This article was written by Diana Holmes, the Caregiver Homes Branch Manager for the Attleboro/Taunton area in Massachusetts.

Adult Day Health (ADH) Centers provide a wide range of day services for disabled individuals and the elderly. There are many titles that describe Adult Day Health including: Adult Day Care Center, Adult Day Services, Adult Day Residential and Care and Medical Adult Day Care Services. Although the name may vary slightly the main goals of adult day health are similar which include encouraging individuals to remain in the community with support, reducing hospitalizations, providing respite for caregivers, socialization and lastly reducing costs of residential or nursing home care. The services of ADH include medical support, therapeutic activities, meals, personal assistance, Rehabilitation Therapy, medication management, Caregiver Support Groups and transportation.

Adult Day Health Centers have existed since the 1970s and have grown significantly due to the need in communities. According to 'More than 4,600 adult day centers are operating in the United States providing care for 150,000 (disabled and) older Americans each day.' As the need increases the need for Adult Foster Care (AFC) also increases. While care is provided during the day at ADH the care at night is often provided by a family member who is often receiving Adult Foster Care services. With similar goals this is a natural partnership. During the day the family member in need of care receives services at ADH and at night and the weekends AFC supports family members who are providing the care. AFC also provides care to the individual by coordinating care, providing appropriate referrals and monitoring health. Both AFC and ADH organizations focus on reducing hospitalization, supporting community care and reducing costs or nursing home and residential care.

Caregiver Homes, a provider of a special kind of AFC called Structured Family Caregiving, works closely with a number of ADH organizations. Hillside Adult Day Health Center in Attleboro, Mass. is one of them. In conversations with the staff from Caregiver Homes, the Social Worker there often comments on how caregivers benefit from utilizing both ADH and AFC services for their loved ones. She says "this has helped caregivers keep their loved ones at home longer without it being a financial burden and without sacrificing respite or high quality care."

A Care Manager for Caregiver Homes said "When I think of Adult Day Health (ADH) a few of the consumers I serve come to mind. One woman was against the idea of trying ADH. We recommended she try it out, mentioning that she would be a big help to those in greater need than she. She replied, 'You mean like a job?' She started going and loves it! She has made so many friends and stands by the door every week waiting to go. I would strongly recommend ADH. It has become a second home for many. Every time I go to the home these consumers always have stories to tell about their experience". Others who attend ADH note that they enjoy having an activity outside their normal routine, "taking a break from their caregiver" and having independence that ADH provides.

While researching ADHs some of the questions a Caregiver might consider asking:

  • Does the ADH provide transportation?
  • What is the population that currently attends the ADH?
  • Does the ADH specialize in certain diagnoses?
  • How does the ADH handle emergencies and what hospital does the ADH work closely with?
  • What days is the ADH opened and what are the hours? 
  • Lastly ask for a tour of the ADH.