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What is a “Social Model” Adult Day Program?

Dec 03,2019

What is a “Social Model” Adult Day Program?

There are three types of adult day care programs, or centers, that offer services in a professional care setting to adults in need of support during the day including the social model, medical model and specialized model. Here are details about each of those:

  • The social model – Provides meals, social activities, recreation and some health-related services.
  • The medical/health model – Provides more intensive health and therapy services.
  • The specialized model – Provides services only to participants with a specific diagnosis.

Let’s explore the difference in services and benefits for participants and their caregivers.

Social Model

Here are the key services that a social model program offers:

  • Supervision, stimulation and a safe and supportive environment.
  • Structured social, recreational and therapeutic group activities.
  • Reminders and documentation for medication and health related requirements.
  • Assistance with activities of daily living needs.
  • Meals and hydration assistance.

Adults who would benefit from attending a social model program are those that:

  • Are isolated, lonely and desire companionship.
  • Live with someone who works outside of the home.
  • Cannot be safely left alone during the day.
  • Need a break from their primary caregiver.
  • Are functionally or cognitively impaired.
  • Have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or another dementia.
  • Need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs)

While adults in the day care program experience benefits, social models also positively impact caregivers and family members who require some much-needed time off from the demands of caring for another.  Participation in a program allows caregivers to continue their professional and personal life obligations and activities.

Medical/Health Model

In addition to all the services that a social model offers, a medical model provides more intensive services such as:

  • On-site nursing care and medication management.
  • Full personal care (showers, continence care and transfers)
  • Health services such as speech and occupational therapies.

Medical models, also known as Adult Day Health (ADH) program, are appropriate for those with more advanced cognitive and physical impairments.

Specialized Model

Specialized models focus on a specific diagnosis and tailor the services to meet the needs of those participants.  General, they are delivering services to individuals that are more advanced in their diagnosis and would not benefit any longer from a social model adult day program.

The National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) has a wealth of information about services.  You can access them at this link:

Elder-Well is the first concept to offer a franchised model specifically designed for the Social Model of adult day care. Email me at to learn more about our concept, what makes us different and why this might be the ideal time to consider this as an option for your loved one – or as something you could turn into a rewarding business opportunity serving others.

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