Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) are great places for individuals who need some minor assistance with the activities of daily living. Activities like food preparation, supervision of medications, and assistance with travel to doctors’ offices.

However, ALFs are not nursing homes and they do not have the appropriately trained staff to serve those who need the services that only a nursing home can provide.

The problem with ALFs is that they don’t want the resident to leave the facility when the resident’s condition deteriorates…this is especially true when the resident develops dementia or shows early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease. In order to prevent or delay the departure of those paying residents, ALFs have started to offer “Memory Units” or similarly named areas of their facilities. These Memory Units supposedly have locked doors and specially trained staff who watch the resident more closely and make sure no one is wandering off the property and getting hurt.

If your loved one is in a Memory Unit in a ALF, make an appointment with the Administrator of the facility and ask if the nurses and aids who work on that unit have any special training. If the answer is yes, ask what specific training have they received. You might be surprised at the answer.

My Take: If your loved one needs to be moved into the Memory Unit of an Assisted Living Facility….you might be better off moving them to a nursing home.

Dan Frith

Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at