Adult day groups: addressing older people's needs for activity and companionship Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective: Adult day groups (ADGs) are used by older adults living at home in the community in Australia. Their aim is to prevent social isolation and to maintain independence through supporting social networks and providing a program of activities that enhance the physical, intellectual and social well-being of the participants and carers. The purpose of this study was to examine the experience of and reasons why older people attend ADGs. Methods: An ethnographic study of four ADGs in Victoria, Australia was conducted over a 4-month period. The study included observation of the four ADGs and interviews with eight clients, comprising five women and three men. Findings: Four major themes were derived from data analysis. The first was related to the importance of companionship with staff and clients of the ADGs. The second revealed how participants valued keeping occupied in activities not achievable at home, while the third identified how home was experienced as a place where time passed slowly and there were insufficient things to do. Lastly, participants identified dissatisfactions with ADGs. Conclusion: Community based programs that foster companionship and meaningful and purposeful occupations in older age are desirable. Improvements to ADGs to better meet the occupational and activity needs of older people living at home are suggested.

publication date

  • September 2005