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 Harrisburg’s senior population continues to grow (13% growth between 2013 and 2017), so does the concern about aging and the risk of cognitive impairment.
In Harrisburg, the number of deaths for those 65 and older caused or partly caused by Alzheimer’s disease rose 26.7% between 2013 and 2017. To put that in perspective, the number of deaths from all causes for that same age group only increased by 7.36%, 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 (2.93% in Harrisburg 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 Harrisburg. 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 Harrisburg, 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:
The goal at Autumn House West is to deliver care based on the five core values of hospitality, stewardship, integrity, respect and humor. Located right in the heart of York, the facility provides a welcoming, home-like environment with modern amenities, including a library and beauty shop. Attentive, compassionate staff are on-site 24-7 to help residents with activities, such as bathing, dressing and medication management. Three daily chef-prepared meals with snacks, weekly housekeeping and personal laundry services help residents enjoy maintenance-free living. The facility also offers local transportation services for errands and medical appointments. A full calendar of events and planned activities are offered, including exercises, games and day trips. Staff members also provide special activities for memory care residents that provide mental and physical stimulation, based on their individual skills and interests.
People love Autumn House West for its warm, welcoming environment. One family member of a resident shares, "The staff is friendly, helpful and caring to anyone that comes into the building whether it's a resident or their family." Another says about the facility, "It's a nice atmosphere. It doesn't feel like a hospital and feels more like an apartment."
Brunswick at Longstown helps people with dementia thrive via its Aria memory care program, which offers 24-hour support and a diverse array of carefully chosen activities designed to physically and intellectually stimulate and challenge residents. On any given day, residents may find themselves reading poetry, painting, crafting, expressing their spirituality or playing a favorite sport. All of the cozy accommodations are pet-friendly and include emergency response systems and individually controlled heat and air conditioning. In addition to healthy snacks, residents enjoy three savory and nutritious meals per day in the restaurant-style dining room. A private dining room can be reserved for special occasions, such as anniversaries and family visits. Scheduled transportation is available for traveling to medical appointments, and residents have access to a variety of on-site health care services, including podiatry and physical therapy.
One online reviewer mentions several positive aspects about her aunt's experience, saying, "The loving care she receives at the Brunswick surpasses excellent. She has a lovely room with a private bathroom that is always clean... It is homey, has excellent food and the staff is always cheerful." Other residents have been impressed with the community's fun activities.
The Ecumenical Retirement Community provides affordable independent living, assisted living, memory support and restorative care at its centrally located, nonprofit facility in the heart of Harrisburg. Seniors who enjoy outdoor activities can take part in frequent country drives and day trips to local shops. Residents are also encouraged to take walks through the tranquil gardens and the butterfly patch, filled with native milkweed to attract Monarch butterflies. Seniors have access to a registered dietitian and transportation to appointments, as well as on-site physical, occupational, speech and massage therapy. Popular activities in the games room include fitness and education programs, making blankets for local shelters and other volunteer activities. The community is pet-friendly, so residents can bring their furry friends along with them.
Residents enjoy the friendly staff. One reviewer writes, "They are very accommodating, friendly, and nice and show great respect for their residents," while another says, "The personal care aides are the true angels of the place."
Keystone Villa at Ephrata offers independent living, assisted living and memory care in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, and is conveniently located just one mile from the WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital and the Ephrata Performing Arts Center. Seniors at this facility can participate in a variety of activities, including sing-alongs, happy hours and craft-making projects. They can also spend time reading books in the library, socializing in the courtyard or watching films at the in-house movie theater. The facility’s memory care program engages residents by encouraging artistic expression, community connections and physical activity. The memory care team also offers continuing education, spiritual support and leisurely activities tailored to each resident’s preferences and personal history.
Reviewers compliment Keystone Villa at Ephrata for having an accommodating staff. One resident's family member writes, "Most important is the care received and it is top notch from what I can see. Staff were always happy to work with me or my parents on requests or questions and were very polite.”
Linden Village is an assisted living and memory care community conveniently located near churches, medical centers and the peaceful walking trails at South Hills Park. Staff members specially trained in dementia care are available 24-7 to assist with activities of daily living and encourage seniors to participate in the community's structured programs and activities. Residents receive three homestyle meals each day, and accommodations are made for religious and cultural preferences. In addition to care services, staff members assist with a myriad of tasks to make residents' lives easier, such as arranging doctor appointments, shoe shining and picking up dry cleaning. The on-site beauty and barbershop ensures residents always look their best, while senior-friendly exercise classes make it easy to improve balance and strength.
"My grandmother was at Linden Village ... She always said how good the food was, especially lunch. She liked the live entertainment and interactive programs such as trivia and bingo," said one resident's family member. Other reviewers were impressed with the friendliness of staff members.
Set on 105 acres of lush countryside, Nottingham Village's continuum of care and wide array of amenities enable seniors to live as actively as they wish while aging in place. Memory care residents have a choice between private and shared suites. Within the memory care property, residents can wander freely throughout the expansive landscaped grounds while enjoying the safety of a secure, monitored environment. Among the specially trained staff are multiple Certified Dementia Care Specialists. Each of the four memory care neighborhoods feature an intimate dining area with an open kitchen, helping residents stay engaged with their surroundings while facilitating socialization. Between group sports, worship services, word games and social events, the diverse event calendar offers something for everyone.
