Respite For Two


Adult day care centers provide a break (respite) to the caregiver while providing health services, therapeutic services and social activities for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, chronic illnesses, traumatic brain injuries, developmental disabilities and other problems that increase their care needs. Some adult day care centers are dementia specific, providing services exclusively to that population. Other centers serve the broader population.

One difference between traditional adult respite, both group and in-home care, and adult day care is that adult day centers not only provide respite to family caregivers but also therapeutic care for cognitively and physically impaired older adults. 

Benefits of Adult Day Care

Adult day care allows caregivers to continue working outside the home, receive help with the physical care of a loved one, avoid the guilt of placing a loved one in institutional care, and have respite from what can be a “24/7” responsibility.

The caregiver’s loved one can also benefit from adult day care. He or she is able to remain at home with family but does not require 24-hour care from the primary caregiver. Adult day care participants also have an opportunity to interact socially with peers, share in stimulating activities, receive physical or speech therapy if needed, and receive assistance with the activities of daily living with dignity.

A good place to begin searching for a program is the Yellow Pages. At the national level, contact the National Adult Day Services Association ( for a set of guidelines for adult day service programs. Local Area Agencies on Aging can also direct you to adult day care centers in your area. Ultimately, word of mouth is often one of the best ways of finding quality adult day care. 

How Do I Choose an Adult Day Care Center?

  • Conduct an individual needs assessment before admission to determine your loved one’s abilities and needs

  • Is there an active program that meets his or her daily social, recreational, and rehabilitative needs?

  • Does the center develop an individualized treatment plan for participants and monitor it regularly, adjusting the plan as necessary?

  • Are there referrals to other needed community services?

  • Are clear criteria for service and guidelines for termination established based on the person’s functional status?

  • Is a full range of in-house services offered, such as personal care, transportation, meals, health screening and monitoring, educational programs, counseling and rehabilitative services?

  • Does the center provide a safe, secure environment?

  • Are the volunteers qualified and well-trained? 

  • Does the center adhere to or exceed existing state and national standards and guidelines.




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