Dementia, and specifically Alzheimers, is a serious, growing problem. In fact, 1 out of every 10 adults over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s dementia. As Bellingham’s senior population continues to grow (26.7% growth between 2015 and 2020), so does the concern about aging and the risk of cognitive impairment.
In Bellingham, the number of deaths for those 65 and older caused or partly caused by Alzheimer’s disease rose 43.6% between 2015 and 2020. To put that in perspective, the number of deaths from all causes for that same age group only increased by 14%, showing that Alzheimer’s is a growing concern in the region. Overall, the percentage of seniors’ deaths related to Alzheimer’s is higher than the rest of the nation (13.66% in Bellingham vs. 6.46% in the U.S.).
To help families and caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of cognitive impairment find the support and care their loved ones need, we applied our unique methodology and spent dozens of hours researching senior living communities in Bellingham. In addition to an overview of the communities’ best features, this guide highlights the best memory care facilities in the city, and gives information about pricing, types of care provided, residents’ reviews, and more.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 83% of all caregivers are unpaid family members, relatives, or other friends, and nearly half of all care is for older adults with some form of dementia. Caregiving, especially when it involves Alzheimer’s or dementia, is extremely exhausting and time consuming, leading many caregivers to feel isolated and overwhelmed.
As a loved one continues to progress through the stages of dementia and his or her cognitive abilities continue to decline, behavioral problems, safety, and general care often become more than one caregiver can handle. This is when it’s important to find extra help, and residential facilities that have specialized memory care programs are often the best solution.
In addition to providing a safe environment, memory care programs seek to delay or halt cognitive decline while providing the opportunity for a social, independent lifestyle.
To choose the best memory care facilities in Bellingham, our team of researchers started by using our unique methodology to develop a list of contenders. We further refined the list in the next phase of our process by completing hands-on research for each one of the companies that we developed. Finally, we compiled online reviews from residents and families and wrote summaries of each facility that made it through our selection process.
Overall, our team:
People praise the clean environment and caring staff. A resident's wife writes, "The people who are working there are really nice and friendly. The facility is nice and clean as well. They've been very helpful to him. and they're really caring. There's a lot of activities during the week. The value I get is very reasonable."
Silverado Bellingham Memory Care Community features three neighborhoods catering to seniors living with varying stages of cognitive conditions. In the Nexus neighborhood, residents with early-stage conditions benefit from innovative science and social engagement programs that recognize their independence and higher cognitive abilities. Those living with advanced memory loss receive a higher degree of assistance in the Sensory neighborhood, while the Enrichment neighborhood serves as a transitory residence for those with mid-stage conditions. Caregivers are specially trained to deal with all forms of memory-related conditions, such as Alzheimer's, Lewy body and other types of dementia. The team plans regular senior-friendly activities designed to reduce boredom, promote self-esteem and create a vibrant lifestyle. The environment is homelike, with warm, inviting living areas and secure outdoor spaces with relaxing walking paths and gardens.
Family members appreciate the smooth transition and the team's passionate care. One says, "The receptionists, the dining room staff, the nurses, the administrative staff, everyone we have met has made us feel welcome and has made my mom feel loved and safe and cared for. She has been participating in activities and is starting to settle in and adjust to her new home."
The Bellingham at Orchard is a senior living community dedicated to memory care. Its experienced medical director, nurses and medication technicians provide personalized care tailored to residents' unique needs. Through the award-winning Montessori-inspired Spark program, seniors participate in fun, engaging activities, such as gardening, dancing, yoga classes, pet therapy and supervised outdoor walks. The community's daily program offers a mix of residents' old favorite hobbies and brand-new activities that create exciting therapeutic experiences. Additionally, the opportunity to work in the kitchen and help the chefs with meal preparation provides seniors with a sense of purpose and accomplishment. The property exudes a comfortable, homelike atmosphere, featuring fireplace rooms, a community room and well-appointed apartments with courtyard views. Music-loving seniors can participate in the community band's group activities and try out different musical instruments.
Visiting family members appreciate the welcoming, friendly atmosphere. "Amazing, caring and compassionate staff," says one. "I visit [Mom] multiple times per week, she is happy and well-dressed. The caregivers are pleasant, at ease and genuinely seem to love their work. It has a homelike feel. I am impressed by this facility every time I visit."
