Adult Daycare Explained

By Staff

Adult daycare programs are a godsend for families who can't afford full-time, in-home care and need some way to keep their loved ones busy and engaged in a safe, supportive, supervised place. Many adult day programs offer door-to-door transportation, at least one hot meal, activities, and a range of health services (depending on state licensure requirements). Family caregivers often find that this option allows them to keep working -- or take a periodic much-needed break from caregiving.

Adult daycare is best for seniors with physical or mental limitations; some adult day programs are specially set up to serve memory-impaired seniors.

Adult day programs may be part of stand-alone adult daycare centers, specifically set up to provide daycare to seniors, or they may operate within community centers or assisted living facilities.

Jump to: What happens at adult daycare | Cost of adult daycare | How to find adult daycare


Door-to-door transportation. Many adult day programs operate or coordinate with a van or bus service that will pick your loved one up and return her home after the day's activities.

Meals. Most adult day centers offer nutritious meals, which your loved one can enjoy while socializing with other seniors.

Engaging activities. Adult day programs offer a wide range of activities for participants to choose from. You might find seniors doing crossword puzzles, trivia games, painting, or crafts.

Fitness and exercise. Most adult daycare centers offer fitness and movement activities tailored to your loved one's abilities. Some may include dancing and flash mobs; others will be more focused on stretching and chair exercises.

Medical care. Some adult day centers offer limited medical care, based on your loved one's needs and their staffing.


A day of adult daycare can cost $25 to $70. Some centers will allow you to pay hourly for less than a full day -- hourly rates are usually $5 to $15 per hour. Many adult day programs have a sliding fee scale to help lower-income families afford their services.

In many cases, the cost of adult daycare is covered by the Veterans Administration, Medicaid, state or local services, or private-payer insurance. For more information, see How to Pay for Adult Daycare.


To find an adult day program near you, search by zip code here in the Adult Day Directory. Be sure to look for reviews of adult day programs written by other family caregivers.

Many adult day programs provide care for seniors with Alzheimer's or other memory impairment. For more information, see our Step-by-Step Guide to Adult Daycare for Someone With Alzheimer's

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