Dementia guidelines address food, pain and social interaction

Share this content:

The Alzheimer's Association has released initial dementia-care recommendations for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Among the suggestions: Assure proper nutrition and hydration so residents can maintain nutritional health and avoid unnecessary health complications.

The association also suggests treating pain as a "fifth vital sign" by formally addressing it in a systematic way -- much as a caregiver would treat blood pressure, pulse, respiration and temperature. Offering social opportunities each day can also give residents a sense of dignity and self-esteem, according to the report.

Additional topics will be addressed in coming years, according to the association. Two dozen organizations, including several nursing home advocacy groups, supported the recommended practices.