Date Updated: 03/12/2020

If you're a caregiver, you might be curious about adult day services — programs that provide care and companionship for older adults who need assistance or supervision during the day. Here's some information to help you understand this resource for caregivers and how an adult day service might benefit you and your loved one.

What are the different kinds of adult day services?

Adult day services, also called adult care, are typically open during normal work hours. Unlike senior centers — which are usually sponsored by recreational departments and targeted at healthy older adults — adult day services are a resource for people with physical limitations or limited functioning due to memory loss.

Adult day services typically provide:

  • Supervision
  • Recreation and social activities
  • Meals
  • Varying levels of medical services, from none to extensive

Some adult day services offer evening and weekend hours, and transportation.

What are the benefits of adult day services?

An adult day service might delay or prevent your loved one from needing to move to a long-term residential care facility. The service's programs can encourage your loved one to spend time with others, and supervised activities might improve daily living skills. Even if your loved one has dementia, he or she might be able to enjoy music, simple activities and being surrounded by friends.

Beyond providing social opportunities, an adult day service can serve as a safe and familiar place for your loved one to receive health services.

An adult day service can also give you and others who care for your loved one a much needed break, possibly enabling you to care for your loved one at home for longer. You might use a service to provide care for your loved one so that you can go to work, take care of personal business or simply relax.

How can I help my loved one adjust to an adult day service?

Be patient. It might take some time for your loved one to feel comfortable at an adult day service — especially if your loved one has shown discomfort in group settings in the past or if your loved one has become withdrawn due to his or her health issues. Give your loved one a chance to get to know his or her new environment before deciding if a program is or isn't a good fit.

Where can I find out more about adult day services?

You can locate adult day services in your area by using the Administration on Aging's Eldercare Locator website. It will provide contact information for your state or local Area Agency on Aging (AAA), which can help you find care service providers. Also, check to see if your state has an adult day program association.

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