"The therapy at Nottingham Village was wonderful, " said one resident. Several residents have remarked on the cleanliness of the facilities, including one visitor who said, "Everywhere I look I see a housekeeper. Pleasant, friendly environment."
Palmyra Senior Living offers quality care services for seniors in a home-like environment. A specialized, seven-bed memory care unit is available, with 24-hour support from a dedicated team of knowledgeable, well-trained staff who provide assistance with activities of daily living. There are also physical, occupational and speech therapists available to ensure residents' care needs can be met on-site. All resident rooms are protected by Wander Vision, which lets seniors independently move through the facility safely and securely. The facility offers a daily calendar of programs and activities, including religious services, group exercises, crafts, gardening, cognitive programs, live entertainment and birthday celebrations, designed to help seniors maintain life skills and socialize with fellow residents. Residents have access to amenities such as transportation to nearby shopping centers and medical appointments and three restaurant-style meals each day, created with the help of a registered dietitian.
Palmyra Senior Living is consistently recognized for its efforts to make each resident feel special and cared for. A resident's daughter says, "Palmyra was the perfect choice for our Mom! We were looking for a place that is locally run with a more personal touch. The staff is super nice and attentive. We didn't feel like just another family."
Phoebe Berks Village is a continuing care retirement community that uses Montessori-based techniques to enrich the lives of people with dementia. The facility focuses on the individual's strengths and interests and offers memory care services at two levels: those who require mild support with activities of daily living and those who need access to 24-hour nursing care. Residents live in a homelike environment with three lounge areas ideal for socializing. Memory boxes containing mementos of the residents' personal histories help them navigate the premises with increased independence and remind them where their rooms are located. The event calendar is filled with stimulating activities, including the Memories in the Making watercolor painting program, which has received an Alzheimer's Association designation.
Residents of Phoebe Berks Village have given the community consistent praise for its dining program and wide array of on-site services. One online reviewer says, "Phoebe is such a wonderful atmosphere along with a great selection of tasty food. My experience here has been nothing but lovely."
Senior Commons at Powder Mill is an independent living, assisted living and memory care community conveniently located between WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital and Interstate 83 in York, Pennsylvania. The facility offers an array of semi-private and private accommodations, some of which have full kitchens. There is an activity room, a library and several outdoor courtyards for seniors to enjoy. On-site therapy services are offered twice a week to help residents maintain their balance and flexibility. Seniors can spend time playing bingo, watching movies or listening to live musical entertainment. Residents in the memory care area of this community also benefit from specially structured programming, which focuses on nurturing relationships and increasing spiritual well-being.
Senior Commons at Powder Mill earns plenty of praise for cultivating a safe environment. According to one resident’s family member, "The facility offers a nice and comfortable living environment and he wandered around the floor as though he was at home, but he was secure. He always enjoyed the daily activities and looked forward to the snacks!”
The philosophy of The Bridges of Bent Creek is to provide seniors with a caring community that fosters connectivity and encourages creative growth. The facility takes a proactive approach to care, offering personalized services to meet the unique needs of each resident, whether that be personal care, early memory or comprehensive memory care. Through its partnership with FOX Rehabilitation, residents also have access to 23 programs to enhance their overall well-being. Two memory care programs are available — the Seasons program, which provides dedicated programming 7 days a week for residents with early stages of Alzheimer's, and the Gardens program for more advanced stages of dementia where greater attention is required. To give residents a daily sense of purpose, fun, engaging activities are available, including exercises, music therapy and group outings.
People love the staff's dedication to building meaningful relationships with each resident. The loved one of a resident says, "The staff there is more caring than I have met in any other facility." Another woman whose grandparents are residents of the facility shares that in her experience, "There was a true connection between the residents and the workers, not just people doing their jobs."
As a continuing care retirement community, The Highlands at Wyomissing allows seniors of all care levels to live an active, fulfilling retirement. Staff are available on-site 24/7 to offer assistance with daily living tasks and medication management. Set on 113 acres amid tree-lined roads and walkways, this facility gives residents access to luxury amenities, including a fitness center, a heated indoor pool, a computer center, a library, an art studio and a woodworking shop. When residents want to enjoy the outdoors, they can relax in the enclosed garden courtyard with walking paths, a fish pond and shaded patio area or finesse their golf game at the outdoor practice fairway and putting green. A wide variety of accommodations are available to suit seniors' individual preferences and care needs. Through its Montessori-based cognitive programming, the facility helps memory care residents participate in engaging activities each day, such as creative movement exploration, baking reminiscence, art projects, music and pet therapy.
Residents love the community's state-of-the-art amenities, kind staff and comprehensive care services. The granddaughter of one resident shares, "All the employees there are very caring and loving individuals. The facility is very well kept and has amazing landscape surrounding the whole facility. My grandmother always used to say that if she couldn't be in her own home that she couldn't have picked a better place to be."