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 Norfolk’s senior population continues to grow (16.92% growth between 2014 and 2019), so does the concern about aging and the risk of cognitive impairment.
In Norfolk, the number of deaths for those 65 and older caused or partly caused by Alzheimer’s disease increased by 10% between 2014 and 2019. To put that in perspective, the number of deaths from all causes for that same age group only increased by 6.51%, 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 (3.96% in Norfolk 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 Norfolk. 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 Norfolk, 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:
Conveniently located in the heart of Virginia Beach, Atria Virginia Beach offers easy access to hospitals, shops, beaches and restaurants. The memory care program, known as Life Guidance, consists of four main components: physical activity, social connection and engagement, individualized care and thoughtfully designed space. To promote physical activity, Life Guidance offers at least two exercise opportunities every day, such as dancing, restorative yoga, walking and weight training. Residents can also participate in various social activities, including cocktail happy hours, brain games and group bingo, that encourage social connection and engagement. Each resident receives individualized care based on their personal needs. The Life Guidance neighborhood features secure indoor and outdoor spaces that promote resident independence. A memory display with personal pictures and mementos is placed outside each resident's room to help them navigate back to their apartments.
Family members love how kind and helpful the staff is. A daughter writes, "My mother has enjoyed the community and all the staff. They are very kind and considerate of her. We are very appreciative of everyone there. We consider them all an extended family. Thanks, Atria for going above and beyond for our loved ones."
Situated minutes away from Chesapeake Beach, Bay Lake Retirement and Assisted Living Community lies in a scenic location close to exciting oceanside amenities. Memory care at Bay Lake is designed to make residents flourish through the community's Inspiritas program, which aptly means to infuse spirit and enliven. Inspiritas provides help for seniors dealing with memory-related challenges by offering a blend of safe, comfortable living spaces, compassionate care, wellness and life enrichment activities and a well-balanced dietary program. Using the State of Virginia Universal Assessment Instrument, the team develops personal care plans based on individual history and health records. Plans include clinical and wellness services from attending physicians and licensed nurses, and regular reviews ensure that changing care needs are adequately met. Physical, occupational and speech therapy services are also available on-site.
Residents' families and friends feel welcome when they visit and commend the staff for being responsive, patient and understanding. "I visited a friend's mother who lives in Memory Care at Bay Lake," shares one guest. "I was greeted as if I were a family member and was really impressed at how the staff and residents interacted. The facility is clean and bright."
The memory care team at Bickford Assisted Living & Memory Care Of Suffolk captures each new resident's historical information in a personal document, known as the Lifesong Document, to be utilized by caregivers in daily interactions to deliver individualized care. Each memory care resident also receives a basket, known as the Lifesong Basket, containing items matching their interests and hobbies. Caregivers use the Lifesong Basket to engage in personally meaningful leisure activities with each resident. This community provides two additional memory care services. Moments of Happiness is a premium service of small-group activities tailored for residents with dementia. Companion Care is a premium service of one-on-one activities designed to maximize each resident's engagement. There is also a full calendar of engaging activities for residents to enjoy, such as stretch and tone fitness classes, coffee clubs and chocolate ice cream socials.
People rave about the supportive staff and lovely facility of this community. A reviewer writes, "Bickford of Suffolk is very well cared for. It has very attractive decorations. The facility is lovely. The staff is very eager and very supportive. This place is a little more personal, and it's set up like a home with a fireplace."
Located 10 miles east of Norfolk, Brookdale Virginia Beach is a specialized memory care community for seniors. Seniors have a choice of private or semi-private floor plans, with private baths, plenty of natural light and 24-hour emergency response systems. Residents may also relax or socialize in a variety of indoor and outdoor common areas. Meals, housekeeping, laundry, concierge, delivery of personal goods and mail are all provided along with a robust calendar of activities. The community's Clare Bridge program uses a person-centered approach to gives memory care residents a sense of purpose and belonging, with a Daily Path of six structured programs, including brain and physical fitness programs, to help maintain and improve seniors' cognitive abilities and skills. The community also offers a Solace program for those with advanced stages of memory loss. Trained staff is available at all hours to provide personalized care.
Family members appreciate the caring staff. One writes, "I can now sleep at night knowing mom is being cared for as I would care for her. The staff are all so caring and dedicated." Adds another, "The staff gives good care to the residents. They are treated with love and dignity."
