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Adult Day Services: A Checklist to Aid in Your Search

En español | When looking into adult day services, it is important to find a program and location that meet both your loved one’s and your own needs. Services provided at the centers vary, as do the qualifications of the staff. Looking at several facilities will help you find the right fit. The following checklist outlines what to look for and what to ask when visiting adult day centers.

See also: How to Balance Work and Caregiving.

Basic Information:

  • Name of center.
  • Address.
  •  Name of director.
  • Contact information.
  • Days and hours of operation.
  • How long has the center been operating?
  • Do they accommodate people on a part-time basis?
  • Who sponsors/owns and manages the center?
  • Are other organizations involved in the operations/services?
  •  Is the center licensed or certified by a state regulatory agency, where available?    

Eligibility Requirements:

  • What are the age requirements (if any)?
  • Must participants live within a certain geographic area?
  • Can the center accommodate specific needs related to memory loss, limited mobility, toileting, special diets, etc.?
  • Does the center staff perform an assessment?
  • Does the participant’s doctor need to submit information?

Programs and Services:
The following is a list of services that may be provided by many adult day services centers. Not all centers provide all services so be sure to ask which are available.

  • Transportation to and from the center.
  • Recreational programs.
  • Art/music therapy.
  • Occupational therapy.
  • Speech therapy.
  • Physical therapy.
  • Exercise programs.
  • Assistance with dressing/grooming/using the toilet.
  • Laundry.Meals/snacks.
  • Nutrition counseling.
  • Health monitoring (blood pressure, blood sugar).
  •  Medical assessment and treatment.
  • Medication management.
  • Social services.
  • Special services related to a participant’s condition? (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease)


  • What are the fees and what do the fees include (e.g., meals, transportation)?
  • What are the costs of those services/supplies not included in the daily fee?
  • What forms of payment are accepted?
  • Are any of the costs covered by Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance or other financial aid?
  • Is there a required deposit? If so, how much?
  • Who handles billing and applications with third-party payers such as long-term care insurers, VA, or Medicaid?

Next: Center environment and operations»


  • What are the qualifications and professional experience of the staff? Do they hold degrees and licensure in their respective fields (nursing, social work, therapy)?
  • How many staff members are there for each program participant?
  • During your visit, do you see positive interaction between the staff and participants?
  • Are staff and volunteers screened and trained?

Center Environment:

  • Is the physical environment safe and accessible for people with disabilities?
  • Are the restrooms conveniently located with grab bars and space for wheelchairs?
  • Does the facility meet local fire, sanitation and health codes?
  • Is there space for private conversations and small group activities?
  • Is the furniture sturdy, comfortable and well maintained?
  • Is there safe and comfortable outdoor space?
  • Is the center clean, free from odors and of sufficient size to accommodate all the participants and activities?
  • Do the participants seem engaged in activities?
  • Is it someplace that you would want to return to?

Center Operations:

  • Does each participant have a plan of care based on his/her interests and needs?
  • Are participants involved in making decisions about center programs, schedules and menus?
  • Is there a center newsletter or website?
  • How does the center staff handle participant emergencies as well as facility-wide emergencies?
  • Under what circumstances would a participant be asked to leave the center? Will staff assist in finding a more suitable type of care?
  •  Is the center accredited, for example, by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitative Facilities?

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