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New Findings Suggest Adult Day Health Care May Slow Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease

Two quantitative studies conducted by principal investigator Cheryl Alvarez, Psy.D., at Alzheimer’s Family Center indicate that Adult Day Health Care may help patients maintain cognitive skills longer and may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

The study, entitled The Effects of Adult Day Health Care on Dementia Patients, examined the effects of cognitive stimulation, socialization, physical therapy, and more on the progression of the disease in patients enrolled at Alzheimer’s Family Center in 2014 and 2016.

The two studies used the results of Mini-Mental State Examination Scores, Geriatric Depression Scale, Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia, as well as hospitalization rates, emergency room visits and fall rates pre-admission and post-admission in patients enrolled in the Adult Day Health Care programs offered by Alzheimer’s Family Center. The studies, which were designed to determine the effects of Adult Day Health Care on individuals affected by dementia, were based on 133 patients in 2014 and 163 patients in 2016.



  • Alzheimer’s Family Center found that more than 50% of patients in both studies had either increased in their cognitive abilities or stayed the same after attending regularly (for a minimum of 2 days a week) over one year, as measured by the Mini-Mental State Examination.


  • Similarly, patients experienced a 50% decrease in the number of falls they sustained compared to a year before enrolling at Alzheimer’s Family Center.


  • Emergency room utilization was down 33% within a year of attending Alzheimer’s Family Center.


These results can be attributed to multiple factors, including comprehensive care (nursing, case management, physical therapy, and occupational therapy), as well as socialization and cognitive stimulation. They are significant because:


  • Dementia patients improve or maintain their cognitive abilities longer by attending Adult Day Health Care.


  • Caregivers see a reduced risk of having to take their loved one to the hospital or the emergency room, while enjoying a higher level of cognition, longer, in their loved one.


  • Health care costs associated with emergency room visits and hospitalizations are lower.


“The Alzheimer’s Association often refers to Adult Day Health Care, as the benefits are undeniably evident for both the person suffering with Alzheimer’s disease and their family caregiver,” says Anne Grey, Executive Director of Alzheimer’s Association. “The study conducted by Alzheimer’s Family Center quantifies those benefits for families touched by dementia.”


Joanna Richardson-Jones, Chief Executive Officer at Alzheimer’s Family Center, adds: “We know that humans thrive when they can stay at home for as long as they can. Around the world, health care is realizing how valuable community based, condition-specific, high quality programs are for dementia patients. “



Dr. Cheryl Alvarez. Mind and Memory Center at Mission Hospital and Alzheimer’s Family Center

Cheryl Alvarez, Psy.D., Director of Clinical Research & Outreach at Alzheimer’s Family Center and principal investigator of The Effects of Adult Day Health Care on Dementia Patients study, is available to discuss these findings upon request.



About Alzheimer’s Family Center
Alzheimer’s Family Center (AFC) is Orange County’s only adult day health care facility dedicated exclusively to caring for dementia patients. AFC has a 37-year history of improving the quality of life of families challenged by memory loss, such as Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. Patients benefit through customized programming tailored to the needs of each individual, from the earliest to the most advanced stages of dementia. Families find respite from the demands of caregiving, and the assurance that their loved one is receiving expert memory care, delivered with dignity and respect.

Recent studies show that AFC makes a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of its patients. Our patients experience over 50% fewer falls and a 33% reduction in emergency room visits within 12 months of enrollment in AFC’s programs. As a result, AFC family caregivers find the responsibilities of caregiving to be more manageable when their loved ones are home, away from the center. AFC also provides family caregivers with support and referrals to manage the medical, emotional, and financial challenges of caring for a memory-impaired loved one.

Alzheimer’s Family Center is located at 9451 Indianapolis Avenue in Huntington Beach, CA.

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