Everything You Need to Know About the Cost of Memory Care

Merritt Whitley
By Merritt WhitleyOctober 21, 2020
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Once you begin researching memory care costs, you’ll soon discover there’s a wide range. Key factors like apartment floor plans, location, amenities, and a person’s health care needs can all affect the price tag. While some memory care facilities charge $3,000 a month or less, others may cost $7,000 a month or more, according to an analysis of 2018 and 2019 memory care move-in data from A Place for Mom (APFM).

Learn which states have the highest and lowest costs of memory care, what’s included in the price, tips to save money, and 10 questions to ask when touring memory care facilities to better understand your loved one’s monthly bill.

What’s the average cost of a memory care facility?

The median memory care cost in the United States is $5,250 a month, according to APFM’s most recent analysis. Median means half the prices are lower and half are higher. This is generally thought to be a more accurate figure than the average for summarizing costs, as it’s not affected by extremely high or low figures.

10 least expensive states for memory care

In the states with lower memory care costs, the median rate ranged from $3,800 a month in Hawaii to $4,700 a month in New Mexico. 

Top 10 Least Expensive States for Memory Care

StateMonthly Median Cost1. Hawaii$3,8002. Mississippi$4,1003. Georgia$4,1604. Idaho$4,2505. Alabama$4,3306. Tennessee$4,4007. Utah$4,4938. Florida$4,4989. South Carolina$4,55010. New Mexico$4,700
Source: APFM move-in data analysis, 2018-2019

10 most expensive states for memory care

In the states with higher memory care costs, the median rate ranged from nearly $6,050 a month in Delaware to nearly $7,400 a month in Vermont.

Top 10 Most Expensive States for Memory Care

StateMonthly Median Cost1. Vermont$7,3952. Massachusetts$7,3253. Connecticut$7,1954. Maine$7,1355. New Hampshire$7,0506. New Jersey$6,9907. New York$6,7008. Minnesota$6,1929. Washington$6,10910. Delaware$6,048
Source: APFM move-in data analysis, 2018-2019

Monthly median memory care facility costs by state

The difference in memory care costs between the most and least expensive states — Vermont and Hawaii — is nearly $4,000. Find out how your state compares to the national median cost of care.

Memory Care Costs by State

StateMonthly Median CostAlabama$4,330Alaska$5,900Arizona$5,200Arkansas$5,125California$5,038Colorado$5,795Connecticut$7,195Delaware$6,048Florida$4,498Georgia$4,160Hawaii$3,800Idaho$4,250Illinois$6,050Indiana$5,058Iowa$5,395Kansas$5,700Kentucky$4,850Louisiana$5,324Maine$7,135Maryland$5,814Massachusetts$7,325Michigan$5,250Minnesota$6,192Mississippi$4,100Missouri$5,725Montana$5,610Nebraska$5,500NevadaN/ANew Hampshire$7,050New Jersey$6,990New Mexico$4,700New York$6,700North Carolina$5,542North Dakota$5,685Ohio$5,250OklahomaN/AOregon$5,875Pennsylvania$5,400Rhode Island$5,850South Carolina$4,550South Dakota$6,028Tennessee$4,400TexasN/AUtah$4,493Vermont$7,395Virginia$5,463Washington$6,109West Virginia$4,744Wisconsin$5,834WyomingN/A
Source: APFM move-in data analysis, 2018-2019. Data not available in some states where APFM does not collect move-in care and rent charges.

What’s included in the price of Alzheimer’s care?

Housing, meals, and 24-hour care for seniors with dementia is included in memory care, sometimes called Alzheimer’s care. Memory care offers a safe environment for residents, memory-enhancing therapies, opportunities for socialization, and peace of mind for families.

While features and amenities vary, memory care facilities typically offer:

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  • 24-hour care and supervision
  • Assistance with bathing, dressing, and other activities of daily living
  • Medication management
  • Independent and group memory care activities
  • Three nutritious meals a day, plus snacks
  • Transportation to appointments

Is memory care all-inclusive?

Yes — typically, memory care costs are all-inclusive, meaning residents pay one monthly fee regardless of care needs. This is different from assisted living costs, which are often determined based on level of care.

A few services in memory care may cost extra, like incontinence care, diabetic injections, beauty services such as manicures and haircuts, internet service, and special outings.

Why are memory care facilities more expensive than assisted living?

Memory care costs generally exceed assisted living costs by $1,000 or more a month, even when communities are in the same town or area. This is because:

  1. Dementia care requires specific skills and ongoing caregiver training. Many people seek memory care for their loved one because managing dementia behaviors like confusion, anxiety, and aggression at home is extremely challenging. Memory care staff receive regular training on how to prevent such behaviors by understanding a resident’s unmet needs — whether they’re emotional or physical — and meeting them.
  2. Memory care communities have smaller resident-to-staff ratios. People with dementia often require more attention than those in assisted living. Caregivers in memory care take the time to encourage residents to do as much as they can for themselves while providing support when needed.
  3. Memory care communities feature unique amenities and therapies. Person-centered care, unique building layouts to reduce confusion, and customized therapies are parts of quality dementia care.

10 questions to ask about memory care costs

Ask the following to clearly understand costs and avoid surprises later on, says Niki Gewirtz, a Senior Living Advisor for A Place for Mom and a former executive director at a memory care community:

  1. What’s the price?  Memory care prices change month to month, depending on factors like time of year and vacancy. For example, memory care facilities may reduce their price if they have many vacant rooms.
  2. What’s included? Many communities charge an all-inclusive monthly fee, but some have different prices based on care needs. Be sure to clarify the care and services included in the price.
  3. How much are the various floor plans? Most memory care communities have studio or shared room options. Some offer one- and two-bedroom options for a higher price.
  4. Does the price increase annually? Memory care prices typically increase 3% to 8% a year.
  5. Is there a community entry fee or deposit? Many communities charge a one-time community fee, ranging from $1,000 to the cost of your first month’s rent. This fee covers the extra services and one-on-one time needed to help a new resident adjust to the community.
  6. Are there any move-in incentives? Many communities offer discounts, such as:
    • End-of-year rates.Deals are common around the holidays, when fewer people want to move.
    • Rate lock-ins.Some communities may offer to freeze your rate — called a rate lock-in — for two years or more.
    • Waived community entry fee. This initial payment may be eliminated as an incentive.
  7. What’s the maximum amount of care offered?Your loved one’s care needs will be evaluated as part of the move-in process. However, these may change over time. Knowing the maximum price and care options can help you plan accordingly.
  8. How often will care plans be reviewed? If your loved one goes to the hospital, or if their health changes, they may need different care and treatments. A plan outlining required care is important to your relative’s health — and it can affect costs.
  9. What happens if our family can no longer pay? Is there a grace period if unforeseen financial difficulties arise? Does the community provide any resources?
  10. Will I need to purchase any specialty items? Ask if there are any items related to your loved one’s care that you’ll need to pay extra for.

3 tips to save on memory care facility costs

Helping your family save a little bit can go a long way. Here are three tips to cut costs:

  1. Move at the end of the year. You can often find deals around the winter holidays.
  2. Consider a roommate. Splitting the cost of a room can be one of the best ways to save. In addition to being cost-effective, having a roommate may be comforting.
  3. Ask for a deal or move-in incentive. If you don’t ask, you may never know.

Find affordable memory care communities near you

Are you curious about the cost of memory care in your area? Contact our experienced Senior Living Advisors to compare memory care rates and amenities near you.

Merritt Whitley
Merritt Whitley