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Questions and answers about Alzheimer’s, dementia and Alzheimer’s Family Center’s popular adult day health programs.

What’s the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?

  • Dementia is not a disease, but a group of symptoms characterized by the loss of cognitive functioning (such as memory, reasoning, abstract thinking) to the point that someone has difficulty performing everyday activities (driving, adding numbers, eating).
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, followed by Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Vascular or Multi-Infarct Dementia, and Frontotemporal Dementia.

Who should be evaluated for dementia?

  • Anyone exhibiting or complaining of changes in memory or other cognitive abilities should receive a thorough evaluation.

How do I find out whether or not memory loss and other cognitive difficulties are due to Alzheimer’s disease?

  • It takes a thorough diagnostic workup to determine if memory loss is due to Alzheimer’s disease, another condition, or a potentially reversible cause, such as severe depression, or medication side effects.
  • No one should be told that “there’s nothing to worry about” based on a screening with a handful of questions. Too often, memory loss is dismissed as “a normal part of aging.” It deserves to be taken seriously.
  • The AFC staff can refer you to a medical professional who can conduct a thorough dementia evaluation.

Are there any medications for Alzheimer’s disease?

  • Four FDA-approved medications are available to treat Alzheimer’s disease. It is important for families to realize that while these medications can help improve quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s, they are not a cure.
  • Complementing medications with other services for the individual, such as adult day services and caregiver support and education, remains the most effective approach to managing Alzheimer’s disease. Medications designed to treat mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease include donepezil (Aricept®), galantamine, which comes in regular release (Reminyl®) and extended release (Razadyne ER®) forms, and rivastigmine (Exelon®), now available as either a pill or transdermal patch. All three medications accentuate the levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in communication between neurons or brain cells. Known as aceytlcholinesterase inhibitors, these three medications are most beneficial when started early and can have a positive impact on cognitive abilities, everyday living skills and behavioral symptoms. While gastrointestinal side effects (e.g., nausea, diarrhea) are common, most individuals quickly adapt to the medication.
  • Aricept has now also been approved by the FDA for use in moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s disease, as benefits continue to be seen even after years of treatment. Memantine (Namenda®), approved in 2003, is the first drug specifically designed for the treatment of advanced dementia. Namenda regulates glutamate, another neurotransmitter important in learning and memory. In persons with moderate-tosevere Alzheimer’s disease, Namenda has been shown to reduce decline in cognitive abilities and everyday living skills.
  • As Namenda® has a different mechanism of action than the three acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, combining Namenda with one of the three can maximize benefits.

What if my loved one suffers from anxiety and Alzheimer’s?

We offer a wonderful program that is designed to address the special needs of individuals with memory concerns who in addition suffer from some type of mental health issue; learn more and enroll your loved one in our Mind and Memory Program.


What are the benefits of Adult Day Health Care?

1. Maintain Cognitive Skills Through Socialization
The research on patients with dementia tells us very clearly that socialization and exercise are the two most important, and absolute best interventions to maintain cognitive skills. The stimulation we get being around others creates brain activity that helps keep skills intact.

Physical exercises, while good for the body, mind, and circulatory system, also help maintain core strength, balance, and prevent falls. Over 18 months, the research team at AFSC conducted an analysis that focused on tracking falls and emergency room visits. They found that in the first six months of attending ADHC, patients experienced a 47% reduction in falls, and a 25% reduction in emergency room visits. Preventing a fall and staying out of the emergency room are top priorities, as they can be life and death situations.

Patients who are stimulated during the day sleep better at night and are less likely have falls at home, and patients who are social and enjoying themselves are less likely to be depressed, and more likely to eat better. These services and benefits translate into much improved quality of life for both patients and caregivers.

While having in-home care certainly has its conveniences, it is actually not the best option to maintain cognitive skills if used exclusively. While it might seem that the individualized, one-on-one attention is a luxury (and for many it is), the patient is missing the bigger socialization component that makes Adult Day Health Care so valuable, as well as the diversity of activities offered including art and music therapies, group activities, trivia, and games, and the access to professional medical, physical, psychiatric, and social work services offered in Adult Day Health Care.


Do you have to have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia in order to attend the center?

