Ward, Julia. “Alzheimer’s Disease and Social Engagement”, Boston College, 2023. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:109736.
People’s needs for social engagement vary over the life course. Social engagement for individuals residing in memory care facilities is an important topic to research because this population benefits greatly from active participation in the communities in which they reside. This study examines the following research questions: To what extent does the facility in which adults with Alzheimer’s disease reside impact their social ties? How do the facilities differ in facilitating social engagement? I interviewed ten memory care facility employees across seven facilities in Massachusetts and found patterns in visitation for family members and friends of Alzheimer’s residents and social engagement for residents in memory care. Individual factors that affect visitation include family dynamics and disease progression. Structural factors that affect visitation include geographic location and religion. These findings are useful to inform policy and recognize increased opportunities for social engagement as an opportunity for facilities to slow disease progression.