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Day care centres

We explain how to arrange day care, the perfect way to give you a few hours’ break from caring on a regular basis.
2 min read
In this article
What are day care centres? Checklist: things to consider when arranging day care Downloadable checklist for arranging day care

What are day care centres?


Day care centres offer a chance for older people who find it difficult to get out and about to socialise, make friends and take part in activities. For example, day care centres might offer tea dances, singing, games, arts and crafts, plus visits from local guest speakers or musicians, all good for mental stimulation. 


The person you care for can attend the centre regularly – usually one or two days a week – giving you valuable time off from your caring duties.


Day care centres are usually run by councils or local charities, such as Age UK, and provide varying levels of care. Some might provide personal care and health checks or cater for people with specific illnesses or disabilities.


Centres might provide specialist care, such as facilities for wheelchair users, people with poor sight or support for people with dementia. Use our care services directory to find local support groups for people living with dementia.

Use our directory to find support groups for carers and people living with dementia.

Transport to and from the day centre is usually provided. Most also provide meals and refreshments. There’s likely to be a small charge to cover costs.

Phoebe went to a day centre two or three times a week and I took those opportunities to do things locally, such as studying and being very active in my neighbourhood.

Checklist: things to consider when arranging day care


If you’re arranging day care at a centre, there are some things you should bear in mind before making a decision on the provider. You can download the list below at the bottom of the page.

  • Location: where is the day care centre and how long will it take to get there from home?
  • Transport: what are the transport arrangements to and from the centre? How long will the journey take (bear in mind that if a minibus collects several attendees, the journey will be much slower than driving there direct)?
  • Ownership: who is it run by? A local authority or charity?
  • Costs: what charges have to be paid? There might be a fee for attendance, plus additional costs for meals and transport. If the care of your loved one is being supported by the local authority, check that the day care fees are included.
  • Meeting special needs: can the centre cater for any specialist needs that the person needing care has? For example, do they cater for disabled people or those with dementia?
  • Food: are meals provided? Can any special dietary needs be met?
  • Activities: what sorts of activities are offered at the centre? Would the person you care for enjoy them?
  • Visiting: can you and the person you care for visit the day centre before making any decisions? This will give you a chance to look around and chat to staff and residents.

Downloadable checklist for arranging day care

Arranging day care
(pdf 30 Kb)


Further reading

Financing respite care

There are several options open to you when it comes to financing respite care, such as funding from the local ...

Respite care in a care home

If you need a complete break from caring for a short time, the person you care for may be able to stay in a care home ...

Respite holidays

There are lots of options available for respite holidays – from specialist centres that provide holidays for people ...

Last updated: 29 Apr 2020