Adult day care programs provide care and supervision outside the home for adults with special needs. They offer a safe, secure place for older adults to spend the day. Programs provide activities and meals. Some offer healthcare and counseling, and some provide transportation to and from the center.
Adult day care can give breaks to family caregivers. This can be very helpful for caregivers who must work during the day. These programs also offer a way for people who live alone to spend some time with other people.
People who attend adult day care programs generally have some physical or mental challenge. Over half usually have some type of dementia (a loss of mental ability). Programs are often available to help people who have:
Adult day care programs are available from 1 to 5 days a week. They are usually day-long but some may offer half-day programs.
Lunch and snacks are served daily. Some programs also serve breakfast. In some cases, day care program staff may be qualified to administer medicine to people who are unable to take it themselves.
Activities are scheduled throughout the day. They may include exercises, games, gardening, cooking, discussion groups, art, music, and trips. Some programs provide activities that involve children as well. Programs try to plan interesting activities for both men and women.
Medically based centers, or adult day healthcare centers, offer medical and rehab services. These services may include physical, occupational, or speech therapy as well as other health-related services.
Adult day care programs may offer any or all of the following:
Regulation of adult day care programs varies from state to state. Some states do not have any regulations unless the program accepts people with Medicaid insurance. If state regulations are in place, the state usually has assigned this responsibility to the State Department of Health or the Department of Human Services. The National Council on Aging publishes suggested guidelines for programs to follow.
Typical costs can range from $30 to $60 a day. The cost depends on the number of hours a person attends the program, outside funding sources for the program, and the services offered. Some day care centers charge on a sliding scale based on income. Others charge a set daily rate for everyone. There may be an extra charge for some services, such as foot care, haircuts, managing medicines, and transportation.
Medicare does not pay for day care. Insurance companies may pay for adult day care if a healthcare provider states that the person would otherwise need to live in a nursing facility. You may need to review your healthcare insurance policy to see if it will pay for adult day care. In some cases, Medicaid may help pay for the cost of day care.
Choose an adult day care center that provides the proper level of care needed. A nurse and a social worker should be on the staff. There should be 1 caretaker for every 4 to 6 adults. The center should provide appropriate activities. Tour the center to ensure that it is clean and safe. Ask about staff credentials and certifications. After you choose an adult care center, plan visits on different days and at different times to be sure the level of care is what you expect.