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Adult Day Care Centers For People With Dementia

dementia home care, alzheimer's day care

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Caregivers play a vital role in people’s lives who are living with dementia. They help them with all your day-to-day activities and help them understand what they are going through. Before becoming a caregiver, these individuals may have jobs, families, and other various responsibilities that they still have to tend to. These caregivers now have to try to balance caregiving among other responsibilities. 

Depending on the stage of dementia your loved one is in, there are many different types of care available to help decrease the caregiver’s burden. There are in-home care services as well as out of the home care services. These can be on a part-time basis or full-time basis, depending on the severity of your loved one’s dementia

The types of services that are available:

  • In-home care
  • Adult Day Care Centers
  • Long Term Care
  • Respite
  • Hospice

Caregivers need to evaluate each type of care to determine the best for your loved one living with dementia. 

This article will break down everything you need to know about adult day care centers to see if this is the best option for your loved one. 

What Are Adult Day Care Centers?


Adult day care centers provide support to individuals throughout the day with all their daytime needs. This non-residential center helps assist with health, nutrition, and social needs. 

Adult day care centers hire trained professionals who are trained to help with the guests’ needs through: meals, safe activities, social activities, and help supervise the safety of all the guests. Some adult day centers may even have a nurse on-site and provide transportation to and from the center for your loved one. 

Traditionally adult care centers operate five days a week during regular business hours. It is common for those living with dementia to attend adult day care centers during the day and return to their homes at night. 

As dementia progresses within your loved one, it becomes harder for one caregiver to provide all the care for. This makes adult day care centers and respites a perfect help to caregivers. This allows them to have short breaks in care, run errands on their own, have lunch with friends, and do other things they need to do. 

Providing your loved one with the opportunity to go to adult day care may help delay them entering long-term residential care facilities. Adult day care makes it more manageable for the caregiver to help care for them as they receive help throughout the week. 

Types of Adult Day Care Centers


There are three main types of adult day care centers. They are adult social day care, adult day health care, and specialized adult day care. 

1. Adult Social Day Care

Adult social day care provides social activities, meals, and recreation activities. On occasion, they may offer some health-related services. 

2. Adult Day Health Care

Adult day health care is mainly for those with serious medical conditions who are on the verge of needing to reside in nursing home care. They have more intensive health, therapeutic, and social services at these centers. 

3. Specialized Adult Day Care 

Specialized adult day care centers are intended for individuals who are currently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. The activities that are offered at these centers are to help meet their unique needs. The staff at these facilities are specially trained to help individuals living with Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, who face the challenges of cognitive impairment as well as memory loss. 

There are many benefits to your loved one living with dementia at adult day care centers. It helps promote social interaction, exercise, and may help delay the progression of dementia. 

No matter what type of adult day care center you choose, they have trained staff and provide a safe and friendly environment for your loved one when the caretaker can not. 

What Are The Benefits of Adult Day Care Centers?

There are many benefits for the caregiver as well as your loved one living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. 

Caregiver Benefits

  • Adult day care centers give caregivers a little time to care for others as well as themselves. As your loved one’s dementia progresses, the caregiving responsibilities increase and and may be harder to balance with all your other responsibilities. 
  • Helps relieve stress. 
  • Time to relax while you have peace of mind that your loved one is being well taken care of. 

Benefits to Those Living With Dementia

  • Helps decrease isolation which can lead to depression. 
  • A safe, fun environment where your loved one can participate in a wide variety of different safe activities. 
  • Provides companionship for your loved one. 

When Should You Choose Adult Day Care For Your Loved One?

When a dementia diagnosis is given, it not only changes their life but also impacts their caregiver’s life. The caregiver may have responsibilities that they cannot give up while adding the caregiver’s responsibility on top of it. 

Adult day care centers can give caregivers extra support to their loved one living with dementia by providing a safe, friendly environment to go and participate in fun, safe activities. At the same time, the caretaker continues to balance their busy schedule with work, family, and other obligations. 

It is recommended that adult day care is appropriate for individuals with early-stage dementia or middle-stage dementia who can still independently do some day-to-day activities on their own with assistance. 

