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 La Jolla’s senior population continues to grow (44.69% growth between 2014 and 2019), so does the concern about aging and the risk of cognitive impairment.
In La Jolla, the number of deaths for those 65 and older caused or partly caused by Alzheimer’s disease increased by 7.86% between 2014 and 2019, 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 (8.55% in La Jolla 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 La Jolla. 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 La Jolla, 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:
ActivCare at Mission Bay is a senior living community that's focused on providing multiple levels of memory care. The community features themed decoration throughout residential areas to make navigation easier, utilizing familiar landmarks and a homelike community of private and shared residences. The entire community is secure, so residents are free to walk across the campus at their leisure, with specially trained memory care staff and nurse oversight available at all times. Daily schedules are built upon recognizable and straightforward routines, including scheduled mealtimes, continence routines and planned events. Programmed activities are robust and designed around individual engagement of favorite tasks, personal skill endeavors and hobby classes. Additionally, group exercise sessions, craft projects, nature walks and community excursions provide meaningful therapeutic activities and socialization.
Residents and their families applaud the dedication of the staff, and the community features are often praised. "It's great. It is a pleasant-looking environment, clean, and the rooms are comfortable and spacious," says one resident's daughter. "There are lots of staff, and there are nurses on-hand every day."
Atria Bonita is a vibrant senior community offering a variety of studio and one-bedroom apartments with a patio or balcony and kitchenette. Its Life Guidance memory care program provides specialized care so that individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, dementia and other types of memory impairment can live a full life. Residents receive 24-hour care from trained caregivers and assistance with bathing, grooming, medications and other daily living tasks. The Life Guidance program helps slow the cognitive decline of seniors by offering daily exercises, dancing, music and social events with others that awaken their memories. A memory display with personal pictures and mementos from home are placed outside each resident's room to help them find their apartment easier. Fresh, chef-prepared meals are served daily in the dining room to encourage seniors to eat with others. Atria Bonita's other services include housekeeping, linen, scheduled transportation and apartment maintenance.
Atria Bonita is just like home. A resident wrote, "Away from home I found a place where everyone is hardworking and compassionate. I have recommended this place to some friends and they are happy here too."
Atria Rancho Peñasquitos offers a memory care program known as Life Guidance that includes four main components: physical activity, social connection and engagement, individualized care and thoughtfully designed spaces. As physical activity can slow cognitive decline, Life Guidance offers a minimum of two fitness activities each day, such as dancing, working with weights, restorative yoga, walking and stretching. To help memory care residents stay socially engaged and connected, Life Guidance offers programs that use music to wake up memories and make the present more familiar. To ensure a high level of individualized care, all memory care team members receive at least 15 hours of mandatory training every year. Memory care residents live in carefully designed Life Guidance neighborhoods that come with secure outdoor and indoor areas to help maximize their independence. Personal mementos displayed outside each resident's apartment help seniors find their way inside the community.
Residents love that this community feels like a resort and remark on the staff's attentiveness. A reviewer writes, "My father is in Atria Rancho Peñasquitos. ... It feels more like a resort. The rooms are big and comfortable. ... He says he likes the staff and that they're very attentive.”
Avantgarde Senior Living La Jolla is a close-knit community that offers assisted living and memory care in a lively environment. Residents enjoy spacious private rooms with deluxe double bedding, air conditioning, flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi; many feature garden access or room service. The memory care program helps create a sense of belonging and social interaction, with a specially-trained staff that addresses the unique needs of seniors living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Through ongoing training, they learn the latest techniques to help residents, including memory cues, verbal and nonverbal communications to help keep them engaged while monitoring behavior. All activities are crafted around seniors’ strengths and skills, so they can enjoy the programs they like most, including wellness activities, entertainment, a virtual reality station an on-site golf course. Transportation services give residents easy access to off-site appointments and amenities.
Visitors like the inviting ambiance and dedicated staff. "It is inviting and luxurious. They have put so much thought into making a comfortable stimulating environment for our seniors," says one recent visitor. "This new team is outstanding. Carrying, and motivated... Absolutely love this place. With fine dining and a great activities program."
An upscale 17-story community, Belmont Village Senior Living La Jolla provides a full spectrum of care paired with research-based programming and luxurious amenities. The community’s designated memory care neighborhood is a secure, carefully monitored environment where every resident is given a customized care plan. With a licensed nurse and highly-trained caregivers on-site 24/7, seniors have the support they need whenever they need it, including assistance with the activities of daily living and medication management. Residents enjoy therapeutic programming through the Whole Brain Fitness program, which incorporates proper nutrition, exercise, mental workouts and lifelong learning opportunities. These self-directed programs include body and brain-boosting activities every day, along with ability-centered group programming led by a specially trained team. Chef-prepared dining features 24 unique choices daily, transportation services are included, and residents can receive physical, occupational and speech therapy on-site.
