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Everything You Need to Know About the Cost of Memory Care

Written by Haines Eason
 about the author
16 minute readLast updated March 31, 2022

Once you begin researching the cost of memory care, you’ll soon discover there’s a wide range. Key factors like unit floor plans, location, amenities, and a person’s health care needs can affect the price.

Key Takeaways

  1. The cost of memory care varies widely. The location, floor plans, and amenities, along with your loved one’s care needs, can all affect prices.
  2. The price usually includes an array of specialized services. Memory care features services beyond what you might find in assisted living.
  3. Communities have different pricing structures. While some communities charge one flat rate, most charge a base rate plus the cost of additional services.
  4. Find memory care that fits your family’s budget. Narrow your search based on price range and other important community features.
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While some memory care facilities charge $2,500 a month or less, others may cost over $10,000 a month, with a few communities crossing the $12,000 threshold, according to A Place for Mom’s (APFM) most recent analysis.

How much does memory care cost?

The first question many seniors and their caregivers ask when looking for memory care is, “What is the average cost of memory care?” However, the median cost of memory care is a better starting point. This is because the median is just the middle, not the average — it is not affected by concentrations of extremely high or low prices. The national median of all memory care facility costs in the United States is $5,430 a month, according to APFM data.

Of course, location can affect both the median and average cost for memory care facilities. A community in a large metropolitan area will likely cost more than one in rural Georgia, one of the most affordable states for memory care. Even if not located in a city, a community near a desirable destination, like a beach, or in an area with a higher cost of living, like Massachusetts, will be more expensive than one where the opposite may be true.

Median memory care cost per month by state

Cost of memory care by state according to internal APFM data.

The average cost of memory care by state varies significantly because of factors such as the cost of living in a given area and high concentrations of high- or low-cost communities.

Median remains the best indicator of the true middle cost for an area. But, state to state, the median cost can also vary greatly. The difference in median memory care costs between the most and least expensive states — Georgia at $3,995 and New Jersey at $7,710 — is over $3,700. (For this one comparison, the District of Columbia, Vermont, and Hawaii are excluded as their datasets are small.)

Find out how your state compares to the national median cost of care. The prices in the table are from APFM’s 2022 Senior Living Price Index. For states with *, please see the notes section below.

StateMedian price10th pct.90th pct.
District of Columbia*$11,490$3,910$12,090
Vermont$8,400$5,386$10,053
Hawaii*$8,100$8,100$8,100
New Jersey$7,710$5,300$9,597
Massachusetts$7,695$4,850$10,088
Maine$7,695$4,749$9,491
Connecticut$7,250$4,500$9,650
New Hampshire$6,950$4,880$9,650
New York$6,895$4,500$9,507
Minnesota$6,418$4,075$7,900
Maryland$6,285$4,000$8,121
Oregon$6,275$4,422$8,453
Washington$6,175$3,714$8,404
Montana$6,105$5,260$6,989
South Dakota*$6,083$3,125$6,421
Kansas$6,000$4,175$7,550
Delaware$5,972$4,830$7,797
Nebraska$5,935$4,010$7,500
Colorado$5,925$3,986$7,519
Rhode Island$5,925$4,266$7,543
Illinois$5,900$3,995$7,600
Wisconsin$5,850$4,230$7,480
Missouri$5,800$4,018$7,140
North Dakota*$5,745$2,526$8,010
Iowa$5,669$4,040$6,858
Pennsylvania$5,635$3,447$7,330
Virginia$5,555$3,580$8,104
North Carolina$5,490$3,800$7,505
West Virginia$5,460$3,900$6,055
Arizona$5,448$4,000$6,300
California$5,419$3,440$8,200
Ohio$5,315$3,797$6,740
Indiana$5,300$3,707$7,055
Michigan$5,213$2,750$6,905
Arizona$5,053$3,000$6,407
Alaska*$4,817$4,817$4,817
Louisiana$4,710$3,195$5,775
Florida$4,650$3,000$6,100
New Mexico$4,600$3,604$6,676
Kentucky$4,513$2,800$6,491
Mississippi$4,452$2,890$5,965
Tennessee$4,417$3,000$6,148
South Carolina$4,415$2,850$6,055
Alabama$4,410$2,694$5,837
Idaho$4,336$3,220$6,020
Utah$4,220$3,100$5,450
Georgia$3,995$2,500$5,500

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

Housing, meals, and 24-hour care for seniors with dementia are standard in memory care facilities, which is sometimes called Alzheimer’s care. At a minimum, memory care communities should offer a safe, secure, intentionally designed environment for their residents, but most communities also provide memory-enhancing therapies and specialized opportunities for socialization.

