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 Portland’s senior population continues to grow (18.5% growth between 2013 and 2018), so does the concern about aging and the risk of cognitive impairment.
In Portland, the number of deaths for those 65 and older caused or partly caused by Alzheimer’s disease increased by 7.34% between 2013 and 2018. To put that in perspective, the number of deaths from all causes for that same age group only increased by 6.8%, 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 (5.3% in Portland 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 hour researching senior living communities in Portland. 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 Portland, 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:
Avita of Stroudwater is a Northbridge senior living community that focuses primarily on memory care. True to its name, which translates to For Life, the community strives to create a nurturing, fulfilling environment for seniors. Memory care residents are housed in comfortable private and semiprivate rooms located in a separate neighborhood that’s thoughtfully designed to be homelike and small enough to minimize confusion. Secure outdoor courtyards with pathways, sensory gardens and seating areas provide relaxing spaces for communing with nature. Happiness and health are prioritized at Avita through a robust activity calendar that includes wellness programs, cultural and educational activities, and a brain gym for mind stimulation. Quality time with families is encouraged, with game rooms and other common areas serving as venues for bonding activities and a private dining room for occasional celebrations.
People compare Avita to an upscale hotel, with its welcoming atmosphere and amenities. Relatives are at peace knowing that residents are treated like family by the staff. "The other thing I notice is that the staff seems to be engaged with the residents. They are constantly sitting with people, talking with people, and interacting with the folks,” says a reviewer.
Bay Square at Yarmouth is in a charming mature neighborhood close to Royal River. This Benchmark Senior Living community offers delightful lifestyle amenities such as landscaped grounds with raised gardening beds, spacious patio and tranquil nature views. The multifunction recreation room has a TV area, a library corner, a computer station, a piano and multiple tables for bingo and board games. Other engaging common areas include fireside lounges, a sunroom, a restaurant-style dining room and memory care life stations. The facility’s memory care community is purposely designed with contrasting colors, special lighting and electronic security. The Mind and Memory program, led by an experienced certified dementia practitioner, benefits memory care residents with individualized care and assistance, individual and group activities, and family and community support groups. Dedicated memory care activities include morning meditation, exercises, arts and crafts, hand spa and reminiscing sessions.
Residents and families love the warm, vibrant community of Bay Square at Yarmouth. A resident's daughter writes, "The care, meals and activities provided a balance for her happiness. Her care was exceptional. The staff were personal, caring and compassionate. They took the time and really got to know her and her likes and needs.”
Located in Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland County, Maine, Cape Memory Care is part of the South Portland area, and residents receive memory care services from well-trained staff members in a homelike environment. Private or shared rooms have individual climate controls so that residents can stay comfortable, and a video monitoring system helps prevent wondering. Seniors can gather in the television room or join daily activities organized by the community's activity director, or residents can visit with family members in the large common room with a cheerful fireplace. A secure, spacious outdoor courtyard leads to a garden and gazebo via the senior-friendly footpath, and an equally secured second-floor deck provides a lovely venue for outside gatherings.
Family members appreciate the compassionate staff and beautiful building, with one reviewer writing, "This facility is absolutely beautiful and located in such a pretty part of Maine." Another reviewer said, "Family-owned and staffed with caring people. Beautiful homey community."
Fallbrook Woods is a memory care and assisted living community in the North Deering neighborhood of Portland, ME. Medication management is provided; other services include podiatry and rehabilitation. Amenities include an on-site beauty salon and an array of enriching activities designed for seniors with dementia or Alzheimer's. Residents can participate in brain-teaser games and music programs; there are movie nights and refreshments are available. Guided exercise programs help residents stay active, and every program at Fallbrook Woods is based on a “failure-free” philosophy. Three restaurant-quality meals are served daily in the community dining room. There’s a registered nurse and licensed practical nurse at the community on a full-time basis, and medical services are provided by a geriatric specialist.
Visitors and residents praise Fallbrook Woods for its cleanliness, cuisine and staff. As one reviewer says, "The facility is always clean, and so are the residents. The food is prepared from scratch and appetizing. But the best part is the care. The staff is kind, caring, and connected…Honestly, I cannot give enough of a glowing review!”
The Gorham House is a senior care community that offers residents a wide spectrum of health care services in addition to assistance with the activities of daily living. Seniors residing in the apartments dedicated to those with memory care issues, such as Alzheimer's and dementia, live in a comfortable, family-like environment that is secured and supervised by a licensed staff fully trained in memory care services. Residents have direct access to on-site, around-the-clock nurses in addition to a medical director and a physician's assistant, who are on-call 24 hours a day. A full-time activities director engages residents with stimulating games and exercises designed for cognitive, physical and emotional enrichment. Seniors feel a true sense of community in this homelike atmosphere, where friendships are formed and quality of life is a key component to the care provided.