Memory care residents at Cordata Court live in cozy studio apartments that provide comfort and familiarity. Staff members customize care plan for each resident with regard to daily living activities, nutrition and programming. Activities help residents maintain as much physical and mental ability as possible. Some activities engage the emotions, including singing, aromatherapy and calming crafts. Others encourage movement through carefully supervised fitness programs. Still others give residents' brains a challenge through reminiscing, word games, book clubs and stories. Activities geared to socialization encourage residents to form and maintain connections with others. The community's dining program concentrates on nutritious, brain-healthy foods that are also appealing and delicious. Cordata Court's memory care community is completely secure.
Highgate at Bellingham offers a holistic care approach that includes massage sessions, spa baths and a blend of herbal teas to help promote the health and mood of memory care residents. The staff consults with family members and physicians to ensure residents take the appropriate medications per their personalized care program. The community offers live entertainment and outing activities to motivate patients to remain socially, physically and mentally active, and it uses signature aromatherapy oils to stimulate residents' appetite. The pet-friendly apartments keyless entry systems for easy access and increased security. The staff serves made-from-scratch nutritious food in a restaurant-style dining setting, and patients can choose their menus and eating schedules.
People applaud the quality of care that residents receive. One family member says, "My mother has been at Highgate for 2 years. All the CNA's, caregivers and other help have been very caring and discussed any matters with me I feel are important for her care. She loves the staff. That makes me happy with her care."
Located about 1.5 hours north of Seattle, Where the Heart Is offers assisted living and memory care services to Washington state seniors, including assistance with activities of daily living and 24/7 supervision. Memory care residents have access to specialized therapies through SPARK, a unique program designed to keep seniors engaged in their communities using creative workshops, peer support and opportunities to connect with the natural world. Where the Heart Is features large, bright communal spaces where seniors can socialize and three chef-prepared meals served in a colorful, expansive dining area. For those who require access to medical treatments or critical care, PeaceHealth United General Medical Center is less than an hour north of the community.
The families and residents of Where the Heart Is remark that the community is clean and the caregivers are friendly and encouraging. One family member shares, "The staff is happy to be working here and truly has each resident's welfare at heart. Extremely clean and elegant setting."
HomePlace Special Care at Burlington provides award-winning memory care in a vibrant environment. Using the Montessori-inspired SPARK program, compassionate 24-hour caregivers support residents' independence, ideas and choices, so they receive highly personalized care that nourishes them in body, mind and soul. Based on the latest research and rehabilitation techniques, SPARK keeps seniors active each day, increasing skills and engagement over time. Available around-the-clock staff members assist seniors with the activities of daily living. The community is divided into neighborhoods. Each has its own kitchen and dining room, so residents can feel right at home. Seniors can savor chef-prepared dining with a wide variety of nutritious choices, and they can social activities, events, outings, baking, arts and crafts, bingo, car shows and happy hours.
Visiting relatives praise the caring team and abundant activities. "My husband is at HomePlace in Burlington, I feel very lucky he is there," says one reviewer. "The caregivers go out of their way to make him feel special and important. They do great activities including planting plants, painting pictures, playing games to keep the residents active."
Creekside Continuing Care Community helps residents and their families cope with the challenges of cognitive conditions through a comprehensive memory care program. It offers a blend of comfort, enjoyment and customized care. Licensed nurses provide care that includes medication supervision, round-the-clock clinical management, nurse assessments and coordination with physicians, podiatrists, dietitians and hospice services. Residents engage in stimulating brain exercises and creative activities, with computer classes, painting and poetry filling daily calendars. The community features well-appointed gathering spaces for residents and visiting family members, including a theater, activity rooms, theater and a private dining room for special celebrations. Creekside also provides monthly dementia training and support group meetings for family members.
Families express satisfaction with the community's level of care. "My choice to entrust the care of my step-father to Creekside Memory Care has been the best decision I could have made," writes one family member. "Each and every employee is professional, friendly and seems to have the best interests of the residents at the heart of their actions."
Nestled in a parklike campus in Sedro-Wooley, Washington, Birchview Memory Care provides compassionate care in a scenic environment. Caregivers and nurses work around the clock to give residents the support they need, collaborating with physicians and healthcare providers to develop comprehensive and personalized care plans. Team members help residents maintain their health, dignity and respect, boosting current skills and encouraging freedom of choice with daily tasks. Residents stimulate their minds with Scrabble, bingo and trivia. They stay strong and healthy through fitness classes, and they enjoy engaging projects, puzzles, games, crafts and social events. Day trips keep seniors involved in the local community, and the dining experience includes fresh, chef-prepared choices focused on quality and variety.
Visiting family members like the ambiance, staff and activities. "The facility is beautiful, and they have beautiful grounds," says one relative. "The workers were lovely and caring people. The girl who runs the activity is really sweet, amazing and has great energy. They take them out for trips, and they have singing. The activities are great."