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 Monterey's senior population continues to grow (18.60% growth between 2014 and 2019), so does the concern about aging and the risk of cognitive impairment.
In Monterey, the number of deaths for those 65 and older caused or partly caused by Alzheimer’s disease rose 4.8% between 2014 and 2019. The number of deaths from all causes for that same age group increased by 11.14%. Overall, the percentage of seniors’ deaths related to Alzheimer’s is in line with the rest of the nation (6.7% in Monterey 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 Monterey. 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 Monterey, 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 Park Lane is located on a lush landscape complete with amenities meant to make living easy. Resort-style dining and sweeping vistas of Monterey Bay make this community stand out. There is a lounge area for social gatherings, and pets are welcome here. Compassion is the emphasis of the memory care program. Care plans are personalized for each resident and include daily tasks meant to sharpen cognitive skills and encourage independence. Memory care activities include community discussions, "sittercise" physical fitness, scenic drives and crafting. There is also a secure courtyard with a walking path so that memory care residents can enjoy time outside. Family members are also encouraged to participate in the cultivation of care plans.
Residents and their family members laud The Park Lane for its approach to comfortable living. Memory care is a common point of mention due to the diverse activities. One notes, "My mother lives at The Park Lane and is very happy. The staff are very friendly and helpful, the food is quite good, and the facility is well-maintained."
Sunrise of Monterey is just minutes from the water and offers plenty of programming options. The Reminiscence neighborhood is specific for memory care residents and is designed to make navigation as easy as possible. The common spaces are near residents' suites for easy access to meals and social time. Validation Therapy is the construct used to communicate with memory care residents. It emphasizes direct eye contact, rephrasing and emotion matching. The community is a pet-friendly one. Residents are encouraged to participate in various activities to support memory, including brain games, cross-generational sharing, group fitness and sensory bridging.
Reviews of this community emphasize its cleanliness and variety of programming meant to engage and entertain. One notes, "It's the best fit for his needs. They have all kinds of programs. They have excursions. They have their own special care manager and their own special care management plans for every resident in their memory care unit."
The Cottages of Carmel is a boutique community that delivers memory care in a comfortable, homelike environment. Resort-style amenities include an on-site library, concierge services, a bocce ball court and a well-appointed dining room. Memory care focuses on programming that reinforces cognition and life skills, including cooking, gardening, listening to music and scrapbooking. There are two neighborhoods focusing on memory care here. The first, Bridge, is ideal for those that are just beginning to experience memory issues. It offers a bit more independence than Stillwater, which is for those with more advanced memory loss. The Gourmet Bites Cuisine is a specialty dining program that considers sensory engagement as part of the community's efforts to cognitively stimulate residents. The personal pantry stocks residents' favorite foods. Pet therapy and group fitness classes are offered for memory care residents, as are courses at Watermark University. This helps to sharpen existing cognitive skills and helps residents to form new ones.
Residents and their loved ones laud this community for its aesthetics, programming and staff. Family members note the care shown to residents by staff members and the professionalism of the memory care team. One says, "The light really comes through the windows, so it's warm and inviting. The staff are great. Their food is phenomenal."
Vista Garden Ranch provides assisted living and memory care in a nurturing environment that feels like home. Nestled in Salinas, just minutes away from the ocean, residents enjoy peaceful surroundings, friendly staff, and activities that engage the mind. Memory care specialists help those in need of help with the activities of daily living, medication management, and all other necessities required by loved ones affected by dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Homestyle meals in a restaurant-style setting encourage a sense of community and belonging, and a cultural enrichment center provides daily activities that enhance the well-being of the community.
Residents at Vista Harden Ranch love the community's entertaining activities. As one reviewer writes, "It was a nice place. It had nice accommodation, and the staff was friendly. My mother liked it there when she went to see it. She is diagnosed with dementia, and they have care for dementia and Alzheimer's, so I thought it would be the perfect place for her, and it's close to where she's living. They were in a group having Activity Day the day I visited. I visited the lunch area and the dining area, and it was very entertaining. They always had arts and crafts there. It will really help my mother because she has dementia."
Sunrise Villa Salinas takes a holistic approach to daily living, using some of the tenets from this philosophy in memory care programs. Many of the activities are led by residents, and social events are frequent to enhance engagement. Amenities include a state-of-the-art fitness studio, on-site salon and co-op garden. Memory care includes the Life Story Program, which uses journaling and storytelling to help residents reflect on their most important memories and record them. The Terrace Club is the specially designated area of the community geared towards memory care residents. It offers added support for those that need it, including medication management and assistance with daily activities. The Sunrise with Purpose program has been tweaked for memory care in this community, offering residents opportunities to pursue new hobbies, try various art classes and go on excursions to ensure optimal engagement with others.
