Dementia Care in Assisted Living
As the instances of dementia increase in California’s older population, so will the need for high-quality dementia care. Assisted Living can provide a home-like environment that promotes dignity and respect with highly trained staff members knowledgeable about the condition.
Dementia Care Regulations
In order to accept or retain residents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, Assisted Living communities must meet additional regulatory requirements (Section 87705). CCLD requires additional staff training and documentation, as well as specific physical plan requirements in order for an Assisted Living community to accept or retain residents with dementia.
In addition to these operation and care requirements, a separate section (Sections 87706 and 87707) of the regulations addresses advertising requirements for Assisted Living providers who advertise that they offer dementia care. In 2016, dementia care training hours were increased and the requirement that all RCFE caregivers receive dementia training was applied. For more information, visit the Staff Training page.
“Sundowning” is a condition in which residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia experience confusion, disorientation, and increasing levels of agitation coinciding with the onset of late afternoon and early evening.
In 2003, AB 528 (Mullin) was signed into law to encourage training on sundowning and the inclusion of information on specific activities for those who experience sundowning. While training on sundowning is not a requirement, the legislature deemed it an issue significant enough to acknowledge in a statute as a way to promote best practices.
For more information, including causes and coping strategies, visit the Alzheimer’s Association’s webpage on sundowning .
Mild Cognitive Impairment
Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a state in which at least one cognitive function is impaired to an extent that is greater than would be anticipated in the normal aging process. The distinction between MCI and dementia is significant as it is the basis for determining who may reside in a particular RCFE.
Resources & Best Practices
Mild Cognitive Impairment vs. Dementia in Assisted Living
Developed jointly with the Alzheimer’s Association, this brochure clearly defines mild cognitive impairment, dementia, and their distinctions. Available in packages of 50.
CALA News & Views Spring 2014: Mindful Memory Care
Articles on person-centered memory care activities, surrogate decision-makers, Alzheimer’s diagnosis, caregiving costs, and the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s
CALA News & Views Fall 2011: Brain Health and Memory Care Perspectives
Articles on memory care design, caring for residents with dementia in general Assisted Living, dementia-focused training, challenging behaviors, and brain health
The Alzheimer’s Association’s Dementia Care Practice Recommendations for Assisted Living Residences and Nursing Homes , 2005
The fundamentals for effective dementia care and recommended practices such as comprehensive assessments, care planning, understanding behavior, and effective communication.
The Alzheimer’s Association provides information regarding Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care. Access the list of California-based offices for local resources and support groups.
California Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Advisory Committee
In 1998, the California Health and Human Services Agency established this committee to advise the administration and legislature on issues regarding Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.