Evidence Summary

What is an Evidence Summary?

Key messages from scientific research that's ready to be acted on

Got It, Hide this
  • Rating:

Operational issues can influence the success of community-based daycare for older adults

Bulsara C, Etherton-Beer C, Saunders R.  Models for community based day care for older people: A narrative review  Cogent Social Sciences. December 2016; 2: 1-11.

Review question

What approaches to community-based daycare are implemented for older adults in Australia? What are the most effective programs in catering to the needs of older community-dwelling adults?


As the aging population increases, the number of older adults in Australia who are mobile and still live independent of clinical care has also increased. As a result, older adults are living in their homes in the community for longer periods of time.

Living in your own home promotes independence. However, independent living can involve costs, can constitute an additional burden on family caregivers, and can increase the risk of social isolation. Community-based daycare in Australia provides a solution to this problem by offering functional independence and community engagement.

This systematic review aims to provide a review of the benefits and drawbacks of existing community-based daycare approaches that aim to improve the quality of life of older adults in Australia.

How the review was done

A detailed search of a number of electronic databases for studies published from 1989 to 2015 was conducted. Studies that focused on community-care centres, older adults and well-being were included in the review.

A number of documents were included in the systematic review and covered the following topics: best practice/quality standards in centre-based daycare for older adults; different models of service/care; older adults’ needs and preferences with respect to community-based support; and specific programs and activities provided to older adults in the community.

The authors did not acknowledge any funding sources for this review.

What the researchers found

The two approaches of community-based daycare identified were the person-centred care approach, which involves the unique qualities and personal preferences of the individual, and the active service and wellness model, which involves functional independence, quality of life and social participation. The studies included in the review revealed that although there was a varying degree of evidence of effectiveness of these two models, operational issues such as adequate staff, accessible and responsive opening times, and adequate means of transportation to the service influenced the success of the daycare programs.

An additional approach for community-based daycare was also identified as relationship-centred, which included a focus on positive relationships surrounding the older adult. Studies showed that positive relationships can improve individual autonomy for the elderly.


The studies included in the review identified the key approaches to community-based daycare, which provide the independence and social engagement for adults as they age. In executing such approaches and models, a focus on effective communication and collaboration was recommended. Flexibility in the provision of services to older adults was highlighted as a topic requiring further investigation.


Systematic review
A comprehensive evaluation of the available research evidence on a particular topic.

Related Evidence Summaries

Related Web Resources

  • Behavioral weight loss programs are effective — but where to find them?

    Harvard Health Letter
    Behavioral weight loss programs can help people lose weight and are relatively safe. They may also help reduce the risk of diabetes. If you are not able to access a behavioural weight loss program, you can develop a tailored version with a team of health professionals and specialists or try a variety of mobile phone apps geared towards weight loss.
  • Improving housing to improve health - warmth and space are key

    Evidently Cochrane
    Poor housing is associated with poor health. Research shows cold, damp and overcrowded homes can have a negative impact on your respiratory health.
  • Patient education: How to use a peak flow meter (Beyond the Basics)

    UpToDate - patient information
    A peak flow meter measures lung function and the severity of asthma symptoms. It is an inexpensive, easy way to monitor asthma symptoms at home. Regular measurements can help guide treatment. This website gives tips on how to use it.
DISCLAIMER These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (info@mcmasteroptimalaging.org).

Register for free access to all Professional content

Want the latest in aging research? Sign up for our email alerts.

Support for the Portal is largely provided by the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative. AGE-WELL is a contributing partner. Help us to continue to provide direct and easy access to evidence-based information on health and social conditions to help you stay healthy, active and engaged as you grow older. Donate Today.

© 2012 - 2020 McMaster University | 1280 Main Street West | Hamilton, Ontario L8S4L8 | +1 905-525-9140 | Terms Of Use