How to Choose an Adult Day Care Center

If you are trying to find the right adult day center, you want to make sure your parent will be happy and well-cared-for. Choosing the right facility for your parent can give you peace of mind and lessen any guilt you may feel leaving your parent in someone else’s care. The following checklist will help guide you in choosing a center that will meet your needs, as well as those of your elderly parent.

Tips for Choosing a Senior Center

Location of the Adult Day Care Center

  • Is the center easily accessible?
  • Can the elderly parent get to the facility?
  • Is transportation available?
  • Is there an extra charge for transportation?


  • How long has the day care facility been in business?
  • Is the adult day care licensed by the state health department or department of social services?
  • Has the state health department received any substantiated complaints about the care provided in the facility?

Hours and Cost

  • What days and hours is the adult day care open?
  • What is the policy concerning late arrival or late pick-up?
  • What is the cost of care? Does the adult day care center charge hourly, daily, or weekly?
  • Does the caregiver have to commit to a minimum amount of service, i.e., at least 2 days a week?
  • Is financial assistance available? Is there a sliding scale, Medicaid, or other funding available to help you pay the cost?
  • Are all activities included in the cost?
  • Are meals included in the cost? Are the meals well-balanced?

Level of Care

Does the facility accept elders who:

  • Are incontinent?
  • Are in wheelchairs?
  • Have memory loss?
  • Have difficulties in speaking?
  • Wander?
  • Have special dietary requirements?
  • Have behavioral problems?


  • What is the elder-to-staff ratio?
  • Does this ratio meet state standards?
  • What professional staff is available to help with care planning and concerns?
  • Is the staff pleasant to the elders?


  • Are there individual and group activities?
  • What activities are provided?
  • Are the activities stimulating? Exercise, music, crafts, memory sharing, etc.
  • Do elders 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 have comfortable furniture for activities and for relaxation?

Special Needs

  • Are individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease separated from other participants or included in activities?
  • How do they insure safety? How are behavior problems handled?
  • Are there specific behaviors or care needs which would require your loved one’s withdrawal from the program?
  • Does the facility provide other conveniences/benefits such as blood pressure checks, annual immunizations, hair styling services, bathing, or dental check-ups?
  • Can the facility accommodate the following special physical or medical requirements:
    • Dispense medicine
    • Give reminders about taking pills
    • Assist with toileting or handle incontinence
    • Provide total access and participation to wheelchair-restricted clients
    • Effectively communicate with hearing impaired participants

How to Find Adult Day Care in Your Area

The All Care Senior Consulting Directory can help you find adult day centers in your local area.

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