For some families, the stress of having their loved one living at home alone can simply be too much, making memory care the best option. When you begin to look at memory care communities as an option for your loved one, you have to consider your budget. The cost of memory care varies based on multiple factors, but having a general idea of what you will pay and what that cost includes will help you ensure the community you select will help you meet your long-term financial goals.
What Is the Average Monthly Cost of Memory Care?
According to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the average national cost of memory care is $6,935 per month, with some states averaging about $8,000 per month and some closer to $3,000.
The state in which you are looking for memory care can have a large impact on the cost. For example, the average monthly cost of memory care in California will vary from the average cost of memory care in Texas, Florida, or Rhode Island. The higher-priced states typically include New Jersey, Washington, and Massachusetts. Lower averages can often be found in Alabama, Kentucky, and Mississippi.
What Does the Cost of Memory Care Cover?
Cost is an important factor to consider when narrowing down a list of potential memory care communities. When thinking about the monthly cost of memory care, it’s crucial to understand what that monthly fee covers. Each community is unique, so it is important to speak candidly with the community to determine what is covered in the monthly fee and what isn’t. However, it is common for any memory care cost to cover:
- A private or semi-private apartment home, typically a studio or one-bedroom floorplan
- Three meals daily, as well as nutritious snacks
- Access to community amenities such as shared outdoor spaces, activity rooms, and more
- Regular housekeeping services
- 24-hour personalized support from a team of trained caregivers
- Assistance with medication management with nurse oversight
- Wellness monitoring and emergency response as needed
- Activities and events held on-site
Depending on the community, you might still need to pay for additional expenses like:
- Adult incontinence products
- Medications, both over-the-counter and prescribed
- Fees for special events or excursions
- Durable medical equipment
- Favorite toiletries
- Additional assistance due to higher care needs or safety considerations
Factors That Increase Memory Care Cost
Numerous factors can increase monthly fees for memory care. Again, this varies by community, but a more expensive monthly fee could be attributed to:
- More amenities
- Innovative programming
- Higher levels of care
- Skilled nursing versus assisted living license
- Private versus semi-private home
Is Memory Care Worth It?
Family members can sometimes experience a bit of sticker shock when they see the cost of memory care. However, a specialized memory care community often ends up being less expensive than in-home dementia care and safer than having the person live without assistance at home.
In-home dementia care, for example, can become expensive quickly, especially as your loved one’s needs increase as the disease progresses. Most in-home care agencies bill by the hour, which might be doable in the early stages of the disease when the person needs help a few hours a day or week with housekeeping or personal hygiene tasks. However, as that person begins to need more oversight to stay healthy and safe, a few hours a week will no longer be sufficient. Around-the-clock, in-home care will likely be more expensive than a memory care monthly fee, and with less socialization and fewer opportunities than those that come along with senior living.
How to Pay for Memory Care
There are some ways to offset the cost of memory care. When you are determining how to pay for memory care for your loved one, be sure you consider:
- Veterans Aid & Attendance benefits
- Long-term care insurance
- Liquidating assets, like the person’s home and car
- Proper tax deductions
Memory care is typically not covered by Medicare, and for those memory care communities that do accept Medicaid, there might be a waitlist.
As you begin to research memory care communities and their costs, ensure you are working with a financial advisor, as well. An experienced financial advisor can help you determine what costs you can afford, as well as help plan for increases in care and costs.
Want to compare your loved one’s current monthly costs with the costs of senior living? Use our Senior Living Cost Calculator to do a side-by-side comparison that just might pleasantly surprise you.