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What Is Adult Day Care & How Can It Benefits Seniors & Caregivers?

What is Adult Day Care & How Can It Benefits Seniors & Caregivers?

If you have an elderly loved one living with you, or you spend considerable time living at their residence; at some point you will need to break clear and attend to the daily needs of your own work and personal life. If this scenario sounds familiar, adult day care can be an effective and rewarding solution.

What is adult day care?

Adult day care is designed for older individuals who need help with traditional activities of daily living, or who are isolated and lonely. At centers like this, seniors can socialize with others while receiving any assistance and supervision they may need. This is especially beneficial for those who can no longer structure their own daily activities, lack desire for social interaction or cannot be safely left alone at home. In addition, these centers can be a tremendous help in relieving the caregiver of daily care duties while ensuring that the care recipient will still receive the proper care in a safe and friendly environment.

Many of these facilities are affiliated with related organizations, such as home care agencies, skilled nursing facilities, medical centers, and other senior service providers. The average participant in adult day care programs is a 76-year-old female who lives with a spouse, adult children, or other family or friends. Roughly 50 percent of these individuals endure some form of cognitive impairment and many require assistance with daily living activities.

Interestingly, the prevalence of adult day centers today reflects the fact that, in spite of genuine and heartfelt intentions, caregivers can’t always provide everything that a home-based senior or disabled adult needs to maintain a happy, fulfilling life. Some family members may initially feel guilty about considering adult day care for their loved one; these centers offer a great many benefits from increased social interaction to cognitive stimulation.

Benefits of adult day care for attendees and caregivers

While adult day care can be a great resource for caregivers, many people do not consider this option. They worry that their loved ones might resent participating in such a program, and others simply feel guilty about the thought of leaving their loved ones in another person’s care. However, when properly executed, adult day care can greatly improve the care recipient’s overall behavior and provide the caregiver with much-needed time off.

Generally, a care recipient can benefit from adult day care because it allows them to remain in their community while the caregiver focuses on personal needs. It also allows for physical break; we all need alone time at some point and constant interaction can actually have a negative net result. These programs also provide much-needed social interaction and greater structure to daily activities.

In regard to services and activities, adult day care programs offer a wide range of helpful and life-changing benefits including:

  • Assistance with eating, taking medicines, toileting, and/or walking
  • Various types of counseling
  • Educational programs and other forms of mental stimulation
  • Exercise programs
  • Health monitoring like blood pressure and food or liquid intake
  • Podiatry care
  • Preparation of meals and snacks
  • Social activities and transportation services
  • Therapy including speech, occupational, physical, and others

Adult Day Care Options

One of the biggest advantages of adult day care is the variety of options available:

Social Day Care

This type of environment enriches seniors’ lives and build on their individual skills, knowledge, and abilities. Activities can include arts and crafts, musical entertainments, gardening, pet therapy, mental stimulation games, gentle exercise and stretching, holiday celebrations, and local outings.

Adult Day Health Care

These programs provide medical services along with physical, occupational, and speech therapy to seniors. They are typically staffed with an RN and other health professionals and it is common practice for seniors to complete a health assessment by a physician prior to admission.

ADH centers are excellent for providing aging adults experiencing physical, mental or social problems with the opportunity to meet new people, participate in various activities and enjoy daily life in a comfortable, supervised setting.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Day Care

Programs of this type offer social and health services specifically for seniors with cognitive challenges. Activities appropriate for the participants’ functional abilities are provided in a secure environment to help prevent wandering, and the staff is specifically trained in dementia care.

How to Select Care for Your Senior Loved One

The first step is considering the needs of your loved one. Are social activities important to them? Do they need assistance with walking, eating or taking medications? Is mental stimulation a priority? What are their exercise needs?

Remember that it is very important to consider your own needs as well. Are you looking for general support or some free time during your day, or do you need help with transportation? Answering these questions will help you determine if an adult day care makes sense, companionship at home via in-home care, or a combination of both.


If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation.  Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia CareBed & Wheelchair Transfer AssistanceCompanionshipHousekeeping & Meal PreparationPersonal CareRecovery Care, and Transportation.

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area, Greater San Diego, and now Oregon, Family Matter In-Home Care has offices in Campbell, CARoseville, CASan Marcos, CASan Mateo, CA, and Portland, OR.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.