Day care for adults is the provision of an organized program of services during the day in a community group setting for the purpose of supporting adults’ personal independence and promoting social, physical and emotional well-being.

Services must include:

  • A variety of program activities designed to meet the individual needs and interests of the participants.
  • A nutritious meal and snacks as appropriate to the program, and referral to and assistance in using appropriate community resources.
  • Medical examinations are required for individual participants for admission to a program and periodically thereafter.

Services must be provided in a home or center certified to meet state standards for such programs.

Adult day health services also provide a structured program of activities and services during the day for aging and disabled adults but are distinguished from adult day care. Participants enrolled in adult day health require daily nursing supervision. Adult day health can enable such persons to achieve and maintain their optimum level of independence and can support family members and other caregivers who are providing full-time care to frail adults living at home.

It is possible for adult day care and adult day health to be provided within one program. This arrangement is referred to as a combination adult day care/day health program. In a combination program, persons are enrolled for the level of service needed, either adult day care or day health. Activities and services are provided in the same setting with the same staff. 


Adults who need adult day care and adult day health services are aging and disabled individuals with impairments that prohibit them from living independently without supportive services and that put them at risk of becoming institutionalized. Some of these adults have faced rather drastic crises in their lives which have led or will lead to substantial deterioration of their physical, emotional, mental social and economic well-being. For others, the changes have been slower and less visible. Adult day care and adult day health are services that can respond to these needs.


Adult day care and day health programs are certified and regulated by the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services in accordance with General Statute 131D-6, Certification of Adult Day Care Programs. Routine monitoring of adult day care/day health programs is conducted at the county level by staff (adult day care coordinators) of the local county department of social services (Wake County Human Services). Adult day care coordinators determine if day care/day health programs are in compliance with state certification rules and make recommendations to the Division of Aging and Adult Services based on their findings. The Division may pursue negative actions if necessary, up to and including decertification.


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