The caregivers at Gorham House are personable, attentive and compassionate. One resident's family member says, "The staff were outstanding and supported our family during a very difficult time in our life. We felt safe having Nona there and knew she was being well taken care of by the staff."
Legacy Memory Care is part of OceanView at Falmouth's senior living community. It provides specialized care and assistance for residents with dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and other memory care requirements. Architectural and color cues help residents identify areas of activity throughout the memory care center. A skilled and compassionate team of nurses provides 24-hour assistance, and its Habilitation Therapy Program offers several opportunities for life enrichment and mental exercise. Residents can partake of any of the facilities' amenities, such as visiting the garden or receiving pampering in the salon. They may also socialize in the living room and visit the library for some quiet reading.
Relatives of Legacy Memory Care's residents praise its staff's dedication to the residents in their care. One reviewer is extremely thankful and impressed with the individualized attention that residents receive. A spouse of another resident states, "The activities keep her engaged, and most important of all, the staff is truly caring in how they relate to each of the patients."
Memory Care at Market Square offers a resident-centered care model for residents living with memory care concerns. Seniors reside in semi-private rooms with their own kitchens, so they can grab snacks when they want them. They also have a community dining room where nutritious meals are served daily. Memory Care at Market Square is part of the Market Square Healthcare Facility. The staff provides engaging activities to residents to stimulate cognitive abilities. It also provides a secure environment to protect residents who are prone to wandering. Staff is always available to help residents with activities of daily living, using a compassionate approach that is effective for those with memory care needs.
Residents and visitors often comment on the dedicated staff. One family member of a resident said, "Rather than the constant staff changes we had seen at our mom’s first facility, we saw that at Market Square there was very little staff turnover. It was easy to see how invested the staff were in our mom’s care."
Scarborough Terrace is a memory care facility in the greater Portland area and provides an intimate, family-like setting. By using validation techniques and routines, the staff is able to maintain a calming atmosphere, and the activities scheduled throughout the day help to stimulate memory and maintain a healthy well-being. The staff also implements individualized programs so that residents can explore their personal interests. Residents can also spend their time in the common areas, such as the patio or any of the many living rooms. For added convenience, there is an on-site salon and movie theatre, but if residents need to go into the city, the staff provides courtesy scheduled transportation. Meals are served restaurant-style, with consideration towards personal dietary restrictions, and should residents want a quick bite to eat or drink, they can visit the pub.
Reviewers love the staff and the amenities the community offers. One reviewer stated, "Beautiful facilities and grounds. The staff is very nice. They also have excellent food and great activities." Another stated, "It was extremely clean and well maintained. The residents were very happy. Truly a five star facility."
The Enclave of Scarborough helps seniors to remain mentally engaged and physically active through daily assistance with personal needs, a wide variety of regularly scheduled activities and exercise classes in the fitness center. The facility's memory care residents are monitored 24/7 by on-site caregivers to ensure their health and safety, and seniors staying in the assisted living apartments are enrolled in a daily check-in system. Staff members are specially trained in techniques to support the emotional health of individuals with behavioral issues caused by dementia and cognitive impairments. Full-service dining is provided in the restaurant-style dining room. Staff members at this pet-friendly community clean personal residences and launder linens weekly, and the Enclave’s director of wellness reviews and updates care plans for each resident on a continuous basis.
Family members deeply appreciate the individual attention caregivers provide at The Enclave of Scarborough. One resident's daughter praises the facility noting, "It was a wonderful place with great assisted living and great memory care. I very highly recommend it. The people working there were very friendly and gave one-on-one care.… They were always cheerful, upbeat, and happy."
The Landing at Saco Bay provides a safe and secure environment for residents with Alzheimer's and other dementia-related illnesses. The staff assist with the ADLs including medication management. Specialized activities designed to support memory care are offered by the facility, and an activity room is available for activities such as movies and bingo games. A chef cooks all meals, and the dining room is family-style, encouraging social connections between the residents. To help residents feel more at home, private rooms are available, and paint colors can be selected by the resident, as well as furniture can be provided or furnished by the resident themselves. Housekeeping and laundry are provided, along with transportation for shopping, medical appointments, and other outings. A beauty salon and barbershop are also available.
Residents particularly rave about the staff saying they are "the best I have ever seen anywhere!" Residents also enjoy the care received, with one stating, "Beautiful facility with great food, caring staff, and lots of activities specifically geared towards residents with Alzheimer's/Dementia."