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 Philadelphia’s senior population continues to grow (11.9% growth between 2013 and 2018), so does the concern about aging and the risk of cognitive impairment.
In Philadelphia, the number of deaths for those 65 and older caused or partly caused by Alzheimer’s disease increased by 47.3% between 2013 and 2018. To put that in perspective, the number of deaths from all causes for that same age group only increased by .17%, 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 (2.93% in Philadelphia 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 Philadelphia. 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 Philadelphia, 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:
Allegria at The Oaks has a peaceful location along Neshaminy Creek and is conveniently situated on Pennsylvania Route 513 in Bensalem, a Philadelphia suburb a short drive from the city center. The facility sits in tranquil wooded surroundings that can be enjoyed from several sitting areas and a gazebo on the landscaped grounds. The dedicated memory and Alzheimer’s support available at Allegria at The Oaks offers stimulating daily activities and provides increased care and supervision for those with dementia. Residents enjoy restaurant-style dining and are free to participate in various activities such as bingo, yoga, cooking, gardening and pottery classes. Outings are scheduled for shopping and movies, museum visits and other exciting trips. On-site services include salon treatments and religious services, as well as physical therapy, physician consultations, and mobile dentistry.
Families attest to the exceptional care that their loved ones receive at Allegria at The Oaks. A resident couple’s relative recalls, "They enjoyed the company of both staff and residents alike. As their health declined over time the level of care they required increased and the Oaks staff provided excellent care for my parents. I myself visited every morning and got to know many of these caring staff members.”
Serenely situated on the banks of a willow-lined lake, Willow Grove has been providing luxury senior care for Montgomery County since 1990. The 115-bed community offers assisted living and a specially designed memory care neighborhood for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive impairment. On-site amenities include an elegant piano lounge, sunrooms, an activity center and a beauty salon. Chef-prepared meals are served restaurant-style in the spacious dining room with wall-to-wall windows overlooking the tranquil lake, where ducks, swans and other wildlife reside. Residents can enjoy the relaxing scenery from their lake-view studio apartments or on the paved walking paths that wind through the landscaped gardens. Many of the team members have worked at Willow Lake for over a decade, providing residents with a warm, homelike atmosphere and compassionate, dignified care.
The beautiful facility with a scenic lakeside location appeals to residents and family members, as does the robust activities program. One son whose mother is in memory care shares, "My mom has been here for over a year. She has been genuinely happy. The staff knows her by name and always seems to know where she is when I pop in.”
Originally founded in 1869 as The Baptist Home of Philadelphia, the Deer Meadows Retirement Community of today is a community landmark. This continuing care retirement community provides high-quality residential services that allow seniors to remain active and independent while knowing 24/7 support and medical care is available should their health care needs change. The 419-bed facility includes 206 skilled nursing beds, with the remaining 126 apartments allocated for residents in independent and assisted living as well as a secure dementia unit. Memory care residents live in private studio-style apartments with 24-hour security and around-the-clock caregivers. A daily schedule of activities and an engaging recreation program encourage residents to interact with staff and peers. Memory care residents enjoy three nutritious meals daily served in a private dining room and gather in dedicated activity areas to socialize and participate in classes and dementia-specific projects.
Family members appreciate that loved ones can receive a full continuum of care on the same campus, including long-term skilled nursing and hospice services. One woman shares, "My brother lives at Deer Meadows, and he loves it! Clean facility, with a caring and friendly staff in all departments. Plenty of activities and occasional outings.”
Germantown Home lies on a 13.5-acre parklike Philadelphia property that’s conveniently accessible by public transportation. It provides comprehensive services that accommodate changing levels of care needs, allowing seniors’ to transition to a higher type of care plan within the community. Memory care residents are housed in a supportive, homelike neighborhood designed with relaxing colors, a fireplace and resident-friendly kitchen. Staff members, including the memory support coordinator and aides, undergo specialized dementia training from the Alzheimer’s Resource Center in Connecticut, allowing them to effectively implement innovative programs that promote physical, mental and spiritual well-being. One of these programs is the award-winning Comfort and Joy program which involves residents’ interaction with school-aged children and local artists through arts and cultural activities. Germantown Home also provides periodic assessments of residents' physical, mental and cognitive abilities, as well as coordination of on-site laboratory, therapy and dental services.
