Adult Day Services FAQ


NOTE:  The terms "adult day care," “adult day service facility,” and "older adult daily living center" are also used to refer to the same type of facility and are interchangeable. 


What is an older adult daily living center? 

An older adult daily living center is a place where services are provided to four or more clients for part of a 24 hour day. These services include nursing, personal care, nutrition, education, social, and recreational activities.  

The center must be licensed and inspected annually by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging (PDA).

Must you live in the same county as the older adult daily living center?

No, however, if your adult day services are funded by your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA), they may choose to use centers only within your county.

Who attends older adult daily living centers?

  • Typically those seniors (over 60 years old) who are dependent on others due to mental and/or physical disabilities;
  • Consumers who can no longer be left alone;
  • Consumers who recently have been discharged from the hospital and are in need of rehabilitation therapy;
  • Consumers who need the stimulation of socializing with others;
  • Younger adults with post-stroke or Alzheimer's type conditions who have some form of dementia.

Why would clients/families choose to enroll in older adult daily living center?

Older adult daily living centers:

  • Provide respite (relief) for caregivers.
  • Prevent premature nursing home placement.
  • Offer a safe environment for consumers and peace of mind for caregivers.

What are the hours of operation?

Each center has its own hours of operation usually Monday through Friday. However, there are some centers that are open on Saturday.

What is the cost?

Each center establishes its own rate.

Is there funding available?

Funding for eligible consumers may be provided by the Area Agencies on Aging or through medical assistance.  Some long-term care insurance policies may provide coverage. Although, at the present time, most medical insurance plans do not cover adult day services.

Is transportation available?

The center or the local Area Agency on Aging can help with arranging transportation.

What services do the centers offer?

Most centers provide or arrange for the following services:

  • nursing supervision and care including medication administration, health monitoring, and responding to medical emergencies;
  • assistance with personal care needs such as walking, eating, toileting, and personal hygiene;
  • optional services such as shower, shampoo and shave, possibly for an extra fee;
  • at some Centers, salon services are offered on site;
  • counseling and advice on other available community services;
  • individual counseling is provided to consumers if needed. Support is provided to families through caregiver support groups;
  • nutritional meals and snacks are provided according to special dietary needs and are approved and reviewed by a registered dietitian;
  • activities are based on individual preferences such as exercises, crafts, games, baking and gardening.

Other services that are available or arranged at some centers:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech Therapy
  • Podiatry
  • Laboratory
  • X-ray 

(Need a physician's order for these services)

Do older adult daily living centers take consumers who are incontinent?

Yes, most centers will admit incontinent consumers. All centers require consumers to bring an extra change of clothes.

What is a typical day like at an older adult daily living center?

7:00 AM – 9:00 AM: Arrival. Light breakfast, coffee and conversation, free time, watching the news, reading the newspaper.

9:00 AM – 12 Noon: Scheduled activities.

12 Noon – 1:00 PM: Lunch.

1:00 PM – 1:30 PM: Rest time, watching TV.

1:30 PM – 3:30 PM: Scheduled activities.

3:30 PM – 4:00 PM: Snack.

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Independent activities. Free time. Departure. 

Do all older adult daily living centers provide the same services?

All older adult daily living centers must provide the standard services listed above to be in compliance with state regulations. In addition, all centers must meet certain staffing and square footage requirements.  For instance, centers must maintain a staffing ratio minimum of 1 staff member to 7 clients.  A center must have at least 50 square feet of program space per client.  Certain positions must be filled: director, nurse (quarterly), activity coordinator, program assistant. Core services must be provided: nursing, personal care, nutrition, social services, therapeutic activities, emergency care.

May visitors or caregivers visit a center and observe the program?

Yes, visitors or caregivers are always welcome at most centers. Potential consumers and their family may choose to observe program activities. Some centers also offer a two-hour visitation for interested consumers at no charge. This differs from interested parties simply touring and observing because it offers an opportunity for potential consumers to stay at the centers while the families are not present.

What is the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)?

The Child and Adult Care Food Program reimburses non-residential older adult daily living centers for meals and snacks provided to the frail elderly and functionally impaired adults. The nutrition plan must meet USDA standards. Inquiries pertaining to this program should be addressed to Pennsylvania Department of Education at (717) 772-3529.

What is the PDA Waiver Program?

Section 1915(c) of the Social Security Act permits states to provide long-term care services in the community as an alternative to providing those services in hospitals or nursing facilities. The PDA waiver is a waiver program operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. It targets individuals 60 and older who meet the following criteria:

  1. Require the level of care of a nursing facility.
  2. Can be safely served in the community at a cost to the Waiver not to exceed 80% of the average (statewide) Medicaid payment for a nursing facility in Pennsylvania. The 80% is based on a twelve month average.
  3. Meet the financial eligibility requirements for participation in the Medicaid waiver program.
  4. Choose to receive services in their own homes or other community settings.  Contact your local Area Agency on Aging for more information.