Legacies Memory Care at Chesapeake Place Senior Living provides residents 24/7 care with secure living spaces. With a calendar full of happy hours, bingo, exercise and cultural celebrations, residents can enjoy a stimulating social environment. Common areas include a living room with a piano and interior courtyards. Throughout the day, staff may provide hygiene assistance, dietary supervision and medication management. They focus on supporting memory care residents' social abilities and providing stress-free interactions. In the large dining room or the comfort of their own apartments, residents can enjoy chef-prepared meals that can accommodate many diets. Secured memory care suites include plenty of space for keepsakes and emergency alert systems with easy-to-navigate floor plans. For off-site trips, staff provides transportation for appointments and group outings.
Residents and loved ones appreciate how diligent and communicative all levels of staff are. One says, "The staff work hard at providing an environment of care and safety. The administrative team is very accessible and responsive."
Commonwealth Memory Care at Chesapeake is located 7 miles south of Norfolk, with a variety of health care facilities nearby, including Chesapeake Regional Medical Center. Seniors who enjoy spending time outdoors may soak up the sun in the enclosed courtyard and sitting area. Specifically designed for residents with memory impairment, the homelike community features easy-to-navigate floor plans and soothing color schemes. The memory care program, which is tailored to resident's unique needs, includes 24/7 care and assistance with daily living tasks as well as medication management and housekeeping. The activities program is designed to slow cognitive decline and optimize quality of life. Activities include painting, flower arranging and a walking club. The community's open-door policy encourages family members to visit whenever they choose, and regular family events are scheduled on-site.
Visitors praise the homey environment, with one reviewer saying, "I found everything at Commonwealth Memory Care to be excellent. ... It was very homey, very cozy, and warm. The staff was very welcoming ... They have outdoor facilities so they can go outside, they have arts and crafts, they have celebrations for holidays, and they just do things to keep everybody occupied."
Commonwealth Senior Living at Cedar Manor is situated on beautifully landscaped grounds with spectacular views of a private lake and conveniently close to medical offices, restaurants and retail shops. The memory care community offers comfortable private or companion suites with private baths that open out onto secure, outdoor courtyards and gardens. Its Sweet Memories program is designed to provide high-quality care for those with Alzheimer's disease, dementia and other forms of memory loss. A dedicated team of 24-hour caregivers assists seniors with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing or eating. Customized social programs and scheduled activities help stimulate the cognitive, social and mental skills of each resident. Memory care life stations allow seniors to stir up memories of their past hobbies, occupations and emotions in a relaxing space. Families are encouraged to attend Cedar Manor's monthly family night dinners to reminisce with loved ones.
Family members like the services offered and how spacious the accommodations are at Cedar Manor. One relative expressed, "My father moved into here. I'm pleased with the amenities, the rooms, and the services. They're easy to get around in, and there's a broad range of activities."
Commonwealth Senior Living at Churchland House offers an award-winning memory care program, known as Sweet Memories, which develops a personalized care plan for each resident following a thorough evaluation of their life history. The caregivers are certified in Virtual Dementia Tour training, enabling them to gain a deep understanding of living with dementia. With a practice known as One Sweet Memory, winner of the Best Practice Award from the Virginia Assisted Living Association, the caregivers regularly capture highlights of each resident's day in photographs and share them with family members. They also use art, scents and nostalgic music to connect with the residents. Two activities directors on staff organize events appropriate for residents with dementia, such as coffee with friends, name-that-song and bean bag toss. Residents can also enjoy various community amenities, including a solarium, beauty salon and billiards room.
Family members love the helpful, caring staff. The daughter of a resident writes, "Everyone on the staff is my mother's guardian angel. Before residing at Churchland House, my mom's health was deteriorating fast. Now, it's like she has a new life. She is never alone, and when she needs help, someone is always there."
Commonwealth Senior Living at Georgian Manor features its specialized Sweet Memories signature programs for memory care residents. One Sweet Memory program entails staff photographing residents throughout the day to share memories and experiences with family. Adding a personalized touch, the staff consult with residents and families on needs and personal preferences when developing care plans. Throughout the day, staff provide assistance with medication management, hygiene and mobility. To help facilitate communication with loved ones, the community's staff encourages residents to share emotions through art. For residents in later stages of dementia, staff members stimulate memories through nostalgic playlists selected by the resident's family. This senior living community also offers exercise classes, live piano playing and current event social discussions, and residents can enjoy a variety of common spaces including secure courtyards, a theater and a chapel.
Residents and families enjoy the robust range of care in this community. One writes, "The staff is exceptionally qualified in senior care. LPNs provide excellent oversight and management of personalized care plans. Med-Techs are on-site around the clock to administer medications which is a critical need for my parents."
