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Costs of Memory Care vs. Nursing Home

February 16, 2024

When searching for the best senior care option for your aging loved one, it’s important to learn the differences between memory care facilities, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. Each has its own unique benefits, scopes of care, and of course, costs. In this blog, we’ll help you understand your different options for elder care as well as how, financially, to cover them.

What Is Memory Care?

Memory care is a type of medical support system designed for individuals experiencing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other cognitive impairments affecting memory. A few of the benefits of memory care include that it creates a safe and low-stress space for individuals with memory issues by providing structured routines and activities that promote cognitive stimulation. Typically memory care is a form of skilled nursing care.

What Is a Memory Care Facility?

The goal of memory care facilities, which offer helpful memory care services to those in need, is to create a safe and structured living environment. Memory care facilities offer scheduled routines that reduce stress, activities that promote socialization among patients, a highly-trained staff specializing in memory care, and effective security and supervision to ensure the safety of their residents. They are often, but not always, a part of assisted living or nursing care facilities.

The goal of memory care facilities

What Is Memory Care vs. Assisted Living vs. Nursing Home Care?

Memory care and assisted living are two forms of senior housing and care facilities. However, they’re distinct in their purposes due to the different needs of their residents. Assisted living facilities are a form of senior housing that helps individuals in need with their activities of daily living (ADLs). Memory care facilities are specialized for those experiencing memory-related conditions and offer tailored support for the cognitive, behavioral, and emotional challenges that can come along with them. Separate from both of these are nursing homes, which are often skilled facilities for patients recovering from accidents or trauma. 

How Much Does Memory Care Cost Per Month?

It’s not always easy to predict the cost of memory care. Memory care facilities’ costs can fluctuate depending on how much care an individual needs, where they are receiving that care, and more. That being said, on average, memory care typically falls into the range of $4,000–$6,000 a month and can get up to closer to $10,000 a month in higher cost-of-living areas. According to Forbes Health, memory care generally adds 20% to 30% to the cost of assisted living for specialized services. Costs of memory care vs. nursing home care typically show nursing care comes out on top as the most expensive of these options due to the highly skilled nature of care being given.

Is Memory Care Covered by Medicare?

When it comes to financial coverage, Medicare will pay for some services related to dementia and memory care, but not all of them. Typically covered services include doctor’s visits, hospital stays, medications, and certain medical services. Services typically not covered by Medicare include long-term care in memory care homes and assisted living facilities. Because memory care is considered a form of “non-skilled” care and, therefore, largely not covered by Medicare, individuals and families often must explore other options for financial coverage.

How Much Does Medicare Pay For Memory Care Facilities?

Unfortunately, Medicare does not pay for memory care facilities or most other forms of long-term care. Classified as “custodial” or “non-skilled” care, stays at memory care facilities must generally be paid for out of pocket by an individual. However, there are many options for financing memory care that families can explore, including Medicaid (if eligible), Veterans Administration (VA) benefits, and long-term insurance plans.

Is Memory Care Tax Deductible?

Considering your tax deductions for the year? Memory care expenses can, in some cases, be tax deductible. In order to write off some of the costs associated with care, the government requires that an individual’s stay at a memory care facility is a necessity and that a healthcare professional certifies that they require assistance with their ADLs due to their cognitive impairment. Additionally, to qualify for these deductions, the total cost of the memory care expenses must exceed a certain percentage of the individual’s adjusted gross income, and only the amount over that threshold is deductible. We recommend consulting with a tax advisor to receive guidance on the specifics of your financial situation.

Is Memory Care Tax Deductible_

When to Move From Assisted Living to Memory Care?

While some dementia patients and others experiencing memory problems can be well-suited for an assisted living facility, a time often comes when it makes more sense for them to be in a memory care home that is more specialized for their care. Typically, families decide to move their loved one from an assisted living facility to a memory care facility when there has been a significant decline in their cognitive ability, drastic behavioral changes, or an increased need for ADL and memory care support beyond what assisted living can provide. 

How Story Cottage Can Help You Find Memory Care Communities

Story Cottage provides a beautiful and safe home-like environment with unparalleled memory care. With just 8 to 10 residents in each home, the residents receive personal, individualized care—in a beautiful cottage home nestled in two beautiful locations in Indianapolis and Carmel. Schedule a complimentary consultation today to learn more about how you can help provide for your loved one with memory loss.