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Is Memory Care Tax Deductible? Requirements, Eligible Expenses, and Tax-Prep Tips

6 minute readLast updated March 28, 2024
fact checkedon March 28, 2024
Written by Nirali Desai, memory care writer
Reviewed by Letha McDowell, CELA, CAPCertified Elder Law Attorney Letha Sgritta McDowell is a past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.
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As a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, you probably know firsthand that care costs can add up quickly. Fortunately, you may be able to claim a tax deduction for memory care facility costs and other out-of-pocket medical expenses that you’ve paid for your loved one. Itemizing your return and deducting your family’s qualifying health care expenses may help reduce your taxable income.

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Do memory care expenses qualify for the IRS’s medical deduction?

Yes, certain memory care expenses may qualify for the IRS’s medical deduction if your loved one with dementia is chronically ill, as defined by the IRS. A licensed health care professional must certify your loved one as chronically ill on an annual basis based on these requirements:[01]

  • A person who’s unable to perform at least two activities of daily living (bathing, dressing, etc.) for at least 90 days; or
  • A person who requires substantial supervision due to cognitive impairments (Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia)

To deduct any medical expenses, taxpayers must itemize their deductions. Itemizing your medical deductions can lower the amount of taxes you owe and give you a larger return than a standard deduction, if those out-of-pocket costs exceed 7.5% of your AGI.[02]

Keep in mind, however, that itemizing medical deductions not always be more beneficial than a standard deduction, depending on your circumstances.

How much of memory care is tax deductible?

If your loved one meets the IRS’s chronically ill requirements and is living in a memory care facility due to medical necessity, the deduction can cover meals and lodging.

However, many dementia patients may not qualify in the early stages. In that case, you can still deduct medical expenses provided in their memory care facility, some of which may include:[03]

  • Prescriptions
  • Transportation for medical appointments
  • On-site nursing services
  • On-site medical appointments

Can you afford memory care?

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Who can deduct memory care expenses from their taxes?

If a senior residing in a memory care facility is paying for their own care, then the qualifying expenses can be deducted on their taxes. In this case, the filing process will likely be overseen by their financial power of attorney (POA) or tax professional if they have cognitive decline.

If a family member is financially supporting their loved one’s care in a memory care facility, then their parent may be considered a “qualifying relative” and they may deduct these unreimbursed medical expenses on their return.

Family members must meet certain requirements. For instance, they must be able to claim their loved one as a dependent or qualifying relative by these standards:[04]

  • The family member must not be a dependent of another taxpayer.
  • The parent must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident.
  • The family member must have paid half of the parent’s support for the tax year.
  • The parent’s gross annual income cannot exceed $4,700.

How do you calculate tax deductions for memory care?

Only qualified, unreimbursed medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI) are deductible. This can include out-of-pocket health care costs they paid for themselves, their spouse, and any dependents and qualifying relatives.

You should keep careful records and request itemized receipts throughout the year so you can easily tally up qualifying expenses and demonstrate that you meet the IRS’s requirements.

To calculate your total medical expense tax deduction, follow these steps:

  1. Add up all qualifying medical expenses (including memory care) paid for the tax year.
  2. Subtract 7.5% of your AGI from your expense total to determine your deduction.

If your loved one moved into memory care in the middle of the year, there may also be other tax credits or deductions available to families depending on their situation.

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Tips and resources for memory care tax deductions

To prepare for tax season, Denise Lettau, an attorney with over 15 years of experience in the wealth management industry, recommends asking your loved one’s memory care community for the following:

  • Detailed and itemized invoices, specifically a breakdown of all medical expenses, room and board, and any other costs
  • Documentation of medical necessity, which may be found in the care plan or provided by a physician
  • The facility’s Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)

“Sometimes facilities cannot provide an itemized explanation of benefits (EOB),” Lettau says. “Instead, they may state how much of the monthly rate covers room and board, and how much covers care services. Also, look at the signed resident agreement, because some provide a breakdown of services.”

EXPERT TIPS: WAYS TO STAY ORGANIZED

• Save all receipts and invoices to track expenses. Whether you scan them with a smartphone or use a binder with tabs, stay consistent.

 

• Designate a credit card for your loved one’s medical expenses. Keeping those transactions separate simplifies the tracking process.

 

• Review and file expenses on a monthly basis. Staying up to date helps avoid a backlog during tax season.

 

• Work with a tax preparer to see if you’ve missed anything. Make sure they have experience with senior care and medical deductions.

Find additional support

The IRS has resources available online, including free tax forms and publications detailing a variety of credits and deductions. If you think you may qualify for any of these credits and deductions, consult a senior living tax professional to ensure compliance with IRS rules.

It’s also important to remember that a memory care community is only one long-term care option available for loved ones with dementia. Families can also choose other dementia care options that work for their situation, including in-home dementia care or memory care in a nursing home.

A Place for Mom’s trained Senior Living Advisors are available to provide guidance on financing memory care and exploring long-term care options for a loved one with dementia, all at no cost to your family.

SHARE THE ARTICLE

  1. Internal Revenue Service. (2019, October). Instructions for Form 1099-LTC (10/2019).

  2. Internal Revenue Service. (2024, March 13). Topic no. 502, medical and dental expenses.

  3. Internal Revenue Service. (2024, February 1). About Publication 502, medical and dental expenses.

  4. Internal Revenue Service. (2023, June 15). For caregivers.

Meet the Author
Nirali Desai, memory care writer

Nirali Desai is a senior copywriter at A Place for Mom specializing in memory care and life enrichment topics. Previously, she worked in marketing and social media, edited a regional senior magazine, and wrote for the American Red Cross. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.

Edited by

Merritt Whitley, senior living writer and editor

Reviewed by

Letha McDowell, CELA, CAP

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