Adult Day Care: Providing a Break for Caregivers


Caregiving is hard work and it is easy for caregivers to get burned out. Adult day care centers provide care and companionship in a group setting to seniors who need supervision during the day, allowing their caregivers to go to work or take a much-needed break.

Often affiliated with another facility, such as a nursing home, home care agency, or medical center, adult day care centers usually operate Monday through Friday during business hours. According to the National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA), 4,600 such programs can be found in the United States.  In general, there are three types of centers: those that focus on social interaction, those that focus on health care, and special Alzheimer's care centers.  

Adult day care centers usually offer a variety of services, such as counseling, exercise, assistance with medication, social activities, physical therapy, and educational programs. Social activities can include crafts, games, gardening, book clubs, field trips, music, pets, and parties. Often the service includes a meal, and some centers provide transportation to and from the center.  

The cost of adult day care can vary widely, depending on the state and type of services offered. According to a 2014 survey by Genworth,  the median daily rate for adult day care is $65, but it can be as high as $215 a day and as low as $12 a day. Medicare will not cover the cost, but Medicaid, long-term care insurance, or private health insurance may pay for some adult day care centers.

To find an adult day care center near you, contact your local Area Agency on Aging (800-677-1116) or use the Eldercare Locater. Following are some tips for choosing an adult day care:

  • Determine your needs. Do you need full time care or occasional care? Do you need transportation?
  • Figure out the senior's needs. What type help is needed? Are you looking for specific therapy? Social interaction? Assistance with medications?
  • Visit the center. Spend a day there so you can get a feel for what it is like.
  • Ask questions. For a checklist of questions suggested by NADSA, click here.
  • Ask for references.

 Click here for a guide to adult day services by MetLife.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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