Dementia, and specifically Alzheimer’s, is a serious, growing problem. In fact, 1 out of every 10 adults over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s dementia. As Bethesda’s senior population continues to grow (20.7% growth between 2013 and 2018), so does the concern about aging and the risk of cognitive impairment.
In Bethesda, the number of deaths for those 65 and older caused or partly caused by Alzheimer’s disease rose by 45.81% between 2013 and 2018. To put that in perspective, the number of deaths from all causes for that same age group only increased by 18.67%, showing that Alzheimer’s is a growing concern in the region. Overall, the percentage of seniors’ deaths related to Alzheimer’s is lower than the rest of the nation (4.46% in Bethesda 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 Bethesda. 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 Bethesda, 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:
Located just minutes away from major hospitals, recreation venues and public transportation, Brighton Gardens of Friendship Heights is a senior living community that prioritizes residents’ happiness and well-being. It uses the Sunrise approach to memory care, offering a dedicated reminiscence neighborhood to individuals living with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other cognitive conditions. Areas are functionally designed to support easy navigation while encouraging social engagement. Life enrichment managers, assigned to each resident, are trained in the validation method, allowing them to tailor-fit care plans according to individual preferences and needs. Residents benefit from the community’s Live with Fulfillment programming, where they participate in brain-stimulating games, physical fitness and group activities that enhance cognitive functions. Through the CareConnect health system, families and health providers receive regular updates regarding residents’ status.
Residents mention the attentive staff, elegant atmosphere and daily happy hours. Families appreciate receiving regular updates, with one saying, "They do a great job, and they keep me informed very regularly of her health and of how she is doing in the residence. Because I am far away, it is very good to know these things. I am grateful.”
Located on a beautiful conservation area in Rockville, Brightview Fallsgrove provides assisted living and memory care using its signature Mind & Music program. The community is home to the oldest tree in Rockville and boasts walking trails for residents to enjoy. For food lovers, the in-house chef prepares gourmet restaurant-style meals that are both healthy and delicious. Brightview Fallsgrove has developed a team of experienced associates to help residents maintain greater independence. Its innovative Wellspring Village community works with residents and their families to create personal care programs tailored to the individual's needs. With its Vibrant Senior Living program, residents can look forward to specially selected activities including crafts, oil painting, gardening and cooking classes.
People love Brightview Fallsgrove for their personalized care and reactive staff. One resident writes, "We're very happy with Brightview Fallsgrove assisted living. The staff is very responsive and good. If my mom needs someone in the middle of the night, they show up in a couple of minutes."
Brightview Woodmont is an upscale and modern senior living community nestled in the heart of the Woodmont triangle. The Wellspring Village is the safe and secure memory care neighborhood that features landscaped gardens and spacious communal areas. The apartments and communal spaces are designed to make navigation easy for residents and to encourage independence. A team of highly trained associates is always on hand to provide compassionate care and assistance. The on-site registered nurse carries out regular health checks on all residents to monitor their general health and wellbeing. The community uses the Mind & Music program to improve the overall cognitive and physical wellbeing of the residents. Activity programs are personalized to the physical and mental abilities of each resident and focus on their hobbies, interests and gifts.
Family members appreciate the caring staff and activities offered with one reviewer saying, "My mother recently moved to Brightview Woodmont and the staff have been very accommodating in welcoming her and establishing a care plan for her. They have so many activities to engage the residents. "
Brookdale Arlington is conveniently located in the heart of the city, close to shops, restaurants and medical facilities. A team of highly trained caregivers is available 24/7 to provide compassionate care and assistance. The doors in the memory care unit are constantly monitored for the safety of residents and to prevent wandering. There is a safe courtyard area that features landscaped gardens and short walking trails where residents can relax or socialize with friends and family members. The on-site licensed nurse performs regular wellness checks on all residents to monitor their health and well-being. Activities offered include musical entertainment, pet therapy, one-on-one cognitive games, religious services and gentle fitness classes. Three delicious chef-prepared meals are served in the dining room on a daily basis, and special diets can be accommodated. The on-site beauty salon keeps residents looking their best.
Family members praise the excellent staff, with one reviewer saying, "The staff at Brookdale is not only fully trained and professional, but they have a heart and truly care for their residents. I am amazed each day by their dedication, caring and passion towards excellent care for our loved ones. They treat my family like their own family. My mom is their mom!"
