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 Olympia’s senior population continues to grow (21.96% growth between 2013 and 2017), so does the concern about aging and the risk of cognitive impairment.
In Olympia, the number of deaths for those 65 and older caused or partly caused by Alzheimer’s disease rose 33.09% between 2013 and 2017. To put that in perspective, the number of deaths from all causes for that same age group only increased by 14.06%, 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 (8.06% in Olympia 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 more than a dozen hours researching senior living communities in Olympia. 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 Olympia, 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:
Alpine Way Continuing Care Community is located in Shelton, Washington, a friendly town known for its magnificent evergreen trees. Residents enjoy luxurious yet comfortable surroundings with beautiful views, outdoor patios, and walking paths. Everything is designed with safety, comfort, and functionality in mind. Residents are even able to bring along their pets when moving in. With 24/7 licensed nursing and the EverWell program, residents receive consistent care from licensed staff, with custom care plans after providing on-site health assessments. This community has on-site physical and occupational therapy services. It also offers a robust life enrichment activity program for all residents to encourage wellness by entertaining and engaging residents.
Reviewers compliment Alpine Way for being well-kept as well, as for having delicious food and caring staff members. One resident’s family member writes, "The staff were numerous, skilled, attentive, and empathetic. The facility was modern and very clean. The food was surprisingly good.”
Cascade Park Gardens is a Tacoma-based senior living community that primarily offers specially designed memory care services to provide a safe and caring environment for people with Alzheimer’s and related dementia. Residents are housed in secure private and shared rooms, with assistance available from a trained, compassionate staff. The staff follows a person-centered approach in care that focuses on residents’ unique abilities, preferences and needs and promotes maximum independence. Therapeutic and recreational activities such as exercise and fitness, music, sensory stimulation and reminiscing programs, flower arrangement, scenic drives and holiday parties provide positive experiences and enhance quality of life. A health care team is on hand to develop and implement individually tailored care plans that address the specific health needs of each resident.
Reviewers like the many activities, variety of food choices and the clean community with nice improvements and enhancements. They appreciate that the staff is very open and always available to take care of issues when needed. "We were concerned with how she would adjust after living alone for 40 years. Staff were supportive, personal and caring. She has had no difficulties with adjustment,” commented one family member about her mother’s experience.
Nestled next to Providence St. Peter Hospital and Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Olympia, Washington, Garden Courte Memory Care offers respite and memory care. When a resident first arrives at this facility, the activities director schedules a meeting to learn what piques their interest. From morning exercises and painting classes to bird watching and ice cream socials, activities are designed to enrich residents' lives. Residents enjoy going on picnics at state parks and taking trips to the nail salon. They can also spend time relaxing in the covered outdoor gazebo or socializing in the community dining room, where the dietary management team makes three meals from scratch each day and is able to accommodate some modified diets.
Garden Courte receives high praise for having many amenities. According to the family member of one resident, "You name it and they have it there: a mini theatre, an exercise room … all the usual housekeeping and food services, plus activities and socializing fun.”
With plenty of shopping and entertainment destinations, Grace Garden is a small and intimate assisted living community that's conveniently located in Lakewood near Interstate 5. The warm, friendly caregivers work diligently to promote the physical and mental health of all residents, and they regularly take seniors out to local destinations so they can connect with the community. Grace Garden focuses on activities that enhance cognitive function, including art classes and card games. Events are also planned throughout the year to inspire fun and socialization, including holiday and birthday parties, barbecues and picnics. With a staff to resident ratio of 1:6, safety is a priority at Grace Garden, which includes a computerized system that alerts staff whenever a resident enters an unauthorized area.
The spouse of one of the residents said, "My wife's experience here at this community was excellent. They took very good care of her and all her needs ... they did everything they could to make her feel comfortable." Other reviewers noted that the facility was very clean and had many accommodations available for residents with mobility issues.
