Study: Move to nursing home can overwhelm Alzheimer's patients

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Going from a community setting to a nursing home may be too difficult a transition for some Alzheimer's patients, a new study finds. Use of adult day care prior to nursing home placement may be a key intermediate step, according to researchers at Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, Chicago.

A four-year study tracked more than 400 elderly people with Alzheimer's disease. The ones who had a higher level of day care use prior to nursing home admission had a lower rate of mental decline, the study found. At the beginning of the study, all participants lived in the community and about half were using day care services. A total of 155 were placed in a nursing home during the study period.

People using day care three to four days a week at the beginning of the study showed no increase in cognitive decline upon nursing home placement. The study appeared in the American Journal of Psychiatry.