How to Open an Adult Day Care

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An adult daycare worker dancing with a client.
An adult daycare worker dancing with a client. (Image: Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Adult day care centers offer a range of services for seniors and the disabled. Providing social stimulation for the participants and a respite for regular caregivers, such centers typically offer a planned program of activities to promote health and well-being. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for nursing aides in long-term healthcare facilities is expected to surge in the coming decade. This suggests clients will increasingly need the services day care centers provide.

Grants and Funding

Government and nonprofit agencies offer grants to assist in the creation of an adult daycare center. For example, the Social Services Block Grant awards funds to states for the provision of social services. Each state is responsible for allocating the funds as it sees fit, so contact your department of social services for advice. The Administration on Aging offers a number of grants to adult daycare centers and multi-purpose centers that coordinate services for senior citizens. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation offers grant funds to tax-exempt charities to fund the improvement of health-care services. Contact the organization to determine eligibility.

Location and Amenities

As with any business, the location of your care center is crucial, particularly if you serve seniors or those with mobility restrictions. Give major consideration to accessibility and the safety of the surrounding area -- traffic, crime rates and so on. Many states impose physical standards for the design and amenities of adult care facilities so make sure you'll be in compliance. Oregon, for instance, mandates a minimum of one toilet per 10 participants, 60 square feet of common floor space per participant and sufficient private space to allow for confidential consultations.

Licenses and Regulation

Some states require providers to obtain a license for an adult daycare. You can find specific information by contacting your state's health department. Additionally, visit the National Adult Day Services Association website. This organization has compiled a review of regulation and funding per state. Medicaid, a national program that is jointly funded by federal and state government, provides money for community-based health and social services through Medicaid waivers. Besides becoming a Medicaid-certified provider, you'll need to know if there's a waiver that covers the population you want to serve. As states administer Medicaid through their own programs, contact your state health department for details.

Training and Standards

Some states have operating standards and guidelines even if they don't require licenses. They typically cover services, transportation, staffing ratios, emergency plans and record-keeping, as well as the physical design of the building. Consider purchasing the Standards and Guidelines for Adult Day Services, published by the National Adult Day Services Association, for guidance if your state doesn't impose such standards. It's available online.

Marketing and Promotion

While word of mouth is a powerful advertising tool for an adult daycare, your reputation cannot spread until you have established a client base. Create flyers to advertise your facility and give them to local physicians, health and social services providers, and even bank trust offices and estate planning attorneys. Place advertisements in publications read by your target market. Accreditation offers another way to promote your facility. The Commission on Accreditation and Rehabilitation Facilities has a specific program for adult day services programs. Paid membership is available through its website.

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