I. How Memory Care Facilities Can Help

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.

II. Our Selection Process

To choose the best memory care facilities in Santa Cruz, 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:

  • Spent over 22 hours researching memory care facilities in Santa Cruz
  • Read more than 80 reviews written by residents and their loved ones
  • Interviewed 6 representatives from local communities

III. Reviews of the 10 Best Memory Care Facilities in Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, CA

Westwind Memory Care

  • Resident Capacity: 59
  • Room Types: Companion Suites, Private Rooms
  • Care Provided: Memory Care, Respite
  • Base Pricing: $5,750

Westwind Memory Care, located in Santa Cruz, is a modern secured community overlooking captivating oceanfront views. Suites feature granite countertops, hardwood-style floors, private bathrooms and modern amenities. Its focus is on residents who need memory care, offering enrichment programs as well as on-site physical, occupational and speech therapy. Westwind’s team designs activities for its residents, making sure they are engaged while strengthening their minds. Group classes are available at the fitness center, and residents can take art classes or participate in musical activities. All meals are provided at either the restaurant-style dining area or privately. Transportation is provided for shopping trips, hikes or luncheons. Residents can unwind and relax in the whirlpool spa or do some gardening in the community garden. A common area is available for socializing or watching television and movies.

What Residents Are Saying
Residents appreciate that Westwind pays special attention to detail when it comes to memory care. One family member said, “It was a good place. The staff was super competent and nice, and the rooms were brand new. … They had a lot of outside activities that came in.”

Reviews: 5 out of 5 stars; 12 reviews
Phone: (831) 824-7604
Address: 160 Jewell St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Web: https://www.westwindmemorycare.com/

Paradise Villa Assisted Living and Memory Care

  • Resident Capacity: 58
  • Room Types: Studios, Companion Suites
  • Care Provided: Assisted Living, Memory Care, Respite
  • Base Pricing: $6,600 for Memory Care, $4,775 for Assisted Living

Paradise Villa is a beautifully located community that offers memory care and assisted living for seniors. In addition to 24-hour assistance and the presence of a residential doctor, Paradise Villa’s commitment to the wellness of its guests extends to the use of local organic produce, maintaining a cleaning-chemical-free environment and providing an advanced laundry service and a purified water system. The memory care program is designed to meet the needs of individuals and to foster connections with the world and with the Paradise Villa community. A nationally certified recreational therapist designs the activities for people with higher care needs, while other residents have plenty of opportunities to stay physically and mentally active. Movie and games nights, and art and gentle exercise classes are paired with weekly live music events. Food is served in 1950s-style diners three times a day.

What Residents Are Saying
Family members enjoy the quality of care provided by this community. One wrote, “Paradise Villa is a wonderful loving compassionate facility! Mom was treated with dignity and respect! We knew Mom was always safe and well cared for!”

Reviews: 4.11 out of 5 stars; 22 reviews
Phone: (831) 475-1380
Address: 2177 17th Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Web: https://paradisevillaassistedliving.com/

Sunshine Villa

  • Resident Capacity: 132
  • Room Types: Studios, 1-Bedroom Apartments, Companion Suites
  • Care Provided: Assisted Living, Memory Care
  • Base Pricing: Memory Care: $5,975, Assisted Living: $3,470

Sunshine Villa is a lovely Victorian-inspired senior home set against scenic ocean views. This pet-friendly community features landscaped gardens with a courtyard and comfortable indoor common areas that make ideal venues for socialization and relaxation. Memory care specialists strive to understand residents’ unique wants and needs, which form the foundation of customized individual plans. Daily activities and services are aimed at energizing the mind and stimulating the senses. The community’s Illuminations memory care program fosters the importance of building connections with residents’ physical surroundings, the community and their families. The Bridges Program is an innovative approach that allows seamless transition into memory care through shared activities, such as reminiscing, music appreciation and celebrations. Sunshine Villa helps families cope with their loved ones’ condition by encouraging involvement and providing useful resources.

What Residents Are Saying
People love the many activities that keep everyone engaged. Reviewers appreciate the staff for taking care of everything the residents need. One says about her mom’s experience, “Her care has been amazing & excellent in every way!! The staff is caring, kind and helpful, ready to help make things just right, in a way that makes me feel heard and valued.”

