Q&A: Can a Person with Alzheimer’s Reside in Assisted Living?

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 03 August 2011

Alzheimer’s is always a difficult diagnosis to acquire/receive, particularly as many struggle with memory problems for years before the disease seriously interferes with daily life. Consequently, it can be difficult to decide where and when a diagnosed individual should receive care.

In July, USA Today’s Your Life highlighted research from the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Paris, where scientists from all over the world gathered to share information, discuss data, and release new findings. Six countries presented research on MCI (mild cognitive impairment), which in many cases serves as a precursor to Alzheimer’s.

Q: Can a person with Alzheimer’s reside in assisted living?
A: Yes. Many people with MCI, or those in the early stages of the disease process, can live with minimal assistance (in some cases, independent living can be an appropriate setting too). As each person progresses differently, certain individuals may remain in the early stages for years before they require advanced care. Also, a majority of assisted living facilities do provide some level of support (medication reminders, meal reminders, etc.) for residents with memory loss.

Q: How do you know when an individual needs more care?
A: Though not an easy decision by any means, when the disease impacts daily life to the point where an individual’s safety and well-being is in jeopardy (wandering occurs, stove tops/ovens are left on when the person leaves the room/home, etc.), loved ones should consider next steps.

Q: What advanced care options are available?
A: Specialized Alzheimer’s care, home care around the clock (or at times when the primary caregiver cannot be there), skilled nursing, or hospice care (for those in the end stages of the disease) are several possibilities.

Check out our Alzheimer’s Resource Guide for further information.

There are 4 Comments about this post

  1. Jeff says,

    Thanks for the info. We get this question a lot and although we work with clients that are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s we focus more on making the home safer and not in the long-term care requirements.


    on 03 August 2011 / 12:04 PM

  2. You’re welcome, Jeff. Yes, there are individuals in both home/residential care settings and in either case, it’s important to know when a higher level of support is appropriate. It can really become a grey area just by nature of the disease, but it’s important to keep people safe wherever they call home. Thanks for your comment!


    on 03 August 2011 / 6:35 PM

  3. Mark says,

    Assisted living is really a lot different than the “retirement homes” we often think of. I was reading on the St Andrew’s Resources for Seniors System blog about how assisted living allows seniors to maintain independence but still get the assistance they need for medication, socialization, even cooking.


    on 05 August 2011 / 11:53 AM

  4. You’re so right, Mark. Thanks for the link; appreciate your comments too!


    on 05 August 2011 / 12:12 PM


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