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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.

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 about our Mind and Memory Program.


What are the benefits of Adult Day Health Care?

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 AFC conducted an analysis that focused on tracking falls and emergency room visits. They found that in the first six months of attending Adult Day Health Care, 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?

  • A formal diagnosis of memory impairment is required to enroll Alzheimer’s Family Center.
  • 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.

Is there a minimum age for enrollment?

We accept patients with no minimum age. However, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia is required to enroll in our program.

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

We recommend scheduling a tour of the facility with your loved one and meet with our admission coordinator for information on the enrollment process. To schedule a tour, please call 714-593-9630.

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!

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

We require one day per week with a 4-hour minimum. However, two days a week of attendance is recommended as a consistent routine is a critical component of dementia care and helps the patient adjust to the center.

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 dementia, 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?

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.

Does the center provide Caregiver Support Groups?

Alzheimer’s Family Center offers Caregiver Support Groups ever second and fourth Wednesday of every month. They are free to attend and open to everyone. Your loved one does NOT need to be enrolled in our programs in order to participate in our Support Groups. For more information, please call 714-593-9630.

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 714-593-9630.


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