Adult Day Programs

The original Elderwise Adult Day Program took root within our founder's home in 1997.  Twenty years later, Elderwise meets Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on First Hill, currently meeting at Horizon House and, starting in November, gathering at Trinity Episcopal Parish Church. We've also expanded to a second home and set a new table at Olympic View Community Church in the Maple Leaf neighborhood.  With these two locations, we are better able to serve participants from different parts of the greater Seattle area.

Both programs are guided by Elderwise's enriching, Spirit-centered Care model to provide a structured program of arts, exercise, discussion and shared community for elders, while providing respite for caregivers. Our program has a maximum of eight participants each day with a team of two program facilitators, creating an intimate social group of friends. Elderwise is not a drop-in program; participants always come on the same day. Thus someone who attends Tuesday will meet the same group of friends every Tuesday. Participants may attend from one day up to 5 days per week. The philosophy is inclusive, and new people are always welcomed into the community.

Elderwise Daily Rhythms

Our day begins at 10 a.m. with a social hour of coffee, tea and light snacks while participants arrive and settle into our cozy space; we call this "the long hello" that sets the stage for supported community.

Artistic work follows. Our primary artwork is wet-on-wet watercolor but may also includes clay, collage, mandala, and other media.

The day continues to unfold with singing, creative movement, refreshments, and a vegetarian lunch.  After lunch, we have tea, dessert and guided discussion—when everyone is given the opportunity to talk and to listen—until 2 p.m.


The positive impact of creativity, social interaction and exercise upon the quality of life of those with dementia is now generally accepted. Elderwise combines all of these elements into one unique program.

At Elderwise, we know that social interaction is vital for good mental and physical health. Yet many of our Day Program participants have difficulty socializing and meeting their life needs independently. This isolation may be due to early- to mid-stage dementia, physical frailty, personal loss, or relocating to be near family members.

Our Day Program meets the need for social interaction by providing compassionate, respectful, and Spirit-centered Care; meaningful activity; and supported community.

We offer a high staff-to-participant ratio and schedule activities designed to provide a calming yet engaging flow to the day. Participants have the opportunity to express themselves through watercolor art, song, poetry, clay sculpture, and facilitated discussion. They also take part in gentle exercise and share a nutritious lunch.

Families also benefit from the Elderwise Day Program. They gain respite and the peace of mind that comes with knowing their loved one is in a safe, therapeutic program.

Witnessing the Elderwise Day Program in action also provides family care partners—through example—means to enhance the way they interact with loved ones at home.


The day program fees are $90/day (or $45/day reduced rate for those with an income at or below $1500/month - based on available space). This includes a ratio of 2 experienced facilitators for 8 participants, a graciously served vegetarian lunch, two snacks and skilled facilitation of therapeutic artistic work (including art supplies), carefully-guided exercise and focused discussion. Please direct inquiries to

Our day program is considered an adult day care by long term care insurance providers.

Joining the Elderwise Day Program

We welcome new participants from the Puget Sound region who seek community due to cognitive or physical change, or personal loss, and who thrive in a small group. Our participants typically live at home with a spouse who serves as the primary care partner, with working family members, or within retirement communities or adult family homes.

Elderwise builds on participants’ strengths and abilities. We strive for balance in the group in terms of both cognitive and physical function. Eligibility is determined on an individual basis.

Please contact our office for more information about the Elderwise Day Program, or to schedule a visit.

Elderwise is special! It offers an atmosphere that family and caregivers cannot offer. It is a gathering of friends to share their thoughts and experiences.
— Kurt Kippenhan, son of Elderwise participant
We came to Elderwise looking for “respite care” because Dad needed some time for himself. What we didn’t know is that Elderwise opened a door for Mom to experience a richer life.
— Kurt Kippenhan, son of Elderwise participant
I am a fan of your program. I think it should be cloned all over the country.
— Evelyn Shephard, professional care partner
Elderwise has made a huge difference in Jennie’s life. It does not feel like a “program”. It is a place where people with Alzheimer’s can continue to experience life fully and be in relationship. It’s more than just a place to send old folks who can no longer arrange for their own activities out of the house. As Jennie said, “At Elderwise I still feel fully human.”
— Eleanor Durham, Family member of Elderwise participant