When considering if adult day care is right for your loved one, you may want to consider the following questions:

  • Does my loved one living with dementia safely be at home alone?
  • Does the caregiver work outside the home or need regular breaks?
  • Is your loved one living with dementia missing companionship or is isolated for 1-2 hours per day?

If the answers to these questions are yes, adult day care may be an excellent option for your loved one. 

What Services Are Provided At Adult Care Centers?


There are three main types of adult care centers. These centers all have different focuses based on your needs. Social centers focus on a safe place for your loved one to socialize and participate in safe activities. Adult day health care focuses on those with serious medical conditions to help provide medical care. Specialized adult day care services have specialized staff on hand to help those living with dementia and Alzheimer’sAlzheimer’s Disease. They are trained and set up to help with these individuals’ unique challenges and needs. 

The services that are offered vary by the center as well as the quality of each service. Some services that are offered may include:

1. Counseling

The center may provide basic counseling for their guests. They may also be able to guide your loved one to outside resources that may be able to help with their needs. 

2. Medical

Centers may administer certain medications and do blood pressure checks and examinations. They may also offer pet or musical therapy. 

3. Nutrition Services

At the adult day care center, they will provide nutritious meals and snacks for the guests while they are there.

4. Personal Care Services

Personal care services may be available. This may include helping style their hair, using the bathroom, showering, eating, and taking care of other personal care services. 

5. Social Activities

Daily activities will be provided for the guests. These may include music, art, games, gardening, parties, exercise, discussions, and support groups.

6. Educational Programs

Classes may be available to help your loved one learn different topics they are interested in. This provides mental stimulation for your loved one. 

7. Behavioral Management

There are trained staff to help your loved one who may wander, have inappropriate outbursts or have difficulty speaking.

8. Transportation

Some adult day care centers may provide transportation to and from the facility. 

How Do I Find The Right Adult Care Center?


To find the right adult care center, you need to know what services you are looking for the center to provide. This can help narrow the list to start finding and researching the best center for your loved one. 

1. Learn About Your Options

You will want to learn about your options when choosing an adult day care center. 

2. Get References

Talk with your loved one’s healthcare provider, friends, and community members to get references to adult day centers. This will help give you a good list of places to look into. 

3. Visit the Facility

It is important to make an appointment to visit the facility. Check the cleanliness as well as how the staff interacts with the guests. After your initial visit, be sure to stop by two or three more times unexpectedly to see if it still is the right choice

4. Ask Questions

It is important to ask questions to learn as much as you can about the center. These questions may come in handy that you can ask. 

  • Is your staff trained to handle those living with dementia?
  • What are your hours of operation?
  • Do you provide transportation?
  • What services/programs are available?
  • Are healthcare providers on staff?
  • What happens if there is an emergency?
  • Is there a current waitlist to get in?
  • What is the cost? Are there financing options?
  • Are you licensed or have any certifications?
  • Do you accommodate dietary requirements?
  • What is the staff turnover?

5. Trial Run

Conduct a trial run with the facility. Make sure that you take your loved one there at least twice a week for one month. After one month, decide if the center is the right option for your loved one. 

What To Look For When Selecting An Adult Day Care Center?

Before signing up for your loved one living with dementia for adult day care, you want to make sure that the center provides a wide variety of activities, both socially and health-related services. Not only that, but you want to make sure the staff is well trained and friendly. These are the things you can ask about when selecting a center. 

  • Small staff to guest ratio
  • Social activities
    • Arts and crafts
    • Music time
    • Mental stimulation games
    • Group exercise
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Counseling

Paying For Adult Day Care

Medicare’s Benefits

Most individuals living with dementia will be on Medicare, so it is natural to wonder if Medicare will help cover or pay for the costs of Adult day care for your loved one who has dementia. 

The short answer is Medicare does not cover adult day care. There is much confusion about this because it is common to mix Medicare up with Medicaid, and there are some Medicare/ Medicaid combination programs that will cover adult day care. 

