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Why choose UCLA Health for Alzheimer’s care?
Our Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program helps patients and their families navigate the complex needs of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Our dementia care specialists work with your primary care provider or other referring provider to develop and carry out a personalized care plan.
Highlights of our program include:
National recognition: Our center is among the top in the nation. We receive support from the National Institutes on Aging, the state of California and numerous generous donors who share our commitment to dementia research.
Emphasis on early diagnoses: When patients receive an early dementia diagnosis, they can access treatments and resources right away. This enables patients to function at their highest level possible for longer periods. At the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA Health (UCLA Health Easton Center), we aim to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in its early stages, when patients can take advantage of the most effective therapies.
New treatment options: Patients who receive care at UCLA Health have access to a range of clinical trials and research programs. Through our outpatient clinic, we refer eligible patients to the UCLA Health Easton Center, the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study or clinical drug trials. Patients benefit from the latest, most promising therapies designed to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
24/7 access to specialists: After establishing care with our dementia care specialists, patient caregivers have 24/7 access to our specialists. This helps reduce emergency department visits and hospitalizations while providing extra support and guidance.
Our team provides extensive services for patients dealing with memory decline and their caregivers, including:
The UCLA Health Easton Center is a comprehensive research center. Our specialists study Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, with a special focus on early diagnosis and treatments to slow disease progression. The name of our center honors the mother of Jim Easton, a benefactor and partner of the center, who lost his mother to Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia and Memory Disorders Clinic
Through the UCLA Health Easton Center, our specialists also lead the UCLA Health Dementia and Memory Disorders Clinic. This outpatient clinic specializes in early diagnosis and intervention for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. We offer:
- Initial evaluations
- Follow-up care after diagnosis
- Neuropsychological testing
- Referrals to research opportunities
- Connection to community social services
- Second opinions
Patients who call the UCLA Health Dementia and Memory Disorders Clinic speak directly with a patient coordinator. This specialist collaborates with clinicians to schedule appointments or refer patients to the most appropriate UCLA Health services. Call the clinic at 310-794-1195 to speak with the patient coordinator.
Memory Evaluation Program
We offer memory evaluations to patients over 65 who are experiencing memory and thinking difficulties. Our experts answer your and your family’s questions or concerns about Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Before your visit, we send you a questionnaire to help us understand your current challenges and health history. The evaluation includes:
- Medical and family history review
- Memory and language tests
- Neurological exam
- Physical exam
If needed, we may complete the evaluation over two appointments. To schedule an assessment in our Westwood or Santa Monica offices, call 310-319-4371.
Improving Caregiving for Dementia (i-CareD) Program
i-CareD is a model to improve training and support for caregivers of those with dementia. The program includes interactive training programs called Caregiver Bootcamps. Our providers and community-based dementia experts educate caregivers on topics such as:
- Alzheimer’s and dementia definitions
- Home safety
- How to handle problematic behaviors
- Managing caregiver stress and burnout
- Recreational activity options for the memory-impaired
TimeOut @ UCLA
TimeOut is a virtual program consisting of weekly 60-minute video calls between students and seniors. The program gives seniors the opportunity to mentor and connect with bright, enthusiastic college students, while giving caregivers a small break.
TimeOut is a student-run program offered free of charge to older adults who need companionship, enjoy socialization and want to engage in meaningful conversations. To participate in TimeOut, contact our program coordinator at 310-913-1914.
Memory disorders we treat
Our team provides comprehensive care for disorders that affect thinking and memory. We diagnose and treat these conditions, as well as help you and your family understand and adjust to life with a memory disorder.
What is dementia?
Dementia is a broad term for disorders that disrupt thinking and memory functions. Dementia is a progressive condition, meaning that it worsens over time. It can lead to a loss in thinking and reasoning abilities. Eventually, people with dementia may be unable to complete daily activities on their own.
What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that affects memory, behavior and thinking. People with Alzheimer’s disease may have trouble with judgment, comprehension or communication.
Experts don’t know exactly what causes Alzheimer’s disease. We do know a person’s risk of developing the condition increases with age. There may also be a genetic component.
Tests and treatments we offer
UCLA Health specialists provide a full spectrum of care for patients with suspected or diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Diagnosis and treatment may include:
Alzheimer’s disease evaluation and diagnosis
Through the UCLA Health Easton Center, we offer comprehensive evaluations for cognitive and memory-related problems. Typically, our evaluations consist of two outpatient visits with diagnostic testing between appointments. Diagnostic testing may include:
- Neuropsychological assessments: These evaluations measure how well the brain is working. An evaluation might include memory tests, verbal communication tests and behavioral or motor skills assessments.
- Functional brain imaging: Functional brain scans assess the brain areas responsible for functions such as speech, motor function and sensory processing.
- Structural brain imaging: Structural brain scans look for the physical characteristics of the brain that could affect function. For example, a structural brain image might detect a tumor that is pressing on critical brain areas and affecting function.
- Blood tests: Patients might have blood tests to diagnose or rule out other conditions that could affect memory, such as thyroid issues or hormonal imbalances.
Alzheimer’s disease treatment
Alzheimer’s disease treatment focuses on managing symptoms. There’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and no treatment to stop its progression. Some medications can help people with Alzheimer’s live a higher quality of life and continue their usual activities for longer.
Treatment may also focus on problems related to Alzheimer’s, such as depression or sleep disturbances. In addition to medication, health care providers may recommend:
- Eating a nutritious diet full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains
- Exercising at a moderate pace most days of the week, to the extent that the patient is able
- Maintaining a structured routine to help decrease anxiety and stress
New drugs are continuously being evaluated for their usefulness in treating Alzheimer's disease.
Patients are evaluated for the trials and invited to participate if appropriate.
Please call 310-794-6191 to learn more.
Our team includes experts who specialize in diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s disease. We engage in research studies to help us improve our care of patients with memory-related conditions. We use the latest diagnostic tools and treatment options to help people with Alzheimer’s live a higher quality of life and manage symptoms.