Alzheimer's and Dementia

Adult Day Care vs. Assisted Living

By Elder Law Estate Planner Rick Law of Law Elder Law.  Providing  wills, trusts, estate plans, guardianship, probate, and more. Adult day care is typically a stage between independent living and living in a nursing home. The ailing individual and their family decision makers usually visit a few facilities prior to picking one to ensure the program offered is what their loved one requires at this stage of the Alzheimer’s journey. Clients’ family members and/or decision makers should look for the following:

  • Is the program licensed? Check with your state’s guidelines to see what type of license is required.
  • Is the atmosphere friendly? Your loved one should be as comfortable as possible.
  • What medical care is available?
  • Are the activities aimed at socialization and mental stimulation?
  • What is the staffing level? Generally, it’s good to aim for one staff member per four adults in adult day care.
  • Is the program exclusively for people suffering from dementia?
  • Is a contract necessary? Alzheimer’s progresses at unpredictable rates, so avoid you may want to avoid long contracts.
There may come a point in time when your loved one may need to be placed in an assisted-living facility. This can be a very personal decision. Individuals in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease often wander off and can become lost, and that is when most families consider assisted-living options. Older people with dementia who live alone are more likely to need emergency medical services because of self-neglect. Overall, people with dementia who live alone are at a greater risk of accidental death than those living with others. This may be due to lack of recognition of harm and delays in seeking medical help. Assisted-living facilities can be the right choice for people suffering from Alzheimer’s when skilled nursing is not yet needed—a step before a nursing home. Moving a loved one into one of these facilities often allows the healthy spouse to better cope with the difficulties of caretaking for the spouse with the disease. These are some of the questions to ask about the facility to ensure they are making an informed choice:
  • Is the facility licensed? Check with the state’s guidelines to see what kind of licensing is required.
  • What is the environment like? What are the common areas like? Is there an enclosed yard or patio that is a safe area that an Alzheimer’s patient could not wander away from?
  • What kinds of activities are offered? Ask to see the activities calendar. Is there a full-time activities director? It is important to find a place that offers a wide variety of activities to provide social interaction and mental stimulation.
  • What is the staff to patient ratio? Generally, look for one certified nurse’s aide (CNA) per five residents during the day, and a ratio of 1:10 at night.
  • How well trained are the staff? Look for a facility where staff instruction includes interaction with an instructor, group discussions, and role-playing activities to ensure a quality staff that is ready to help a loved one.
  • Does the facility have a special Alzheimer’s unit? Some facilities have residents with a variety of needs, while others have a unit for people with dementia, and others are completely dedicated to residents with dementia. The best choice may be a facility with a special care unit devoted to residents suffering from dementia. In these facilities, the staff is more experienced in handling people with dementia and more extensive care can be provided. Integrated units that have residents with dementia mixed in with otherwise healthy residents can cause problems for the residents with dementia because they may be excluded from group activities due to disruptions just when they need socialization and mental stimulation the most.
If your loved one has memory problems and you’re afraid of the consequences that may bring, give our office a call today at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now. Sincerely, Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees. Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine,, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.