This comfortable, elegant senior living community is situated in a quiet residential neighborhood that's conveniently located near two major medical centers. Seniors with memory impairment take part in the community's award-winning Sweet Memories program that provides residents with enriching activities, compassionate care and personalized support to lead a more meaningful, dignified lifestyle. Some of the program’s features and activities include conversations with staff to stimulate memories, expressive art projects, scented towels to induce relaxation, music and activities that reconnect seniors with hobbies and professions they once enjoyed. A secure courtyard and screened porch area provide spaces for residents to relax, exercise and socialize in the fresh air. A beauty salon and barbershop are located on-site, and seniors can go on local shopping outings or small day trips.
Visitors are impressed with the delicious food served, the good activity programmers, the on-site worship services and the family dinners. One resident's family member says, "The staff joins in during the family night, and they're very friendly and sociable."
Commonwealth Senior Living at Leigh Hall in Norfolk, VA offers cozy and comfortable private rooms and companion suites that open out to secure, outdoor gardens and courtyards. Its award-winning Sweet Memories program is designed to meet the unique care needs of residents with Alzheimer's, dementia and other types of memory impairments. A team of 24-hour care staff helps seniors get dressed, take a bath or enjoy a nutritious meal in the family-style dining area. The Sweet Memories program also rekindles the memories of loved ones who have lost their verbal skills by playing familiar genres of music that family members have chosen. Residents' cognitive and physical skills are improved through various types of scheduled activities such as exercise classes, trivia games, and walking clubs. Leigh Hall's SMILE program allows seniors and their families to stay connected by sharing photos and memorable stories every day.
Staff are attentive to the resident's needs and keep families informed. One reviewer wrote, "One of the best places I found. It is Clean, sunny everyone there is nice and helpful to your needs with your loved one. The staff is wonderful they keep you inform on what you need to know."
Located in the neighborhood of central Norfolk, Commonwealth Senior Living at The Ballentine offers a vibrant lifestyle close to shopping centers, parks and hospitals. The community has private and companion suites with private baths that open out to secure, spacious outdoor gardens and courtyards for seniors to enjoy. Its award-winning Sweet Memories program is designed to meet the medical, cognitive and physical needs of memory care residents and personalize care based on their preferences. A compassionate team of 24-hour caregivers makes life easier for seniors by lending a hand with daily tasks such as getting dressed, bathing and taking medications. In addition to memory care life stations, a variety of scheduled activities and social programs help stimulate the mental skills of each resident. Other services include weekly housekeeping, laundry and family-style dining.
The Ballantine offers high-quality care in a loving atmosphere. One reviewer said, "The community itself is welcoming and has charm and personality that feels like home to the residents and their families. I highly recommend this community if you are looking for care for an aging loved one."
Dominion Village at Poquoson is located east of Newport News, where residents can find a range of medical facilities, including City Center Medical Pavilion. The community's amenities, such as a secure outdoor courtyard and welcoming communal areas, are designed to make seniors with dementia feel safe and at home. Professional caregivers provide 24/7 support with daily tasks, including grooming and medication management, as well as services, such as housekeeping. Each resident has a memory care plan tailored to their unique needs and interests. A range of engaging activities, designed to slow memory loss, include pet therapy, social outings and exercise classes. The on-site culinary team prepares restaurant-style meals that focus on optimum nutrition and great taste. The community is pet-friendly, and residents are encouraged to bring their furry friends.
Visitors praise the great care and food, with one reviewer saying, "I visited my great aunt last week and she seems so happy there. Definitely well cared for." Another adds, "Happy residents, happy staff, delicious food, home away from home. Walk in and feel the love!"
Memory care at Harmony at Harbour View centers around the community's Best Friends program. This approach focuses on residents' relationships with staff, neighbors and family. With days of morning fitness routines, concerts, games and memory box activities, residents can stay active while also receiving medication and daily task support from staff. To help meet residents' changing needs, a licensed nurse monitors their health, and common and private areas feature emergency call systems. In the spacious dining room or bistro, residents may enjoy three chef-prepared meals a day, along with snacks. Apartments feature private bathrooms and plenty of natural light, and common areas include a library, theater and game room.
Residents and loved ones praise the staff for providing smooth transitions into the community. One relative says, "The move in went seamlessly. My parents are so pleased with their apartment. We have peace of mind now knowing that they are well cared for."
Located in the thriving city of Virginia Beach, Harmony at Independence is a short drive from many local attractions, including the Sadler Center for the Performing Arts and First Landing State Park. The memory care program of this community is based on the Best Friends Approach, a philosophy that promotes emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing through engagement among staff, residents and family members. To encourage social engagement, this community maintains a full calendar of activities for its residents to enjoy, such as morning music, candy bingo and word games. The team of caregivers is available 24 hours a day through a state-of-the-art emergency call system. A licensed nurse is on-staff to monitor residents' basic health needs. This community offers amenities reminiscent of a resort, with a 24-hour fitness center, beauty salon and barbershop, restaurant-style dining room, pub and bistro.
