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Adult Daycare vs. Adult Day Healthcare: Which Does Your Loved One Need?

  • Category: Articles by Clinicians
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Mary Lyn Barber, MSW, Program Director, Casa Colina Adult Day Healthcare Center

If you are a family member or caregiver looking for adult daycare services, you understand the importance of choosing a reputable, licensed facility. What might not be as clear is which level of care your loved one requires. In California, there are two types of adult daycare programs.

Adult daycare services provide safe, structured, daily programming for aging adults and individuals with physical and cognitive impairments who require supervision. These programs are licensed by the Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing Division and typically focus on social interaction through engaging activities. However, they are not equipped to serve individuals with medical needs. Additionally, no insurances cover the cost of these programs.

If your loved one has medical issues, adult day healthcare services may be more appropriate. Also known as community-based adult services (CBAS), these are daytime healthcare programs for frail elders and adults with disabling conditions who are at risk for premature out-of-home placement. CBAS programs are equipped to serve individuals with medical conditions such as Alzheimer's, stroke, brain injury, and Parkinson's disease. All CBAS programs are prescribed by the individual’s primary healthcare provider and licensed by the Department of Public Health.

Typically in CBAS programs, multidisciplinary teams of medical and rehabilitation professionals develop a customized plan of care after assessing the recipient’s medical and social needs. Because CBAS programs are designed to address medical issues of participants, such programs are offered as an optional Medi-Cal Managed Care benefit.

In addition to offering the structure of adult daycare, CBAS programs provide skilled nursing, social services, and the necessary physical, occupational, and speech therapies to keep your loved one as functional as possible. All participants receive a daily lunch as prescribed by their healthcare providers.

In addition to medical care, therapy, and nutrition, CBAS programs provide the research-supported benefits of social interaction. Because individuals with certain medical needs may not be eligible for adult daycare services, CBAS programs offer an alternative for social engagement.

Finally—and just as importantly—the caregiver also benefits. It can be physically and emotionally draining to care for a loved one with a disability. CBAS programs offer much-needed respite for caregivers to work, run errands, or simply rest and recharge.

The Casa Colina Adult Day Healthcare Center offers well-regarded community-based adult services licensed by the Department of Public Health and certified by the Department of Aging. For more information, call 909/596-7733, ext. 4400.