What Does Memory Care Cost?


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What Does Memory Care Cost? | Retirement Living

Memory care costs depend on a number of factors, including the location of the memory care facility, the number of clients accepted, and the amenities offered. Some memory care facilities specialize in late-stage Alzheimer’s disease, whereas others function as a nursing home or assisted living facility. Some patients may be able to save costs by receiving at-home memory care or utilizing adult healthcare day centers.

The only true way to know how much memory care will cost is to learn more about the memory care facilities in your area. Not every senior housing facility will offer memory care services, so make sure to find an option that offers the services your loved one needs.

On average, memory care costs 20% to 30% more than general assisted living costs. In some cases, memory care services may be “a la carte,” so you can customize them to your loved one’s needs. To estimate the costs of memory care services, we’ve taken the median cost of assisted living facilities (based on recent Genworth data) and increased it by 25%. This amounts to an estimated annual memory care cost of $67,500 a year, or $5,625 a month.

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National Memory Care Costs

The cost of memory care varies widely, depending on the services available. For instance, you might spend as little as $2,115 a month for adult day care with services for people with dementia or more than $11,300 a month for Alzheimer’s care in a private room in a nursing home.

On average, a private room in a memory care facility in the United States costs approximately $5,625 per month, but prices vary dramatically across the country. To get a more exact estimate, you’ll want to look at typical memory care costs in your state.

Memory Care Costs by Region

The location of a memory care facility has a significant impact on its cost. For example, paying for memory care in Alaska, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts is more challenging than in states like Missouri, South Dakota, and North Dakota, where costs are essentially cut in half.

In Alaska, the average monthly cost of memory care is nearly $8,550. In Missouri, it’s just $3,750 a month. In general, southern states have the lowest memory care prices; the northeastern region of the U.S. has some of the highest memory care costs in the country.

What’s Included in the Price of Memory Care?

It’s challenging to find cost data for memory care because the services can vary dramatically. Generally speaking, these facilities might offer:

  • Specialized care for memory loss
  • Memory-enhancing therapies
  • Special layouts and designs to reduce confusion

Types of Memory Care

You can get dementia care at adult health care day facilities, where you simply drop off loved ones with memory issues for a period of time. You can also get around-the-clock care for your loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s at assisted living facilities and nursing homes. You may even get help at home.

Let’s break down the differences in these memory care services—and the costs.

Adult Day Care Memory Care Services

The most affordable type of memory care is adult day health care services. You’ll spend about $106.25 a day for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s to visit an adult daycare facility. These facilities can be helpful for family members who may serve as primary caregivers but need help—during work hours, to run errands, or even just to take a break. (Caring for someone with memory loss is challenging, and everyone deserves some time away to be the best caregiver they can be.)

When you take a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s to a day center, you can expect the staff to help with all of their needs. Services may include meals, personal care (all the activities of daily living), and basic medical services. These facilities usually provide daily activities to keep patients active and social.

At-Home Memory Care Services

The typical cost for at-home memory care is $32.50 an hour for homemaker services and $33.75 an hour for home health aide. Getting care at home can be especially beneficial for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, who may find it challenging to adjust to a new setting (and whose memory may be more easily jogged by the familiar).

Homemaker services are limited to non-medical care—think of it like a nanny who is trained to help patients with dementia. They can cook, clean, and generally provide friendship and support to someone with dementia, but they’re not trained to provide medical care. Home health aides, though more expensive, may be able to provide services such as physical therapy and medication assistance, in addition to the typical homemaker tasks.

Assisted Living Memory Care Services

If you move a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s into an assisted living facility with memory care services, you’ll need to budget an additional 20% to 30% or an estimated average monthly cost of $5,625. As noted previously, these costs vary dramatically across the country.

For that price, you can expect the typical services of an assisted living facility, but also meals, personal care, and basic medical care by trained staff. A memory care unit may have a higher staff-to-patient ratio, as well as security to prevent wandering patients and activities.

Nursing Home Memory Care Services

The most expensive option for memory care is a nursing home. A patient in a semi-private room can expect to pay $118,625 a year (that’s nearly $9,900 a month); for memory care services at a nursing home with a private room, costs jump to more than $135,500 a year (about $11,300 a month).

Nursing homes may be the most expensive option, but they’re also sometimes the most comprehensive care option for someone with severe dementia or Alzheimer’s. Nursing homes are equipped to provide a higher level of care than a family member may be able to offer their loved one at home, including around-the-clock medical care (more advanced than at assisted living facilities), security, personal care, and meals, all by trained staff. Like at assisted living facilities, there are typically activities to keep residents engaged.

Why Is Memory Care More Expensive?

On average, long-term care costs increase by 20% to 30% when you add memory care services. But why?

Memory care is challenging. It requires specialized training, additional security, and a lower staff-to-patient ratio. Some of the medical and personal care provided is further-reaching than typical care offered at assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

The Most Affordable Cities for Memory Care

When searching for memory care, the cost is often a large determining factor. People often make important senior care decisions because of cost, sometimes resulting in a compromise of quality. We have ranked the cities below from least expensive to most expensive to provide you with information about the cost of care.

RankCityStateMonthly Cost
7Fort SmithAR$4,813
10San AntonioTX$4,906
16St. LouisMO$5,125
18Fort LauderdaleFL$5,481
24Little RockAR$5,610
25Kansas CityMO$5,731
27Cedar RapidsIA$5,935
30Oklahoma CityOK$6,000
34Los AngelesCA$6,563
36San DiegoCA$6,844
39New York NY$7,400
41San JoseCA$7,500
42San FranciscoCA$7,899
Local Memory Care Costs

Paying for Memory Care

Memory care is more expensive than other forms of long-term care—and long-term care is already expensive enough. So how can you ensure your loved one gets the memory care they need without taking on massive debt for yourself? If you are the executor of your loved one’s estate, you might consider funding their care with:

  1. Retirement funds: If your loved one has money available in their retirement account, use it to fund their medical care. If they contributed through all their working years, it may be large enough to cover all medical costs for the rest of their life.
  2. Government benefits: Your loved one may also receive Social Security or other government benefits that you can use to pay for memory care. Medicare may cover some of the costs of memory care
  3. A house sale: You may have mixed feelings about selling your loved one’s home, especially if it has sentimental value to your family. But if your loved one will no longer be living in that home—and there’s no chance they’ll return—selling it could provide you with the funds to cover the cost of memory care services for several years.
  4. Life insurance: If your loved one has a life insurance policy, look into the contract. There may be an option to access the death benefit and/or a cash value component now, to fund ongoing medical costs. Your loved one may even have long-term care insurance that you can utilize.

Can Medicaid Help Pay for Memory Care?

In some cases, Medicare may cover some of the cost of memory care, but Medicaid benefits vary by state, so you’ll need to research your local laws. That said, Medicaid benefits do often cover memory care, whether it’s at home or at a senior housing facility.

Bottom Line

Choosing the right memory care facility is an important decision that impacts your loved one’s health and happiness. Look for a memory care facility with a qualified and friendly staff, state-of-the-art treatment options, delicious food, and fun leisure opportunities, whether an outdoor courtyard or weekly game nights. The cost of memory care is steep—but it’s often well worth it when it results in superior care for your loved one.

There are fewer specialized memory care facilities relative to the number of assisted living communities and nursing homes around the country. Despite this, there are still quite a few options to evaluate, especially in larger cities. To figure out which one to choose, conduct research and take tours of your favorites to find the best fit for your loved one’s needs—and budget.

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