Reviews are detailed, touching on everything from scheduled events to the ease of navigation around the community. They each underscore the lengths to which Sunrise has gone to make it comfortable for residents at all care levels. One writes, "Everybody tells me that I have the best place in the whole organization. I am very happy here."
Madonna Gardens is a safe haven for residents with dementia, Alzheimer's and memory-related issues, offering comprehensive physical and nutritional plans and its specially designed memory care program known as Carefield's Living Lightfinder. The memory program enhances the cognitive abilities of residents through organized outings, intergenerational activities and social interactions. Assistance is available 24/7 with housekeeping, laundry, grooming, bathing and toileting. Memory care residents eat three meals daily, served in the dining room and prepared according to their needs and restrictions.
Visitors and family appreciate the care and services provided at Madonna Gardens, with one reviewer saying, "My mother lived at Madonna Manor after falling and breaking her hip in her home. � She received excellent care from all the caregivers. They were loving, kind, gracious, dedicated team. I recommend that anyone seeking to place their mother in assisted living check out the Manor. The facility is good. Older than some but has lovely grounds. It is the staff that makes it special."
Merrill Gardens at Gilroy is situated in a quiet community surrounded by acres of natural settings. Memory care is delivered through the Garden House segment of the community. From gardening in the raised garden beds to flower arranging, the activities offered to residents here help to develop new skills and retain existing cognition. Residents enjoy restaurant-style dining and a specialized wellness program. Outdoor spaces are properly secured to allow residents a safe environment to enjoy walking or socializing. Additional activities at this pet-friendly community include ice cream socials, wine and cheese tastings, picnics, Bible studies and pet therapy.
Reviewers discuss the extensive programming of the memory care program and the unique entertainment options meant to keep residents fully engaged. One relative writes, "Merrill Gardens at Gilroy is lovely and bright. They have caring staff. My mom is in memory care, and the staff treats them with dignity and respect which I really like."
Westwind Memory Care specializes in memory care, which is reflected in the diversity of its program components. Each of the memory care suites has a large shower with accessible features and is painted a different color to help residents identify their rooms. Community amenities include raised gardening beds, an on-site whirlpool spa and activity options seven days a week. The courtyard area is enclosed and surrounded by flowers for optimal security and common areas include a therapy room and resident lounge. There are also special activities rooms for resident programming. A monthly support group helps families cope with the effects of memory issues, and life enrichment activities customized to each resident keep them happy and content.
Residents and their loved ones discuss the professionalism of the staff and the amenities meant to keep residents engaged and comfortable. Programming for memory care is especially robust, ranging from brain games to physical activity. One writes, "My aunt has been living in Westwind Memory Care for more than a month now. She's very content and happy with the place."
Paradise Villa, located on the scenic California coast, has provided in-depth senior living care services for 40 years. Its memory care program includes 24/7 staff monitoring and medication management, as well as modified activities for social interaction and development. Residents are cared for in secure studio apartments and suites. Amenities include three nutritious meals daily, laundry and housekeeping services and a personalized care plan. The community activities available include low-impact exercise and music and art performances.
Residents and families love the considerate and thorough care at Paradise Villa. One relative says, "This is one of the best facilities! We moved our dad in here and his health and overall happiness has improved tremendously!! They always seem to have some sort of activity going on and Dad has taken a liking to being involved in those!"
Set within a historic landmark and a short walk from the beach, Sunshine Villa provides memory care and assisted living. The community assists those who have memory lapses or experience confusion caused by Alzheimer's disease, dementia and Huntington's disease, and it provides a secure environment, including secure outdoor spaces where seniors can enjoy the sun. Wellness programs help encourage socialization and keep minds active to help reduce cognitive decline, and a full-service beauty salon makes it easy for seniors to look their best. Meals are served restaurant-style. Activities available include yoga, tai chi, Wii Sports, gardening and games, and seniors can participate in lectures and discussions as well as arts and crafts.
Many family members comment on the friendly staff and family atmosphere. One says, "Sunshine Villa has very friendly and supportive staff. They have lots of activities and they have a beautiful garden in the middle. They have good residents too. They have musical programs, arts and crafts, flower arranging, crossword puzzles [and] movies."
Aegis Living Aptos is a memory care and assisted living community that emphasizes stimulating activities for seniors with memory loss. The memory care unit includes innovative care programs designed for residents to ease the symptoms of dementia, Alzheimer's and other memory-related issues. The Life's Neighborhood program includes common spaces designed to keep seniors safe, light and music therapy that promote a calm environment and activities such as group exercise to stimulate each resident's mind and body. Residents are offered 24/7 assistance with health care needs and activities of daily living to make life easier while customized meal plans meet individualized nutrition targets.
