Our nation is aging and unprepared to meet the needs of community-dwelling seniors and their caregivers. This study explored the perceived need for and use of adult day care services (ADS) in a low-income population. A random sample of 537 patient-caregiver dyads were recruited in home care agencies, and separate in-home surveys were conducted. Patients and caregivers were primarily women and 50.2% were of Hispanic origin. Although half (n = 267/537, 49.7%) of the caregivers had a perceived need for using ADS, only 19.1% of these caregivers used these services, mostly in the context of severe patient cognitive impairment. There were no racial or ethnic differences among ADS users and nonusers. The overall low use of ADS in a growing ethnically diverse senior population with a perceived need for services warrants further investigation and action as states seek to decrease nursing home placement and find solutions for our looming caregiving crisis.
Keywords: adult day care; caregiver; home- and community-based services.