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 San Francisco’s population continues to grow (9.7% between 2010 and 2018) so does the concern about aging and the risk of cognitive impairment.
In San Francisco, the number of deaths for those 65 and older caused or partly caused by Alzheimer’s disease decreased by 8% between 2013 and 2018, showing that while Alzheimer’s is a serious concern in the region, the associated deaths have decreased recently. Overall, the percentage of seniors’ deaths related to Alzheimer’s is higher than the rest of the nation (9.9% in San Francisco 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 nearly two dozen hours researching senior living communities in San Francisco. 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 San Francisco, 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:
Cadence Millbrae is a large retirement community in South San Francisco, just minutes from the airport and Green Hills Country Club. This facility offers independent and assisted living as well as memory care. Residents with memory loss issues live in a separate, secure neighborhood as part of the Revere Memory Care program. The Revere neighborhood has a dedicated staff with unique training that focuses on a relationship-based model of care that respects the individuality of each resident. Common areas are designed to help people with Alzheimer's and other dementias get around independently, and there are secure outdoor areas for those who like to walk or try their hand at gardening. Activities are centered around creativity and engagement and include daily art classes, trivia, and brain games.
A visitor to Cadence Millbrae comments on the helpful staff and delicious lunch he had, and says, "The apartment was very nice. It was a perfect size. Their lobby looked classy.” Another reviewer says the staff takes good care of his mother-in-law and adds, "The food is excellent.”
Frank Residences San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living offers daily opportunities for seniors to build connections with fellow residents and lead purposeful lives. A full array of upscale amenities are available to residents, including a bocce ball court, library, art studio, indoor therapy pool, and a movie theater. The facility is pet-friendly, and even offers an on-site dog park. A secure neighborhood-like environment is provided for memory care residents, which includes spacious common areas, family-style kitchens, and an on-site concierge service. The facility offers an array of meaningful activities, comprehensive programming and innovative therapies specifically designed for seniors with dementia, and each resident receives a personal tablet where they have access to online campus resources. Housekeeping and flat linen services help seniors enjoy a carefree lifestyle, and residents are treated to a restaurant-style dining experience each day with rotating seasonal menus.
People are consistently impressed with the professional behavior and friendly demeanor of staff members, and their effective communication with residents' family members. The facility is also regarded for having a "very good gym" and "nice private rooms," and residents enjoy the selection of daily classes, including art and history lessons and music activities.
Lakeshore Residential Care, located in the commercial district of Oakland, California, is a senior living community that offers a full range of assisted living services. Specialized care is given to more fragile seniors living with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other forms of memory loss. Services include medication supervision, incontinence care, diabetic management, and transfer assistance. Residents have a choice of well-furnished shared or private rooms, all located on the ground floor and wheelchair accessible to aid in safe mobility. An on-site licensed nurse regularly monitors residents’ health and updates physicians and families to promptly address any issues. Daily activities are based on individual resident care plans and include fitness, social, educational and spiritual programs. Transportation services are scheduled for medical and dental appointments, as well as family gatherings.
Reviewers noted the high level of care the residents receive while being allowed some degree of independence. There’s plenty of room to walk around, and the staff gets praised for the support they provide. One reviewer says, "Lakeshore Residential Care in Oakland has made a huge, positive change in the life of a friend. The facility is clean, I smell delicious food cooking when I visit. The staff is always busy.”
Marymount Villa Retirement Center has a perfect downtown location in San Leandro, California, keeping seniors close to commercial establishments and city services, as well as minutes away from Oakland’s international airport and downtown district. Together with a range of long-term care services, health care services may be coordinated with medical professionals when needed. The facility’s welcoming common areas include a themed restaurant-style dining room, activity and community rooms, lounge areas on each floor, a large veranda overlooking Casa Peralta and landscaped grounds with sitting areas. For safety and peace of mind, attentive staff is on 24-hour duty, and residents are provided with emergency alert pendants. Memory care residents enjoy therapeutic activities that provide mental and physical stimulation and encourage socialization, and they benefit from nursing consultations and personalized care in a secure environment.
Positive comments about Marymount Villa mention the facility’s family atmosphere and kind staff. One reviewer writes, "This is a loving environment that doesn't smell like a hospital. Knowledgeable staff and homey atmosphere relieve the stress with patients transitioning into their new environment. They provide great support to families as well, in counseling them on what to expect with impaired awareness brought on by dementia.”
Oakmont of Mariner Point is a luxurious retirement community tucked in a beautiful neighborhood with lovely views and convenient access to nearby shopping, dining, arts and entertainment venues. Memory care residents are encouraged to participate in purposeful activities that promote physical, mental and social wellness. A full-time nurse supervises the Traditions program, specifically designed for those with advanced memory loss. The program is aimed at creating a soothing environment through specialized music, sensory and tactile stimulation activities. Residents are assured of quality care, with a competent staff hand-selected for their skills and experience and continuously trained in dementia care. A variety of accommodation options are available and are built around functionally designed surroundings that create familiarity and support easy navigation. Oakmont’s premier lifestyle is further enhanced with exquisite dining options featuring restaurant-style services and private celebrations with families.
