Memory Care Most Likely to be Large, Chain-Affiliated Versus Other Communities

Most dementia care units, but not all, have special features geared toward alzheimer’s and dementia residents, and those with dementia special care units differed from those without across many metrics. 

For those units designated specifically for memory care, they differed in terms of size, chain affiliation, Medicaid participation and whether the community was built as a residential care community, according to a study published this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on 2010 findings across the memory care industry. 

In 2010, 17% of residential care communities had dementia special care units, according to the DCD findings. Beds in those dementia care units represented 13% of all residential care beds. 


In terms of specific features geared toward memory care, about 90% had special activities and programming for those suffering from alzheimer’s or dementia, and nearly 20% had closed circuit TV monitoring. 

Among the differences, however, between dementia care communities versus the larger residential care population, communities with dementia care were more likely to be larger in terms of number of beds, and were more likely to be chain affiliated and purposely built as residential care communities. 

In 2010, they were also more likely to be found in the Northeast and in a metropolitan area rather than in the west, or in a rural location. 



Specifically, about 70% of communities with dementia care units fall into the “large” or “extra large” categories, at 26-100 units or more than 100 units, respectively. 

More than half, or 58%, were chain affiliated. 

View the full CDC report for its findings on memory care communities.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker

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