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Adult Day Care Abuse

Adult day care centers are licensed organizations that supervise and take care of disabled and elderly adults during the working day. Their primary purpose is to supervise adults while their caregivers are working, which makes them similar to child day care.

In general there are three types of adult day care facilities that have different specialties: social interaction day care centers, medical care day care centers, and Alzheimer’s care day care centers. Almost all of these centers organize activities to keep the adults stimulated and busy during the day. Some of these activities include:

  • Puzzles and other forms of mental stimulation
  • Arts and crafts
  • Very light exercise and stretching
  • Social activities

Unlike a nursing home, most of the staff of adult day care are not registered nurses or medical professionals. Typically the staff of an adult day care center staff consists of:

  • Program staff who organize activities
  • Assistants who provide personal care
  • Social workers
  • Registered nurses
  • Directors or supervisors
  • Bus drivers

There are over 4,000 adult day care centers in the country with more opening up everyday. Many families are choosing adult day care facilities for two reasons.

  1. Their disabled or elderly members need supervision and structure throughout the day.
  2. The caregivers need time for work, errands, or to rest from providing care.

With adult day care facilities, families are able to provide appropriate attention to their elderly or disabled loved one, but are still able to keep the family together in the same home. These programs can also provide elderly or disabled individuals with social interactions and learning activities that they might lack when they spend the whole day in the house alone.

In some situations, families choose to use adult day care centers because they are less expensive than 24-hour care in a nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

Despite all these benefits from adult day care centers,  complaints of abuse within these day care centers is common. In fact, the number of complaints of abuse is on the rise. This may be partly due the increase in day care centers, but it is also a serious problem that must be addressed by day care staff and the families of the elderly who attend.

Who Commits Abuse at Adult Day Cares?

Anyone who works at an adult day care can commit elder abuse to one of the seniors who goes there. In the past, adult day cares have been sued because of abuse committed by general staff members and even by the bus drivers. Some abuse that occurs in adult day cares is unintentional. This is because most of the staff are not medical professionals and therefor they  lack the training necessary to provide adequate care to the elderly. This often results in dangerous situations when negligent behavior causes injury and health problems.

What Types of Elder Abuse Can Occur at Adult Day Care Centers?

Elderly people who attend adult day care are at risk of all forms of elderly abuse including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse. When adult day care centers are understaffed, the staff members may be overly stressed and exhausted. In these circumstances, staff members are more likely to commit elder abuse. Because day care centers have very limited medical staff, there is an even greater likelihood that medical staff will feel stressed, exhausted, or frustrated.

Some actions that may qualify as elder abuse include:

  • Slapping, pushing, or punching
  • Pinching and scratching
  • Humiliation, insulting, and name calling
  • Yelling and intimidation
  • Unwanted sexual contact
  • Neglect
  • Forced isolation from the group

If you believe that an elderly loved one has been abused at an adult day care center, you should immediately remove them from that environment. You should contact the authorities as well as Adult Protective Services, so that the day care center can be investigated and future abuse can be prevented.


“Adult Care Facilities.” Department of Healt: Information for a Healthy New york. Department of Health, n.d. Web. 8 Sep 2013. <http://www.health.ny.gov/facilities/adult_care/>.

“Adult Day Care.” AgingCare.com. AgingCare, LLC, n.d. Web. 8 Sep 2013. <http://www.agingcare.com/local/Adult-Day-Care>.

“Adult Day Care.” Eldercare Locator. Administration on Aging, 13 Apr 2012. Web. 8 Sep 2013. <http://www.eldercare.gov/ELDERCARE.NET/Public/Resources/Factsheets/Adult_Day_Care.aspx


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