Adult Day Centers

Finding the best center for your needs


Story Updated: Feb 24, 2011

As life expectancy increases, more adults need assistance. Senior care options include in-home services, adult day centers, assisted living and other residential settings. Adult day centers can help individuals who live at home or with family but no longer manage independently, or who are confused or lonely. Adult day centers also give caregivers a break for work, personal needs, or respite.

What is an Adult Day Center?
An adult day center provides a planned program of enjoyable activities that stimulate individual well-being in a safe, supportive, and happy environment. Centers typically operate during daytime hours on weekdays; some centers have limited weekend hours. Centers generally offer nutritious noon meals and an afternoon snack, and provide activities including social outings, exercise, music, pet therapy, religious activities, games, and arts and crafts. Some centers have additional services and amenities, such as transportation, salon services, and family caregiver training and support.

Is an adult day center right for me or my loved one?
Seniors with the following qualities often benefit from a day center:

  • Need friendship and functional assistance
  • May be physically or cognitively challenged requiring 24-hour supervision
  • Relatively mobile, may use a cane, walker, or wheelchair
  • In the early to moderate stages of dementia

Additionally, you should explore using a day center when a senior:

  • Cannot plan and carry out his or her own daily activities
  • Feels isolated and wants or needs companionship
  • Cannot safely be left alone at home
  • Lives with someone who needs to be away from the home

Choosing an adult day center
Identify specific services the senior and the caregiver most need. With those needs in mind, contact centers to assess how they match up. You may locate centers in your area through your family doctor, mental health centers, your Area Agency on Aging, and Yellow Pages listings under Adult Care - Day Care Centers.

When you contact a center, ask:

  • Who owns the center?
  • How long has it been operating?
  • What are the days and hours of operation?
  • Is transportation available?
  • What conditions are accepted (e.g., memory loss, limited mobility, incontinence)?
  • What are the staff’s credentials and training, how are staff screened and selected, and what is the ratio of staff to participants?
  • What activities are offered?
  • Are meals and snacks included? Are special diets accommodated?

Arrange to spend a day at the center that appeals most to you, to observe the people and environment. Check on references, and speak with others who have used the center. When you visit:

  • Do you feel welcome?
  • Are services and activities well explained?
  • Is information provided regarding staffing, programming, and costs?
  • Do you like the medical staff?
  • Is the facility clean, well-furnished, odor-free, and accessible?
  • Is there a quiet place?
  • Are the staff and participants pleasant and engaged?

Many centers offer prospective participants a free day. Take advantage of a free day to learn more about the center and whether it is right for your needs.

Barbara Porter, RN, Director of Elder Care Services
ResCare Adult Day Services and ResCare HomeCare
3711 Rupp Drive, Suites 106-107
(260) 483-2888 e-mail:

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