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 Madison’s senior population continues to grow (28.14% growth between 2013 and 2018), so does the concern about aging and the risk of cognitive impairment.
In Madison, the number of deaths for those 65 and older caused or partly caused by Alzheimer’s disease rose by 1.81% between 2013 and 2018, 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 (28.8% in Madison 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 Madison. 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 Madison, 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:
All Saints Memory Care is part of the All Saints Neighborhood campus, a Catholic Charities senior community in the western side of Madison. Its standalone residential building is ideally situated adjacent to Hillpoint Park and has its secured garden areas. The facility’s 24-hour care staff are specially trained in partnership with the Alzheimer's & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, ensuring the delivery of dignified, individualized assistance to its residents. In addition to a high staff ratio, registered nurses are available 24/7 for medical oversight. As a certified Music & Memory care facility, All Saints Memory Care benefits residents with the therapeutic experience of personalized music. Residents are welcome to participate in various Life Enrichment activities including mind games, baking, live entertainment, ice cream socials and on-site masses.
People appreciate All Saints Memory Care’s caring and engaging staff. A resident’s loved one shares, "They are very responsive to the needs of their residents and family members, and they go out of their way to do whatever needs to be done. My dad feels safe and comfortable there, and I feel that he is in very good hands.”
Manned by a team specially trained in dementia care, Azura Memory Care of Stoughton provides exceptional care in a secure community. Working in accordance with the Alzheimer’s Association’s Guidelines for Dignity, it uses the MOSAIC education and engagement system, a holistic approach to care developed by Azura. Its team of directors, nurses, caregivers and therapists are skilled in properly communicating with residents and incorporating individual preferences and histories into carefully structured days. Behaviors and conditions, such as wandering, incontinence, depression and anxiety, are managed efficiently, and daily behavioral and medical monitoring help keep track of residents’ status. Partnerships with home health, hospice providers and doctors from the Visiting Physicians Association ensure the delivery of effective health and wellness services. Optometry, podiatry and dentistry services are also available as well as access to Genesight’s DNA Medication Testing program.
Homelike and beautiful are used to describe the community. People notice the little touches that create a comfortable feeling, and one reviewer writes, "The room is very spacious and has built-in bookshelves and windows that overlook the courtyard. It is very clean, very nice, and appropriate.” Families also praised the staff’s skill in handling stubborn issues.
Situated in the Greentree neighborhood on Madison's west side, BrightStar Senior Living of Madison offers assisted living and memory care suites for seniors looking for specialized care. Its large windows make it seem inviting as residents transition from home care to a residential setting. A life enrichment team makes the days interesting for residents, offering them service projects and educational activities to take part in, including outings, storytelling and exercise classes. The staff follows a person-centered approach, giving each resident individualized attention. Memory care residents benefit from a computer system that provides cognitive stimulation and connection, alongside comprehensive medication management. Staff is also available to assist with ADLs, including dressing and bathing.
Residents and their families often note the many activities as a perk of living here. One family member said, "They did an excellent job making residents feel at home in a cozy caring atmosphere. There was no shortage of activities that residents could choose to participate in. My family felt that my father received excellent care... at Brightstar.”
Brookdale Madison West offers seniors an apartment-like home where they can be surrounded by their peers and nurturing caregivers. The community takes a person-centered approach that’s designed to help residents feel a sense of belonging and purpose while maintaining their individuality. Staff is available 24-hours a day to assist with bathing, dressing, medication management and household chores as needed. Residents are encouraged to explore their individual interests and take up new hobbies and skills through the Clare Bridge activities program. The program includes exercise classes, knitting groups and bible studies as well as cooking clubs and bowling competitions. Seniors can also take part in happy hour, enjoy musical performances and join excursions to boutiques, restaurants and attractions in the local area.
Online reviews praise the community for its well-trained staff and homey surroundings. One relative says, "I'm impressed with Brookdale Madison West … Their employees are very well trained, very personable, and very caring people. It's like a home away from home … The rooms are beautiful, and she has [a] lovely view of the wooded area … It's like walking into a Marriot Hotel.”