Reviews: 4.24 out of 5 stars; 43 reviews
Phone: (831) 459-8400
Address: 80 Front St., Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Web: https://www.blueharborseniorliving.com/senior-communities/sunshine-villa

Saratoga Retirement Community

  • Resident Capacity: 140
  • Room Types: Studios, 1-Bedroom Apartments, 2-Bedroom Apartments, Townhomes
  • Care Provided: Assisted Living, Memory Care, Hospice, Skilled Nursing
  • Base Pricing: $5,461 for Memory Care, $4,456 for Assisted Living

Saratoga Retirement Community is situated in the peaceful countryside that surrounds Silicon Valley. The memory care neighborhood is situated in a secure building with access to a safe courtyard where residents can relax in the California sunshine. A team of highly trained caregivers is always on hand to provide assistance with the tasks of daily living and to help residents in any way they can. The community uses a strength-based care plan that builds on activities that residents can still do on their own or with a bit of support. This system helps to give seniors a sense of accomplishment and pride in their daily life. Each resident has a customized care and activity plan that caters to their individual needs and abilities. Three meals are served on a daily basis in the dining room, and special diets can be accommodated.

What Residents Are Saying
Family members are impressed by the level of care offered, with one reviewer saying, “My Mom was there for over 2 1/2 years. She got excellent care which increased as her health needs increased. I would recommend this community in a heartbeat!”

Reviews: 3.45 out of 5 stars; 55 reviews
Phone: (408) 741-7100
Address: 14500 Fruitvale Ave., Saratoga, CA 95070
Web: https://retirement.org/saratoga/

Aegis of Aptos

  • Resident Capacity: 100

  • Room Types: Studios, 1-Bedroom Apartments, Companion Suites
  • Care Provided: Assisted Living, Memory Care, Respite
  • Base Pricing: Not Listed

Aegis of Aptos is located in a residential housing development and offers a range of amenities and activities for seniors. The memory care unit is in a secure building that requires keypad access for the safety of residents. The caregiving staff is available 24/7, and all staff members receive ongoing training in working with seniors with cognitive impairment disorders. The staff is trained in compassionately dealing with wandering residents and redirecting difficult behavior. Activities offered are personalized to each resident to meet their individual cognitive and physical abilities. Some of the activities provided include light and music therapy, gentle exercise classes, pet therapy, musical entertainment, gardening, brain games and social events. Three chef-prepared meals are served on a daily basis in the bright and spacious dining room. Special diets and residents with feeding issues can be accommodated.

What Residents Are Saying
Visitors are impressed by the activities and food choices offered, with one reviewer saying, “They had day trips. They had garden activities, and they had a nice outdoor area. It was very upscale. They had a lot of good activities. They had singers that came in to sing for the folks there. They served 3 meals a day, and you could get food anytime you wanted.”

Reviews: 4.02 out of 5 stars; 26 reviews
Phone: (831) 706-2977
Address: 125 Heather Ter., Aptos, CA 95003
Web: https://www.aegisliving.com/aegis-living-of-aptos/

Cedar Creek Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Center

  • Resident Capacity: 58
  • Room Types: Private Rooms, Shared Rooms
  • Care Provided: Memory Care, Hospice
  • Base Pricing: Not Listed

Cedar Creek Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Center is a senior living community that specializes in caring for seniors with cognitive impairment disorders. The campus is designed to allow safe access to the spacious gardens so residents can walk and relax in the California sunshine. Each resident has a customized treatment plan to ensure the correct administration of medications, therapies and nutrition and to keep them as healthy as possible. The trained caregivers are available 24/7 to assist residents with personal care tasks and provide companionship when required. The staff undergoes special professional development to assist residents with fall prevention and challenging behaviors. Activities offered include bird watching, brain games, gardening, arts and crafts, light exercise and musical entertainment. Three nutritious meals are served on a daily basis in the comfortable dining room, and special diets or feeding assistance requirements are accommodated.

What Residents Are Saying 
Family members praise the spacious grounds and caring staff, with one reviewer noting, “I think residents are happier in Cedar Creek than in other memory care facilities because they have space to move around. It feels like they are in their own community. Staff encourages residents to come in to their offices to visit or to “work” if they feel they want to.”

Reviews: 4.77 out of 5 stars; 26 reviews
Phone: (408) 356-5636
Address: 15245 National Ave., Los Gatos, CA 95032
Web: https://www.the-creeks.com/

Twin Lakes Manor

  • Resident Capacity: 12
  • Room Types: Studios, Shared Rooms
  • Care Provided: Memory Care
  • Base Pricing: $800 for Memory Care

Twin Lake Manor is a cozy senior living community that offers a homelike environment. The community focuses on caring for seniors with all stages of dementia. A team of dedicated caregivers is always on hand to assist residents, and all staff members undergo regular training in providing specialized and compassionate care to seniors with cognitive impairments. Each resident has an individual care plan to ensure they receive personalized attention and the best care possible for them. The perimeter of the grounds is secured, allowing residents to go for a walk or relax in the landscaped garden. Three home-cooked meals are served on a daily basis, and snacks or refreshments are always available. Activities offered include brain games, musical entertainment, gentle exercise and arts and crafts. Residents are encouraged to assist in activities they enjoy, such as cooking, baking and gardening.

What Residents Are Saying 
One reviewer praised the consistent care and affection shown to their mother, saying, “With their consistent quality care, she has improved dramatically with increased appetite, improved cognitive ability, and expanded activity. From the beginning, I feel that the care team is like a family and that Twin Lakes Manor is like a home. They genuinely care about my mom and her quality of life.”

Reviews: 3.75 out of 5 stars; 4 reviews
Phone: (831) 477-1100
Address: 777 Volz Ln., Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Web: https://www.twinlakesmanorseniorcare.com/

Valley Haven

  • Resident Capacity: 48
  • Room Types: Private Rooms, Shared Rooms
  • Care Provided: Assisted Living, Memory Care, Hospice, Respite
  • Base Pricing: Not Listed

Valley Haven provides assisted living and memory care in a quiet community with a beautiful garden. In addition to personal care services and morning exercise, the community offers pet therapy and personalized care programs to help enhance the quality of life for their residents and maintain the wellness of its residents. Valley Haven is dedicated to high-quality memory care and has carefully selected and trained its team to ensure that residents are looked after by knowledgeable and skilled caregivers. Staff and caregivers are available around the clock to make sure residents have 24-hour assistance.

What Residents Are Saying
Visiting family members appreciate that residents are encouraged to be active. One reviewer writes, “Valley Haven is a wonderful place for my mother. The staff at Valley Haven is caring, attentive, professional, kind and happy. The food is excellent. The residents get exercise in the morning with movement games.”

Reviews: 4.00 out of 5 stars; 4 reviews
Phone: (831) 471-8236
Address: 2266 Chanticleer Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Web: http://www.valleyhavencare.com/

Merrill Gardens at Campbell

  • Resident Capacity: 166
  • Room Types: Studios, 1-Bedroom Apartments, 2-Bedroom Apartments
  • Care Provided: Assisted Living, Independent Living, Memory Care
  • Base Pricing: Not Listed

Located close to downtown amenities, Merrill Gardens at Campbell offers all the conveniences and comfort of a modern senior living community. Health services are easily accessible at the nearby Good Samaritan Hospital and Kaiser Permanente Medical Center. Nestled on the property’s beautifully landscaped grounds is the Garden House, a dedicated neighborhood for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Secure outdoor courtyards, a family-like setting and intimate, comfortable accommodations provide a safe, nurturing environment for memory care residents while being cared for around the clock by a specially trained team. Individual life stories are honored through the community’s Personal Pathways program, with daily activities designed around the things that residents enjoy and value most. Meaningful social engagement is encouraged, and families are always welcome to participate in community events.

What Residents Are Saying
Reviewers love the homelike feel of the community. Families also praise the customized care. “I was able to find a place for my aunts called Merrill Gardens. It is oriented towards people with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. I was quite impressed that they do an extensive test, interview, and psychiatric evaluation before going in to find out exactly which stage they were,” says one.

Reviews: 4.56 out of 5 stars; 44 reviews
Phone: (408) 385-9889
Address: 2115 S. Winchester Blvd., Campbell, CA 95008
Web: https://www.merrillgardens.com/senior-living/ca/campbell/merrill-gardens-at-campbell//

The Terraces of Los Gatos

  • Resident Capacity: 422
  • Room Types: Studios, 1-Bedroom Apartments, 2-Bedroom Apartments, Private Rooms, Townhomes
  • Care Provided: Assisted Living, Independent Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing
  • Base Pricing: Not Listed

The Terraces of Los Gatos is a continuing care retirement community that offers a range of amenities for active seniors. The secure memory care unit requires keypad access for the safety of residents. Each private suite has a memory box next to the door to help seniors easily find their own apartments. Residents have access to a safe garden area where they can go for a walk or relax and socialize with friends. A dedicated team of caregivers is always available to provide companionship or to assist with personal care tasks. All residents have an individual care plan that promotes self-esteem and focuses on their abilities. Team members get to know the resident’s history, likes and dislikes in order to provide personalized care. Three nutritious meals are served on a daily basis in the dining room.

What Residents Are Saying
Family members praise the facilities and staff, with one reviewer saying, “The Terraces is a beautiful place and feels like an upscale hotel. The staff treat my father with respect and are very kind and helpful. I highly recommend this facility and wouldn’t want to trust my loved ones anywhere else. I can sleep at night now, confident that he’s in competent, caring hands.”

Reviews: 4.20 out of 5 stars; 60 reviews
Phone: (408) 357-1100
Address: 800 Blossom Hill Rd., Los Gatos, CA 95032
Web: https://www.humangood.org/the-terraces-of-los-gatos