Total Life Centers

Resources for Seniors' adult day centers, called Total Life Centers or TLCs, have been serving Wake County residents since 1978. Total Life Centers provide an essential alternative for families who want to keep their older relative in the community as long as possible, but may not be able to provide 24-hour care.

Many family members are torn between the need to continue working, and the desire to care for their loved one at home. Even when a full-time family caregiver is available, that person often desperately needs a few hours each day for rest and to take care of essential needs, without concern about the safety and well-being of their loved one.

Families often look first to home health care services, but quickly discover that Medicare and private insurance provide little in the way of in-home care benefits, and very few subsidized services are available. Yet the hard fact is that most of us are not in a position to afford the high cost of one-on-one care in the home.

Adult day programs such as the Total Life Centers have come into existence to help fill this gap. Care is warm, individualized, and non-institutional, yet costs are significantly less than for comparable hours of one-on-one care.

For more information, application forms, and other details about our programs, visit the Total Life Center website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Raleigh TLC
5124 Departure Dr, Suite 101
Raleigh, NC 27607
Also home of Saturday Daybreak program
Garner TLC
Garner United Methodist Church
201 Methodist Dr
Garner NC 27529
Map & Directions

Cary TLC-Bond Park
next to Cary Senior Center, Bond Park
110 Maury O'Dell Pl
Cary, NC 27513
Map & Directions

East Wake TLC
(Adjoins East Wake Senior Center)
323 Lake Drive
Wendell, NC 27591
Map & Directions

Business hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 - 5:00

Morning extended hours: 7:00 - 7:50 AM

Afternoon extended hours: 5:10 - 6:00 PM

Saturday Daybreak: 9:00 - 5:00 (Departure Drive location)

Sample Daily Agenda:

  • Socialization
  • Breakfast
  • Current Events (and Reality Orientation)
  • Exercise (Chair Aerobics)
  • Special Activity / Total Life Skills
  • Lunch
  • Rest and Relaxation / Small Group Interaction
  • Exercise (Physical Games)
  • Special Activity
  • Snack
  • Socialization / Total Life Skills
  • Small group and individual activities

Yes, the State of North Carolina certifies centers under three categories: Social Model, Health Model and Combination Social/Health Model. The Garner location is a social model center. The other three, East Wake, Cary-Bond Park, and Raleigh, are combination centers.

The primary difference between social model and health/social combination centers is the presence of a nurse on staff at the combination center. The nurse may administer medications, provide wound care and tracheotomy care, perform tube feedings, implement incontinence training and maintenance, and administer oxygen. The nurse will also be a referral source for you and may act as a liaison between your your loved one and their doctor.

When visiting one of the Total Life Centers, you may notice a difference in the functioning level of the participants compared to those at other adult day health centers. At the TLC combination model centers, at least 25% of the participants are high-functioning. With this mixture of different people and functioning levels, you may choose the center that is best for your loved one and most convenient for you without the worry that your loved one may not fit in.

The TLC social model centers cater to higher functioning individuals, and use music as a major core activity. Each center has developed its own musical activities such as bell choirs and choral groups. TLCs also provide monthly field trips to various locations in Wake County for community involvement and socialization.

All TLCs offer a full day of socialization, safety, and structured activities designed for the individual needs of the participants at the center. Most importantly, all TLCs have trained, caring staff who can offer you and your loved one the support you both need to stay an active part of each other's lives.

Ask yourself the following questions -- and be honest!

  • Do you want your loved one to be with other people and make new friends?
  • Do you find yourself becoming irritable with your loved one and then feeling guilty about it?
  • Are you looking for affordable and reliable care for your loved one?
  • Is caregiving putting a strain on your relationship with other family members?
  • Is your loved one often irritable or unpleasant with you but pleasant with others?
  • Do you feel like you just don't have time for yourself anymore?
  • Are you concerned that you may not be able to keep working while caring for your loved one?
  • Are you afraid to leave your loved one alone?
  • Do you sometimes feel that you are just too exhausted to keep going?
  • Do you want your loved one to remain in your life by staying at home?

If you answered yes to at least two of these questions, you may be in need of the help that a Total Life Center can provide.

Many, perhaps even most, participants are reluctant at first -- it's easier and more comfortable to stay home with you than to enter a new situation with new people. Yet most people come to enjoy their time at the TLC once they have gotten used to it. Here are some of the creative ways that family members have found to help their loved ones begin to adjust to the idea of an adult day program. Some of these may work for your family member too.

  • Stress the opportunity to spend time with other people
  • Emphasize the opportunity to enjoy favorite activities such as music, arts and crafts, sewing, card games, puzzles, etc.
  • Present the center as a chance to volunteer, providing help for others who may need their assistance.
  • Encourage your family member to be a role model for others in the program.
  • Stress the safety and security of being with others instead of being alone all day.
  • Present the day center as a chance to get a break from you, the caregiver!
  • Invite a staff member from the center to visit in the home to build trust.
  • Take your family member to the center for a brief visit during a program he or she might enjoy.

TLC staff are eager to talk with you further about how the TLCs can meet your loved one's care needs. If you know which center you are interested in, please feel free to call the number listed above to speak with a staff member or arrange a tour. If you have general questions, call any center or our Information Department at 713-1556.