Adult Day Services Programs

Adult Day Services programs offer an alternative to nursing home care for those who do not need 24-hour skilled nursing. Adult day services often assist working caregivers to balance the needs of work and caregiving responsibilities as well as respite for full-time family caregivers. These programs are designed to help people stay mentally and physically active, while reducing their isolation, improving their health, and preventing decline of their abilities.

Individuals typically attend a center in their community two to five times a week, based on their individual need. All programs either provide or can assist with transportation arrangements. Program hours typically range from four to eight hours a day. However, some centers offer extended hours to accommodate working caregivers. Many centers also provide caregiver support groups and training.

Services vary from center to center but may include therapeutic activities such as art, singing, age-appropriate games, health monitoring, social work, meals, dietary counseling, physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Some programs focus on a specific population -- for example those who share a similar cultural or ethnic background or younger adults with head injuries or developmental disabilities. Families also receive help with information and referral to other services, as needed.

Adult day services are provided in two types of licensed settings, Adult Day Program (ADP) and Adult Day Health Care (ADHC).

A table showing the differences between ADP and ADHC licensed settings
Category Adult Day Program (ADP) Adult Day Health Care (ADHC)
Description Community-based programs providing assistance with personal care, activities of daily living, and/or supervision for the participant’s protection on less than a 24-hour basis. Serves adults age 18 and over. Community-based programs providing an organized day program of health, therapeutic, and social services. Programs serve frail older adults and younger adults with chronic disabling medical, cognitive, or mental health conditions who are at risk of institutional placement. Serves adults age 18 and over.
Services Provided
Individual Plan of Care Required Required
Activity Program Required Required
Dietary Services Required Required
Meal/Snack Required Required
Personal Care & Supervision Required Required
Transportation Provide, arrange, or assist Provide or arrange
Medications Assist with self-administration Administered by registered nurse
Social Services Not required Required
Skilled Nursing Not required Required
Physician Services Not required Required
Mental Health Services Not required Required
Occupational Therapy Not required Required
Physical Therapy Not required Required
Speech Therapy Not required Required
Payment Sources
  • Private Payment
  • Regional Center (for participants with Developmental Disabilities)
  • Veteran’s Administration
  • Area Agencies on Aging
  • Medi-Cal (for participants who meet the Medi-Cal CBAS eligibility criteria)
  • Private Payment
  • Regional Center (for participants with Developmental Disabilities)
  • Area Agencies on Aging
State Oversight California Department of Social Services California Department of Aging
Find a program in your area Adult Day Program (ADP) Adult Day Health Care (ADHC)

Both ADPs and ADHCs may serve persons with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias, complex physical, mental or developmental disabilities, cognitive impairments or other chronic disabling conditions. An Alzheimer’s Day Care Resource Centers (ADCRC) is a specialized program within either the ADP or ADHC setting. ADCRCs uniquely address psychosocial, mental, functional, and cognitive needs of persons with dementia by assisting them to function at their highest level, while providing the caregiver support and respite.