Alzheimer’s Care in Assisted Living

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 31 May 2011

When a senior living community lists Alzheimer’s care on their services roster, it is most often provided in an assisted living setting.

Until an afflicted individual reaches the later stages of the disease, those living with Alzheimer’s are typically ambulatory (able to walk freely and independently) and can manage daily tasks with limited intervention from others, so an Alzheimer’s diagnosis doesn’t signal the need for an immediate transition to a secured unit. In fact, many assisted living residents with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia stay in their suite/apartment as long as they are able and receive assistance when needed (i.e. medication reminders; meal reminders; help with bathing, dressing or grooming, etc.).

As the risk of wandering increases, or as the dementia progresses to a point where the individual needs more assistance with ADLs/IADLs (activities of daily living/instrumental activities of daily living), a move to the facility’s memory care wing is likely to be encouraged.

Most assisted living communities offer specialized Alzheimer’s care (in what is sometimes called a memory neighborhood or special care unit), but if they do not, a transition to a more fitting care setting may be recommended. In some cases, assisted living communities will allow supplemental services to be brought in (i.e. a private duty nurse aide/companion) so that a move is not required.

- Michelle Seitzer


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