How to Choose Between Home Care or an Adult Day Program in Alberta

Should we get home care or attend adult day programs?

Choosing between home care or adult day programs is a choice that most seniors in Alberta need to make. Deciding which option is best for you can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you decide.

A Growing Senior Population

The Senior population in Alberta is the fastest growing age group. As of April 2018, over 575,000 Albertans were over the age of 65. That number is expected to double within the next two decades.

More and more seniors are choosing to stay in their homes longer – which is a beautiful thing – but this can lead to loneliness and isolation. There are a few options to consider when thinking about senior care, either option, home care or day programs, offer advantages, and equal disadvantages. Let’s first talk about each option, and then compare them based on a few key factors.

What is Home Care?

The term home care covers a range of services available for senior care, from companionship to round the clock medical care. Many professional companies – including Ohana Care – offer companion care. The cost is $30 per hour on average depending on the type of care, and most companies require a minimum of three consecutive hours per visit.

What is an Adult Day Program?

Adult Day Programs provides a daily, rotating activities program that targets seniors physical, emotional, intellectual and social well-being. Unlike companion care, day programs allow seniors to be in an environment with their peers and build a community. For family caregivers, it offers the opportunity to get a well-deserved break.

Let’s compare home care and day programs for adults:


Home Care – This is available 24-hours a day either from a private caregiver or companies specializing in this area.
Adult Day Programs – Generally only available Monday through Friday during the day. This can be inconvenient and not meet your current lifestyle. As demand increases, longer hours and weekends may be offered.

Social Interaction:

Home Care – Since this is generally one caregiver, you can end up feeling isolated since this doesn’t address the social interaction that is often missing. Though many seniors develop a rich and rewarding friendships with their caregivers.
Adult Day Programs – These programs are tailored to meet all the senior’s needs from social interaction to physical and emotional activities. Most importantly it offers a way to build friendships, be a part of the community and have a break from being at home. While companions offer undivided attention to the clients, they have limited access to supplies to engage clients and fulfill their well-being needs unless the clients provides these. Companions however can assist with activities of daily living such as laundry, cooking, cleaning.

Cost of Care

Home Care – Because of the number of services and depending on the level of care needed, costs vary significantly. The average cost for companion care is around $35 per hour in Alberta. Click here to learn more about what companion care is.
Adult Day Programs – Private day programs generally range from $80 – $100 for a full day program and includes light snacks and all required equipment to participate. Additional activities can add cost but are optional.

In Summary: Both home care or day programs may work

Every situation is different, and families should work together to figure out the best option, or options in many cases. Both services are complementary and for many a combination of the two works best.

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