Community-Based Care Services for Dementia

Did you know?

Scientists at the Margaret Blenkner Research Institute have developed a 24-item questionnaire, called the Values and Preferences Scale, that can be used to determine the care preferences of someone with dementia.

There are several other short-term care services available to dementia caregivers. Like respite care, these services also provide a break for caregivers and also provide their loved ones with opportunities for activity and interaction. In some cases, short-term care may included medical care from a skilled person, such as a home health nurse or physical therapist. Read more about the most common types of short-term supportive care:

Adult Day Care

While the term day care may bring to mind the image of children, adult day care services actually provide a time and a place for individuals to come together and socialize and interact in an environment much like a senior center. Many adult day care centers cater to the needs and abilities of persons with AD/dementia and they can work with each person individually to stay physically, mentally, and socially active. For those who work part- or full-time, adult day care can provide support and relief from caregiving for a few hours a day.

When you are looking into adult day care options, again, make sure that the facility understands and is equipped to meet the needs of your loved one. Ask about the kinds of services and staff that are available. For instance, is there a nurse, a physical therapist, or a dietitian at the facility who supervises activities and the well-being of the adults there? Like overnight respite care, Medicare often does not cover for this kind of service, you may have to look into other sources of funding.

Home Health Care

Home health care brings someone with healthcare skills into the home. This home health aide can assist with more intensive nursing services for your loved one, such as monitoring medications or dealing with other medical conditions like diabetes. Additionally, home health care might include physical therapy, speech therapy, or occupational therapy, depending upon your loved one’s particular needs. In this way, this service provides care on a more frequent and convenient basis than periodic trips to the doctor’s office.

It is possible that Medicare and/or Medicaid will be able to finance home health care services. However, requirements and benefits vary by state and area, so contact your local Social Security Administration office or your local Area Agency on Aging for more details.

Meals and Transportation

For those individuals who are in the early stages of AD/dementia and still live by themselves, meal programs and transportation services can support their independence and ensure that they are adequately and safely provided for. Many community centers, senior centers, and religious institutions offer lunch. Home-delivered meals are also available through programs such as “Meals-on-Wheels” if your loved one is less able to leave the house or prepare his or her own meals. Transportation services are provided for individuals as part of the Americans With Disabilities Act for those who can not easily travel on their own. Your county likely has some sort of private or public transportation system in place that can help your loved one travel safely to and from their home.

Both meal and transportation services are available either for free or with minimal fees (enough to keep the programs running). Additionally, these programs are usually willing to work with the needs and available resources of individuals to make their services a possibility. Check with your local Area Agency on Aging to find out more about what is available to you. You can also contact Project Action, which maintains a national list of community transportation services.


Topic Sheet: Adult Day Centers

Source: Alzheimer's Association
Description: This pdf of a topic sheet discusses the reasons for choosing to use adult day care, as well as considerations for choosing one that best meets your needs.

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Community Care Options

Source: Family Caregiver Alliance
Description: This web page includes a section on community care options that describes the relevant programs and services that may be available in your state.

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