Brookdale Potomac is a community offering memory care and assisted living services for residents. Outdoor features such as a courtyard and garden, greenhouse and walking path provide beautiful scenery to appreciate while out on a stroll. Brookdale's acoustic piano and built-in theatre give residents an opportunity to relax while also socializing with others. Experienced and caring staff members are available at all hours of the day and night to provide assistance at any time it is needed. When family members and friends are over for a visit, Brookdale has a private dining room that can be used to allow everyone to gather together.
The staff on Clare Bridge truly care about residents and pay attention to the needs of each person, affirmed one resident's family member. "Since many staff and the director have been there from the beginning with my Mom, caregivers have become extended family."
Forest Side Memory Care is centrally located in Northwest DC and provides residents with comfortable apartment homes that are grouped into neighborhood settings. This provides help with orientation for those with dementia or Alzheimer's. Each apartment has a small kitchen and dining area with a TV lounge area, providing a homelike feel. The staff serves residents with a deep respect for their individual needs as well as their family legacies. Forest Side strives to meet the social, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of residents while also taking care of their physical needs. The community has 24-hour security and a secure garden and courtyard space for residents. Housekeeping and laundry service are included along with help managing activities of daily living. All rooms have in-room emergency call systems, and residents have access to roaming alert technology.
Good communication stands out here. One spouse of a resident said, "Moved my husband with Alzheimer's here about a month ago. The staff has done an excellent job of communicating with me. They pay a lot of attention to him and have got him taking part in activities. The staff is friendly and helpful."
With nursing staff on hand 24/7, Grand Oaks Assisted Living Community offers high-quality memory care services to seniors in Washington, D.C. The team monitors seniors and provides assistance with the activities of daily living, as well as working with them on retaining their memories and cognitive abilities through activities and exercises. The staff members learn each resident's history, routine and preferences, which they then use to shape a treatment plan. The community is secure, and alarms are installed for resident safety. Food from the executive chef is designed to help support the senior's health and be enjoyable. Activities on offer include art classes, reading, music, word games, gardening and discussion groups.
With access to a huge range of options, seniors in this community enjoy the high-quality health care and amenities. A family member said, "We were both impressed with the level of personalized care she received with occupational and physical therapy as well as the friendliness of the staff and the true neighborhood feeling – including social activities and fine dining!"
Maple Heights Senior Living is a luxury community that offers a wide range of amenities and activities. The memory care unit is housed in a secure, keypad-protected section for the safety of residents. The community's landscaped garden has perimeter security, allowing residents to safely go for a walk or socialize with friends in one of the shaded seating areas. A team of dedicated caregivers is always on hand to provide compassionate care and assistance. Activities are tailored to the cognitive and physical abilities of each resident. Some of the activities offered include gardening, arts and crafts, baking, musical therapy, fitness classes in the exercise room and family social events. Movies are shown daily in the community's private theater. Residents receive three chef-prepared meals a day, all served in the spacious dining room; special diets can be accommodated.
Family members are impressed by the delicious food options in the community with one reviewer saying, "During family activities, I have eaten here. The food seemed good and they have a chef that prepares the food for the residents. I would absolutely recommend Maple Heights Senior Living."
Nestled near the Bluemont Park Area close to the amenities Bethesda, MD offers, the Sunrise at Bluemont Park is a memory care and assisted living community. It offers Reminiscence, a memory care program designed for those living with Alzheimer's, dementia and other forms of memory loss. These consist of areas designed for security and a calm environment but still close by the main dining and living areas to promote independence and socialization opportunities. Life enrichment managers trained in validation therapy and other therapeutic modalities are assigned to each memory care resident, ensuring consistent care. The Sunrise At Bluemont Park offers a wide variety of activities, homemade meals professionally prepared, interior designers to personalize living spaces and a program that allows each resident to have a designated pet as a companion.
Sunrise is known for its lively atmosphere and serene surroundings, with one person stating, "They have a walking club, happy hour, movie nights, trivia, games, Bingo, guest speaker, and discussion group." Sunrise at Bluemont has received reviews highlighting the team of caregivers and attentive atmosphere, with one reviewer stating, "The staff have been incredible and provide excellent communication and support."
Sunrise at Fox Hill improves seniors' quality of life at its assisted living and memory care programs in Bethesda. Just miles away from the nation's capital, it's conveniently located near Sibley Memorial Hospital and Bethesda's own Suburban Hospital. The memory care community, Reminiscence Neighborhood, is secured with WanderGuard, exit and entry access card swipes and on-campus security. Residents have access to a la carte meals around the clock at its dining hall, which also offers special dishes upon request with each meal. Children from local daycare programs and schools regularly visit the community, and music therapy helps encourage memory retention for residents with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Residents are kept busy with small group activities, including painting classes, on-site gardening, walking clubs and board games. It also offers windowsill gardening opportunities.
