How Do I Choose The Right Adult Day Care Program?elderly woman

No matter how efficiently and effortlessly you have adapted your life to the role of caregiver; eventually you are going to need a break. Occasional breaks are essential not only to your emotional well-being, but to the well-being of your relationships with your family, friends, and the person you are caring for. Taking an occasional break is also essential to maintaining your capability as a caregiver. For some caregivers a nearby family member can step in and provide the care, but for other caregivers that option is not available. In those cases, adult day care is one of a better option.

The role of adult day care is gaining increased attention as the nation prepares for the large cohort of baby boomers entering their later years. Many boomers are aging with physical and cognitive impairments, including Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Moreover, these boomers have a strong preference to age in place in their communities. It is estimated that 70% of persons with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, reside at home while receiving care from family members.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are central ideals in American society. Health and aging issues in the United States are shaped by “independence, autonomy, the application of principles, and a preeminent concern for individual rights”.  In the United States, the National Adult Day Services (ADS) Association provides leadership in all areas of ADS. The most current definition for ADS in the United States comes from the NADSA Standards and Guidelines for ADS:

“Adult day services are community-based group programs designed to meet the needs of adults with impairments through individual plans of care. These structured, comprehensive, residential programs provide a variety of health, social, and related support services in a protective setting. By supporting families and other caregivers, adult day services enable participants to live in the community. Adult day services assess the needs of participants and offer services to meet those needs. Participants attend on a planned basis”.

The Components of A Quality Program

Family members must do some research to determine whether the adult day care center is right for their loved ones. The components of a quality adult day care program should include the following:

• Conducts an individual needs assessment before admission to determine the person’s range of abilities and needs;
• Provides an active program that meets the daily social and recreational needs of the person in care;
• Develops an individualized treatment plan for participants and monitors it regularly, adjusting the plan as necessary;
• Has clear criteria for service and guidelines for termination based on the functional status of the person in care;
• Provides a full range of in-house services, which may include transportation, meals, health screening and educational programs and counseling;
• Provides a safe, secure (lock if needed) environment;
• Provide transportation;

Be sure to ask each program you are considering which services are included, and whether or not supplemental services may be purchased to complement the specific care and services required.

Micha Shalev MHA is the owner of Dodge Park Rest Home and the Adult Day Care at Dodge Park located at 101 Randolph Road in Worcester. He can be reached at 508-853-8180 or by e-mail at or view more information online at