Average Cost of Memory Care
One of the top questions people have as they research different memory care options is “How much does a memory care community cost?”
To help, we have put together this guide so that you have a better idea of what memory care can cost and some ways you or your loved one can pay for it.
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How Much Does Memory Care Cost in the United States?
On average, memory care costs 15-25% more than standard assisted living facilities. Remember, these are specialized care communities built around the needs of seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. They have more stringent staffing requirements, enhanced security, specialized programming, and increased supervision to ensure the safety and well-being of residents.
Using data from the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, with a 17% adjustment to account for the additional care requirements, the national average monthly cost for memory care is around $5,371. However, prices can range from around $3,500 to over $8,000 per month, depending on the community’s location, amenities, and pricing structure.
Here is how the average cost of memory care breaks down on the state level:
Average Monthly Cost for Memory Care by State
Average Monthly Cost:
Keep in mind the above numbers are just estimates. The actual price of memory care communities can vary dramatically — even within the same city.
Here is how the average cost of memory care breaks down at the state level.
While the price of memory care can seem overwhelming at first glance, it should be compared to the cost of other senior care types. For instance, the industry standard of 44 hours of in-home care per week comes in at $5,000 per month. Meanwhile, the average monthly cost of a semi-private room at a nursing facility is $7,900.
It is also important to remember that memory care communities are built around the unique needs of adults living with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. This same level of care and security can be extremely difficult for a family to provide at home. The situation can become so stressful that it affects the health and well-being of everyone involved. In comparison, moving your loved one to a memory care community can be a remarkably affordable, safe, and convenient senior living option.
So, let’s look at some of the most important factors that influence the price of memory care and some ways you or your loved one can cover the cost.
Local Advisors for Memory Care
As you can see, there are many financing options, so don’t let the numbers of memory care scare you. Our local senior living advisors can help guide you through the entire process. These local care experts live and work in your community and can provide expert advice about local memory care facilities that meet your specific needs. They’ll help you evaluate communities, figure out payment options, and fashion a solution that fits your budget and funding sources.
Common Memory Care Services & Amenities
Memory care communities offer the same services as assisted living facilities, but with increased supervision to ensure the safety of people living with memory loss or dementia. The specific amenities will vary depending on the facility, but here are some of the standard services you should expect to see when evaluating a memory care community:
- Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, and grooming
- Escort and transfer assistance
- Basic housekeeping and linen/laundry services
- Medication management or medication reminders
- 24-hour supervision by trained staff
- Emergency call system
- Three daily meals (plus snacks)
- Enhanced security features to prevent wandering
- Specialized programs, activities, and events designed to stimulate cognitive activity
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Factors That Influence the Cost of Memory Care
1. Level of Care
Often, memory care communities charge an all-inclusive monthly fee, but some facilities charge different prices based on the level of care needed. Be sure to clarify what care and services are included in the monthly fee. The memory care staff should provide a detailed pricing list for different care services and regularly update you on any potential changes in care.
2. Living Quarters
Most memory care residences offer studio or one-bedroom units. However, some communities might also offer shared rooms or even two-bedroom options. Like any other senior living community, the unit’s square footage, proximity to amenities, view, etc., is calculated into the cost.
Another important cost factor is the location of the memory care community. For instance, memory care facilities in urban areas are typically more expensive than their more rural counterparts. The state can also dramatically impact the price. For example, moving from Washington to neighboring Idaho drops the average monthly cost of memory care from $7,020 to $4,490.
4. Property Amenities
Finally, consider property amenities. For instance, more luxurious memory care communities might include specialized building layouts that allow residents to safely wander without getting lost, sensory gardens, higher staff to resident ratios, community animal companions, etc. However, these kinds of high-end features do come with a higher price tag.
Tips and Ways on How To Finance Memory Care Costs
Generally, seniors and families will cover some of the cost of memory care via retirement accounts, investments, or pooling other income sources. However, paying out of pocket isn’t the only option — here are tips and ideas for additional ways to help finance memory care.
Downsizing and converting a home value into usable capital can be a way to fund long-term care needs like memory care. Common methods of doing this include selling the home, renting it out, applying for a reverse mortgage, or using it as collateral for a home equity line of credit (HELOC) loan.
Most, but not all, long-term care (LTC) insurance will cover some costs of memory care — though the specifics depend on the provider. For example, they might require a defined level of physical or cognitive impairment. It is also important that the plan is purchased before the individual is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Life Insurance Conversion
Another option to pay for memory care is to convert an existing life insurance policy into a life-term care benefit plan. In this case, the life insurance policy is sold to a third party in exchange for a defined monthly care stipend (which the third party pays directly to the care provider). If the policyholder should pass before the defined amount of care services has been met, any remaining money is paid to their designated beneficiaries.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a variety of benefits to assist veterans living with dementia to pay for their long-term care needs. For example, the Aid and Attendance program will help cover the cost of assistance with ADLs and other care services provided at a memory care facility.
Bridge loans (also called GAP financing or swing loans) are short-term, higher-interest loans that can help temporarily finance memory care until a more permanent funding solution can be secured. For example, your loved one needs to move into memory care immediately for safety reasons. The plan is the use their home equity to pay for care, but you are still in the process of getting the house appraised and put on the market.
There is wide variability in Medicaid benefits depending on the state you live in. However, many states offer “Home and Community Based Services (HCBS)” Medicaid waivers, which help eligible seniors cover the long-term care services, including memory care. In some cases, Medicaid not only covers the cost of care but room and board as well.
In most cases, residential memory care facilities are classified as “custodial services” and are not covered by Medicare. However, under some circumstances, Medicare can still help defray some senior care costs. For instance, the program will help pay for short-term, medically necessary home health services such as physical therapy, skilled nursing care, etc. Medicare also helps cover annual wellness visits, which can incorporate a cognitive assessment and medication to help manage symptoms.
Local care advisors will be able to help you find the perfect memory care community for you or your loved one.
If your loved one is receiving care for conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia, the cost may qualify for a medical expense tax deduction. To learn more, visit www.irs.gov or consult with a tax professional in the same area as the memory care community.
Yes! A local care advisor can answer any questions you might have about memory care costs in their community.