Reviewers observe that the residents are well cared for. The good service and communication, friendly environment and responsive staff get positive feedback from families, with one saying, "I found the staff to be very manageable. When I ask a question, they respond quickly. My mother has no problem with them and everybody likes her.”
Residences at Chestnut Ridge is an independent living, assisted living and memory care community located between Chester Park and Interstate 476 in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. The facility has a spacious community dining room that provides access to a back patio and a special dining room for private gatherings. Memory care residents live on the Homestead floor, which is a secure environment where staff members encourage socialization and engagement. They can spend time participating in cognitive memory-building exercises and physical activities and may receive occupational, physical and speech therapy. Seniors can also update their look at the on-site beauty salon, watch movies in the media room and attend art and cooking classes.
Residences at Chestnut Ridge receives praise from residents for being a well-maintained facility that offers many activities. One resident remarks, "It's really very nice, and I'm very pleased with everything. It seems like everything is in good shape and well taken care of. There are plenty of activities and you can never really do everything.”
Saunders House is located within the grounds of Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, PA, just 6.5 miles outside of Philadelphia. It has been providing support and care to seniors for more than 150 years. Those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia can take part in the facility’s care traditions program that offers residents the support they need to maintain their freedom and dignity. Saunders House organizes engaging activities including arts and crafts, discussion groups, cooking classes, and musical performances. As part of an intergenerational program, the community regularly welcomes local students to visit and interact with residents. Seniors can also enjoy outings and field trips into the local community or join visits to cultural sites. Communal lounges, private areas, and an outdoor patio offer plenty of areas to relax or entertain visitors.
Online reviews describe Saunders House as a pleasant community with kind and professional staff. A relative of one resident writes, "Excellent facility that caters to the needs of their residents. Each and every staff member I have been in contact with has been helpful, caring, professional and supportive."
Offering a full suite of care options including independent living and memory care, Simpson House is a continuing care retirement community enabling seniors to age in place. Memory care residents receive care plans personalized to their needs and 24-hour supervision from caregivers specially trained in assisting people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. In addition to residents' three daily meals, healthy snacks are always available. Between exercise classes, gardening, arts and crafts and restaurant outings, Simpson House offers an engaging activity to catch every resident's interest. With the community's on-site podiatrists, nurse practitioners and physicians board-certified in geriatrics, residents have a wide array of health care specialists seconds away from their doorstep.
Simpson House receives frequent praise for its attractive setting and friendly caregivers. One resident's family member mentioned, "Lovely in so many ways. The residents are kind and exude vibrancy and a zest for life. Many staffers are pleasant and thoughtful even in the midst of their own life challenges."
Wesley Enhanced Living at Stapeley is located in the Germantown area of Northwest Philadelphia, surrounded by a forested area that showcases nature's beauty. The Bridges memory care unit is well-lit and spacious and designed with helpful visual cues for easy navigation by the residents. Here, seniors are cared for by highly trained aides and professional staff with expertise in dementia disorders. Residents of the facility benefit from concierge services and welcoming amenities which include The Fireside Restaurant for elegant casual dining, a well-stocked library for pleasure reading, cozy lounge areas for relaxing and socializing and a multipurpose room for movies, live entertainment and other activities. Worship services and spiritual programs are available on-site, and transportation is provided for shopping trips and doctor’s appointments.
The compassionate staff of Wesley Enhanced Living at Stapeley receive high marks. An Alzheimer’s resident’s loved one shares, "The nursing staff treated her with love and respect. Whenever I visited, my mom would be with the nurses and would be at ease and happy. They would give me updates about how mom was doing that day … They kept a good eye on her and I could tell.”