Just about everyone knows about nursing homes. All long-term care (LTC) planning advisors know something about assisted living care, home health care, homemaker services and family care.

Some LTC planners may have gaps in their knowledge about another major source of care: adult day care centers, or adult day service centers.

See also: 10 states that may be wasting nursing home beds

Few Americans send their children to boarding schools, and few hire full-time private tutors to manage their children’s education. Parents typically expect to go to work during the day and tend their children in the evening and at night.

But, for older adults, Americans have tended to think in terms of nursing homes and home care with little in between.

State agencies and private LTC coordinators have been trying to spread the word about the adult day care services option.

See also: New York state to promote LTC planning

Organizers of the quickly approaching White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) have not yet made adult day services providers and users a major focus of the event, but the providers have organized a campaign to put themselves on the WHCOA radar.

See also: 5 jolts from the White House aging conference prelims

For a look at some things LTC advisors should know about adult day services, read on.

Disco party

1. The National Adult Day Services Association (NADSA) has been around since 1978.

Through surveys, NADSA has located about 5,000 formal adult services centers in the United States. Those centers are serving about 260,000 adults and adults’ family caregivers. The people getting help from the centers could fill a small city.

See also: How to help senior clients spend wisely in retirement 

Image: TS Photo/Scott Griessel

Open Call hiring sign

2. NADSA has no fear of competition.

NADSA has a guide to “opening an adult day center” right on its home page.

“Given the demographics, we can expect the demand to increase beyond the estimate 5,000+ centers already operating in the United States,” NADSA says.

See also: Community First: People with Care Needs Eye Half of the Table

Computer

3. Day services providers have computers, and know how to use them.

The WHCOA staffers who wrote the conference brief on long-term services and supports (LTSS), or long-term care, mention adult day support centers once.

“Adult day support centers allow for the older adult to live at home but receive some assistance,” the briefs wrote.

The day services providers themselves mobilized to add many comments emphasizing the importance of their centers in helping informal caregivers to provide some care without burning out, or giving up their ability to live their own lives.

The WHCOA website streams comments in a column on the right side of the policy briefs section, and that means the day services providers’ comments are helping to make day services a major focus of website visitors with an interest in policy briefs.

See also: What if an older client has no LTCI? 

A $50 bill

4. Using adult day care service is much cheaper than paying for nursing home care, and often much cheaper than paying for comparable home care.

CareScout recently told Genworth Financial Inc. (NYSE:GNW) that the median annual cost for a private nursing home room in the United States is about $91,000.

The median cost for 50 weeks of adult day health care services is just $17,000. In some states, the median cost is just $10,000.

In other words: Even a stand-alone long-term care insurance (LTC) policy that provides just $100,000 in benefits could pay for 10 years of adult day services.

See also: 5 cheapest states for adult day health care

White House

5. The federal government is already supposed to be supporting adult day services providers.

Section 2601 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) encourages states to spend more Medicaid nursing home money on various types of home care and “community-based care.”

One of the most common types of “community-based care” is adult day services.

See also: Home care planning: 4 things LTC planners should know about the new regs 

Image: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais;