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Everything You Need to Know About the Cost of Memory Care: A State-by-State Guide

12 minute readLast updated July 9, 2023
fact checkedon July 9, 2023
Written by Haines Eason
Reviewed by Saul Chapnick, MSWAssisted living executive Saul Chapnick has extensive experience revitalizing distressed facilities and ensuring new ones start strong.
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Once you begin researching the cost of memory care, you’ll soon discover there’s a wide range in the price of communities across the United States. Key factors like unit floor plans, location, amenities, and a person’s health care needs can affect the price. While some memory care facilities charge $3,000 a month or less, others can cost more than $10,000 a month, with a few communities crossing the $12,000 threshold, according to the most recent analysis by A Place for Mom (APFM).

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How much does memory care cost?

It’s often the first question many seniors and their caregivers ask when starting their search: “What’s 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’s not affected by concentrations of extremely high or low prices. The national median of all memory care facility costs in the U.S. is $5,800 a month, according to APFM data.

Of course, location can affect both the median and average cost for memory care facilities. A community located in a large metropolitan area, near a desirable destination, or in an area with a higher cost of living is often more expensive.

Median memory care cost per month by state

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. In-home dementia care may be more expensive than options in memory care 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 — Maine at $8,632 and South Dakota at $2,875 — is over $5,000.

In addition to the median cost of care, we’ll include the 10th and 90th percentile of memory care costs below. The numbers in the 10th percentile column mean that 10 percent of a set of data is below the data point (the price), and 90 percent of the set is above. Ninetieth 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.

Find out how your state compares to the national median cost of care.[01] Note that Vermont, Wyoming, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia are excluded from this chart because their data sets aren’t large enough to paint a full picture of the cost of memory care. Due to state regulations, data from Oklahoma, Nevada, and Texas isn’t publicly available.

StateMedian cost of memory care10th percentile90th percentile
New Hampshire$8,100$4,815$12,177
New Jersey$8,150$5,565$10,500
New Mexico$5,000$3,623$7,304
New York$7,153$4,641$10,681
North Carolina$5,945$4,288$8,064
North Dakota$6,150$5,712$7,377
Rhode Island$7,170$5,035$8,031
South Carolina$4,250$2,998$6,045
South Dakota$2,875$2,875$2,875
West Virginia$5,500$4,695$6,337

The data in the table above is from 2022 and represents 11,035 memory care move-ins.

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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. 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. Note that the price of an individual memory care community doesn’t necessarily reflect the number of amenities or quality of care offered.

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
  • A higher staff-to-resident ratio than assisted or independent living communities
  • Transportation to appointments, appropriate events, etc.

It’s important to note that memory care can overlap with assisted living and can even be offered in specialized wings or areas of assisted living communities. The goal is to help residents retain as much independence as possible. Seniors 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 vice 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 resident 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.

However, 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, andaggression at home is extremely challenging.
  • Memory care communities have lower resident-to-staff ratios, withan ideal ratio being 5-to-1, according to U.S. News & World Report.[02] People with dementia require more attention than those in assisted living. While providing support when needed, memory care professionals take the time to encourage residents to do as much as they can for themselves, 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? What’s not? 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 services 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 isspending down during the look-back period, 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. Which activities and amenities are included in the cost? Some communities may offer additional, specialized activities in addition to those regularly scheduled on their events calendar. Your family may have to pay extra for things like golf outings, aqua therapy, or more extensive crafts.
  11. If your loved one chooses a nonprofit community, is there a foundation that can provide assistance once your funds run out? Sometimes, nonprofit communities partner with organizations or foundations that can help long-term residents cover the cost of care.
  12. 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.

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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 roommatemay 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

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

If you think your loved one may benefit from memory care and you’d like more comprehensive information about the cost of care in your area, reach out to one of A Place for Mom’s Senior Living Advisors. They can discuss your family’s unique needs and budget, offer memory care recommendations, and help schedule tours with local communities — all at no cost to you.


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

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

Meet the Author
Haines Eason

Haines Eason, a sandwich generation caregiver, is a former senior copywriter and managing editor at A Place for Mom, where he covered nearly all senior-relevant topics. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Montana and Washington University in St. Louis, respectively.

Edited by

Leah Hallstrom

Reviewed by

Saul Chapnick, MSW

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom and the reader. Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter, and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site. Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

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