Choosing a Nursing Home for a Parent with Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is a devastating illness that affects an estimated 5 million people throughout the country. There are a number of treatments that can slow progression, but there is no known cure for the disease. If you have an elderly parent or other family member with Alzheimer’s, then you will want to look enrolling them in a long-term care facility.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Nursing Home

Many facilities aren’t equipped to handle patients with Alzheimer’s, so you will need to choose carefully. Here are some of the factors that you will need to consider.


There are a number of different medications that are used to treat Alzheimer’s disease.  Donepezil, Rivastigmine and Galantamine are three of the most commonly prescribed. You will want to choose a nursing home that has experience prescribing and monitoring these medications.


Unfortunately, there is a shortage of nursing home facilities in this country. That shortage will probably grow as baby boomers continue to age. As a result, some of the best nursing home facilities are often filled to capacity. It is a good idea to try to get your parent on a waiting list if they are in the early stages of the disease so that they can get care after their symptoms progress.

Social Activities

In 2008, William Thies, the head of Medical and Scientific Relations at the Alzheimer’s Association, conducted a study which showed that participating in social activities decreased the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia. A number of follow-up studies have shown that offering social and recreational activities in nursing homes can help slow the progression of the disease. Many nursing homes are offering these services, so you should keep this in mind while conducting your search.

Level of Monitoring

Patients suffering from any form of dementia need much more care than other elderly patients. You will need to find a nursing home that has enough caretakers on staff to provide the level of support that your parent will need. State regulations typically require nursing homes to have a staff to patient ratio of 1:6, but patients with Alzheimer’s may need to attend a nursing home with a slightly lower ratio.

You will need to speak with management to find out what type of support they offer to patients with dementia. A nursing home that is equipped to handle them should be able to provide a response that offers the reassurances that you need.

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