Selecting Quality Providers

Sharing the caring for someone who needs supervised care is a task that should not be taken lightly.  This guide will help you in your search for quality, community adult day service centers.

Adult Day Centers provide a planned program that includes a variety of health, social and support services in a protective setting during daytime hours. This community-based service should be designed to meet the individual needs of functionally and/or cognitively impaired adults.

STEP #1 - Determine your needs

What specific services are important to and for the person who needs supervised care?

  • A safe, secure environment?
  • Companionship?
  • Therapeutic activities?
  • Assistance with eating, walking, toileting, medicines, blood sugar level monitoring?
  • Therapies - physical, speech, occupational?
  • Health monitoring - blood pressures, food or liquid intake, weight?
  • Nutritious meals & snacks?
  • Special diet?
  • Exercise?
  • Mental stimulation?
  • Personal care - bathing, shampoos, shaving?

What do you, the caregiver, need and want?

  • Occasional free time?
  • Coverage while working?
  • Transportation for your family member to get to and from the center?
  • Support?
  • Assistance in planning for care?


STEP #2 - Find adult day centers

Identify services in your area. For names and phone numbers of the adult day centers, try:


STEP #3 - Call first!

Search for adult day center websites. Call adult day centers and ask for a flier or brochure, eligibility criteria, a monthly activity calendar, a monthly menu and application procedures.


STEP #4 - Know what to ask

Look for the following information in the material received.

  • Owner or sponsoring agency
  • Years of operation
  • State certification 
  • National accreditation (only required for centers accessing certain funding sources in NC)
  • Hours of operation
  • Days open
  • Transportation and other services offered
  • Cost - Hourly or daily charge, other charges, financial assistance
  • Conditions accepted - such as memory loss, limited mobility, incontinence
  • Staff credentials
  • Number of staff per participant
  • Activities provided - Is there variety and choice of individual and group activities?
  • Menu - appeal, balance
  • Payment options


STEP #5 - Pay a visit

Make an appointment to visit two or more centers that might meet your needs.  
The following list will help you decide which day center is the right one for you.


Yes / No Did you feel welcomed?
Yes / No Did someone spend time finding out what you want and need?
Yes / No Did someone clearly explain what services and activities the center provides?
Yes / No Did they present information about staffing, program procedures, costs and what they expect of caregivers?
Yes / No Was the facility clean, pleasant and free of odor?
Yes / No Were the building and the rooms wheelchair accessible?
Yes / No Was there sturdy, comfortable furniture?
Yes / No Loungers for relaxation? Chairs with arms?
Yes / No Is there a quiet place for conferences?
Yes / No Is there a place to isolate sick persons?
Yes / No Did you see cheerful faces on staff and participants?
Yes / No Do volunteers help?
Yes / No Are participants involved in planning activities or making other suggestions?


STEP #6 - Check references

Talk to two or three people who have used the center you are considering. Ask for their opinion.


STEP #7 - Try it out

Select a day center. Try it for three to five days.  It sometimes takes several visits for new participants to feel comfortable in a new setting and with a new routine.  If you have questions or are experiencing any problems, ask for a conference.  Staff may have suggestions to make the transition easier both at home and at the day center.


STEP #8 - Take care of yourself

Relax. Your loved one is being well cared for. Remember, your loved one may not be able to recall all the activities enjoyed during the day. The staff will gladly provide the missing details. The day center staff is there for you, too. Ask for:

  • Tips to make caregiving easier
  • Additional resources available in the community