Residents enjoy the community's wide range of amenities. The full-service salon offers services for both men and women, while the on-site bistro serves refreshments throughout the day. A swimming pool, outdoor fireplace and entertainment area gives residents room to relax, while the arts studio, screening room and outdoor sports lounge give them plenty to do.
Belmont Village Senior Living Sabre Springs is an upscale continuing care community that offers personalized support and premier amenities. Its dedicated memory care neighborhood is a carefully monitored environment designed specifically for seniors living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. With specially trained caregivers and a licensed nurse on-site 24/7, seniors receive needed assistance with the activities of daily living and medication management. The Whole Brain Fitness lifestyle stimulates residents’ bodies, minds and souls with research-based programs every day, including mental exercises and fitness classes. Circle of Friends includes structured, ability-based small group activities seven days a week, with built-in challenges designed to help boost residents’ confidence. Chef-prepared meals include brain-healthy choices, with 24 unique choices daily. Residents also enjoy free scheduled transportation, a swimming pool, a putting green, walking paths, and access to on-site physical, occupational and speech therapy.
Loved ones praise the dedicated team. "[M]y mom thrived here and quickly regained her strength and was soon walking without the use of a walker," reports one resident's relative. "The staff kept us informed and up to date, and unlike some other experiences, really knew who my mom was and her personality - that is huge!!"
A peaceful single-story community surrounded by palm trees, Elmcroft of Point Loma provides specialized memory care in a comfortable setting. Focused on offering the highest level of care for residents living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, the community's residents benefit from a low staff-to-resident ratio with specially trained caregivers. These professionals use a personalized approach, getting to know each resident’s unique needs while offering help with daily activities, including bathing, dressing and personal care, while monitoring common symptoms of dementia such as frustration, confusion and communication issues. Structured activities, classes and outings are designed to keep residents engaged, with wellness programs, cultural opportunities, gardening and games all on the calendar. Chef-prepared meals are served restaurant-style, with many nutritious choices available. The safe environment features monitored interior and outdoor areas featuring regular security checks, with spaces designed to encourage interaction between residents.
Visitors compliment Elmcroft's caring, knowledgeable team. "The staff seems to know everybody by first name, and it felt like they're friends with the residents," says one recent visitor. "It's run by a very nice person who also knew everybody in there." Another reviewer agrees, adding, "Staff members were very cordial. Everybody I encountered was very friendly."
Fredericka Manor Retirement Community in Chula Vista is a 23-acre senior care campus providing a vast array of lifestyle options and care services. The Summer House, the community's memory care neighborhood, comprises 22 private or shared cottage homes. It is designed with safety and familiarity in mind, with easy-to-navigate floor plans, motion sensors and 24/7 supervision by trained staff members, all within a secured and actively monitored environment. Daily schedules are designed around engagement and socialization, featuring activities targeted to each resident and their personal interests, including group activities such as cooking classes, craft sessions and gardening projects. A secured and landscaped courtyard allows for safe navigation and plenty of outdoor stimulation. Additionally, therapeutic sensory activities, such as the Music and Memory therapy program and mentally stimulating art activities, help to increase engagement and memory recollection.
Residents consistently praise the community for its personable staff. One resident says, "The staff here is amazing, they make you feel like you have been living here for years. Every morning they greet you with a good morning and a smile. They really go the extra mile to make it feel like home."
Golden Living Point Loma is a senior living community close to downtown San Francisco that gives residents a safe and comfortable environment for assisted living and memory care while enabling them to take various kinds of outings and beach trips. Residents in the Memory Care program receive 24/7 care and comprehensive assistance as they complete tasks such as bathing, eating or moving from one place to another. Golden Living Point Loma engages residents in various social and wellness-based activities to keep them active and delay further cognitive decline. This community is also available to serve residents who need respite care as well as those in hospice. Amenities include activity rooms, a laundry room, entertainment and scheduled events. Residents can select from a shared room, deluxe studio or large studio apartment.
Relatives of residents and the professionals that assist them commend the level of effort by staff and the condition of the facilities. One woman says, "In my opinion, it is one of the best affordable assisted living facilities in San Diego. The staff do an amazing job providing care and keeping the building clean."
HarborView Senior Assisted Living is a memory care community that overlooks San Diego Bay in the charming Banker's Hill neighborhood. It offers a variety of different-sized regular, deluxe and premium rooms with various bathroom configurations for seniors to choose from. Its memory care program provides for the physical, social and spiritual needs of residents living with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other types of cognitive impairments. Trained caregivers are available 24-hours a day to aid with dressing, bathing, walking and medication management. Residents are encouraged to participate in a wide range of fitness exercises and social activities to keep their minds stimulated. Personal laundry and housekeeping services ensure that seniors' rooms, clothing and bedding are always clean. Family members are invited to join in the activities and fine dining with their loved ones. HarborView also offers short and long-term respite care for those recovering from an injury or illness.
