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Study estimates that 7 out of 10 adults in assisted living communities have some form of cognitive impairment

A new research study published in this month’s issue of Health Affairs finds that assisted living communities are a primary provider of residential care for older adults with dementia and that an estimated 7 out of 10 adults living in these settings have some form of cognitive impairment.  Sheryl Zimmerman, Philip Sloane, and David Reed led the study, based on data from 2,300 assisted living residences participating in the 2010 National Survey of Residential Care Facilities.  In an interview with Contact Magazine, Zimmerman is quoted as saying “Although multi-state studies and single state studies have looked at dementia, what the prevalence is, and related policy and practice issues, the national figures did not exist until now. So these results help to clarify the scope of what we’ve been seeing from other studies”.

These findings are especially worrisome given the wide variability in assisted living residence’s services and policies related to dementia care, and consumer’s lack of awareness about these and their importance.  Zimmerman and colleagues currently maintain the non-profit Assisted Living Comparison Experts website to promote consumer education and assisted living transparency.