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How to Pay for Adult Day Care

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If you’re taking care of a senior loved one who’s gracefully aging in their own home, then you know what a special, yet challenging time this is. Taking care of someone who once took care of you is a beautiful gift, but let’s be real – caregiving can be tough. Especially if your loved one needs some extra special care, or you have your own family to take care of as well. Fortunately, adult day care can be an affordable and helpful option for families and caregivers who need additional support. Let’s talk about what you need to know about adult day care, including the different types of services offered, the average cost, and how to pay for it. Whether you’re seeking care for a parent, spouse, or another senior loved one, we’ve got you covered.


What is Adult Day Care?

puzzle game at adult day care for memory care and alzheimer's or dementia
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Adult day care is a fantastic resource offering professional care, socialization, and enriching activities for older adults and individuals with disabilities. These programs are carefully crafted to provide supervised care in welcoming community settings, aiming to enhance the quality of life for participants and their families.

Not only do adult day care services offer a breather for caregivers, but they also play an important role in combating feelings of isolation or depression that seniors may face. The chance to socialize and engage with peers can make a significant positive impact on mental and emotional well-being. Essentially, adult day care ensures that elderly or disabled folks have a safe and supervised environment during the day.


Types of Adult Day Care

There are three main types of adult day care, each offering a unique blend of services to cater to diverse needs: social, health, and specialized.

Social Adult Day Care

From games and arts to music therapy and group exercises, there’s something for everyone. It’s not just about mental stimulation; it’s about building connections. Social adult day care creates a supportive community where participants form new friendships, engage in meaningful activities, and maintain an active lifestyle.

Adult Day Health Care (ADHC)

For older adults with chronic conditions or recent illnesses/injuries, ADHC programs are a game-changer. Offering a comprehensive approach, these programs blend social activities with intensive medical care. Participants not only enjoy engaging activities but also have access to healthcare professionals providing personalized care and support. Services include various therapies (physical, occupational, and speech), medication management, health monitoring, and assistance with daily activities.

Specialized Adult Day Care

Tailored to specific conditions and needs, specialized programs address unique challenges. Memory care programs focus on enhancing cognitive function and quality of life for those with cognitive impairments or dementia. Trained staff create safe environments, offering personalized care and activities like reminiscence therapy and cognitive exercises. Some centers cater to adults with developmental disabilities, promoting inclusivity through activities that enhance socialization and skill development.


Average Cost of Adult Day Care

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The cost of adult day care can vary depending on the location, types of services offered, and level of care required. The national average cost of adult day care is between $78 and $98 per day. Let’s compare that to the daily cost of a few other senior care options:

  • Home Care: $198 per day
  • Assisted Living: $176 per day
  • Nursing Home, Semi-Private Room: $285 per day

Where is Adult Day Care the Most Expensive?

North Dakota map - the most expensive state for Adult Day Care
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Here are the 5 most expensive states for adult day care:

StateCost Per Day
North Dakota$156
South Dakota$120

Where is Adult Day Care the Least Expensive?

alabama map
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Here are the 5 least expensive states for adult day care:

StateCost Per Day
North Carolina$55
West Virginia$50

How to Pay for Adult Day Care


The first question most people ask when it comes to senior care is, does Medicare pay? The answer here is no. Medicare does not typically cover the expenses associated with these programs. However, there are still plenty of other options to explore that may help alleviate any financial burden. Here are some:


One option to consider is Medicaid, a government-funded program for low-income individuals. Medicaid may provide coverage for adult day services, but eligibility and benefits vary from state to state. You should check with your local Medicaid office to understand the specific requirements and benefits in your area. Also, reach out to the adult day care centers you’re interested in and inquire about their payment options, including any sliding scale fees or income-based discounts they may offer.


Long-Term Care Insurance

Another avenue to explore is long-term care insurance. Some insurance policies include coverage for adult day services as part of their benefits package. If your loved one has a long-term care insurance policy, review the terms and conditions to determine if these services are covered.

Veterans Benefits

Veterans who have served in the military may be eligible for certain healthcare benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA provides a range of healthcare services to older adults.


If you or your senior loved one has a sufficient amount of money saved up for retirement and other needs that may arise, then it’s completely possible to pay out of pocket. In fact, according to Genworth, 66% of caregivers have self-paid these expenses.


There are various types of annuities, each with its own unique features and options. One interesting feature that you may come across is known as a “medical care facility” waiver. This special waiver allows you to tap into a portion of your annuity’s contract value without incurring any surrender charges or penalties from the insurance company.

More on Adult Day Care

friends in an adult day care

Adult day care can be a helpful option for many seniors and their families. It offers socialization, supervision, and support for those with disabilities or aging-related health problems. With the variety of adult day care options available, it is important to consider the cost and the different types of services offered when choosing a program. Knowing how to pay for adult day care can make this option more accessible and affordable. Remember to consult with your insurance provider, financial advisor, or a non-profit organization that can help you find local care providers (try your local Area Agency on Aging).

If you’re looking for more information on adult day care, then here are some more resources to check out:

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Originally published July 02, 2024


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