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What are Adult Day Services?

October 25, 2019

Earlier this year, the Mt. Washington Valley Adult Day Center opened its doors in Center Conway, NH. This led many people in the community to ask, “just what is an adult day center?” The National Adult Day Services Association ( defines it as “a professional care setting in which adults living with dementia receive individualized therapeutic, social, and health services for some part of the day.”

Adult day service centers provide a coordinated program of professional and compassionate services for adults in a community-based group setting. Services are designed to provide social and some health services to adults who need supervised care in a safe place outside the home during the day. They also afford caregivers respite from the demanding responsibilities of caregiving. Adult day centers generally operate during normal business hours five days a week. The Mt. Washington Valley Adult Day Center (MWVADC) operates 5 days a week from 7:30am - 5pm.

MWVADC Front Entrance
The front entrance to the MWVADC. Photo credit: Meggie Booth, SMRT

Although each facility may differ in terms of features, these general services are offered by most adult day centers, according to the NADSA:

  • Social activities—interaction with other participants in planned activities appropriate for their conditions. MWVADC has activity coordinators on staff and participants enjoy activities such as art therapy, listening to music, board games and interacting with staff and their fellow guests.
  • Transportation—door-to-door service. MWVADC has two electric vehicles and provide transportation for an additional fee in a limited geographic area. Guests can also work with social work coordinators on staff to find other resources for transportation if necessary.
  • Meals and snacks—participants are provided with meals and snacks, those with special dietary needs are offered special meals. MWVADC offers delicious options for a healthy lunch with hot meals prepared by Memorial Hospital’s nutrition services team.
  • Personal care—help with toileting, grooming, eating and other personal activities of daily living. MWVADC offers a special salon where guests can enjoy having their hair and nails done, or receive help with bathing in a spa-like setting.
  • Therapeutic activities—exercise and mental interaction for all participants. MWVADC’s programs are designed by experts in geriatric care, including Sue Ruka, RN, PhD, who is the Center’s administrator and an expert in helping those with dementia live their best lives despite their cognitive disabilities.
  • Caregiver support - Caring for the caregiver is a big part of the mission of the MWVADC. The Center offers support groups for caregivers and for those with dementia. They recognize that caregiver burnout is real and can cause health problems that impact quality of life. Having a resource like an adult day center in the community is a tremendous asset for the guest and their loved one who cares for them.

Adult Day Services Are an Essential Source of Support for Family Caregivers

  • Adult day services provide a reliable source of support, restore balance in times of crisis, and enhance overall quality of life for caregivers.
  • Adult day services provide respite to family caregivers.
  • Over 80% of participants attend full days and 46% attend five days per week, enabling family caregivers to remain in the workforce.
  • Most centers provide caregiver support programs, including educational programs, caregiver support groups, and individual counseling.

The National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) has identified 5,685 day programs operating in the United States in 2014. The growth trend continues from previous censuses of 4,601 in 2010 (NADSA) and 3,407 programs counted in the research by Partners in Caregiving (funded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation).

MWVADC Great Room
The great room featuring the Valley Cafe and areas for socializing, games and activities. Photo credit: Meggie Booth, SMRT

The Mount Washington Valley Adult Day Center is a 14,000 square foot facility that provides senior care services in a comfortable, home-like setting. MWVADC is now accepting applications and offering free tours. In the near future, the Center plans to accept Medicaid and VA policies for long term care, and currently accepts private pay. Rates are only $75 for a 5-hour day. They do not require a provider referral but guests are screened in advance to ensure the Center is the best resource for them.

The NADSA website includes resources for families considering adult day services, including an overview of how to select a center and a site visit checklist. You can find them at

For more information on the MWVADC, visit them online at

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