3 Types of Adult Daycare: What You Need to Know

There is an array of different types of services available for seniors. These include everything from in-home care agencies to assisted living facilities to adult daycare. Perhaps the least known of services available to women and men in their Golden Years are adult daycares. In this article, we provide you with an overview of adult daycare options. Specifically, we provide you with information on the three types of adult day care options that are available in the United States today:

  • Social adult daycare
  • Health adult daycare
  • Dementia adult daycare

Definition of Adult Daycare

Before taking a look at three basic types of adult daycare options that exist in the United States, we take a moment to provide a general definition of these types of facilities. Adult daycare centers are designed for seniors who may need help with activities of daily living or who are isolated and desire socialization. At the centers, seniors are able to socialize with others while receiving assistance and supervision.

Adult daycare particularly is beneficial for those who can no longer structure their own daily activities, desire social interaction, or cannot be safely left alone at home. Additionally, adult daycare centers provide caregivers a break from assisting a senior. Caregivers are able to take a break while having peace of mind knowing that the senior to whom they provide is in good hands.

Social Adult Daycare

Social adult daycare facilities focus on enriching the lives of seniors through engaging in social community and activities. Typical activities in social adult daycare facilities include:

  • Creative expression through arts and crafts
  • Musical entertainment and group sing-a-longs
  • Mental stimulation games like bingo
  • Stretching and gentle exercises like chair yoga
  • Discussion groups about books, films, or current events
  • Holiday and birthday celebrations
  • Local outings
  • Nutritious meals and snacks

In addition to enrichment and recreational activities, some adult day care centers provide transportation to and from their facilities. Some adult daycare facilities also offer social services like counseling and support groups for caregivers as well as health support services that might include blood pressure monitoring and vision screening.

Health Adult Daycare

Health adult daycare facilities go by a number of different names. These include adult day health care or ADHC. These types of adult daycare centers provide medical services. They also may provide physical, occupational, and speech therapy to seniors.

ADHC facilities usually are staffed with a registered nurse as well as other health professionals. A common practice of these types of adult daycare centers oftentimes requires a health assessment by a physician prior to admission.

ADHC facilities can also provide frail adults experiencing physical, mental, or social issues a chance to meet new people, participate in activities of different types, and enjoy daily life in a safe, comfortable, and supervised setting. These are people who may have suffered a stroke or other medical conditions that have limited their socialization.

There is a program available to Medicare and Medicaid participants that are designed to assist in defraying the costs of ADHC. It is called PACE, or the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. These programs serve people who are 55 years of age or older. They need to be certified by their state as needing nursing home-level care. They also must be able to live safely in the community at the time of enrollment. Finally, they must be residing in a PACE service area. While all PACE participants must be certified to need nursing home care to enroll, 93 percent live in the community and get their daily care at a PACE adult day health care center.

Delivering all needed medical and supportive services, a PACE program provides the entire continuum of care and services to seniors with chronic care. These needs are served in a way that permits seniors the ability to maintain their independence in their homes for as long as reasonably possible.

Dementia Adult Daycare

Finally, there are dementia adult daycare options available to women and men who have cognitive issues. In this type of adult daycare setting, activities are provided that are appropriate for the participants’ functional abilities. These activities are provided in a secure environment to prevent wandering. In addition, the staff has specialized training in dementia care.

How to Select an Adult Daycare Center for an Aging Parent or Other Loved One

The first step in selecting an adult day care center is to consider the specific needs of your parent or other loved one. Does your parent desire more social interaction? Is your parent diagnosed with dementia? Does your mother or father need assistance with walking, taking medications, or eating? Is mental stimulation a need for your parent? What are the exercise needs of your parent?

The second step is to consider your own needs. Are you seeking:

  • General support in caregiving for your parent or other loved one
  • Some free time and a break
  • Help with transportation

When you identify adult daycare centers that might meet your parent’s needs and your own, you will want to schedule visits to see these centers up close.  The National Adult Day Services Association has developed a list of questions to use when exploring adult daycare options for your mother or father.

  • Who is the owner or sponsor of the adult day care center?
  • How long has the center been in operation?
  • Does it meet all necessary county or state licensing requirements?
  • What are the days and hours of operation?
  • Is transportation to and from the center provided?
  • Which medical conditions are accepted? For instance, will the program accommodate memory loss, limited mobility, or incontinence?
  • What are the staff’s credentials?
  • What is the ratio of staff to participants?
  • What activities are offered?
  • Is there a variety of individual and group programs?
  • Are meals and snacks provided?
  • Are special diets accommodated?

Finally, adult daycare centers can be public or private, non-profit or for-profit. The average national cost is about $64 per day, depending on where you live, and the level of services desired. Professional healthcare services will require higher fees. Depending on your circumstances, you might want to inquire about financial assistance and possible “scholarships.”