Dementia Special Care Units at Residential Care Communities

Assisted living and similar residential care communities provide an alternative to nursing homes for individuals with dementia who can no longer live independently.

In 2010, about 42% of individuals living in residential care communities had Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. Individuals with dementia can live in residential care communities that have dementia special care units, or in a more traditional setting where these residents are integrated with residents without dementia. Many states require residential care communities with dementia special care units to have certain physical features (e.g., locked door) and specially trained staff to care for residents with dementia.

NCHS has put out a new report that compares residential care communities with and without dementia special care units.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • In 2010, 17% of residential care communities had dementia special care units.
  • Beds in dementia special care units accounted for 13% of all residential care beds.
  • Residential care communities with dementia special care units were more likely than those without to have more beds, be chain-affiliated, and be purposely built as a residential care community, and less likely to be certified or registered to participate in Medicaid.
  • Residential care communities with dementia special care units were more likely than those without to be located in the Northeast and in a metropolitan statistical area, and less likely to be in the West.
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