Visitors like the coordinated transportation services and the kindness of staff members. One said, "The food was excellent, and the staff members were very nice. The residents had great independence and many activities available to them, like reading groups and Bridge groups. They could go out on various tours on their bus, plus they had a limo at their service."
Sunrise of Arlington is situated on a sprawling urban campus with lush green spaces and numerous amenities. Memory care residents live in Reminiscence, which is a special segment of the community for those with memory conditions. This area is designed to promote calm and security, with resident suites situated nearby dining and living spaces to make navigation easier. On-site activities include music therapy, a community garden and walking club. Weekly housekeeping and daily trash removal as well as weekly personal laundry ensure residents can focus on themselves.
Residents emphasize the well-appointed grounds and spaciousness of the living spaces, as well as the attractive location. One notes, "Sunrise of Arlington is absolutely charming and looks like an old Victorian house. It's wonderful that for those who prefer to walk, you're always visible if you're on the stairs, which is tremendous safety."
Sunrise of Bethesda is conveniently located close to shops, medical facilities and train stations. The memory care unit is a calm and secure building that makes residents feel safe and happy. All the suites open out onto the spacious common areas, making it easy for residents to navigate the building and to find help when they need it. Each resident has a life enrichment manager trained in validation therapy, and the manager creates individual activities for the resident based on their personal cognitive and physical abilities. A dedicated team of caregivers is always on hand to provide assistance with the tasks of daily living and companionship as required. Three chef-prepared meals are served on a daily basis in the spacious dining room, and special diets can be accommodated.
Family members are impressed by the excellent staff, with one reviewer saying, "My father lived at the Sunrise of Bethesda Memory Care community. My entire family loved Sunrise of Bethesda. The staff is so caring and professional and they treated my dad with affection and respect. My dad loved living there and my family loved visiting. We couldn't have found a better place for my dad to live."
Sunrise of Chevy Chase helps residents remain independent throughout their golden years with its assisted living and memory care programs. The community is conveniently situated on the northwest border of the District of Columbia, fostering a laid-back environment while being just a mile away from downtown Chevy Chase and the Silver Spring train station. Administrators allow residents to move cats, dogs and other pets in with them, even if they're not service animals. Thanks to the community's in-house chef, residents have access to three fresh-cooked meals every day. Special dining plans are created to work around residents' medical needs, including low-salt and low-fat options. The community is home to a fully loaded slate of amenities, including an outdoor garden and enclosed patio, a computer room and a salon. Residents' medical care is closely tracked around the clock with Sunrise CareConnect, the community's proprietary electronic health records interface.
Family members like the well-equipped rooms and welcoming atmosphere. "We chose Sunrise of Chevy Chase for my father. He's been there for two days now. They are very nice and very welcoming. All the services are available. The room is spacious and has a kitchenette. The staff members are very friendly, welcoming, and knowledgeable. There are many activities," said one.
Sunrise of Falls Church is a senior living community offering assisted living and memory care steps away from parks and Kaiser Permanente Falls Church Medical Center. Licensed nurses provide monthly wellness visits, and compassionate caregivers trained in assisting people with dementia are on-site 24/7. Featuring a diverse selection of activities, the community's event calendar ensures seniors have multiple daily opportunities to enhance their physical, social and intellectual wellness. Activities like painting, crafting and baking are purposefully chosen because of their ability to stimulate the senses as well as encourage residents to use their remaining abilities. While prioritizing fresh, seasonal ingredients, the culinary team serves residents up to three nutritious meals a day in addition to healthy snacks.
Residents and visitors frequently mention the community's quality dining. In their online review, a former resident's spouse wrote, "This facility is excellent! The accommodations are very pleasant, extremely clean. The meals are delicious and many activities are offered for the residents to take part in." Another mentioned, "... great activities and outings and wonderful staff."
Situated just 15 minutes from the nation's capital, Sunrise at McLean offers a wide array of services including a robust memory care program. Reminiscence is the specific neighborhood devoted to memory care residents, to ensure their safety and increase engagement. Floor plans for these residents are easy to navigate and promote social interactions with other people. Activities include cognitive activities, music therapy, connecting with nature and small-group programming to help keep minds active. Other programs include continuous learning, reflection and meditation.
Residents emphasize the friendliness of the staff and the design of the living spaces. They also laud the community’s location and array of amenities. One notes, "Mom is in Sunrise of McLean. This is the one that really hits all the buttons. They have a good range of beautiful rooms. … We got the one … that will make her feel at home."
