Adult Day Care: Get the Help You Need


Adult day care is a service provided for adults who either need assisted living during the day or feel isolated and want company. Some adults also attend day care to give their caregivers a break during the day. For adults who live in an assisted living community, going to daycare may give the rest of the staff a chance to perform cleaning and other room services. There are multiple types of adult day care centers available.

Many centers offer different services. For example, some centers focus more on socialization elements for lonely adults, while others provide services for disabled adults. There are also some specialized centers for specific conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. More information about the benefits and services available through adult day care services is noted below.

Social Adult Day Care

Social adult day care focuses on creating a social community among adults. The main focus is performing tasks which not only encourage adults to socialize and become friends, but also improve mental stimulation. Typically, social day care accepts some adults with disabilities or medical conditions, but they may not have enough equipment or workers for specialized care.

  • Most social day care services run recreational activities throughout the day. This includes arts and crafts, musical entertainment and discussion groups. While many social day cares run throughout the week, smaller centers may only run on select days or for limited hours. For example, some social day cares host a book or film club twice throughout the week. Other social clubs run games throughout the day, with bingo being one of the staples among social day care centers.

  • Social day care centers commonly host events during the year, such as holiday celebrations. Some adult day cares also celebrate birthdays. If the center has the resources, they may also organize local outings, such as hosting weekend picnics or planning museum or movie theater trips.

  • Some social day care centers provide transportation to and from the center, but this largely varies based on location. While it is not the main purpose, larger centers often work alongside social services and caregiver support groups to find adults who need assistance. There are also some social centers that work with health support services to arrange basic services like vision screenings or blood pressure monitoring.

Health Adult Day Care

Health day care centers offer medical services and occupational, physical and speech therapy for adults. In addition to normal staff members, the center also hires registered nurses and other health professionals. Some health centers also provide psychological services, helping adults who recently suffered a severe medical experience, such as a stroke or dementia. Adults who receive Medicare or Medicaid are often eligible to have some or all of their day care costs covered by their insurance. Some health day care services are hosted directly in a retirement community.

Health centers run many of the same tasks as a social adult day care. Many health day care centers focus on cogitative activities. Playing cards and boardgames are common because they encourage thinking as well as socialization. Health adult day care centers normally have relaxing or break periods built in. This also gives caregivers an opportunity to hand out medication. Many health adult day care centers also offer breakfast, lunch or snacks throughout the day, depending on how long they are open for.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Day Care

Alzheimer’s and Dementia day care are a specialized type of health adult day care centers. Both of these are serious medical conditions, which often make it difficult for adults to participate with one another. The staff requirements are stricter in these day care centers, with each staff member trained for dementia care. The centers largely focus on cognitive activities, which are customized based on the needs and capabilities of the attending adults. Most centers split the adults into smaller groups. This not only makes it easier to monitor everyone, but it ensures the adults have a better chance to familiarize themselves with group members. This helps with agitation and confusion normally associated with dementia or other cognitive disabilities.

Family Services

While it is not a separate category, some adult day cares also offer family support. These services give family members a chance to interact with one another during events. It also gives family members the opportunity to speak with staff members to find out how their loved ones are doing. If this service is offered, it is normally done once or twice a month, though in some adult health day care centers, family members may opt to receive daily reports.

Costs for Adult Day Care Centers

The costs for adult day care centers largely vary depending on location. Many of the social centers are run by state or nonprofit groups. These centers receive outside funding so often have either no or minimal costs. Specialized and health day care centers charge on average between $25 to $100 each day. These costs are normally covered by insurance. In addition, some centers are provided free of charge in retirement or assisted living communities. The National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) provides a free search tool to locate accredited adult day care centers across the United States.