Visitors and family members appreciate this community's welcoming and active atmosphere. One says, "Aegis of Aptos seemed like a very nice large home. It was very clean. Everything was modern. They had a dining room where you could choose your meal. They had religious services. They had day trips. They had garden activities. It was very upscale. [Singers] came in to sing for the folks there. They served 3 meals a day, and you could get food anytime you wanted."
Situated near the Cabrillo Highway, Merrill Gardens at Monterey is surrounded by tall trees, providing a peaceful setting to residents. The memory care wing enjoys tasteful design elements that encourage a sense of comfort and nostalgia. Secured courtyards ensure residents remain safe while they take in the pristine exteriors. The staff is trained in dementia care and mild cognitive impairment and provides 24-hour service. Activities are styled to promote cognitive function and social connections, and each resident has their own wellness program. Medication management, laundry, and cleaning are offered.
Relatives are happy with the level of care offered. One says, "We chose Merrill Gardens at Monterey because they gave us a really good rate on the care. My grandfather is in the assisted living and my grandmother is in the memory care, and so far it's fantastic. Everybody's very polite, and very professional. They have very good food."
Anjelica's Villa is located in the seaside town of Monterey, California, only a short drive from the coast. Residents at this community receive a unique plan that fits their needs and provides an at-home experience during their stay. Specialized care types include assisted living and memory care from a dedicated staff, who can provide help with medication management, 24-hour observation and supervision, bedside care and hospice care. The community itself offers an enriching and stimulating activities list for residents, with a program that includes games, daily exercise, outings and films to maintain a healthy social life for residents. Additional amenities include furnished private bedrooms, housekeeping and scheduled doctor visits.
The community shines in patient care with a professional and caring staff. One relative of a resident said, "The facility is exceptionally clean and so are the clients. There is always someone to give assistance to those who need help. This facility was truly a life saver for me."
Cypress Ridge Care Center provides a safe, comfortable environment for memory loss patients and rehab patients with its 24-hour nursing staff. In addition to the skilled nurses, Cypress Ridge Care Center also assigns a coordinator to each new memory care resident whose job it is to ensure a smooth transition and address any questions or concerns of the resident. Each month, Cypress Ridge Care Center comes up with an activity calendar to keep residents engaged and encourage them to socialize with each other. An on-site gym allows residents to remain active and beauticians keep residents looking sharp. The beautiful location of the community helps seniors relax and residents can enjoy a meal together in the dining room while looking out over the ocean.
Family members of residents speak very highly of Cypress Ridge Care Center and praise the staff especially for the care that they provide. One reviewer says, "I stayed at 4 other Skill Nursing facilities in the past. Out [of the] 4 Cypress Ridge is the best. I also love the food here. All the employees are very kind and friendly."
With ocean views and Monterey's average temperatures ranging from 58 to 70 degrees, Seasons Living at Seaside offers a warm and friendly environment that caters to its residents. Caregivers trained in memory care help residents with their unique needs. This personalized approach to Alzheimer's and dementia helps ease the burden associated with memory loss. A comfort care program offers incontinence and bathing assistance as well as other activities of daily living. Residents also have access to behavior management and special diet programs. Scheduled transportation and medication management are on hand to streamline physician care. Short-term respite care is also available.
Seniors and family members enjoy the restaurant-style dining, where the culinary team provides seasonal meals in an elegant, familylike atmosphere. Eating together in this family-style setting ensures a sense of belonging and lasting connections. Twenty-four-hour care and an emergency call system provide a sense of security for all residents.
The Watermark at Bellingham offers independent living, assisted living and memory care on 15 acres of beautiful countryside in Pennsylvania. In this community, all memory care staff members complete specialized training to become Certified Dementia Practitioners so that they can provide high-quality care to residents experiencing memory loss. Community members participate in a variety of activities each day, such as cooking, scrapbooking, gardening and listening to music. Classes, programs and outings are also added to the calendar each month. Care is provided 24/7, a nurse is on staff and a resident emergency response system in place. Nutritious, chef-prepared meals are served daily, and residents' families are welcome to join their loved ones in the dining room. The 24-hour security system provides safety for residents and peace of mind for families. The spacious courtyard and walking paths provide a serene place to enjoy the outdoors.
Residents and their families praise the caring staff, the beautifully landscaped gardens and the excellent dining. One reviewer comments, "The grounds are gorgeous and the quality and variety of the food is tremendous. Overwhelmingly, Bellingham has the friendliest staff and residents of any community I have been to."