The national average cost for memory care in the United States is $6,935 a month, according to 2021 NIC statistics.1 Memory care costs can also vary depending on the level of care required. These facilities also can provide 24-hour supervised care for patients suffering from all stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia.
As older adults move toward the age of retirement, more and more people find themselves facing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. In 2022, the Alzheimer’s Association reported that more than 6 million people were living with Alzheimer’s, the main cause of dementia.2 With someone in the U.S. developing the disease every 66 seconds, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer's is projected to reach 12.7 million by the year 2050.
There is no cure for dementia and the burden for care often falls on the shoulders of an unpaid and untrained family member. According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation, loved ones, including family members and friends, provided more than $271 billion in unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia in 2021. Although they are doing all they can to care for their loved one, it can become overwhelming. Often coping with difficult circumstances with very little sleep and little to no respite, family caregivers soon realize they can no longer do it alone. You may be one such caregiver. You have done all you can to care for your loved one, but find you can no longer keep them safe because they require twenty-four-hour supervision and you require sleep, and you might even like to have a life of your own … doing the things you once loved with friends you seldom see anymore.
As you make decisions about memory care for yourself or a loved one, you may find you have more questions than answers, especially when it comes to the cost of memory care. Memory care is more intensive than other types of senior care, such as assisted living, although not always as medically intensive as a nursing home or skilled nursing care. Memory care requires around-the-clock supervision and specialized facilities to deal with issues such as elopement. With this in mind, let's look more closely at memory care costs.
Median Memory Care Cost
Not surprising, memory care costs run higher than many other types of senior care, such as assisted living. Costs can vary greatly from state to state. For a period of time when dementia is in the mild to moderate stage, until the need for supervision and assistance becomes too great, individuals with dementia can live within the general population of an assisted living community. When that becomes no longer feasible during the mid- to late-stages of the illness, they will be required to move to a nursing home, a memory care community or a skilled nursing care facility. A memory care community can be a secured, locked-down unit or dedicated wing within an assisted living community or may be a standalone community devoted entirely to memory care.
Memory care units provide more supervision, often around the clock, and greater security. There are more cameras in the public areas, plus secure entrances, exits and outdoor living areas to prevent elopement. Staff-to-resident ratios are lower and the staff is trained to manage the impulsivity and reduced safety awareness that individuals with memory issues exhibit. Activities are geared specifically to those with memory loss and schedules are very routine. Rooms don't include a kitchen.
Daily Cost of Memory Care
Depending on the state and specific facility, the daily costs associated with memory care ran between $83 and $403 per day, with the national median cost being closer to $181 per day in 2021.
Monthly Cost of Memory Care
The monthly cost associated with memory care by state is between $2,500 (Georgia) and $12,090 (D.C.) per month, with the median being closer to $5,000 per month. Caring for those living among the general population of an assisted living community typically costs less each month than a memory-care-specific facility.
Yearly Cost of Memory Care
The yearly cost of memory care ranges from $30,000 (Georgia) to $145,080 (Washington, D.C.), and the national median cost is around $65,000 per year. However, you can expect costs to rise each year.
Memory Care Costs by State
Memory care costs vary widely from state to state. Check the following chart to determine what the average cost of memory care is in your state.
|State||Median monthly cost (2022)|
|District of Columbia||$11,490|
|Nevada||No data available|
|Oklahoma||No data available|
|Texas||No data available|
|Wyoming||No data available|
Want to know more? The Genworth Cost of Care Survey has been the basis of long-term care planning strategies since 2004 and helps families plan for the expenses related to long-term care. They have created a cost of care calculator that enables you to select a state and see the cost of various types of care in that state. The calculator allows you to see daily, monthly and yearly costs as well as project what the costs will be in the future through 2071. There is even a tool to help factor in inflation!
How to Pay for Memory Care Costs
Unless care is provided in a skilled nursing community, meaning that there are medically intensive care needs other than dementia, memory care costs will need to be covered with private funds.
Does Medicare Cover Memory Care Costs?
Medicare doesn't cover the cost of memory care when it's provided in assisted living or a memory care-specific community; however, Medicare may cover the cost of care when certain criteria are met for a specified period of time, usually up to 100 days for skilled nursing care under limited circumstances. For example, Medicare will cover any inpatient hospital care after certain criteria have been met, some medical items and some doctor's fees. Many prescription medications are covered by Medicare Part D. Once a patient with dementia is admitted into hospice care, Medicare will pay for most, if not all, of the cost of care.
Medicare Special Needs Plans (SNPs) are available for persons with dementia. SNPs are Medicare Advantage plans specializing in care for beneficiaries with dementia.
Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care Costs?
Medicaid provides health care coverage to eligible elderly adults, people with disabilities, and others.
For facilities that accept Medicaid, some long-term costs are covered. Locations that offer Medicaid beds only set aside a limited number of them and memory care communities do so less often than other senior care provider facilities that accept Medicaid. Since Medicaid is funded jointly by each state and the federal government, coverage varies from state to state.
Some adult day care costs, primarily for low-income seniors, may be covered by the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), a partnership between Medicare and Medicaid.
Although Medicaid requires a “spend down” before qualifying, a spousal protection rule enables healthy spouses some asset protection. The amount of protection varies from state to state.
Find out more specifics about Medicaid benefits at Medicaid.gov.
Are Memory Care Costs Tax Deductible?
In cases where IRS criteria have been met, the cost of dementia care may qualify as a deductible medical expense. In some cases, the entire bill may be tax deductible as a valid medical expense with a written assessment signed by a doctor stating that level of care is required.
Get advice from someone familiar with the tax laws and elder care in your area.
More Tips Concerning Memory Care Costs
- Be sure to take advantage of any applicable Veteran’s benefits making sure that criteria are met. Check into the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Community Residential Care Program or their Aid and Attendance program. Surviving spouses may be eligible for the benefits as well. Contact Veterans Affairs for free advice, or call (800) 698-2411.
- Most costs are included as part of basic care. Additional services may come with extra costs. A geriatric care manager is a great resource to help you find the best care options for your situation in your given location. You can use the Eldercare Locator to find a geriatric care manager. Fortunately, the best place for you or your loved one doesn't have to be the most expensive.
- Consider selling or renting the senior's home to help pay for their care. Reverse mortgages may be an option but may not be the best choice for a surviving spouse who may need care down the road. Consult an elder-law attorney or elder care savvy financial planner before finalizing any plans you have concerning the liquidation of a property, including a reverse mortgage.
- Consider liquidating some of the senior's assets to help offset the costs of their memory care. Jewelry, artwork, antiques, collections and other “stuff” can be used to buy peace of mind. A senior move manager can help provide guidance concerning liquidation of these types of assets.
- Talk to an elder law attorney or elder care-savvy financial planner early in the process to save you money in the long run.