Tips for choosing day care

To pick the right day care, first find out what services are wanted / needed by the person who will be attending, and also the needs of the carer. Consider if you are looking for:

  • Social activities
  • Mental stimulation
  • Education
  • Exercise
  • Support for the carer
  • Support for complex conditions such as dementia


  • How long has the centre been in operation?
  • Is the centre registered or accredited?
  • Who owns or sponsors the centre?
  • Is there insurance in place cover all services?
  • How does the centre ensure safety?


  • Is the centre easily accessible?
  • Can the person attending get to the centre?
  • Is transportation available?
  • Is there an extra charge for transportation?


Does the facility accept people who:

  • are incontinent?
  • are in wheelchairs?
  • have difficulties communicating?
  • have behavioural problems?
  • wander?
  • have special dietary needs?


  • What activities are provided?
  • Are there individual and group activities?
  • Do people interact with each other?

First impressions

  • What are your first impressions when you arrive?
  • Is the building accessible for wheelchairs?
  • Are staff welcoming and friendly?
  • Are there any unpleasant smells?
  • Is the centre clean and well maintained?
  • Is there comfortable furniture for activities and relaxation?

Hours and cost

  • What days and hours is the centre open?
  • What is the policy regarding late arrival or late pick up?
  • What is the cost – is it hourly, daily, weekly?
  • Are all activities included in the cost?
  • Are meals included in the cost?


  • Are staff friendly?
  • Do volunteers help?
  • Are staff DBS checked?
  • What is the staff client ratio? (six clients per staff member is a good ratio) 

Special needs

  • Are individuals with dementia / Alzheimer’s included in activities?
  • How do they deal with behavioural problems?
  • Are there specific behaviours or care requirements that would require withdrawal from the centre?
  • Can the centre
    • dispense medicines?
    • remind individuals to take pills?
    • assist with toileting?
    • handle incontinence?

Food and drink

  • Are sample menus available?
  • Do they cater for special diets?
  • Are drinks available throughout the day? 


  • What are the centre’s expectations of the carer(s)?
  • Is there a place to isolate individuals who may become ill?
You might also want to consider some more general tips for choosing a provider.