Female care worker helps elderly woman build a tower of blocks together on a table.

What Is Adult Day Care and Why In-Home Care May Be a Better Option?

Last updated on April 19, 2023

Adult day care provides older adults—particularly those with physical or cognitive disabilities—with supervised programs and activities that encourage companionship and socialization in a professional location. Care is typically delivered in a group setting, which allows older adults to interact with staff members and each other.

Some adult day care centers are managed by public or community-based agencies, while others are run privately through an assisted living facility or another type of for-profit business.

According to the National Adult Day Services Association, more than 4,600 adult day care centers exist across the U.S. — a 35% increase since 2002. These facilities currently serve more than 260,000 individuals, a 63% increase during the same period.

What Services Does an Adult Day Care Provide?

When choosing an adult day care, check with the provider about the specific services offered. Programs and services differ between facilities but may include:

  • Social activities, trips, and outings
  • Door-to-door transportation
  • Personal care assistance
  • Meals and snacks
  • Social work and case management
  • Physical, occupational, or speech therapy
  • On-site nursing services
  • Disease-specific programming for chronic conditions, mobility concerns, cognitive impairment, and other illnesses

Most programs are open on weekdays during regular business hours and may have full-time and part-time options. Some may also offer short-term respite care to give family members a break from caregiving responsibilities.

How Much Does Adult Day Care Cost?

Costs for adult day care services vary depending on the area where your loved one lives, the options available, and the level of assistance required. Some providers may charge fees on a sliding scale based on your loved one’s income. Costs may range from as little as $25 to several hundred dollars per day.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Adult Day Care?

Adult day care is an option for older adults who need social interaction and physical activity to improve their overall well-being. Enrolling an older loved one in an adult day care program can enable you to work, tend to personal and family obligations, or simply take a break — reducing stress and the risk of caregiver burnout.

However, it can be challenging to find a center that offers all the services your senior loved one requires. Some centers may also have long waiting lists due to limits on the number of participants. Other centers may mandate your loved one attend a certain number of days or hours per week.

Additionally, some seniors — especially those who are experiencing cognitive decline — may find adult day care to be physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing due to the amount of time they spend away from home and familiar surroundings.

Depending on state regulations, one aide is typically assigned to a certain number of participants, reducing the ability to offer personalized, one-on-one attention for your loved one.

Professional In-Home Care May Be a Better Alternative to Adult Day Care

Personal care delivered by a qualified in-home caregiver can provide the support your senior needs and deserves in the comfort of their own home — reducing travel, stress, and in some cases, costs. Visiting Angels, a leading provider of senior home care, will deliver personalized, one-on-one assistance for your loved one on a schedule that accommodates needs, requests, and budget.

Professional caregivers can provide support on an hourly basis at any time of the day or night, enabling you to customize the length and frequency of visits. You will only pay for the frequency of services you need. This provides significant savings compared to assisted-living facilities or adult day care centers.

Choosing the type of care that is best for your loved one is a big decision, and it helps to have as much information as possible. Visiting Angels can set up a free home care consultation to discuss various options and explain how in-home senior care can help your loved one age safely and comfortably in their home.

If you're interested in our compassionate home care services for you or a loved one, contact your nearest Visiting Angels home care agency today or call 800-365-4189.
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