A day care program for patients with dementia was developed by the Burke Rehabilitation Center in 1979. Sixty-nine patients have taken part in the program, some for as long as three years. The majority of patients stay in the program for one to two years. This pilot program was designed to provide a structured series of daily activities for the patient with dementia and to give those responsible for their care at home a period of freedom each week from the responsibilities of care. The program has been well received by the patients and appreciated by their families. It has not altered the steady progression of intellectual decline. It has made it possible for families to continue to keep patients at home and delay nursing placement or the hiring of additional help at home. It is cost effective when compared with the general alternative of nursing home placement. Similar programs could be conducted outside health care facilities at lower cost to patients and their families. Family support group discussions have eased the burden for the caregiver and have been useful in discovering new ideas for better patient management.