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Choosing a Health Care Facility for Someone With Alzheimer's Disease

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Finding the right longer-term care facilities for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease is a difficult and important decision. There are many options available for people with Alzheimer's disease. Do your research and learn about all your options. 

What Services Are Available for Alzheimer's Disease?

For people with Alzheimer's disease, care services usually fall into three categories:

  • Respite care
  • Residential care
  • Hospice


Respite Care and Alzheimer's Disease

This kind of care provides the caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease temporary relief from the day-to-day tasks and demands of caregiving. Respite care is mainly offered through community organizations or residential facilities. The most common respite care programs include:

  • In-home services -- These provide services ranging from personal care, companionship, and household help to providing skilled care. Although there are some government programs that provide this service, you may need to employ someone privately or through an agency.
  • Adult day services -- This is the best way to ensure that your loved one with Alzheimer's disease continues to interact with others. The service is usually provided in a community center or facility. A variety of staff-led activities are conducted throughout the day, such as support groups, dance programs, musical activities, and games. Transportation and meals are often provided.

Residential Care for Alzheimer's Disease

Making the decision to move your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease into a residential facility may be very difficult, but often it is the only way to see that he or she receives the level of care they need. Residential facilities are able to provide different levels of care, according to each person's situation.

  • Retirement housing. This type of setting is more appropriate for someone with early Alzheimer's who is still able to care for him/herself independently and live alone safely but would have difficulty managing an entire house. Generally, the site is less well supervised (no 24-hour supervision), and the staff may know very little about dementia.
  • Basic assisted living. This is the step between living independently and living in a nursing home. Assisted living facilities offer housing, as well as support and personalized assistance and health care services.
  • Nursing homes. This may be the only option when round-the-clock care and long-term medical treatment are needed. A good nursing home will be able to address a host of needs, such as care planning, recreational activities, spirituality, nutrition, and medical care. Many facilities have special units designed to meet the specific needs of people with dementia.
  • Continuum care retirement communities. These offer the different grades of residential facilities in one location. Residents may need to be moved within the property to receive different services.


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