Overview and Facts

Adult day services is peace of mind.  Adult day service centers provide a coordinated program of professional and compassionate services for adults in a community-based group setting. Services are designed to provide social and some health services to adults who need supervised care in a safe place outside the home during the day. They also afford caregivers respite from the demanding responsibilities of caregiving. Adult day centers generally operate during normal business hours five days a week. Some programs offer services in the evenings and on weekends. Although each facility may differ in terms of features, these general services are offered by most adult day centers:

Social activities

interaction with other participants in planned activities appropriate for their conditions


door-to-door service

Meals and snacks

participants are provided with meals and snacks, those with special dietary needs are offered special meals

Personal care

help with toileting, grooming, eating and other personal activities of daily living

Therapeutic activities

exercise and mental interaction for all participants.

In general, there are three types of adult day centers: social (which provides meals, recreation and some health-related services), medical/health (which provides social activities as well as more intensive health and therapeutic services) and specialized (which provide services only to specific care recipients, such as those with diagnosed dementias or developmental disabilities. Caregivers typically select the type of center a care recipient attends based on the care needed.

By 1978, adult day center owners/managers saw the need to establish national standardized criteria that would allow caregivers the ability to rate and fully understand what adult day centers would provide for their loved ones. Thus, the National Adult Day Services Association formed in 1979. Since then, NADSA has made great progress in promoting the concept of adult day services as a viable community-based care option for people with disabilities within the larger constellation of long-term care services.

  • The 2010 MetLife National Study of Adult Day Centers confirmed over 4,600 centers operating in the United States providing care for 150,000 care recipients each day.¹  It is estimated that there are more than 5,000 currently operating.
  • Nearly 78 percent of adult day centers are operated on a nonprofit or public basis and the remaining 22 percent are for profit.¹
  • 70 percent of adult day centers are affiliated with larger organizations such as home care, skilled nursing facilities, medical centers, or multi-purpose senior organizations.
  • The average age of the adult day center care recipient is 72¹, and two-thirds of all adult day center care recipients are women.
  • Thirty-five percent of the adult day center care recipients live with an adult child, 20% with a spouse, 18% in an institutional setting, 13% with parents or other relatives, while 11% live alone.¹
  • Fifty-two percent of the adult day center care recipients using adult day services centers nationwide have some cognitive impairment.¹
  • Daily fees for adult day services vary depending upon the services provided. The national average rate for adult day centers is $61 per day (includes 8-10 hours on average) compared to an average rate for home health aides of $19 per hour.²
  • Funding for adult day services comes from fees for service and third party payers, as well as public and philanthropic sources.
  • The average capacity of adult day centers is 40. ²
  • The average adult day center care recipient to staff ratio is 6:1. ²


¹ National Study of Adult Day Services, 2001-2002. Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Partners in Caregiving: The Adult Day Services Program, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, 2002.

² The MetLife Market Survey of Adult Day Services & Home Care Costs, MetLife Mature Market Institute®, in conjunction with LifePlans, Inc., www.MatureMarketInstitute.com, September 2007.



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