• dementia;
  • dementia care;
  • assisted living



To compare the demographic, clinical, and psychiatric characteristics of residents living in small (≤15 beds) and large assisted living (AL) facilities in the United States.


One hundred and ninety-eight residents in 10 large and 12 small assisted living facilities were comprehensively assessed as part of the Maryland Assisted Living Study (MD-AL). The presence or absence of dementia and psychiatric disturbances and the facilities' recognition and management of these disorders were compared across the two types of AL. Aspects of care delivery were also compared.


Small facilities had a higher prevalence of dementia (81%) compared to larger facilities (63%) and the mean Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) across all residents in small facilities (mean 13.04) was than in large facilities (mean 19.93)(p = 0.000). Almost all (98%) of the residents of small homes carried a diagnosis of a dementia or other psychiatric diagnosis, compared to 74% of residents in large facilities (p < 0.001). Psychosis in particular was more prevalent in the smaller homes and the mean Neuropsychiatric Inventory score, a measure of neuropsychiatric symptoms, was higher compared to large homes. Falls were more common in larger homes despite a greater number of personal care hours per week. The use of safety devices and restraints was significantly less common in large facilities compared to smaller homes, where ‘geri-chair’ and bedrails were more often used.


Rates of dementia and psychiatric disorder differ in assisted living facilities depending on size of facility. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.