What Is Adult Day Care?

In this article...
  • Learn how adult day care can provide transitional or long-term care for older adults and find out what types of services are usually provided in these facilities.

Adult day care provides long-term care and transitional care services for older adults in a non-residential setting on a daily schedule. This type of care can act as an alternative to placing seniors in assisted living or nursing facilities, and in some cases, may serve as a respite for family caregivers who are providing in-home care.

Caregivers in adult day care centers can provide assistance with tasks of daily living, such as toileting and mobility, as well as a broad range of other senior care services. Many adult day care centers are accredited through the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA). 

Below, older adults and their loved ones can learn everything they need to know about adult day care to determine if this level of long-term care is the right choice for their lifestyle and needs.

What Types of Adult Day Care Exist?

Social Day Care

Social day care provides social interaction through a variety of enriching activities that keep seniors entertained from day-to-day. These social activities may include shopping trips, congregate meals, workshops or games.

Day Health Care

Day health care offers older adults the same types of activities as social day care provides; however, those attending day health care also receive specialized medical and health services that may include wellness checks, physical therapy or other treatments.

Dementia Care

Dementia care is similar to day health care. It offers the same range of services to those who attend but is focused on serving those with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

What Services Are Provided in Adult Day Care? 

Adult day care services can differ between programs and centers. Most often, the list of services includes the following:

  • Meals and snacks throughout the day
  • Personal care, including medication assistance and help with activities of daily living
  • Social activities, including group outings
  • Transportation to and from appointments
  • Social services, such as care management and benefits counseling

Paying for Adult Day Care

According to the Genworth 2019 Cost of Care Survey, adult day care costs older adults an average of $1,625 per month in the U.S. This type of long-term care is considerably less expensive than other types of care, including assisted living, which costs an average of $4,051 per month.

Seniors who require financial assistance may be able to cover part of the cost of adult day care through their health insurance plan. Medicaid programs may cover adult day care costs in some states, but it's a good idea to check with a Medicaid representative for confirmation.