This stunning community is located in the bustling university town of Madison, which was named by Forbes as one of the best places in the United States to retire. Capitol Lakes offers assisted living and a memory support program to help seniors feel at home. Trained staff use a variety of adaptive programs and assist seniors in carefully designed spaces that are calming and relaxing. The environment has been designed to support the needs of each resident and bring out their strengths and abilities. Seniors can take advantage of a number of on-site amenities including a fitness center, library, atrium and art gallery. The community is staffed 24 hours a day. Transportation services are available to allow residents to run errands or attend medical appointments. Nutritious meals are served in a restaurant-style dining area, and special diets including vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free are all catered to.
Residents and loved-ones praise the staff at the facility for being caring and attentive, noting, "When so many details are to be considered, we never felt as if we were just another patient." The cleanliness and pleasant atmosphere are also frequently highlighted.
Cottages of Madison is a memory care community located in a residential neighborhood surrounded by woodland and parks. Each resident has an initial assessment on arrival and a personal care plan is developed for them. The on-site licensed nurse carries out monthly wellness checks and the resident's care plan is updated if required. Compassionate caregivers are always on hand to provide care and assistance as needed. Each cottage is fully secured and seniors have access to a safe outdoor space where they can relax or take a walk. Daily activities incorporate each resident's life stories so that long-term memories are accessed on a daily basis. Three delicious meals are served each day in the dining room and special diets can be accommodated. Daily supervised walks and gentle exercise classes are offered on-site.
Visitors praise the staff and welcoming atmosphere with one reviewer saying, "The moment you walk through the door you immediately feel at home with the decor, staff, and other residents. Every staff I’ve had the pleasure of seeing always has a smile on their face, and the residents couldn’t help but rave about how much they love living at Cottages."
Coventry Village is a senior living community with beautiful city views and elegant communal rooms. The memory care neighborhood is fully secured and doors are monitored at all times. Residents have access to a spacious courtyard area where they can safely go for a walk or relax in the sun. All caregivers are trained in working with seniors with dementia and Alzheimer's and are always available to provide assistance or comfort when needed. The Bridge to Rediscovery program is designed to bring purpose to each resident's life through gentle exercise, music and arts and crafts as well as religious services and guided trips down memory lane. Three chef-prepared meals are served each day in the cozy dining room and snacks are served throughout the day. A private dining room can be booked for celebrations with friends and family.
Family members praise the staff in the memory care unit and one reviewer noted the love shown to their mother, "The memory care unit is well-managed. And the staff that works on this unit are WONDERFUL... kind, caring people who provide effective and compassionate care 24/7."
Heritage Middleton is an assisted living community with a unit that specializes in caring for residents who have Alzheimer's and issues with dementia. The secured environment lets seniors wander safely through the building without getting lost or anxious. A lovely interior courtyard has a garden and seating for residents to relax in a secure atmosphere. Highly trained staff and a full-time licensed nurse are on hand 24 hours a day to support each seniors' personal daily living needs with compassion and dignity. The community's programs are designed to foster mental and social stimulation. They include a music and memory program, multisensory therapy, a stimulation room, pet therapy and iPad-based memory training, among other techniques used to enhance engagement with others. Physical fitness classes and a calendar of planned activities are always scheduled.
The professional caregivers, meals and nicely appointed facilities are appreciated by residents and families. One visitor to the community states, "Very nice facility. Clean. Staff was very friendly and helpful. The residents appeared happy and engaged in a fun music activity. Food looked appealing."
Heritage Monona is a luxury senior living community with elegant communal rooms and spacious apartments. The memory care neighborhood offers all the comforts of home in a safe and secure space. The unit is painted with neutral colors and has an easy to navigate design so seniors can go about their daily routine with minimal confusion. Each apartment has a shadow box next to the door filled with photographs and mementos allowing residents to easily find their rooms. Individual health and wellness programs as well as customized meal options are designed for each resident in conjunction with family members and health professionals. The caregiving associates assist with personal care tasks and work through activities with the resident on a one-on-one basis. Regular parties and events are designed with families in mind to encourage family interaction.
Family members praise the caring staff and delicious food options with one reviewer saying, "mom moved into Heritage Senior Living Monona. The place is very nice and clean. The staff is very nice as well. I had the chance to eat there, and the food is good. "
Home Again Living Waunakee offers a specialized homelike environment for seniors affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia. A specially trained staff, including registered nurses, is available 24/7 to provide residents with individual care and assistance, enabling them to maintain dignity, independence and choice. The community features secure entryways to prevent wandering and an open floor plan that allows staff to provide continuous supervision. Home Again Living Waunakee uses a range of techniques to keep residents socially, mentally and physically active, including olfactory stimulation, active tactile stimulation, and light, art, music and pet therapies. In their free time, residents can enjoy being pampered in the beauty salon, enjoy a movie in the theater, socialize with their peers in the lounge and coffee areas or entertain visiting relatives in the pub and entertainment center.
