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Alzheimer's Disease

Transferring Someone to Assisted Living

09/02/1999

Question:

When is the time for a person with progressing Alzheimer`s disease to no longer live alone, and how do you ask a parent to consider an assisted living environment?

Answer:

Here are some questions to consider when deciding whether a person who is living alone is in need of additional help: Are there changes in the individuals habits? For example, is the person able to manage her own personal care and grooming? Has the person become isolated? Have the person's telephone conversations become increasingly vague? Do conversations ramble? Does the person forget what he/she was saying? Does the person repeat his/herself? Are you getting fewer phone calls or too many phone calls? Would the person know how to handle an emergency situation? For example, if there was a fire in the house, would he/she know to call 911? Is the person eating his/her meals and taking their medications correctly? A forgetful person may not eat or eat only sweets even when you have provided a hot meal. The person may take too much medication or forget to take his/her medication. This can make his/her mental impairment worse and can jeopardize his/her physical health. Other problems -- is the person forgetting to turn off the stove or burning food? Has the person stopped cooking? Are pots burned? Is the person keeping the house tidy, reasonably clean and free from hazards? Does the house smell of urine? Is the person showing good judgement? Contact your local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. They are a great source of information, education and support. The Association may have some tips on how to broach the topic of alternate living arrangements. To locate the chapter nearest you, call 1-800-272-3900. Or visit the Association's web site at www.alz.org. Also, much of the information provided here is derived from "The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementing Illnesses and Memory Loss in Later Life" by Nancy L. Mace, MA and Peter Rabins, MD, MPH. It is a wealth of information. We hope you find this information helpful. If you have any further questions, please let us know.

Related Resources:

National Alzheimer's Association

For more information:

Go to the Alzheimer's Disease health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Jon Stuckey, PhD
Formerly
Case Western Reserve University