Adult Day Services, Health Equity for Older Adults With Complex Needs, and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Tina R. Sadarangani, Joseph E. Gaugler, Holly Dabelko-Schoeny, Katherine A. Marx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 have unduly affected older adults from racial and ethnic minority groups. In this article, we highlight the experiences and vulnerabilities of diverse older adults with complex health and social needs when their access to vital, but overlooked, community-based adult day service centers (ADSCs) was abruptly cut off during a pandemic. Pandemic-related ADSC closures left vulnerable older adults and their care partners without essential daily support and services, such as health monitoring and socialization. However, the magnitude of the impact of ADSC closures on well-being, particularly among members of racial/ethnic minority groups, has yet to be measured with any form of "big data" because large-scale, nationally representative data sets consisting of participant-level information and outcomes associated with ADSC participation do not yet exist. Unmet needs of older adults resulting from pandemic-related ADSC closures are underrecognized because of a lack of systematic data collection, undermining efforts to achieve health equity. We call on ADSCs to link rigorous collection of racial and ethnic data to quality measures of access to equitable "age-friendly" care as a means of better supporting diverse community-dwelling older adults beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1421-1428
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Adult Day Services, Health Equity for Older Adults With Complex Needs, and the COVID-19 Pandemic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this