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Senior Living Options for People with Dementia

by Melissa Bell
7 minutes read

There is a pressing demand for appropriate senior living alternatives for people with dementia as the population ages and dementia prevalence rises. Living independently is difficult for persons who have dementia, a degenerative neurological condition that impairs memory, cognitive ability, and daily functioning. However, numerous senior living options offer specialized care and support to enhance the quality of life for seniors with dementia.

pressing demand for appropriate senior living
high angle view of senior man playing jigsaw puzzle as dementia therapy

Assisted living facility

Assisted living facilities are residential communities designed to provide seniors personalized care and support while promoting independence. For seniors with dementia, these facilities offer structured routines, assistance with daily activities, memory support programs and can even help with an end of life planning guide. Trained staff members are available 24/7 to help with medication management, personal care, and meal preparation.

The environment is secure and structured to minimize confusion and wandering, creating a safe space for residents. Social activities and engagement programs are also offered to stimulate cognitive abilities and foster social interactions.

Low-income housing

For seniors with dementia facing financial constraints, low-income housing programs can be a viable option. These programs provide subsidized housing with reduced rent based on the individual’s income level. Eligibility criteria vary by location, and waiting lists might exist due to high demand. While low-income housing may not specifically cater to dementia care, some communities partner with nearby support services or organizations to ensure residents can access appropriate care and assistance.

Since many properties in low-income housing are concentrated in a few older-focused neighborhoods, they resemble independent living communities in this respect. Look for areas that provide older or retired citizens with affordable homes. Some even include on-site offices, libraries, and leisure areas so your loved one can stay on campus to socialize or pursue specific interests.

Independent senior living

Independent senior living communities are ideal for individuals in the early stages of dementia who can still manage most daily activities independently. These communities offer seniors the chance to live in private apartments or houses within a secure and supportive environment. Although they don’t provide specialized dementia care, some communities may have memory-enhancing programs and activities. Seniors in independent living benefit from a sense of community and access to various amenities, which can contribute positively to their overall well-being.

In addition to meals and basic housekeeping, senior housing with independent living communities offers a setting with social and recreational possibilities. These arrangements are made for independent elders and people who have moderate dementia.

Memory care

Memory care facilities are specifically designed to cater to seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. These facilities prioritize safety, security, and tailored care for individuals at various stages of dementia. Memory care communities have trained staff members who understand the unique challenges of dementia and are equipped to provide compassionate care. They offer structured routines, cognitive activities, and sensory stimulation to engage residents and support cognitive function. The physical layout of memory care facilities is designed to minimize confusion and wandering, with secure outdoor spaces.

Adult day centres or adult family homes

Adult day centers provide supervised activities and care for seniors during the day, offering respite for family caregivers. These centers are well-suited for individuals with dementia who still live at home but require social engagement and stimulation. Participants can take part in various activities, receive meals, and benefit from social interaction with peers. Adult family homes, on the other hand, are residential houses where a small group of seniors live together under the care of trained caregivers. These homes offer a more intimate setting, making them suitable for seniors who prefer a family-like environment. Adult day centers provide a secure atmosphere for your loved one and provide planned activities and programs, such as music or art therapy, as well as opportunities for socialization. Additionally, many adult day centers include transportation and meals.

Nursing home or skilled nursing care

You might think about a nursing home when your loved one reaches the point where they require specialised nursing care. These facilities provide lodging and meals in addition to 24-hour medical attention and supervision. Along with care planning, particular dietary needs, and other concerns, they will collaborate with you. These facilities are staffed with registered nurses and healthcare professionals who can manage medication, handle medical emergencies, and address specific health requirements. Nursing homes are equipped to handle residents who may have difficulty with mobility, feeding, and personal care. However, it’s essential to find a nursing home with a specialized dementia unit or memory care wing to ensure a more personalized approach to dementia care.

Retirement housing

Retirement housing communities offer a variety of living options for seniors, ranging from independent living to assisted living. While they may not have dedicated memory care units, some retirement communities may provide support and accommodations for individuals with early-stage dementia. Residents can choose the level of assistance they need, and services can be adjusted as their condition progresses. These retirement communities often offer amenities such as fitness centers, social activities, and dining options to enhance the residents’ quality of life.

Group or residential care homes

Group or residential care homes are more minor, home-like settings that provide personalized care for a small group of seniors, typically ranging from 3 to 10 residents. These homes are particularly beneficial for seniors with dementia who may feel overwhelmed by more extensive facilities. The intimate environment allows for more one-on-one attention and a higher caregiver-to-resident ratio. Residents in group homes receive assistance with daily activities, and the setting promotes a sense of community and companionship.

Continuing care retirement community (CCRC):

Continuing Care Retirement Communities offer a comprehensive range of senior living options within a single campus. This model allows seniors to transition smoothly from independent living to assisted living or nursing care as their needs change. CCRCs provide a continuum of care, making them suitable for individuals with dementia who may require different levels of support over time. Residents can maintain a sense of familiarity and avoid the stress of moving to new facilities as their condition progresses.


Choosing the right senior living option for individuals with dementia is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration of the person’s needs, preferences, and stage of the disease. Each option discussed in this article offers a unique set of benefits and considerations, catering to seniors with varying levels of cognitive impairment. Whether it’s an assisted living facility, memory care community, or in-home care, the primary focus should be providing a safe, compassionate, and dignified living environment for seniors with dementia.

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