  • Enrollment in adult day health care services requires completion of a Health Record by the individual’s primary care physician, who is asked to provide current medical diagnoses along with other key health information. In most cases, the physician or a specialist has already made a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia prior to a family calling the center for help.
  • On occasion, a family seeks help at the center because a loved one is experiencing memory loss, but the individual has not yet received a diagnosis. If Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia is likely, your loved one may enroll, and a care manager will help facilitate the diagnosis.
  • Individuals who are not diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another dementia are referred for care and services to meet their specific needs.

What are your fees? Are they covered by insurance?

  • The daily fee for adult day health care at Alzheimer’s Family Center is $99. Scholarship assistance is available so that all families in need can access care.
  • Fees may be covered by Medi-Cal, the Veterans Administration, and some long-term care insurance companies. Medicare and managed care do not cover adult day health services.
  • Do not let financial concerns stand in the way of calling Alzheimer’s Family Center for help. A care manager will work with you to develop a plan to cover the cost of services.
  • Information and referral, limited case management, support groups, and educational workshops are all provided at no cost. Individual, family, and couples counseling are also available on a sliding scale basis.

My loved one refuses to attend a day care center. What can I do?

  • It’s common for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia to refuse trying anything new, or experience fear of embarrassment.
  • When you call, a care manager will help identify and implement strategies to ease the transition into adult day services.
  • You will receive coaching from your care manager on introducing day services to your loved one, and the three of you will work together to make every day at the center a success!

Does AFC provide meals?

  • Patients receive a nutritious breakfast, lunch and a late afternoon snack. All meals are prepared on site to ensure high quality.

Do you offer half-days or drop-in services?

  • Alzheimer’s Family Center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Patients may arrive as late as 10 a.m. and leave as early as 2:30 p.m., but are not allowed to “drop-in” or attend partial days.
  • Please note: Maintaining a consistent routine is a critical component of dementia care and helps the patient adjust to the center.

Is transportation provided?

Transportation is available to and from Alzheimer’s Family Center throughout Orange County and surrounding areas. Please contact our care manager for additional information at 714-593-9630.

Transportation is provided by a third-party provider.

What is the process for enrolling a loved one in your program?

We need a current TB test and health record completed by your Primary Care Physician. Once this is received, the case is assigned to a social worker for home visit. During the home visit, your family and the social worker will discuss a start date for your loved one.

Is there a minimum age for enrollment?

We accept patients with no minimum age. However, a diagnosis of dementia is required to enroll in our program.

Are there a minimum number of days a patient must attend per week?

Yes, a patient must attend the center a minimum of two days per week.

Do you offer services during the weekend?

Yes, our center is open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 3:30pm. Currently, the Saturday services are only available to patients who are already enrolled in the center’s weekday services. The daily fee is $60. Scholarships are available.

Our regular Adult Day Health Care services will now be available on Saturdays – Operating hours 7:30am-5:30pm / Program hours 9am-3:00pm. Beginning October 6th, 2018.

My loved one can get very anxious and even aggressive sometimes. Would he/she be able to attend the center?

  • As experts in dementia care, the Alzheimer’s Family Center staff knows how to work with individuals who exhibit challenging behaviors.
  • A care manager will assess your loved one’s behaviors and, together with our nurses and other healthcare professionals, will develop a plan.
  • The plan typically includes a combination of behavioral strategies and medications – to reduce and manage the behaviors at the center, as well as at home.
  • We understand that dementia-related behaviors have multiple causes, and in some cases can be greatly reduced or even eliminated by treating underlying medical conditions, such as an infection, or adjusting medications. • Given our knowledge and expertise with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, we have found that individuals who have difficulty at other adult day centers frequently adjust and do well at Alzheimer’s Family Center.

My loved one wanders. Will he/she be safe?

Yes, we provide a safe and homelike environment for all patients. Our center has a secured, safe perimeter, a 1:5 staff-to-patient ratio, an emergency alert system, and extensive safety procedures to ensure that everyone has a safe experience. Staff members are always present in our courtyard, as well as throughout the facility, to supervise patients.

Visit Alzheimer’s Family Center.
Explore our cheerful, serene and warm environment on an in-person tour.

Schedule a home visit.
An experienced, professional social worker will visit your home to gather a thorough history, determine care needs, and provide a full range of resources.

You can reach an Admissions Social Worker at (714) 593-1844.