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Community Based Adult Day Care
Things to Consider Community-Based Options

A variety of adult healthcare options allow people to age in place while receiving the needed personal care support.

When searching for adult day care, keep in mind community based programs. The adult care programs that are privately owned and operated are not necessarily community based. As confusing as that may sound, an adult day care that is community based is government operated; city, county, or state.

Government type facilities are outreach programs designed to meet the needs of the elderly or people living with disabilities in a given area. They incorporate volunteers from the area along with a staff.

The idea behind adult day care is to provide respite for the families and caregivers of the clients, other core values include outreach, helping family cope, education of the community at large, and providing a continued sense of self-worth to the participants.

Through an educational approach some disabled or elderly clients can continue to learn new skills and may even be able to earn a small income.

Community-based Adult Day Care

Community-based Adult Care
Community-based Adult Care

Adult day care is a community-based option that's common in local cities.

It offers social and support services in a group setting in churches or local community centers. It provides a safe environment for people who need supervision and help with activities of daily living, while the primary family caregivers work during the day. It serves as respite for other caregivers.

Providers of adult day care include services like:

  • Simple non-skilled custodial care
  • More advanced skilled services
  • On-site registered nurse
  • On-site health services
  • Clinical assessment
  • Clinical monitoring
  • Medication management

Custodial adult day care is not covered by Medicare, although Medicaid or other insurers cover some costs.

Types of Attendees

Adult day care programs serve both the elderly and the younger adults. Younger, disabled adults need a safe place to go during the day while their caregivers work or if their parents need a short break from the stress of caregiving. They have access to social and exercise programs that enhance their life quality.

Most day care service programs understand the need to build community for all participants.

Offering social programs is only part of what's delivered. The outreach extends through-out the community in ways that give participants added self-worth and value through learning self-care skills, making friends, building stronger bodies, and developing their talent through arts, writing, music and technology.

Most community based day care programs are free services made available by the city, county, or state. People with low incomes can find day programs for their loved ones at no cost. Others may have a nominal fee to cover food or other supplies, while some may rely totally on donations from the community at large. Still others require that a client bring their food and access their own transportation.

Local community-based services found in community centers, charitable centers, and local outreach centers like The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and more. You can often find phone numbers for such programs by contacting your local social services department, health department, or city governmental offices.

Daytime Hospitals

Day hospitals provide a broad range of skilled-nursing services:



Intensive rehabilitation

Day hospitals, housed in chronic-care hospitals or rehabilitation centers, allow participants to have access to in-house professional expertise and resources during the day. Medicare covers some services with requirements of home health care.

Day hospitals are most often used for two groups of patients: those needing rehabilitation in multiple areas and those with psychiatric illnesses. A systematic review of day-hospital care found that day hospitals compared favorably with other sources of care for many traditional health outcomes. In fact, those receiving care in day hospitals tend to have less functional decline and less hospital and institutional care.

Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)

The Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) is a joint program using funds of Medicare and Medicaid (in participating states) to provide acute and long-term care to frail older people. By coordinating funds, allows PACE programs to give traditional coverage of acute, rehabilitative, home, and institutional care.

Participants in the PACE program must meet state-defined requirements regarding their need for a nursing-home level of care. As of 2014, 104 PACE programs operate in 31 states..

The goal of PACE is to keep participants in the community for as long as it is medically, socially, and financially feasible. The system uses a team of healthcare providers who know the patient and caregivers well and who can provide complete care whether the patient is at home or in the hospital, an alternative living situation, or an institution.

PACE Services

Offering needed medical and supportive services, PACE programs provides the entire continuum of care and services to seniors with chronic care needs while maintaining their independence in their home for as long as possible.

Services include:

  • Adult day care: nursing; physical, occupational and recreational therapies; meals; nutritional counseling; social work and personal care
  • Medical care provided by a PACE physician
  • Home health care and personal care
  • Prescription drugs
  • Social services
  • Audiology
  • Dentistry
  • Optometry
  • Podiatry
  • Speech therapy
  • Respite care
  • Hospital and nursing home care

The PACE system is an example of an integrated system. PACE provides high-quality care.

Privately Owned Adult Care Facilities

The adult day care centers that are privately owned provide the same core values. They're owned by large corporations, 'chains' of facilities, like some nursing homes.

These facilities have their own internal company mission. Community based adult day care programs are better able to change their outreach missions to suit their community. This is not to say that one program is better than the other. Many private owned facilities provide excellent outreach programs on their own.

Community Senior Centers or Adult Day Care

Both, community senior centers and adult day care centers, offer seniors and people living with disabilities to remain safe and independent, and thrive socially.

By definition, a community center is a meeting place for the people of the community to gather for social or recreational purposes. These centers offer structured recreation, such as gaming, arts and crafts, and entertainment like movies.

Community centers are a great place to meet new people and make friends. They are also great places to get in touch with your community and be aware of all the things happening in the neighborhood.

This setting is not necessarily ideal for those who have cognitive impairments or who need a lot of specialized medical attention, unless the center offers nursing aides who deliver needed care. People with more independent skills and flexibility thrive in this environment.

Most larger cities have community centers with longer hours while rural community hours will usually be shorter. Sometimes smaller cities and towns' centers will only be open a few days a week, however they do sometimes have night and weekend events. Make sure to check their event schedules.

Adult day care facilities evolved as a place for family caregivers to have a break. An adult day care facility works like a community center, but more attention's devoted to medical care and social services. They deliver structured activities, often involving educational programs.

Adult day cares usually run Monday through Friday during regular business hours. Adult day care centers are also handicapped accessible and have medical staff on site. In addition to activities such as music therapy and arts and crafts, these facilities sometimes have field trips in to the community. Adult day care facilities are a wonderful place for people to regain their sense of independence as well as socializing and even learning a thing or two.

To decide which is best for you or your loved one, first consider your needs.

  • Do you or your loved one need a more structured environment?
  • Are you looking more for recreation and social activities than specialized programs?
  • Are on-site medical care and/or social services important?
  • What type of hours do you need?
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.