Finding and Choosing an Adult Day Care Center

What is Adult Day Care?

Adult Day Care is a day program that provides the elderly and other adults with services when their caregivers are at work or need relief.  Adult Day Care is a type of Assisted Living.

What Services Are Provided by Adult Day Care?

An Adult Day Care center provides services for part of a day in a group setting to adults who need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), supervision and/or protection.

Services may include personal care and supervision, provision of meals, medical care, medication administration, transportation, and activities designed to meet physical, social, and leisure time needs.

Adult Day Care may be provided in family homes, free standing centers, and multi-use facilities such as churches, schools and senior centers.

Adult Day Care centers generally operate programs during normal business hours five days a week. Some programs offer services in the evenings and on weekends.

Certification Information

In Wisconsin, Adult Day Care centers are not licensed, but may be certified.

  • If the center serves one or more participants who receive Medicaid Waiver funding from a county, certification by the Department is required.
  • If a center is certified, the Department conducts surveys to determine compliance with certification standards.

Learn more about the Department's role in regulating Adult Day Care.

Looking for an Adult Day Care Center?

Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC): ADRCs provide information on broad range of programs and services, help people understand the various long term care options available to them, help people apply for programs and benefits, and serve as the access point for publicly-funded long term care. These services can be provided at the ADRC, via telephone, or through a home visit, whichever is more convenient to the individual seeking help.

County-By-County Directories of Wisconsin Residential Care Providers: Locate a health or residential care provider in a specific county.

DHS Provider Search:  Locate a health or residential care provider and obtain compliance history information.

Statewide Adult Day Care Directories

Learn about terminology included in the facility directories below using the Assisted Living Directories and Glossary.

Compliance Information

Choosing Wisconsin Residential Care Options: Learn more about the compliance history of individual facilities for the four assisted living provider types regulated by the Department. Additional details are located on the Assisted Living Facility Profile Basic Information page.

DHS Provider Search: Locate a health or residential care provider and obtain compliance history information.

Assisted Living Facility Survey Guide 

Complaints Regarding Wisconsin Health and Residential Care Providers

The Department of Health Services Division of Quality Assurance is responsible for assuring the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Wisconsin.  If any individual believes that a caregiver, agency, or Department regulated facility has violated State or Federal laws pertaining to regulated entities, that individual has the right to file a complaint.

Client Rights

Wisconsin Client Rights: Anyone who is receiving services for mental illness, a developmental disability, or substance abuse in the state of Wisconsin has specific rights under Wisconsin Statute 51 (State Alcohol, Drug Abuse, Developmental Disability and Mental Health Act) subsections 51.61 and 51.30 (PDF).

Advance Directives: An advance directive describes, in writing, your choices about the treatments you want or do not want or about how health care decisions should be made for you if you become incapacitated and cannot express your wishes.

Resources for Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

The Department of Health Services does not refer residents for placement in assisted living facilities.  The links below to state and national resources may be useful in selecting an assisted living facility.

More help

Wisconsin Coalition for Collaborative Excellence in Assisted Living (WCCEAL)) is a coalition that is dedicated to improving the outcomes of individuals living in Wisconsin's Assisted Living Facilities.

Caregiver Center, from the Alzheimer's Association, provides online resources and a telephone helpline that can help you determine your care needs and care options.

Thinking of Moving to an Assisted Living Residence?  (PDF) This guide from the Coalition of Institutionalized Aged and Disabled and the Nursing Home Community Coalition of New York State provides those thinking of moving to an assisted living residence with questions to ask and things to consider.

Last Revised: October 14, 2020