Adult Day Care: What You Need to KnowSkip to content

Adult Day Care Services for Seniors

Published: Dec 29, 2022. Last Updated: Jan 6, 2023.

It is natural to feel overwhelmed when caring for a family member full-time -- sometimes it can be tough and you might feel like a little help is needed, and that's totally understandable. Of course, you need to focus on your life as well. If you're finding it difficult to juggle taking care of your loved one with everything else in your life, an adult day care center may have the solution you need.

What is Adult Day Care?

In the United States, there are over 7,500 adult day care centers that provide services to older adults, as stated by the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA)[1]

Adult day care is a service that provides seniors with planned activities and supervision during the day. In this type of setting, caregivers provide medical and social services in a safe and secure environment. These centers are designed to keep seniors engaged and provide them with much-needed companionship as well as regular meals.

Adult day care centers typically provide service during daytime hours from Monday to Friday, although some may offer evening or weekend options. This service not only provides social interaction, mental stimulation, physical activity, and nutritious meals for your loved ones, but some even include health services. For family caregivers, adult day care centers offer real relief from your everyday duties, as well as the peace of mind that comes with knowing your loved one is being cared for in a safe and supportive environment.

The three primary types of adult day care are:

  • Adult social day care: This type offers activities suitable for the individual's fitness level and conditions that promote social interaction.
  • Adult day health care: Also known as medical day care, these centers not only provide social activities but also some health and therapeutic services, such as physical or occupational therapy.
  • Specialized adult day care: This type of day care specializes in providing comprehensive medical and social services for seniors with Alzheimer's Disease or other forms of dementia and developmental disabilities.

Services in Adult Day Care

Many adult day care centers offer various services and activities. The type of care provided at each facility varies, but the primary objectives are usually to improve older adult's quality of life, consolidate their abilities and skills, and furnish many opportunities for socialization. Although every center is different in terms of what they have to offer, common services often include:

Social Activities

Upcoming events that are planned in advance can be tailored specifically to the abilities and health of the elder, making them more enjoyable. These activities could involve arts and crafts, music, games that stimulate the mind, easy exercises, discussion groups for topics like books, movies, or current events, etc. Outings and holiday parties are also sometimes included.

Health Services

In addition to social activities, health services are often provided as well. These can include physical therapy, medical checkups and monitoring of vital signs, medication management, nutrition counseling, and more.


For many adult day care centers, nutritious meals and snacks are a major part of the daily activities. Most have their own kitchen staff who are responsible for preparing hot meals as well as providing healthy snacks throughout the day. Participants are typically served family-style meals in a communal dining setting, allowing them to enjoy each other's company and further socialize.


Many adult day care centers also provide transportation services for those who need them. Beyond picking up and dropping off seniors at their homes or other designated locations, the staff might also take group outings or errands for those who are unable to do so on their own.

Personal Care

Most adult day care facilities are not authorized to provide personal care services such as bathing, but some may offer assistance with grooming and hygiene. For instance, staff members might help participants brush their teeth or comb their hair. Staff can also assist with feeding and walking for those who need assistance.

How to choose an adult day care center

Here are some key factors to consider when choosing an adult day care center:


Consider the location of the adult day care center in relation to your home. It is more convenient to choose a center that is closer, especially if transportation is an issue. The farther the facility is, the harder you could get there on a daily basis.


The cost of adult day care can vary significantly depending on the location, services offered, and other factors. It's important to research the cost of different centers in your area and consider what you can afford. Many insurance plans, cover some or all of the cost of adult day care, so it's worth checking to see if yours is covered.

Hours of operation

Consider the hours of operation when choosing an adult day care center. Some centers are open from early morning until late evening, while others may only be open during certain hours of the day. Make sure that the center you choose aligns with your schedule.

Licensed and trained staff

It's important to look for an adult day care center that is licensed and has trained staff. This ensures that the center meets certain standards of care and that the staff is qualified to provide the necessary services. You can check with the local Department of Aging or other regulatory agency to verify the licensing status of a particular center.

Daily schedule, activities, and services offered

When visiting an adult day care center, be sure to ask about the daily schedule, activities, and services being offered. This will give you a good idea of what to expect if your loved one attends the center. Consider interests and needs when evaluating the schedule and activities. For example, if your loved one has mobility issues, make sure the center has activities that caters specifically for that.

Needs and preferences

Finally, it's important to consider the needs and preferences of the senior who will be attending the adult day care center. Take into account their physical, cognitive, and social abilities, and choose a center that is a good fit for their needs. It's also important to consider their personal preferences – for example, if they have always enjoyed playing board games, look for a center that offers this activity.

Adult Day Care is Best for?

Adult day care is best for seniors who need some assistance with their activities of daily living, but don't require around-the-clock nursing care. It can also be a great option for caregivers who need a break from their responsibilities or for seniors who are transitioning from hospice to home care. Some common reasons why seniors use adult day care include:

• Receiving social and recreational activities that help them stay mentally and socially stimulated • Getting help with basic activities like eating, walking, and basic grooming. • Having a safe place to go during the day while caregivers are working or running errands • Taking advantage of therapeutic services like physical therapy or occupational therapy



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About the Author

Ericka Nicolas

Writer & Researcher

Elder Guide LLC

Ericka Nicolas began her career in the banking industry where she learned the importance of being detail-oriented and well-organized, both of which she applies to her current work as a writer and proofreader. With her vast experience in writing, Ericka is able to produce well-researched and engaging content that appeals to Elderguide's target audience. She was able to provide readers with valuable insights on a variety of topics and ensures that all the information she provides is accurate and up-to-date. She takes the time to carefully study each topic given to her, which allows her to produce truly informative articles. Ericka's passion for writing and her dedication to producing quality content gave way to her goal of helping our readers navigate the complex world of senior living and make informed decisions about their future. Aside from her work at Elderguide, Ericka enjoys spending time with her newly-married husband and their dog, Yari. She loves cooking, traveling, and exploring new restaurants in her spare time.