day centers use the Wii system and Xbox 360's Kinect to help recipients build stronger and more responsive bodies.

  • Crossword puzzles
  • Sudoku puzzles
  • Word search games
  • Dominoes
  • Go Fish -It's reminiscent and fun!
  • Old Maid - It's reminiscent and fun!
  • Scenic puzzles


Grow vegetables and fruits to add and mix in meals at the center, and some fresh veggies will go home with the recipients. Your loved one will enjoy sharing the fresh harvest with the rest of her family. It helps her feel like she's contributing to the family.

Music therapy

Sing-along and music therapy is a fantastic tool for raising spirits. Often the activity leader will choose music based on a specific theme and then encourage the clients to discuss it. One activity that brightens a loved one's day is the children's visit. Oftentimes, they visit and sign together with the adults.

Multigenerational programs

Both adult day and children day centers come together for field trips, reading books, and storytelling. Children and adults alike love spending time together.

Day care centers blend all ages and gather to learn from each other, to build community and to share.

Throughout the year, numerous programs to bring them together:

  • Game day to play a board or card game
  • Book discussions to discuss Harry Potter and The Hobbit building communication skills.
  • Lively discussions to discuss personal stories and events
  • Theatre events to share a movie together
  • Arts and crafts that encourage creativity
  • Woodworking to build and decorate bird houses
  • Painting project
  • Scrapbooking
  • Jewelry making
  • Dancing

Programs for Adults

  • Educational classes
  • Adult health classes
  • Healthy eating classes
  • Yoga
  • Zumba
  • Book discussions
  • Current event discussions
  • Movie day
  • Trivial pursuit
  • Charades
  • Games to stimulate the brain and companionship

Educational activities

  • How to grow a garden
  • History of the community
  • How to email
  • How to use social media
  • How to create an indoor garden

Besides recreational activities, some adult day care centers provide social services including counseling and support groups for caregivers, and health support services such as blood pressure monitoring and vision screening.

A well-run adult day care center's goals focus on enriching the recipients' lives, building upon their skills, knowledge, and unique abilities and strengths.

Activities for Alzheimer's Patients

Along with caring staff, scheduled activities for patients are the heart of any good adult day care program. They are essential to maintaining well-being, and research has indicated that these activities can, actually, help slow and prevent further development of dementia. In addition, participating in fun activities is one more way that Alzheimer's patients can avoid being overcome with loneliness and depression.

Scheduled activities for dementia and Alzheimer's patients vary depending upon the group, there are lots of activities that are appropriate for cognitive stimulation and socialization. At day care facilities, they find the best activities for participants living with dementia.

Puzzle and Game Activities

Complete simple crossword puzzles, Sudoku puzzles, and word search games together.

Simple game of dominoes and card games. Go Fish and Old Maid are ones easily remembered and followed. And, because these games involve long-term memory, they're reminiscent and fun!

Work on jigsaw puzzles. Look for scenic puzzles, particularly of places your patient or loved one has visited in the past, as these can help stimulate the memory.

Photo and Scrapbook Activities

Sometimes the simple act of going through an old photo album can stir up fond memories for patients with cognitive illnesses. Each time a participant looks a the photo, it brings back a sweet memory.

Make a new scrapbook. Not every activity focuses on the past. Lots of photos taken during activities, special events, outings and put into new scrapbooks. Cutting, pasting, and designing help with spatial concepts.

Filtering through old photos and labeling them, gives participants a sense of accomplishment.

Share Memories with other Participants

Talk about funny family memories or events that happened at home or the day care center. Humor is great therapy and it can enhance a participant's mood.

Watch a favorite funny movie or TV series together.

Carol Marak
Carol Marak

After seven years of helping her aging parents, Carol Marak has become a dedicated senior care writer. Since 2007, she has been doing the research to find answers to common concerns: housing, aging and health, staying safe and independent, and planning long-term.