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Adult Day Programs

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

Family caregivers who care for someone with dementia and have little support often find themselves burned out and unable to provide the best care for their loved ones. There are several ways to give caregivers a break from their 36-hour day. Family caregivers could move their loved one into an assisted living facility or bring help into the home. Assisted living is costly, and most elders in the U.S. prefer to remain at home. Home-bound services are more affordable than assisted living, but when services are provided in the house, the elder may struggle to connect with others outside their homes. A more cost-effective alternative that allows the elder to remain at home and support their social well-being is Adult Day Programs. Adult Day Programs are for seniors who are unsafe on their own but do not require 24-hour care.

In 2018, approximately 4,200 adult day program centers in the U.S. served more than 251,000 participants, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. The current adult day programs have three main types: social, medical-focused, and specialized centers.

What is the difference between a Senior Center and Adult Day Program?

Senior centers are intended for independent seniors capable of making decisions and taking medications without supervision. Adult day programs typically provide comprehensive services, including medical care, medication management, transportation, counseling, meals, and socialization.


Adult day programs work best for elders who cannot thrive at home anymore. Here are vital signs that a caregiver should watch for in their loved one: difficulty starting and focusing on an activity (whether it’s a conversation, reading, or watching TV), unable to structure their daily activities, feeling isolated and lonely, feeling uncertain and anxious about being alone or not being safe without supervision. If an elder shows one or more of these signs, they should consider adult day programs.


What is the typical cost of an adult day program?

The prices of adult day programs can vary depending on factors such as geographic region and range of services. The median cost across the U.S. is $1,690 a month, or $78 per day, according to the 2021 “Cost of Care” survey from long-term care insurance company Genworth. Original Medicare doesn't cover the cost of adult day plans, but Medicare Advantage plans may offer expanded coverage. Unlike Medicare, state Medicaid programs will cover the cost of adult day programs. Typically coverage comes through a program called Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid Waivers.

If you need assistance finding care for your loved one, contact our Mellie team. Mellie works with caregivers to provide a customizable care plan which supports caregivers with finding resources such as an adult day program or hiring in-home care, as well as assists with medical needs. Mellie’s service includes an app that conveniently has everything a caregiver needs in one place and access to a knowledgeable care coordinator to navigate the world of eldercare.





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