Reviewers describe the staff at Home Again Living Waunakee as friendly and attentive. One resident writes, "I am happy "Home Again” in Waunakee is able to provide a comfortable residence for me … well trained staff. They are enthusiastic, eager to help and willingly take time to sit with me and chat if that’s what I need.”
Homestead Living is a family-owned and operated memory care assisted living community that specializes in dementia care. With a park-like setting that allows residents to enjoy an outdoor patio and backyard, residents can participate in gardening and bird-watching, with communal areas and small parlors inside that allow residents to socialize or seek privacy. There's an activity director on-site, and the community offers programs tailored to engage residents' abilities and interests. Activities include art, music and pet therapy as well as yoga and walking. Staff is available 24/7 to assist with daily living, including administering medication. Along with providing regular social programming, the staff engages with residents throughout the day, aiming to offer purpose and meaning. Residents receive three tasty and nutritious home-made meals daily, made with garden-grown produce, and snacks are available throughout the day.
Family members compliment the care the staff provide to residents, with one saying, "Homestead Living took excellent care of my father. The staff was attentive and there were always plenty of people on staff to give one on one attention when needed. We were always very comfortable visiting and felt that Dad got great personal care."
Milestone Senior Living Cross Plains has an idyllic rural setting in the village of Cross Plains, a short drive from Madison via U.S. Route 14. This AbiliT retirement community has a large front patio and secured garden areas, and some of its floor plans have private balconies or patios. Well-appointed common spaces include a fireside living area, casual restaurant-style dining room and activity room as well as a salon and spa. Memory care residents benefit from round-the-clock support from a staff that receives ongoing training from the Alzheimer’s Association and includes two dementia care specialists. Therapeutic activities are offered including wellness programs, music and memory, arts and crafts, games and weekly entertainment. For the residents’ safety, the facility is equipped with handrails, monitored exits and wander management systems.
People attest to the exceptional care provided at Milestone Senior Living Cross Plains. A resident’s loved one notes, "The food is good and the menus are healthy. The staff engages him to join the activities like singing and music. The staff are easy to get a hold of and they answer my questions quickly.”
New Perspective Senior Living Sun Prairie is a block away from Main Street and close to Angell Park in Sun Prairie, a suburban city just northeast of Madison. This pet-friendly retirement community features a dance hall, fitness center, heated pool and cafe/pub. Its separate assisted living and memory care neighborhood is a single-level homelike structure with two secured courtyards. The Betty Harbor memory care unit has its own living area, dining room and community kitchen. Residents are served three chef-prepared meals daily and given 24-hour care and supervision while engaging in a range of purposeful activities, such as yoga and movie night, for their physical, cognitive and social well-being. To further support their health and safety, the facility has on staff and on-call nurses.
Residents are happy to call New Perspective Senior Living New Prairie home. One reviewer says, "Did not know what to expect, living here. But it has been great. Everyone is so friendly. Like the food. Changing menus all the time so that is good. Don’t eat [the] same thing all the time. Great activities.”
Oak Park Place Madison is located in a park-like setting overlooking Lake Monona and the dome of the Capitol Building. Residents receive a daily schedule within a 365-day program that features a variety of activities designed to keep them engaged, including sensory programming, reminiscing and music and pet therapies. The community also works closely with family members to create a “deep dive” lifestyle profile to understand each senior’s history, enabling it to provide person-centered care to meet their needs. Residents can spend their free time relaxing or socializing with friends in one of the dozen sunrooms or outdoors by the fountain in the courtyard. Oak Park Place Madison offers a continuum of care allowing residents to remain within the community should their needs change.
Reviewers recommend Oak Park Place Madison for its cleanliness and the variety of activities on offer. One relative writes, "My husband moved to Oak Park Place two months ago. He thinks it's wonderful there; he enjoys it and he thinks the food is good … When I was there it was always nice, clean, and quiet … his room is exceptionally large.”
