Adult Day Care Centers (ADCCs) - Part of Caregiving and Long-Term Health Care

An Adult Day Care Center (ADDC) is a non-residential facility that helps those who need help with daily living activities or supervision for those in cognitive decline. Similar in many ways to childcare but for adults.

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Adult Day Care Centers (ADCCs) - Part of Caregiving and Long-Term Health Care
4 Min Read September 29th, 2023

What is an Adult Day Care Center?

Adult Day Care Centers (ADCCs) also known as adult day services (ADS) are similar in many ways to childcare but for adults. An ADCC is a non-residential facility that helps those who need help with daily living activities or supervision for those in cognitive decline.

Sometimes ADCCs are used as a transitional care facility helping people during the day when they have the greatest need following surgery. This type of care is referred to as transitional care and short-term rehabilitation following a hospital discharge.

The use of ADCCs often lessens American families' long-term health care expenses with or without Long-Term Care Insurance.

ADCCs are also used as respite care when paid, or family caregivers need a break for various reasons. Adult Day Care is also an option to help avoid a full-time long-term care facility. An individual gets dropped off during the day when they require the most attention, care, and socialization. They return home at night when their needs might be less. Individuals using ADCCs get help and support with their health, nutrition, socialization, and daily living activities in a professionally staffed, group setting.

A wide range of interdisciplinary professionals staff the programs at ADCCs. These pros will provide individuals with health monitoring, leisure activities, socialization opportunities, and assistance with activities of daily living.

The journal The Gerontologist found that ADDCs provided substantial health, psychological, and behavioral benefits for those who used the service. They noted ADCCs were very helpful for those with dementia and other cognitive impairments.

There are over 6000 adult day care centers operating in the United States, according to the most recent published figures. ADCCs also exist in many countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, for example. 

According to the National Adult Day Care Services Association, the average age of an adult day care center care recipient is 72, with about 2/3 being women. Thirty-five percent of the adult day care center care recipients live with an adult child, and 20% with a spouse who is providing care at home either themselves or with paid care services.

Services Provided by Adult Day Care

Adult day care centers are not all created the same. The types of services offered can vary from facility to facility.While there isn’t a comprehensive list of every service offered in adult day care, some common services include:

  • Meals & snacks. Centers will provide meals and, at times, snacks.
  • Social activities. Numerous social activities take place at most facilities.
  • Transportation. Some centers will assist with transportation needs.
  • Pet therapy. Pets as a therapeutic companion are sometimes a part of services.
  • Hygiene and Grooming. Some will offer assistance with tasks related to hygiene and grooming.

Some centers are more generalized, offering a variety of primarily social activities and services. Other times, centers will be specifically catered to those with a particular type of condition, such as dementia.

There isn’t a single, standard list of medical, caregiving or social services offered, so it’s best to research the types of services offered when considering an adult day care center.

When to Consider an Adult Day Care Center

An ADCC makes it easier for family caregivers and delays the need for an assisted living facility or nursing home. An ADCC provides caregivers needed respite from the demanding responsibilities of caregiving. Since adult day care centers usually operate during regular business hours, an ADCC is not appropriate for full-time care.

Consider an Adult Day Care Center when an individual:

  • needs help and structure their daily activities.
  • feels isolated and desires companionship.
  • is unable to be safely left alone at home.
  • is living with someone who works outside the home or who is frequently away from home for other reasons.
  • is living with someone who is unable to physically or mentally provide the care and supervision required.

Most Long-Term Care Insurance policies will pay for care at Adult Day Care Centers. In some cases, health insurance or Medicare may pay a minimal amount of ADCC costs if it is part of rehabilitation or post-surgical care. 

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Costs of Adult Day Care

ADCCs are very affordable compared to other types of long-term care services. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator says the national average cost for adult day care runs $1,656 a month based on 2021 research. The cost does vary depending on where you live.

You can find the current average costs where you live by using the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator.

Reverse Mortgages and ADCC Funding

Some older adults who do not own Long-Term Care Insurance use reverse mortgages to pay for both in-home care and adult day care. If you have questionable health and limited savings outside your home, this could be an option. Click here to learn more about reverse mortgages

Choosing the Right Adult Day Care Center Near You

Choosing an adult day care center can be difficult, but you can make the task easier by asking the right questions, both of yourself and the facility. These questions can include:

  1. What do I (or a loved one) want from an adult day care facility? What services are non-negotiable, and which would merely be nice to have?
  2. What are the hours of operation? Does this match with the need for their services?
  3. If licensure is required in your state, does the facility have an up-to-date license?
  4. How many activities are offered?
  5. What are the costs? Are there different costs depending on services? How does this match with my budget or insurance coverage for care?

The LTC News Care Directory is a great next step in your journey! Find an adult day care center near you that meets your needs and provides excellent services!

Adult Day Care Centers – A Key Part of Long-Term Care Services

Often ADCCs go underused. Adult Day Care Centers will provide the needed care for older adults during the day. An ADCC allows the care recipient to continue living in their home (or the home of a family member) without placing stress and pressure on the family caregiver who is often unable to provide care or is working outside the home.

The social interaction and activity for ADCC participants address elder isolation and loneliness that those who are older and require ADL assistance or supervision need and desire.

The National Institutes of Health’s Institute on Aging concluded that social isolation and loneliness among older adults are linked to higher risks of conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death. Nationwide, 52% of adult day care center clients have some form of cognitive impairment.

Generally, most ADCCs have one direct caregiver for every six participants. Most care recipients attend a full day five days a week.

There are many options for someone to receive help with daily living activities or supervision due to memory loss. An adult day care center is just one of several options available.

If you are in your 40s or 50s, now would be the best time to start planning for the changes in your health, body, and mind that will occur in the coming decades. Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for all these options giving your family the time to be family as you safeguard income and assets from the costs and burdens of aging.

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