How to Choose an Adult Day Care Center


Adult day care is a wonderful respite care option for family caregivers and valuable source of stimulation and socialization for seniors. When trying to find an adult day center, you want to make sure your parent will be happy and receive quality care there. Keep in mind that there are three different types of adult day services: social, medical (adult day health services) and specialized, which caters to seniors with a specific health condition such as dementia.

Read: 3 Types of Adult Day Care

Properly vetting an adult day care program will give you peace of mind and help minimize any guilt you may feel about leaving your loved one in someone else’s care. The following checklist will help guide you in your search for an adult day care center that best fits both your aging loved one’s needs and your own.

Tips for Choosing an Adult Day Center


  • Is the center easily accessible?
  • How will your loved one get to and from the facility?
  • Does the adult day care program offer transportation services to and from the center?
  • Is there an extra charge for transportation?

Licensing and Complaints

  • How long has the senior day care facility been in business?
  • Is the adult day center licensed, certified or otherwise regulated by a state agency, such as the department of health or department of aging?
  • Has the center received any citations or substantiated complaints about the care it provides?

Hours and Costs

  • What are the center’s days and hours of operation?
  • What is the cost of care? Does the adult day care center charge hourly, daily or weekly?
  • Does a senior have to commit to a minimum amount of service? (Ex: at least two days each week)
  • Is financial assistance available? (Ex: Does the center use a sliding scale to base rates on seniors’ incomes? Does the center accept Medicaid? Are there other sources of funding available, such as grants, to help cover costs?)
  • Are all activities and services included in the cost, or are there additional charges for certain aspects of the program?
  • Are meals and snacks included? Does the center accommodate dietary restrictions and nutritional needs?

Level of Care

  • Does the center offer social programming, such as supervision, senior activities and events?
  • Does the center offer medical programming, such as full personal care services, health monitoring, nursing care and physical therapy?
  • Does the facility provide other services, such as blood pressure checks, annual immunizations, hair styling services, bathing services or dental check-ups?
  • Does the center offer specialized programming, such as dementia care?
  • Are individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia separated from other participants or included in general activities and mealtimes?
  • Does the facility accept elders who:
    • Are incontinent?
    • Require assistance with toileting or continence care?
    • Are in wheelchairs?
    • Wander?
    • Are deaf or hard of hearing?
    • Are blind or have low vision?
    • Have behavioral problems?
    • Need help taking their medications?


  • What is the ratio of staff to senior attendees?
  • Does this ratio meet state standards?
  • What professional assistance is available to help with care planning and concerns?
  • Are staff members pleasant to the elders?

Activities and Amenities

  • Does the center offer both individual and group activities?
  • What activities are provided? Is there a good mix of options? (E.g. exercise classes, music, crafts, memory sharing, etc.)
  • Do attendees interact with each other? Do they seem to enjoy their time at the facility?
  • Is the day care facility clean, odorless and pleasant to visit?
  • Does the facility provide comfortable furniture for activities and for relaxation?

Policies and Rules

  • How do the staff ensure attendees’ safety?
  • How are behavioral problems handled?
  • What is the center’s policy concerning late arrivals and late pick-ups?
  • Are there specific behaviors or care needs which would require a senior to withdraw from the program?

How to Find Adult Day Care in Your Area

To begin your search for respite care and adult day centers near you, use the Adult Day Care Directory.

Browse Our Free Senior Care Guides

Sources: Regulatory Review of Adult Day Services: Final Report, 2014 Edition (

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