Dementia diagnosis? We can help.

Our free tool provides memory care options based on your unique situation and budget.

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

  • 24-hour care and supervision with a low patient-to-caregiver ratio
  • Assistance with bathing, dressing, and other activities of daily living
  • Complete housekeeping and landscaping services (to reduce resident stress)
  • Emergency monitoring, including a protocol or system to monitor for wandering
  • Medication management
  • Independent and group activities specific to memory care
  • Three nutritious meals a day, plus snacks
  • Transportation to appointments, appropriate events, etc.

It’s important to note that memory care can overlap with assisted living in that the goal is to help residents retain as much independence as possible. Those in need of constant medical supervision are more likely to find the care they need in a nursing home.

Is memory care all-inclusive?

It depends. According to Sue Johansen, executive president of the APFM Community Network, “About 65% to 70% of memory care is a la carte.” In such arrangements, a community will charge a base rate but have the senior or their family complete an assessment to determine what support services will be required. The base rate plus the cost of the services needed, as determined by the assessment, will result in a total cost.

Though, Johansen noted that memory-care-only communities are more likely to be all-inclusive. In an all-inclusive setting, 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.

The cost of memory care vs. senior living

You may still be asking yourself, “How much is a memory care facility compared to other types of communities?” The answer varies, of course, but memory care costs generally exceed assisted living by $1,000 or more a month, even when communities are in the same town or area, according to APFM Senior Living Advisor Lynn Moore. This is because:

  • 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 communities have lower resident-to-staff ratios, with an ideal ratio being 5-to-1, according to U.S. News & World Report. People with dementia require more attention than those in assisted living. Memory care professionals take the time to encourage residents to do as much as they can for themselves while providing support when needed, and this model of care requires a caregiver to remain vigilant and engaged.
  • Memory care communities feature unique programs and therapies. Person-centered care, unique building layouts to reduce confusion, and customized therapies are essential components of quality dementia care.

10 questions to ask about memory care costs

For caregivers to clearly understand costs and avoid surprises later on, Moore said to ask the following questions.

  1. What’s the price? While a base rate mentioned above will likely apply, specific care charges can change month to month, depending on factors like time of year, vacancy, and staff availability.
  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 — 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? “In most cases, the family and community will monitor financial resources together,” Moore said. “If the family is spending down, additional options may be presented. When funds are exhausted, the loved one may need to be relocated to a community that accepts public assistance, like Medicaid.”
  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. “Many communities still require you to pay for personal items like incontinence supplies and personal hygiene items,” Moore noted.

3 tips to save on memory care 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. “Rates tend to go up at the beginning of the year,” Moore said, “so moving in December could save you money the entire next year.”
  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.

Memory care facilities near you

There are facilities in your area

Find affordable memory care communities near you

The good news is, even if you live in a state that is expensive for memory care, like New Jersey, low-cost options are available.

If you’re feeling tired just thinking about hunting down and assessing those low-cost options, but you’re curious about the cost of memory care in your area, consider talking to our experienced Senior Living Advisors. They are experts in senior living, and their services come at no cost to you.

Notes

  • The data in the table above is from 2021 and represents 10,718 memory care move-ins.
  • The data from North Dakota, the District of Columbia, South Dakota, Hawaii, and Alaska are based on six, five, three, one, and one move-ins, respectively.
  • The table above includes the District of Columbia but does not include data from Oklahoma, Nevada, or Texas. Due to state regulations, those states’ data is incompatible with what is reported here.
  • 10th and 90th percentiles can be explained as follows. 10th percentile means that 10 percent of a set of data is below the data point (the price), and 90 percent of the set is above. 90th percentile means the opposite: 90 percent of a set of data is below the data point (the price), and 10 percent of the set is above.

Sources

A Place for Mom. (2022). A Place for Mom Senior Living Price Index.

Cohn, S. (2021, July 15). These are America’s 10 most expensive states to live inCNBC.

Esposito, L. (2015, June 1). What nursing home ‘memory care’ meansU.S. News & World Report.

Meet the Author
Haines Eason

Haines Eason is managing editor at A Place for Mom and oversees its editorial team of expert senior living writers and editors. Under his leadership, his team produces hundreds of articles a year to inform and educate readers about aging, caregiving, senior living, community types and services, and providers that oversee multiple facilities. He has nearly 15 years of experience as an editor and copywriter in journalistic, agency, and institutional settings. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Montana and Washington University in St. Louis, respectively.

Edited by

Danny Szlauderbach

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