HarborView is a welcoming and caring place for seniors. A family member remarked, "The management and staff at HarborView are warm, caring, and professional. They take excellent care of the residents and do a good job of staying in touch with family. I highly recommend it."
Monarch Cottage is a senior living community devoted to residents with various levels of memory care needs. Residents live in private or companion suites, each equipped with behavior monitoring technology for continuous safety and oversight, and trained staff members are on hand at all times for personalized assistance. Themed residential neighborhoods are divided by cognitive levels across the community floors. Familiar decor helps reduce anxiety while providing ample navigation cues and recognizable, homelike landmarks such as a community kitchen and comfortable common areas. Routine mealtimes offer chef-created cuisine, specifically prepared and presented to stimulate appetite in a calm, family-style setting. Daily programming focuses on personalized enrichment through specialized activities such as exercise classes and walking trips, hobby groups for specific personal interests and a full schedule of therapeutic activities, including music, pet, and aromatherapy.
Residents and their families commend the community for its dedication to resident care. One family member says, "She is now able to be with others throughout the day and participates in the various activities such as music and exercise. She is surrounded by loving, caring staff, and is happier and more engaged than we thought possible. "
The memory care program at Oakmont of Pacific Beach offers activities for physical fitness, mental stimulation and social engagement. Memory care residents can participate in physical fitness classes such as stretch and strength, yoga and walking clubs. Brain Fitness that sharpens mental acuity and exercise memory, and caring for animals and assembling care packages for service personnel provide a sense of purpose. The community offers happy hours, singing and regular excursions. Residents with advanced memory loss receive the extra care they need in the Traditions memory care program, which provides a calming setting, a full-time licensed nurse and therapeutic activities based on sensory, tactile and music stimulation. All Traditions care team members undergo specialized dementia care training and periodic evaluation.
Family members love how well-trained the memory care staff is. They also like the high quality of the apartments. One resident's daughter writes, "The staff is really excellent — kind, well-trained. The quality of the apartments is high — soundproof, great plumbing, pleasant. It is wonderful to have found such a nice place for my beloved mother.”
Silvergate Rancho Bernardo is a memory care community located in San Diego. Within, four themed neighborhoods house 12 residents each and feature private accommodations within family-style residences, creating peaceful home settings while ensuring safety and security. Each residence opens to central living spaces such as dining rooms and lounge areas, eliminating long hallways and enhancing comfort through familiarity. Specially trained staff members and nurses are on hand 24/7, providing daily assistance while supervising regularly. Daily schedules revolve around memory enhancement and include group activities in the window-filled activity room, specialized hobby workshops and plenty of relaxation through art and music therapy, one-on-one sessions with staff and quiet rest. Additionally, the executive chef creates delicious meals and snacks throughout the day, designed with visual appeal in mind to ensure proper nutrition and hydration.
Residents applaud the community's inviting atmosphere and caring staff. One resident says, "Living in this new community in Rancho Bernardo named Silvergate RB has been such a joy for me. Staff will know your name within 2 days after moving here. It certainly made me feel welcomed!"
St. Paul’s Villa is a trusted community that's been serving San Diego seniors for over 60 years. Its Reflections neighborhood is a dedicated memory care environment designed to feel like home, with relaxing music and aromatherapy to spread calming sounds and scents. Caregivers are on-site 24/7, and they receive ongoing training in the latest dementia care techniques. By getting to know residents’ favorite hobbies and foods and the things that give them joy, staff members craft a personalized environment that helps seniors feel more welcome. They use the RESPECT model, which includes respect, empathy, fulfilling promises, listening, engaging, comforting and trusting every resident, every day. Social enrichment programs are a daily occurrence, with a wide array of activities that includes cooking and baking classes, education, jewelry making, scenic drives, spa time, and pet, art and music therapies.
Visiting family members point out the caring, dedicated team. One reviewer says, "People at St. Paul's Villa are so kind and compassionate. It is beautiful to see how the senior residents consider the staff extended family. You can tell that there is a lot of love there in addition to great care. People seem truly happy."
Specializing exclusively in memory care, Stellar Care provides a supportive environment for seniors living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Residents live in spacious studios with plenty of natural light, private bathrooms and emergency call systems. The 24-hour staff uses individualized care plans to meet each resident's unique needs, with caregivers offering assistance with daily activities, such as bathing, grooming, dressing and education management, as well as escorting seniors to and from meals and activities. The team takes a person-centered approach to dementia care, keeping an eye on fluid and food consumption, pain management and socialization with other residents. By creating a sense of community, they ensure that seniors stay involved through mental stimulation and physical activity, with daily programs designed to engage the whole person, from morning workout groups to bingo, brain games, live entertainment and scheduled transportation to area attractions.
