Adult Day Care is a community-based program. There are more than 4,000 centers across the country with more than 78 percent operating on a non-profit basis. All medical model adult day health care programs are affiliated and licensed under nursing homes. If you are considering an adult day health care program, here are some tips to help you get started in choosing the one best suited for your loved one.

Select a daycare model:

Decide whether you want a medical or social model.

  • Medical Model Adult Day Health Care Program: The medical model program offers adults who are chronically ill or in need of health monitoring access to nursing care, rehabilitation therapy, social work services, and assistance with personal care. Medical model programs have a registered nurse and rehabilitation therapists on site.
  • Social Model Adult Day Health Care Program: This is the most common type of adult day center. The social model provides seniors with supervised care in a safe environment, as well as a place to socialize and stay physically and mentally active.

Round-Trip Transportation is Key
Some adult day health care programs provide door-to-door, round-trip transportation. The vans should be equipped with an electronic lift and other equipment to accommodate people in wheelchairs, walkers or canes.

Take note of everything! 

  1. What’s your first impression you have after walking through the door?
  2. Are the staff and patients happily engaged in activities together?
  3. Are the recreation and dining areas clean?
  4.  Are the walls brightly decorated with patients’ artwork?
  5. Are there people who speak my language or come from a similar background?
  6. Are the activities offered age appropriate for me?

Emergency and Safety Plans
Every adult day health care program must have a medical and safety emergency plan. Ask the person who takes you on a tour to show you the written plan.

  1. What is your procedure if someone falls?
  2. In an emergency, how are clients evacuated from the center?
  3. Do you have smoke detectors?
  4.  Do you have fire extinguishers?
  5. Do you have a defibrillator?

Adult day health care programs should have a weekly or monthly calendar of activities posted. If not, ask for it when you’re on your tour. Offerings should range from group activities such as exercise programs, arts and crafts, games etc. Ask whether they provide trips. Do they bring in outside guests to entertain or educate ?

Meals, Snacks
Adult day health care programs usually provide at least one meal and a snack during the day. Specialty diets, such as low sodium, low sugar and low cholesterol are accommodated at most programs. Ask the center for a copy of their weekly or monthly menu. Try during your tour to taste the food.

Personal Grooming 
Your loved one may need some assistance with personal grooming. Does the program have adequate staff to handle those needs, such as toileting, showering and other personal care?  For those folks who are incontinent, does the staff handle toileting?

 After evaluating and experiencing a few adult day health care programs, seeing the range of activities and enthusiasm of the staff, taking a look at the menus and simply “get the feel” of the programs, you’ll be in a better position to select the program that you feel is the most appropriate for your loved one. It’s also a good idea to speak with participants about how they feel about the program while you are on your tour.

While most seniors face major adjustments when transitioning to an elder-care community, Jewish seniors face additional challenges. Not only do they lose their homes, and many of their friends, but they also lose ties to their cultural heritage.  This is where the Jewish Pavilion, a 501c3 non-profit, steps in.  The Pavilion serves as a resource that provides room visits, festive holiday celebrations, and more to 450 Jewish residents in fifty facilities for seniors.  The Jewish Pavilion promotes inclusion, and thousands of seniors of all faiths are welcomed into our programs.

The Orlando Senior Help Desk at the Jewish Pavilion (407-678-9363) helps thousands of callers navigate their way through the daunting senior maze, alleviating caregiver stress while giving advice on all types of elder issues.

Nancy Ludin, CEO, The Jewish Pavilion