Oakwood Village University Woods is in a convenient location close to all the medical facilities and shops of downtown Madison. The on-site wellness center provides a few basic health care services, including health monitoring, management of chronic conditions, wound care, X-rays, catheter care and blood glucose monitoring. The memory care unit is housed in a secure entry section of the building for the safety of residents. Each individual has a custom care plan that includes details of their preferences and past history so that staff can provide the best level of personal care for them. The caregiving staff is always on hand to offer care and assistance when needed. Three nutritious meals are served on a daily basis and snacks are always available. Activities include religious services, fitness classes, supervised walks, arts and crafts and games for cognitive improvement.
Friends are impressed by the staff and activities available with one reviewer saying, "The staff is absolutely very friendly and very good. There are multiple activities daily. They have a chorale concert, a stamp-collecting club, and lecture series. It is really a top-notch place. They are a progressive care facility."
Sage Meadow of Middleton is in the Orchid Heights neighborhood of Middleton, a suburb immediately northwest of Madison. Its two standalone homes have secured patio areas, and the memory care residents’ rooms are easily distinguished by the personalized memory boxes on their doors. Residents benefit from 24-hour supervision, medication management, visiting physicians and assistance with medical appointments. The community actively takes part in the local Dementia Friendly movement through fund-raising events, and it continues to provide its staff new learning programs on dementia. Every month, the residents are visited by students from the neighboring preschool, together with an outreach librarian, for fun storytelling, singing and meaningful social interactions. Other regular activities to look forward to include Music & Memory, painting, pet therapy, short story reading and holiday parties.
Families are impressed by Sage Meadow of Middleton’s welcoming atmosphere. A memory care resident’s wife says, "Everyone that I have met so far has been very polite and appears to know and genuinely like working with the residents. My husband’s room has a nice big window to let in the sunlight, it is sufficiently provided with everything he needs.”
Sienna Meadows Memory Care in Oregon combines a family-friendly, small-town atmosphere with easy access to the larger communities of nearby Madison and Janesville. As a community, it is designed for residents with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. Residents have controlled access to secure outdoor areas, including courtyards with walking paths along which are memory-triggering nooks. The community provides a stimulating environment for residents, allowing them to engage in life-enhancing activities on a daily basis that concentrates on each individual's life story. While promoting safety and security, its staff is trained to incorporate each resident's likes and needs through daily life enhancement programming. Using supportive cues, staff seek to keep residents comfortable while providing quality care and keeping them safe.
Visiting family members are impressed with the staff and food, with one saying, "My aunt has lived at Sienna crest for several years. She is very happy with the care there, the outstanding staff and manager, and the homemade food. ... The residents are usually chatting in the front room, and the facility has a wonderfully homey feel to it."
Sylvan Crossings of Fitchburg offers a warm, homelike setting in a single-floor dwelling. It’s located in a quaint residential neighborhood adjacent to McKee Farms Park in Fitchburg, a suburb just south of Madison and a short drive from the state capital’s downtown. The facility has a spacious front porch and a large, secure backyard that provides a relaxing space for sitting down, strolling and gardening. Its dedicated staff provides compassionate care that addresses the personal, social and health care needs of its residents. Care services are coordinated by a registered nurse, allowing residents to comfortably age in place. Exercises and leisure activities are customized according to the residents’ abilities and interests. Menus are carefully planned with a dietitian and offered in four-week cycles, offering a variety of nutritious meals prepared with fresh, local ingredients.
Family members commend the helpful staff at Sylvan Crossings of Fitchburg. A resident’s loved one writes, "The people are really nice at this community … Mom likes the food and activities they offer. The community is clean and well-maintained inside and out. This community is just the right size for Mom so you are able to get to know everyone.”
Tender Reflections of DeForest offers a supportive, compassionate and secure setting where seniors affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia can live a life as fulfilling as possible. Each resident receives a personalized care plan based on their individual needs and capabilities. Trained caregivers are available 24/7 to provide assistance with ADLs and medication management while carrying out regular health checks. Residents’ leisure time is structured to ensure participation in meaningful and purposeful activities that are designed to promote physical and cognitive individuality, with a focus on life skills, hobbies and educational opportunities. Seniors have access to an on-site beauty salon and barbershop and can entertain visiting relatives in one of the many communal lounge areas or in the private dining room and bistro.
Residents and their families appreciate the safe, secure and peaceful community that Tender Reflections of DeForest provides them. Seniors also enjoy the wide variety of activities on offer and freshly prepared meals in the large communal dining room.