So if your loved one only had Medicare, adult day care will not be covered. 

Medicare’s Advantage

Medicare’s Advantage is also known as Medicare Part C. Medicare Advantage is available through private insurance companies and typically provides more benefits that are not covered in Medicare. This may include dental and vision and other supplemental benefits. Ince of these benefits is adult day care coverage. 


Throughout the entire United States, Medicaid will pay for adult day care services. There are waivers offered in each state that help loved ones living with their families as long as possible and help provide support through the day at adult day care centers. 

Adult Day Care is also covered in many Medicaid State Plans. 

Veterans Programs

1. VHA Medical Benefits

The VA will pay for adult day health care, but not adult day care for your loved one. This is included in your VHA Medical Benefits package. This is not a program that you can join as a veteran without a clinical review first. You will first need to be assessed by a healthcare provider to see if your clinical need is at the level of care given at adult day healthcare centers. 

The VA will help but may not 100% fund the entire cost of the center. Based on financial resources and level of need, you may be required to pay a copayment. 

2. Veterans Pensions

There are specific pensions that are intended to help provide care for Veterans who are disabled. One of these pensions is called Aid and Attendance. Adult Day Care and adult day health care can both qualify to be paid for or help be paid for through this pension. 

3. Veterans Directed Care

Veterans Directed care is a VA Medical Center-based program that gives the Veteran a little flexibility in spending their funds, allowing them to use some money for both adult day care and adult day health care centers. 

Non-Medicaid State Assistance For Adult Day Care

Many states offer non-Medicaid assistance programs. These may be referred to as nursing home diversion programs. These programs aim to prevent or postpone the placement of elderly individuals in nursing homes. These programs will help pay or pay the cost of daytime supervision that occurs in a group setting.

Is Adult Day Care Tax Deductible?

Should you not qualify for full assistance for your loved one when it comes to adult day care center,, it is important to note that the cost of adult day care is usually tax-deductible under your medical expenses. If your loved one is now your dependent, you can also deduct the expenses under your dependent care credit. Be sure to talk to a tax professional for further questions and assistance. 

Potential Issues With Adult Day Care Centers

Even if you find the perfect adult care center for your loved one living with dementia, some potential issues may come up. You want to be aware of these to weigh if it is still a good option for your loved one. These things may include:

  • Staff is not trained in dementia or Alzheimer’s.
  • Centers do not have the certifications or licensing that you would like. 
  • Staff to guest ratio is too high. 
  • The center is above budget and does not offer financial aid. 
  • It does not offer the programs you would like your loved one to have. 

How Do You Help Your Loved One Overcome Resistance?

Once you decide that adult day care is the right choice for your loved one, you may still get resistance from your loved one not wanting to go. This may be for various reasons. You may hear things like:

  • Don’t want to change my schedule. 
  • I don’t want to go someplace new (new environment to them)

It is important as the caregiver to listen to your loved one’s concerns and be calm and patient. If it is still a struggle to get your loved one to go, try these tips that may be able to help. 

  • Do not call it daycare. Day care is associated with babies and small kids. You may want to instead refer to it as a day center for fun group activities with friends.
  • Help your loved one feel important. Tell your loved one they get to volunteer to help others in classes and various activities. This will make them feel like they have an important job to do as they attend. If your loved one is in the early-stages of dementia, they may be able to help others that are also attending day center.
  • Make it fun. Talk up the day care center by telling your loved one about all the fun activities available at the center. Help them find a fun reason they are looking forward to as they attend. 
  • Start with a Short Time Frame. When your loved one starts attending the adult day care center, start with just a few hours at a time rather than dropping them off for the whole day. Once they get used to it and develop friendships at the center, they will start looking forward to it and may even ask to go more often. 
  • Patience. Although it may be hard to be patient, be patient with your loved one with dementia. This is a new activity that may cause some hesitancy. Just be patient and encourage them. 

There are so many benefits not only to your loved one but the caretaker when you choose to use adult day care centers for your loved ones who are living with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Be sure to evaluate all your options when it comes to caring for your loved one to determine which is the best option for them.


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