How to Choose an Adult Day Program

Finding an Adult Day Care Program

Adult day programs provide services to seniors who may be isolated or physically unable to care for themselves independently throughout the day.

Adult day programs operate during daytime hours, Monday through Friday, providing a variety of planned activities for seniors in a safe and supportive environment.

Adult day programs can benefit both seniors, who need social and mental stimulation, as well as the caregivers, who may need a break to rest or return to work.

Adult day programs provide a variety of resources and most centers are staffed with a social worker, a program assistant, an activities coordinator, a director, and a licensed or registered nurse.

Identify the level of care your loved one needs

With the wide variety of senior care options available, it's not uncommon for caregivers to feel overwhelmed or confused. For example, common care options can include independent living communities (senior apartments, retirement villages, retirement communities, and continuing care retirement communities), assisted living facilities, nursing homes, residential care homes, respite care, and home care.

So how do you determine what level of care your loved one needs, whether an adult day program is appropriate, or if they may need a higher level of care?

Adult day programs may be sufficient under the following conditions:

  1. Your loved one only needs assistance during the day.
  2. Your loved one could benefit from social activities, meal preparation, and recreation.
  3. Your loved one needs very limited health care services during the day.
  4. You are not ready to move your loved one to a long-term residential care facility.
  5. Your loved one needs additional social opportunities in a safe and familiar place.
  6. You, as the caregiver, need additional time to relax, work, or take care of your own personal needs.
  7. Your loved one is no longer safe at home alone.
  8. Your loved one is experiencing Alzheimer's, dementia, or memory loss.
  9. Your loved one is mobile with limited assistance from a walker, cane, or wheelchair.

When is an adult day program not appropriate?

Some seniors will not benefit from an adult day program and may either be too independent for the services provided or have medical needs which cannot be managed at the adult day center. Common reasons an adult day program may not be appropriate include the following.

  • Your loved one is able-bodied, independent, and capable of organizing their own social needs without supervision.
  • Your loved one has adequate support from you or others and does not need any additional social interaction or professional care.
  • Your loved one is dependent on 24-hur supervision and needs the additional care of a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Determine the costs of care for an Adult Day Program

An adult day program costs more than a senior center but less than an assisted living facility or nursing home. The average rate for an adult day center nationwide is $65 per day.