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Page Reviewed / Updated – September 30, 2023
The scenic city of Columbia offers numerous parks, golf courses and shopping and dining amenities, making it a popular retirement destination. It’s a member of the AARP Age-Friendly Network and has a senior community that makes up a tenth of its nearly 140,000 residents. The city supports seniors with dementia care needs through access to the South Carolina chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, and it’s home to two hospitals, including Prisma Health Baptist Hospital and MUSC Health Columbia Medical Center Downtown, both of which offer a broad range of medical services.
Columbia is among the most cost-effective places in the state and nation to obtain dementia care services, with seniors paying $4,088 monthly for this type of care. This is hundreds of dollars less than South Carolina’s norm of $4,515 and the national average of $5,625. These rates are based on assisted living costs in the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey, as no national databases publish this information. To estimate costs and account for additional care and licensing requirements, 25% is added to base assisted living rates.
Memory care is a favorable long-term care solution for those with dementia, featuring services and amenities such as 24-hour monitoring, secured indoor and outdoor areas and individualized care plans. This guide provides details on some of the best memory care facilities in the Columbia region.
Harmony at Columbia
Harmony at Columbia is located in the northeastern region of the city near pharmacies, golf courses and restaurants. It features a welcoming memory care neighborhood that provides 24-hour monitoring and support and individualized care plans. The community ranks among the top memory care communities in the Columbia region for its Reflections program, which is built on art and music therapy and provides ample opportunities for family involvement, cultivating an engaging environment for residents. Caregivers are trained to build residents’ confidence through the Validation method, and the community supports health and wellness through a high-quality dining program.
Atria Forest Lake
Located just northeast of downtown Columbia, Atria Forest Lake offers convenient access to medical amenities and shopping destinations. It ranks among the best memory care communities in Columbia for its innovative Life Guidance program, which offers all-inclusive care and 24-hour support for those living with dementia. The community has secured indoor and outdoor common spaces where residents can relax and entertain visitors, and the full-service community dining program promotes good nutrition and social opportunities. It also partners with FOX Rehabilitation to provide physical, occupational and physical therapy to residents, helping them maintain as much functioning as possible as their conditions progress.
Wildewood Downs is located minutes from scenic Sesquicentennial State Park, golf courses and hotels on the northeast side of Columbia. It features a robust memory care program that includes a team of dementia-certified caregivers and practitioners who administer individualized care plans that support residents’ independence. The community has an open floor plan that's easy to navigate, even with mobility aids, and its fully secured entrances let residents freely enjoy common areas with a minimized risk of unsafe wandering. Additionally, the community is a member of the Alzheimer’s Association’s National Team, providing outreach and educational opportunities to residents, as well as their friends and families.
Mill Creek Manor
Mill Creek Manor is located across the street from Sesquicentennial State Park in the northeastern region of Columbia, offering a peaceful setting for those who enjoy natural surroundings. The community accommodates those living with memory loss in a welcoming, homelike environment. Residents can participate in activities such as adaptive cooking, arts and crafts and gardening, giving them the opportunity to enjoy lifelong interests and routines, and regular social outings help them maintain a connection to their community. Three freshly prepared, nutritionist-approved meals are served daily in the community dining room, and multiple meal options are available to accommodate varying preferences, nutritional needs and aversions.
Fairforest Grove Senior Living
Fairforest Grove Senior Living is located near major roads, public transportation access and hotels on the northwestern side of Columbia. This community offers outstanding care and support in a secured environment for those with dementia with amenities such as a fully enclosed, beautifully landscaped patio, indoor lounges and a craft room, and an on-site beauty salon makes it easy for residents to keep up with regular haircuts. Three nutritionist-approved meals are available daily in the community dining room, and alternative meals are available for those with other preferences or needs. Weekly housekeeping and linen services support a comfortable, sanitary environment, and the community has an electronic medication management system to ensure accurate medication therapy for each resident.
The Palmettos of Parklane
The Palmettos of Parklane offers convenient access to major roadways, such as SC-277 and I-20, hotels and restaurants in the northeastern region of Columbia. This physician-founded community offers compassionate memory care services for those with dementia. Residents in its Wateree Memory Care program have 20 private apartments and three floor plans to choose from, including a companion suite, all of which feature personalized decor for a homelike environment. The community has emergency response systems in each room, as well as a fire protection and sprinkler system throughout to promote residents’ safety, and personalized care plans ensure the proper level of care for each resident. Additionally, physician services are available on-site, letting many residents avoid disruptive off-site appointments.
Harbison Shores is a welcoming community in Irmo, about 10 miles southeast of Columbia, near stores, restaurants and Prisma Health Baptist Hospital. This community has a tenured team of dementia-trained caregivers who provide around-the-clock support, assistance and monitoring, and it incorporates design elements to support residents’ privacy and independence while still providing a safe setting. Memory care residents have seven unique studio apartment floor plans to choose from, all of which have personal storage space and full bathrooms, and freshly prepared meals are available three times daily to meet their nutrition and hydration needs.
Located just 5 miles west of Columbia, Colonial Gardens is conveniently located near golf courses, shopping and dining destinations and Lexington Medical Center. This community rates among the best in the Columbia region for its robust activities calendar, which helps residents with dementia remain active and engaged through curated programs that accommodate a range of interests and abilities. It features Virtual Reality Therapy, letting residents virtually visit meaningful places from their past or experience those they’ve never had the opportunity to visit in person. The community's Sensory Spa provides sensory stimulation therapy to help address dementia-related stress, depression and frustration, and its daily dining program incorporates principles from the Rush University Medical Center MIND Diet, which supports cognitive health.
Oakleaf Village of Lexington
Oakleaf Village of Lexington is situated about 10 miles west of Columbia in Lexington, close to hotels, restaurants and shopping amenities. This community has a secured memory care neighborhood for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and it incorporates teachings and strategies from the Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care philosophy. It’s staffed with specially trained caregivers who provide support and assistance, as well as help with participating in recreational activities, and it provides a structured environment with predictable routines to promote residents’ confidence and comfort. In addition to specialized care for residents, this community provides counseling and supportive services for families, helping them navigate their loved one’s care.
Wellmore of Lexington
Wellmore of Lexington is located about 10 miles west of Columbia, making it a convenient option for families seeking a facility within proximity of hotels and shopping and dining destinations. This community’s memory care program emphasizes family engagement as an important aspect of residents’ care by providing a robust dining and activities program, making it easy for families to visit their loved ones often. Residents live in luxury apartments with private bathrooms and have access to comfortable lounges and a beautifully decorated community dining area, promoting social engagement. A fully secured outdoor courtyard is available for relaxation and safe exploration, and on-site rehabilitative therapies help residents maintain optimal functioning.