Sunrise of Rockville is a senior living community with a welcoming bed and breakfast atmosphere. The community has a team of dedicated staff available 24/7 and is located near three major hospitals to ensure that residents will be able to get the care they need in any situation. Residents will also be able to participate in a variety of programs including physical fitness, creativity, social and spiritual activities to encourage personal development during a difficult transition period. The community's long-term chef prepares three balanced meals from scratch each day, ensuring the health of residents. Sunrise of Rockville uses the Reminiscence neighborhood layout which places residents' suites next to all the areas they need go, such as living and dining areas. Life Enrichment managers are trained in dementia care and cognitively stimulating approaches to care.
Residents and their families love the efficient care and welcoming staff at Sunrise of Rockville. One said, "The staff at Sunrise of Rockville is phenomenal... Several of the staff members referred to it as their home, like an extension of their family. It is also very evident with the quality and the attention that we receive from them."
Sunrise of Silver Spring offers an array of on-site amenities for residents to enjoy, ranging from daily fitness activities to creative classes and spiritual offerings, to name a few. Sunrise offers Reminiscence, a neighborhood solely dedicated to memory care residents. Safe, secure and meant to help stimulate and engage these residents especially, this approach also incorporates an individual care plan for every memory care resident. Life enrichment managers also work with memory patients especially to help them overcome the complexities of cognitive conditions.
Residents and their loved ones point out the professionalism of staff members as well as the inviting campus with its range of activities. Of this, one notes, "We visited Sunrise of Silver Spring for my aunt. The staff was very professional, warm, welcoming, and knowledgeable. The facility was very attractive, comfortable, and well cared for. The residents seemed engaged, and happy. The facility looked really nice."
Sunrise on Connecticut Avenue is located in the upper northwest area of Washington, D.C. The area is known as a residential and shopping district. Residents of this community enjoy access to an on-site medical director and house calls from physicians as well as nearby medical establishments, including Sibley Memorial Hospital and Georgetown University Hospital. Activity options abound, with examples including music therapy, fitness classes, gardening and small-group programming. Scheduled resident and family meetings offer chances for seniors to visit with others. Weekly housekeeping, trash removal and laundry services boost the convenience of living here. Pets are welcome. Seniors can choose from a variety of menu choices for up to three meals per day, and snacks are also available. Within walking distance of the community, seniors can visit restaurants, drug and grocery stores, salons and boutiques.
One reviewer says, "The caregivers are patient and loving," while another praises the staff as "wonderful." The daughter of a resident relays that it was an easy process to move her mother — who is now quite happy — into the community. Another reviewer reports that the building is "modern" and "conveniently located" with a "generous assortment of comfortable rooms."
The Jefferson, which is situated in Arlington, VA, boasts a vibrant community for all care levels. Amenities include an indoor pool and spa, an on-site fitness center and an in-house chef preparing three unique meals each day. The memory care component at The Jefferson focuses on living orientation training, which helps residents with reminders about daily living tasks and cultivation of effective communication techniques. Memory care residents receive services in separate areas of the community that offer enhanced safety protocols and access to dedicated staff members with specialized training for those with memory conditions.
Residents emphasize the family friendly atmosphere at The Jefferson, as well as the wide array of amenities and spacious floor plans. One notes, "I like The Jefferson very much... They had an Easter egg hunt and had lots of families and children visiting, and everybody seemed so happy. That pretty much sold me on the place."
The Residences at Thomas Circle offers a calm, secure memory care neighborhood, coupled with the benefits of round-the-clock personalized care and brain-stimulating programming. The care team, composed of professional nurses, are specially trained in recognizing and dealing with cognitive, behavioral and physical symptoms, allowing them to create a nurturing environment for residents. Families are assured of loved ones’ safety with secure perimeters, sophisticated security systems and emergency response protocols in place. The community utilizes Senior Lifestyle’s award-winning program, Embrace Memory Care, where seniors engage in guided activities that stimulate the senses and encourage interaction with friends and families. Care is complemented by nutritious, well-balanced dining options that meet individual preferences, and residents with medical limitations can opt for customized diets or pureed servings.
Reviewers appreciate that the community's memory care activities cater to residents’ abilities. The senior-friendly building and accommodations also earn positive feedback, with one family member mentioning, "The apartments are spacious, and most of them have balconies, and my two favorite amenities are the 24-hour emergency call system and the special bathroom fixtures for the elderly.”