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The Gerontologist 45:115-123 (2005)
© 2005 The Gerontological Society of America

Sociocultural Aspects of Transitions From Assisted Living for Residents With Dementia

Louise Crawford Mead, MA, ABD1, J. Kevin Eckert, PhD1,, Sheryl Zimmerman, PhD2 and John G. Schumacher, PhD1

Correspondence: Address correspondence to J. Kevin Eckert, Center for Aging Studies, University of Maryland Baltimore County, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250. E-mail: Eckert{at}

Purpose: Negotiating transitions and residential relocation are especially difficult for residents with dementia and their families. This article examined the decision-making process regarding retention or transfer of persons with dementia in assisted living facilities. Design and Methods: Using an ethnographic approach, this study observed residents and facility life, and interviewed residents, staff, and family members in three assisted living facilities. Results: Facility managers and administrators are pivotal figures in determining the timing of transitions and transitional care. Operating within the context of care requirements of dementia, they, the facility culture, and the family members' involvement in resident care mediate interpretations of and responses to change and decline, and ultimately influence decision making regarding retention or transfer. Implications: Transfer or retention may occur differently depending on whether managers are on- or off-site, the assisted living culture is dementia-friendly, and families are involved in care. Sensitizing assisted living managers and educating potential residents and family members to the importance of these factors may affect the eventual likelihood and timing of discharge.

Key Words: Transitional care • Culture • Leadership • Family

This article has been cited by other articles:

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D. Dobbs, J. K. Eckert, B. Rubinstein, L. Keimig, L. Clark, A. C. Frankowski, and S. Zimmerman
An Ethnographic Study of Stigma and Ageism in Residential Care or Assisted Living
Gerontologist, August 1, 2008; 48(4): 517 - 526.
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J. E. Gaugler and R. L. Kane
Families and Assisted Living
Gerontologist, December 1, 2007; 47(suppl_1): 83 - 99.
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All GSA journals Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Copyright © 2005 by The Gerontological Society of America.