Getting Started with Day Services

Day Services are community-based services that serve both the medical and social needs of individuals who are living at home, but need daytime assistance for their health and safety.

Day Services are neighborhood daytime centers for individuals experiencing physical disabilities, cognitive difficulties, chronic health conditions, or life-long physical impairments. Centers emphasize services that enhance daily life for both the participant and the caregiver. They stress a strong partnership and care coordination between the participant, the caregiver, and a primary care physician supporting the “whole person” for health and wellness.

Day Services:
Day-time Care, Home at Night.

Each Day Services center offers a unique set of services to meet the needs of adults in a friendly community setting.

All provide routine personal care, social activities, physical activity, health assessments, and nutritious meals. Most centers offer transportation to and from the center.  Most Day Services centers focus on assistance and care for those with specific conditions, like Alzheimer’s, dementia or behavioral conditions.

Many programs offer support systems and education for family members helping them to be healthy, relaxed caregivers.

Day Services are a cost-effective way to manage health realities within the community and minimize health risks to both participant and caregiver. Programs often completely prevent or delay emotionally traumatic, and more expensive, long-term residential care.

Social Plus Health Services

Some Day Services centers are aimed primarily at providing social opportunities, recreation, meals, and friends; combined with some health services, like blood pressure and medication monitoring. These are called social Day Services centers (or social models).

Those centers called Adult Day Health Care Centers have additional staff and are prepared to handle a range of complex medical conditions and also offer nursing care; physical, occupational or speech therapy, counseling, eating assistance and more. These centers may be referred to as medical models.

Is a Physician Referral Needed?

A physician referral is not needed to try out or to enroll in social model Day Services. Most centers will request a health assessment to gain an understanding of the needs of the participant and to ensure the center has the appropriate services and staff to meet those needs.

Those individuals who need the medical attention of a health care Day Services center generally will need a physician referral in order to ensure a good match in medical services for the individual, as well as to be eligible for insurance or MediCal / Medicaid payment.

Understanding The Services

Social Activity

Little opportunity to socialize with others has a severe impact on people coping with chronic illness or disability, yet it is a vital component of overall health. Socializing promotes feeling of self-worth, dignity, and personal autonomy. Day Services provides daytime safety with social connection. Individuals foster friendships, share personal interests and stay mentally stimulated.


Healthy meals and snacks ensure the good nutrition that is necessary to sustain health and wellness. Healthy meals are a key component of Day Services. Member centers pay special attention to generational and cultural food preferences and within dietary restrictions to make meals healthy, enjoyable and appetizing.


Exercise helps to maintain and improve mobility and is vital to health and feeling well. Day Services provides both appropriate exercise and stretching, and the motivation to exercise. Exercise is customized for each individual based on their condition, age, and their physician recommendations.

Medication Management

Medications are sometimes a complex daily routine. If it is safe for participants to administer their own medications at home, we encourage them to continue with this self-care. If participants need assistance while at a Day Services center, staff either monitors the medication or staff administers medication as coordinated with the primary care physician to ensure medication is received on time, and in the correct dosage.

Professional Nursing

Health Care Day Services have professional nurses as part of the care team for those with complex medical conditions. Nurses coordinate with the family and the primary care physician to adapt daytime care to the needs of each individual.


Physical, Occupational, and Speech therapies are available at health care Day Service centers. Physical therapy helps maintain or restore muscular or bone health and function. Occupational therapy assists individuals by helping them adapt their abilities and routines to their environment or physical limitations. Speech therapy assist with improving or maintaining communication or in addressing swallowing challenges.

Care Coordination

Day Services certified social workers and skilled nurses collaborate with caregivers, physicians and payers as a team to ensure that all the elements of care for the individual are in place and are monitored and tailored, as health needs change. Care Coordination includes health assessments, medication management, identification of any barriers to individual care or health, appropriate use of available health services, transitions among care providers, and health updates to primary and specialty physicians.

Caregiver Support

Day Services is a partner with caregivers. While promoting the health and personal autonomy of participants, member centers help sustain caregivers by providing daytime care, so caregivers can work and pursue personal time and interests. Centers also offer education, caregiving strategies, support groups, and counseling.


Health Care Day Services Centers offer individualized counseling for participants and caregivers coping with depression, dementia, or behavior management. Both group and one-to-one counseling are provided, normally by social workers. Those with significant behavioral health issues have access to a licensed clinical psychologist or physiatrist.