The luxurious setting, community amenities, good food and proximity to shops and restaurants are largely praised by reviewers. Families appreciate that residents are kept engaged and have access to different levels of care, with one saying, "They have lots of activities for their residents. And a resident is able to move into Memory Care from Assisted Living if needed.”
Providence Place is an upscale senior living and memory care community in the Anza Vista neighborhood of San Francisco that's situated near several world-class medical facilities, including UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion. As a family-owned and -operated facility, Providence Place brings a unique touch to memory care with a focus on empathy, respect, and professionalism. Staff must go through a specialized training program that includes hands-on instruction and experience. These professionals coordinate with outside doctors and health care providers to ensure residents receive the optimal level of care. The full-time activities staff schedules a variety of unique events both on-site and throughout the city. Residents are free to participate in everything from aromatherapy and art classes to exercise sessions and field trips.
Positive reviews for Providence Place consistently mention the friendly and professional staff. A relative of one resident said, "They have so much experience caring for seniors that they know just what to do when anything comes up." Reviewers also mention the cleanliness and elegant design of the facility's interior.
Rhoda Goldman Plaza offers assisted living and memory care in the Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, California, and is located next to UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion. While this facility is built upon the values of Judaism, residents of all faiths are welcome. Seniors can exercise at the on-site fitness center, read in the community library or update their look at the full-service beauty salon. They can also participate in singalongs, poetry readings and craft-making projects. The Terrace therapeutic programming is designed to increase memory care residents’ quality of life by stimulating their cognitive, creative and physical abilities while encouraging emotional expression. Residents of the memory care neighborhood can enjoy meals in a distinct dining room that provides views of a nearby park and library.
Families compliment Rhoda Goldman Plaza for its delicious food, tasteful decor and kind staff members. "The food is really tasty and nutritious! The facility is always clean, and the environment is filled with art. Staff has always been ready and willing to help with any concerns that she or I have,” writes one resident's family member.
Sagebrook Senior Living at San Francisco is an assisted living and memory care community situated in the Laurel Heights neighborhood, just a few blocks from UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion. Seniors can choose to eat in their room or dine on freshly prepared meals in the community dining room, and the staff is willing to accommodate residents’ dietary preferences. The New Day Memory Support neighborhood is where residents enjoy pre-planned activities designed to encourage them to live life to its fullest. Memory care residents can participate in pet therapy, make tasty treats with the baking club and engage in meditation with aromatherapy and calming melodies. They can also spend time relaxing on the facility’s secure porches and outdoor courtyards.
Sagebrook Senior Living earns rave reviews for its helpful staff members and convenient location. According to one online reviewer, "The staff was nice, and their garden was amazing … It is in a good location, it is central, and for that, it is great. They had nice facilities, too.”
The Avenue is an assisted living apartment building offering memory care and respite services. It's located in the Tenderloin neighborhood of downtown San Francisco next to classic diners and the 1000 Van Ness shopping mall. Residents with Alzheimer's and related dementias live in the Promenade, which is a two-floor section of the Avenue that is specially designed and staffed to provide memory care. The Promenade at the Avenue offers 24/7 staffing and an emergency call system, and nursing care is available as well as medication administration and transportation to outside appointments. Memory care residents go on trips to local educational, social and cultural sites, and the activities at the facility are chosen for their therapeutic benefits for those with Alzheimer's.
One family member says that The Avenue looks like a hotel yet feels more personal, and also says, "My grandmother has great and constant care from the staff, and the staff always seems polite, caring, respectful and overall on top of things.” Another reviewer says he likes the location because of nearby public transportation.
The Point at Rockridge, located in Oakland, California, is a senior living facility that offers a sense of privacy, safety, security, and familiarity to its residents. In its memory care community, seniors participate in the Generations Memory Care program, consisting of an enriching daily regimen that helps recollect memories, enhance physical and mental well-being, and provide positive personal interactions. Care is provided through innovative and research-based programming and involves family education and support groups. Memory care residents enjoy a life of comfort and convenience in spacious, private living quarters built around secure surroundings and complemented with nutritionally balanced meals and housekeeping services. The facility has multiple common areas, including the sixth-floor lounge where residents can enjoy a scenic view of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate bridges.
Families appreciate the constant updates they receive from the warm, outgoing staff regarding their loved ones’ condition. One reviewer commented, "... my sister-in-law gets excellent care. It is very clean. They all seem to know her by name and keep in touch with us.” Positive reviews also focus on the well-appointed buildings, good facility layout, elegant dining room, clean grounds, nice decorations, and great location.