Patriots Landing is an independent living, assisted living and memory care facility located minutes from Interstate 5 in DuPont, Washington. While this community prides itself on caring for veterans, residents who have not served in the military are welcome as well. Personalized service plans are developed for each resident to ensure they receive the care they need. The facility offers a variety of amenities, including a fitness room, sauna and swimming pool. Residents can also play a round of golf on the putting green or stop by the on-site dog park. The Memory Care Center even has its own enclosed courtyard where residents can spend time outside in a secure environment.
People are impressed by the pleasant atmosphere at Patriots Landing. "The beautiful lobby is decorated with art created by local artists. There is a grand staircase that leads up to the next floor and a nice sitting area. The dining room is decorated formally, and staff are professionally dressed," writes one online reviewer.
Located in Gig Harbor, Penrose Harbor at Heron’s Key is an upscale continuing care retirement community. For residents of the 15-unit memory care neighborhood, the facility provides many signature programs. Through the Music and Memory program, each resident receives a personalized playlist of their favorite songs. Listening to this playlist can help residents relax and tap into forgotten memories. Seniors can also look forward to visits from therapy pets. Nurses are available 24 hours a day, and there is an on-site health clinic for convenient medical care. Transportation to off-site medical appointments is provided. Residents can relax in their private suites, chat with their friends on the outdoor patio or enjoy farm-to-table meals in the dining room.
Visitors are impressed with the helpful, professional staff. "Management has worked hard to build a better care team, and it is evident that everyone here is deeply invested in their work,” a reviewer raves. Another reviewer notes that there are "tons of on-site facilities.”
Roo Lan Memory Care is nestled in a residential neighborhood in Lacey, a suburb of Olympia. The community has two self-contained lodges for its memory care residents, and each is home to up to 32 seniors. To help residents navigate the lodges independently, each lodge has a circular layout, with common areas in the center and resident rooms on the outer walls. Nursing services are available 24 hours a day. Many other health care services are available on-site, including podiatry, physical therapy and psychiatry. A variety of special diets can be accommodated at mealtimes, and family members are welcome to join residents for a meal. The monthly activity calendar features bingo, coloring, ice cream socials and other fun group activities.
Visitors say the facility’s grounds are well-maintained with "lots of plants and garden areas.” Visitors also mention the friendly, helpful staff and full activity calendar. "The staff keeps the residents entertained and stimulated with personalized care and attention,” a reviewer says.
Located just a few minutes from Olympia, Sharon Care Center is a professionally managed and carefully designed senior living community in Centralia, Washington. It offers memory care services that support the social and physical needs of residents and provides a balance of safety and independence. The facility brings the comforts of home with its attractive apartments, beautifully landscaped grounds and delicious meals and snacks, while ensuring security and safety through emergency call response and fire safety systems. Basic services include personal care, regular housekeeping, resident monitoring, transportation services, meaningful daily activities and weekly religious services. Residents also have access to a therapeutic sauna tub and full-service salon. Family involvement is encouraged, with guest suites and a private dining area available for visitors.
Reviewers appreciate the good food, well-kept surroundings and the consistent job that the staff does. One family member says, "They go out of the way to remember the little things like mom's preferences on how she likes her oatmeal and her fondness for cookies. I live a couple of hours away and they have always called me well in advance of any meetings so that I can make arrangements to be there."
The memory care program at Weatherly Inn Tacoma offers purposeful living in a warm, familiar setting and focuses on socialization and reminiscence. Thoughtfully designed for those coping with cognitive conditions, the community features a homelike environment with beautiful interiors, courtyards and plenty of space to securely wander around. Licensed nurses and certified caregivers look after the health needs of residents and ensure that prescribed medications are properly administered. Engaging daily activities such as exercise, music and outdoor trips create a familiar rhythm and encourage social interaction. The facility provides a comfortable family-style dining routine for its memory care residents and ensures that dietary needs and restrictions are adequately addressed. On holidays and special occasions, residents have an opportunity to bond with their families in organized meal festivities that combine good food and entertainment.
The facility gets positive comments about its nice layout, beautiful interior, exterior decor and nice courtyard views. Families describe the staff as flexible in the way they treat each resident. "My mom's experience at Weatherly Inn is going smoothly! The facility is clean and the staff is nice and polite, and they are sure to take good care of my mother,” says one reviewer.