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Services Offered in Adult Day Care
Learn About the Services Offered in Adult Day Care

Adult day services are the perfect fit for families who wish to keep their aging loved ones at home, but need help during the day while they work. The day care gives the aging person added socialization, support, and supervision (when needed) during the day.

Most adult day care centers operate during standard business hours, Monday through Friday, to accommodate the needs of the typical working family.

The primary purpose of a day care program promotes well-being through social and health-related services. An adult daycare gives a person with needs a safe, supportive, cheerful environment. Nutritious meals that accommodate special diets are given. Centers help older and disabled adults to:

  • Get out of the house and receive both mental and social stimulation
  • Get help with personal needs, or simply rest and relax

Adult daycare centers are non-profit or for-profit.

Services Offered in Adult Day Care

Day care activities & services
Day care activities & services

Adult day centers continue to evolve and becoming a transitional care provider of short-term rehabilitation following a hospital discharge.

Adult day care centers are a safe and secure environment for participants who require supervised daily care. Some centers provide a platform for chronic disease management. While nearly half of all participants nationally have some level of dementia, other common chronic diseases among participants include chronic hypertension, physical disability, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental illness and developmental disability.

Adult day services provide a reliable source of support, restore balance in times of crisis, and enhance overall quality of life for caregivers.

What does Your Senior Loved One Need?

Before you can decide where to enroll your loved one in day care services, you need to take an honest assessment of what he needs.

The director of the daycare center can help you determine what your loved one needs. However, you can begin the assessment yourself by considering what's offered.

There are three different types of adult day care center specialties

  1. Socialization and basic support (most common)
  2. Alzheimer's/Dementia support (component of many programs)
  3. Medical support (may offer therapies, diabetes monitoring, etc.)

Day Care Services

Day care centers vary tremendously in terms of services offered, price, and types of clients accepted. For example, adult day care programs may provide:

  • social activities
  • counseling
  • meals
  • special diet
  • specialized care for dementia
  • transportation
  • recreation
  • medical help
  • emotional support
  • mental stimulation
  • personal care such as bathing and shaving
  • exercise
  • education
  • therapies: occupational, physical and speech
  • assistance with walking, eating, taking medications, bathing
  • health monitoring - blood pressure, blood sugar levels, food/liquid intake, weight?

Specialty Services

Depending on the philosophy and location of the day care center, many offer additional services. For example, adult day centers that are part of a nursing home or assisted living facility have resources like a beauty parlor or barbershop. For those centers that are a part of a religious organization, they have spiritual care, religious education or worship services.


The goal of adult day care is to provide for social and medical needs, but also to enrich participant's lives through a variety of activities. Common scheduled programs include arts and crafts, exercise, musical entertainment, games, book clubs, movies and outings or field trips.

An increasing number of facilities also include children. Intergenerational programs are becoming very popular because the offer a safe environment and planned activities for seniors and children alike.

Adult day care creates a win-win situation for everyone. Families can maintain unison and be together in the evenings under one roof. The day services help families avoid quitting one's job to stay home with the loved full-time.

The biggest benefit: An elderly loved ones receives great care and the chance to mingle and be with peers and to participate in activities outside the home.

What do you, the caregiver need?

  • Occasional free time?
  • Coverage while working?
  • Transportation for your loved one?
  • Assistance in planning care?

Searching for Day Care

Seeking day care
Seeking day care

Talk to two or three people who have used the center you are considering. Ask for their opinion.

Select a day center and give it a try for a few days. Keep in mind that it often takes several visits for a new participant to feel comfortable in a new setting and routine. Staff may have suggestions to transition easier both at home and at the center.

When searching for a day service, it's important to know if the program accepts people who have incontinence issues. Not all day service providers can care for those living with incontinence issues.

If the incontinence issue is minimal, you may not have a problem. The need to wear a pad or go to the bathroom often will not usually affect the amount of care provided. Your loved one knows when to change a pad or may need reminders to go to the bathroom more often.

If the care needed goes beyond reminders, you may need to find another day service program or be prepared to pay more for the care.

The level of care involved with adult day care will be directly affected by the center and its' capabilities. Adult day health care programs provide care on most levels that involves a medical staff, similar to services provided by nursing homes or in-home care. The programs are slightly more expensive than typical day services, but still less expensive than full skilled facilities.

To find out more about the specific adult day care centers where you live, visit our adult day care directory or you will want to contact your local aging information and assistance provider or area agency on aging (AAA). The Eldercare Locator, a public service of the Administration on Aging (at 1-800-677-1116 or can help connect you to these agencies.

The National Adult Day Services Association is a good source for general information about adult day care centers and programs. They can help you link to a state adult day care association. Reach them by calling the toll-free telephone number 1-877-745-1440 or by going to

Adult day care, approximately 4,000 adult day care centers are found in cities and the suburbs across the country, according to the National Adult Day Services Association.

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.