Visitors are impressed by the staff and layout. "It was a very, very positive experience," says one reviewer. "The staff was very informative and very caring about the residents... The construction of the building was in a triangle, so there's an inner court that's open. They can be outside, but very protected."
An award-winning community tucked into a quiet suburban neighborhood, Sunrise of La Jolla offers personalized assisted living and memory care for older adults. The community features its own Reminiscence neighborhood — a safe, stimulating environment specifically for residents with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. With easy-to-navigate floor plans, life enrichment managers who offer consistent care and companionship, and emergency response systems in every suite, seniors and their loved ones have peace of mind. Specially trained caregivers understand the latest dementia care approaches, and they’re available 24 hours to assist with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, medication and mobility, while also monitoring behavior and communication. Daily activities are tailored for every resident, with engaging opportunities that include multisensory experiences, exercise programs, art projects, and visits from children and pets. Community outings include trips to the nearby San Diego Zoo and La Jolla Cove.
Loved ones like the community's friendly staff and welcoming ambiance. "The entire experience has been an absolute joy!" says one relative of a resident. "The staff, without exception, have been incredibly kind and highly skilled. The other residents have been welcoming and friendly ... [Sunrise's] management staff have a well defined process and helped facilitate every contact along the way."
Nestled into scenic Poway Valley, Sunrise Sabre Springs is a senior living community that specializes in both assisted living and memory care, with two distinct neighborhoods specifically for residents with dementia. The Terrace Club is for those with early to moderate-stage memory loss, with tailored programs crafted around residents’ cognitive and physical needs. Memory support programs help strengthen cognitive abilities, while fitness classes help enhance flexibility and balance. Resident support groups encourage connections, while occupation-based activities create daily meaning. Reminiscence is for residents in the later stages of memory loss, staffed by a team with Alzheimer’s Association-approved training. These areas are designed to feel calm and secure, with therapeutic programs that include multisensory experiences, fitness classes, group activities and community outings. Residents enjoy easy-to-navigate spaces that feature reflection rooms with relaxing elements, a 24-hour bistro and cozy common areas.
Visiting family members praise the ambiance and staff. One says, "The facility was designed to be state-of-the-art in terms of access, convenience, safety, and create a warm, friendly environment. The staff is competent, engaged, welcoming, friendly, and constantly striving to meet my mother's needs. My mother loves the staff and the non-obtrusive way they conduct themselves."
The Montera is a senior living community located in La Mesa, CA. The Connections for Living memory care program provides personalized wellness plans based on residents' histories and current needs within an atmosphere of purposeful familiarity and comfort. The trained staff are on hand to offer daily care, but more importantly, to create close relationships with each resident to better understand their needs and routines. Additionally, the community is designed to be easy to navigate and recognizable, improving independent and safe wayfinding with advanced security measures, private and homelike spaces and ample comfort throughout. Daily schedules are filled with guided and individual activities, including exercise and wellness sessions, enrichment stations featuring favorite activities from residents' pasts and family nights to enhance familial relationships and strengthen care.
The Montera is consistently praised by residents and their families for its commitment to compassionate care. One family member says, "The staff is amazingly friendly, helpful and caring and that is the most important thing about the home. The food is good and the dining facilities are excellent."
Torrey Pines Senior Living is a pet-friendly retirement community that provides assisted living, independent living and memory care services in a homelike setting. It offers studio, one and two-bedroom apartments with kitchenettes. The community's memory care staff is available 24/7 to assist seniors with all their daily living tasks and respond to any emergencies. Activities include exercises, gardening, music classes and movie nights. The restaurant-style dining room provides tasty, chef-prepared meals for seniors to enjoy any time of the day. Other services include housekeeping, laundry, shuttle transportation and a beauty salon/barbershop.
Torrey Pines provides a warm and caring environment. A relative writes, "We chose it for my husband. I liked it. I thought it was very homey, and the people seemed very caring and capable. I liked the fact that it was one floor for memory care."
With a stunning ocean view, White Sands La Jolla is the only beachfront memory care community in California. The memory care program of this community provides a safe and dignified community by focusing on each resident's abilities rather than disabilities. Whenever a new memory care resident joins the community, the specially trained care team members take the time to get to know the history, family, likes and dislikes of the resident to craft a personalized care plan that promotes self-esteem and encourages independence. For their safety, memory care residents live in secure accommodations and receive licensed nursing coverage 24 hours a day. In addition to daily fitness programs and activities, residents can also participate in bi-monthly outdoor outings, such as luncheons and scenic drives. All residents enjoy meals prepared by a chef who was the personal chef of John Travolta.
Residents love the community's ocean view and food. A resident writes, "Overlooking the beautiful pacific ocean is only one good thing, but the service is great. The chef cooks different dishes every day, and the salad bar is stocked with at least thirty items. The furniture is classic and expensive.”