Adult Day Care for Loved Ones With Alzheimer's

Medically Reviewed by Christopher Melinosky, MD on February 04, 2022
2 min read

No matter how great a caregiver you are for someone with Alzheimer's, eventually you’re going to need a break. Sometimes, a nearby family member or friend can step in while you run errands or get some exercise. But in other cases, adult day care may be the way to go.

These programs offer safe places for older adults to socialize, join in activities, and get medical or rehabilitation services if they need them. Many centers serve a broad range of clients, while others focus on specific disorders such as Alzheimer's.

Your loved one can go to day care during daytime hours and come home for the night. For many families, the programs are a way to give caregivers a break while helping their loved ones stay in their homes and keep some of their independence for as long as possible.

Some centers offer only adult day-care services, but you can also find programs at another type of care facility, such as a nursing home or assisted-living residence.

Adult day care services usually include:

  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapy
  • Meals
  • Social activities, like crafts, music, movies, and community projects
  • Transportation, support, and help with personal care like bathing, eating, dressing, and grooming
  • Medical services from health care professionals, including registered nurses and therapists

Find the centers that offer adult day care in your area. Local churches and senior centers may have a list of nearby programs. You can also check with assisted-living facilities and nursing homes.

Find out about the center's application process, who they serve, and take a look at sample menus and activity calendars.

Once you’ve done some basic research, there are a few things to consider:

  • How long the program has been open
  • Who owns or sponsors it
  • When they’re open
  • How much does it cost?
  • Will insurance cover it?
  • If they offer transportation to and from the center

The best way to know what a day care is like is to see it in person. Schedule a tour of the center for yourself and your loved one. Some things to keep in mind as you visit:

  • Is the staff friendly?
  • Does the center look and smell clean?
  • Is there a place for people to go when they’re sick?
  • What kind of licensing or credentials do the staff have?
  • Do volunteers help out?
  • What is the staff-to-client ratio? (Six clients per staff member is good).
  • Can you look at a list of references?

Most states require that adult day-care centers have licenses and sometimes even certification. To find licensed and certified centers in your area and to learn more about adult day care, visit the web site.

The cost of adult day care varies from place to place. Centers funded by corporations or religious groups can be less expensive options. If your loved one gets medical services such as physical or speech therapy through the program, Medicare, Medicaid, or veterans' benefits may cover part of the costs.