Adult Day Care

August 3, 2010

There are two types of adult day care: medical and social.

Both provide a comfortable, secure place for a senior to reside during the day, enabling them to socialize, stay active, remain productive and enjoy an improved quality of life. Typically, the center provides one or two meals a day. Some centers provide transportation for pick up and/or drop off, which may or may not be included in the cost.

The main difference between medical and social day care is that the medical model also provides an array of medical professionals, which may include on-site registered nurses, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers and registered dietitians.

NOTE: Day care facilities differ in the level of care they provide, and not all are suited to care for people at all stages of Alzheimer’s. For instance, there are some day care facilities that specialize in Alzheimer’s disease along the entire continuum while others will only accept people who are in the early stages of the disease. Since every person with Alzheimer’s experiences different symptoms at different times during its course, it’s important to find a good “fit” between the person’s level of functioning and the day care facility’s capabilities and staff expertise.

What questions should I ask?
1. Do you accept people with Alzheimer’s disease? If so…

  • How far into the disease will you care for them?
  • Is your staff specially trained to work with people who have Alzheimer’s?
  • What are your limitations in terms of services provided?
  • What type of activities do you provide that are designed for people with Alzheimer’s?
  • How many people with Alzheimer’s are currently enrolled in your program?

You will also want to ask:
2. How many meals are included?
3. Do you accept state funding (Medicaid)?
4. Is transportation included?
5. What types of activities are provided?
6. What are the fees?
7. (For medical programs) What types of healthcare professionals are on staff? What type of care do they provide? Is rehabilitation covered by Medicare?

Where do I find an adult day care facility?
There are a number of resources that can help you identify an adult day care facility near you. Your local agency on aging is a good place to start.

How much does adult day care typically cost?
Costs usually range from $60 to $150 dollars per day but can vary widely depending on the services provided, where you live and the needs of the individual. Ask the provider about fees and find out specifically what is included in basic fees (meals or transportation may be extra). Some facilities have sliding fee scales, so be sure to ask when you contact them. The National Adult Day Services Association has a search function which will allow you to find services in your area.

How do I pay for adult day care?
Social model day care services are usually paid for privately. Some private insurance plans may cover some of the cost; check with your plan’s administrator or the facility to find out.

Medical day care services, which are usually affiliated with a nursing home or health care provider, may be covered by private insurance or by Medicaid, provided your state’s Medicaid plan includes it, the person needing care is eligible, and the facility participates. Contact your local Medicaid office to find out. A few programs also accept Medicare if the person requires rehabilitative surgery, such as from hospitalization, but Medicare does not generally cover adult day care services. Otherwise, medical day care must be paid for privately.

Alzheimer's Articles