People praise the staff and food service of this community. The daughter of a resident writes, "The food service is great! You can eat in the dining room, or take your meal to-go. The concierge service is amazing so far! The staff is so helpful and attentive. We hope our mom enjoys many years at Harmony!"
Harmony at Oakbrooke offers memory care in a social setting. Its Best Friends program focuses on residents' relationships with staff, neighbors and family to help with early to late-stage dementia. Thanks to a calendar of morning exercises, ice cream socials and live concerts, residents may enjoy stimulating days with hygiene, medication management and mobility support from staff. A licensed nurse monitors health needs to help ensure adequate care as residents' needs change. Each suite features a private bathroom and emergency notification system, and some have kitchenettes. In the spacious dining room, residents can enjoy chef-prepared meals. Memory care residents have access to all amenities as well as dedicated health and wellness programs.
Residents and loved ones appreciate the welcoming feel of the community. One relative says, "From the moment you step in the front door, you feel welcome. I can rest easy knowing mom is being taken care of and that she is living her golden years in a dignified, comforting and compassionate environment."
Morningside of Newport News is a premium senior living community that offers elegant communal spaces and a variety of activities. The Bridge to Rediscovery memory care unit is located in a secure section of the community specifically designed to meet the needs of seniors with cognitive impairment disorders. Each resident has a shadow box filled with photos and mementos placed next to their door to help them easily navigate to their own apartments. Community members have access to a secured courtyard area where they can safely garden in the raised gardening beds or just relax in the sunshine. A team of trained caregivers is always available to supervise residents and provide compassionate care when required. Activities are tailored to the abilities and interests of individuals and may include life skills stations, cognitive games and musical therapy.
Online reviewers praise the professional staff. "The very friendly and competent staff is very attentive to the needs of the residents, and we're extremely pleased," writes one family member. "They offer any number of activities, they have daily activities of various types, the food is outstanding, and I don't think we could have picked a better place for my mother-in-law."
Amenities at The Gardens of Virginia Beach are intentionally designed to make daily living for memory care residents feel easy. In addition to comfortable, elegant accommodation, residents receive individualized attention from committed, friendly team members and support for medical, transport, and dining needs. Evidence-based approaches to health and wellness help residents stay active and embrace social events, such as mixers, movies, group fitness classes, poker and bridge games, scheduled daily. Residents can enjoy restaurant-style, chef-created healthy and delicious meals at any time of day, either in the communal dining room or as room service. Meals are produced using local ingredients and tailored to meet any dietary restrictions or doctor-recommended diets, and residents may also consult with a community-based dietician. There is a full-service beauty salon and barbershop on-site, as well as a spacious activity center.
People agree that the staff is friendly and "treats the residents with so much love like family." One family member of a resident expressed, "The facility is well appointed for comfort / luxury and very well maintained with competent on-site facilities management. The well-trained nursing and support staff is 100% authentic and genuinely attentive to my mother's every need."
The Memory Center is a specialized senior living community in Virginia Beach, VA. Dedicated to memory care, this community is designed around a familiar neighborhood format, featuring a general store, town center and specialty shops reminiscent of home. Residents live in private and semi-private residences, filled with natural light from large windows and ready to furnish with residents' favorite items. Favorite pictures and photos are posted outside each residence door, creating a pleasing and memorable landmark to help with navigation and identity. A robust offering of medical and personal services ensures that each resident receives personalized care and assistance, from medication management and routine health monitoring to advanced services such as rehabilitative therapies. Daily schedules are structured to provide sensory stimulation and independent engagement, including morning aerobics classes, mid-day ice cream socials and movie nights in the community theater.
The community is often praised by residents and their families for its dedicated staff and its compassionate care. One family member says, "I am always impressed that when we go walking around the facility with her every staff member we see greets her and calls her by name."
The Waterford at Virginia Beach aims to provide a fun, interesting environment for residents. Trained staff in the memory care neighborhood gives each community member individual attention as they assist with daily living tasks and help to foster a sense of routine. A welcoming setting makes seniors feel at home, and the secure location helps residents feel calm. Personalized activities include physical exercise, creative crafts and cognitive stimulation programs. Residents in the memory care neighborhood receive encouragement to be as independent as possible. Apartments have walk-in showers and safety assist railing for easy access and convenience. The physical layout of the communal areas keeps the residents' needs at the forefront, and three daily meals and snacks ensure all memory care community members are well-nourished.
Reviewers often mention the staff in a positive light. For example, a daughter says, "This is a very spacious and beautiful assisted living facility that is very clean and has some of the most professional staff members with excellent Customer Service skills." Another family member states, "The staff are very caring. The community is very well maintained."