Adult Day Care Overview

Complement to Aging in Place and a Needed Social Outlet

adult day care
Adult day care offers respite for caregivers and much needed socialization for elders. Getty Images

Adult day care offers both respite for caregivers as well a much needed socialization for seniors. This article provides an overview of adult day care centers for readers.

The typical Adult Day Services (ADS) program was initiated in 1992 as a single-site, stand-alone, private, non-profit service provider.

According to Met Life, the typical day center has been in operation an average of 17 years.

Profit Status

Twenty-seven percent of centers are for-profit up from 22% in 2002.

Almost three-quarters of all centers (71%) are non-profit (56%) or affiliated with the public or government sector (16%). The majority are state-certified or licensed.

Administration and Staffing

  • One third of the center directors have business or healthcare administration backgrounds.
  • Almost 60% come from nursing, social work, and activities/recreation therapy.
  • Almost 80% of ADS centers have either a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) on staff.
  • The direct care worker-to-participant ratio is one direct care worker for every six participants (1:6).

Funding and Fees

  • Half (55%) of the funding comes from publicly paid participant fees and one-quarter (26%) from privately paid participant fees.
  • Medicaid and state and local funding are the top two sources of funding.
  • The Veteran's Administration (VA) accounts for 10% of total revenue but is growing.
  • Standard fees average $61.71 based on number of hours of care or a flat daily fee of $57.96.

    Participation and Demographics

    • The average maximum capacity has increased to 51 people.
    • The average number of participants served per day is 34.
    • Approximately 29% of centers have a wait list.
    • The majority of participants are women; 69% of participants were age 65 and older, 21% of participants were age 41 to 64, and 9% of participants were age 40 and younger.

      Health Conditions

      • The three most prevalent conditions experienced by ADS participants are dementia (47%), hypertension/high blood pressure (46%), and physical disability (42%).
      • About a third of participants experienced cardiovascular disease (34%) and diabetes (31%).
      • Chronic mental health issues were experienced by 25% of participants and 20% had a developmental disability.

      Services Provided

      • Care Planning
      • Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs)
      • Nursing and health-related services
      • Therapeutic and Medical services
      • Meals and Transportation
      • Activities and Targeted Programs
      • Wellness Practices and Disease-Specific Programs

      MetLife has recommended that in anticipation of future needs and growth, ADS:

      • Need to understand the evolution that needs to take place as society grows to demand these services.
      • Be prepared to treat a higher acuity client.
      • Advocate for new funding sources with healthcare reform.
      • Market to other key players in the long-term care network, such as hospital discharge planners.
      • Reach out to employers who can use these programs.
      • Educate policymakers about the vital role day services play in society.

      As society moves away from institutionalized care to home based care and aging in place, the vital role that adult day services play will grow. Now is the time to consider this as a viable business option and also an option for a loved one under your care.

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