Memory Care in Arizona |

Memory Care in Arizona

The number of seniors in Arizona who are living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia is staggering. In fact, the Alzheimer's Association estimates that more than 150,000 Arizona seniors aged 65 and older were living with the disease as of 2020, and it is expected that this number may increase to 200,000 by the year 2025. In Arizona, Alzheimer's disease is the fifth leading cause of death for seniors, and throughout the U.S., almost one in three people who die each year have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia.

Memory care facilities provide those living with Alzheimer's and dementia with care that is tailored to their unique needs. Memory care can take place in its own facility, or as part of a designated wing of another residential care community. Staff members of memory care units or facilities undergo specialized training in caring for those with memory impairment, and the facilities often coordinate social activities and schedules specifically for the needs of those living with Alzheimer's or dementia.

This guide will cover the cost of memory care in Arizona, financial assistance options for paying for memory care, free memory care resources in the state, and a directory of memory care facilities in Arizona.

The Cost of Memory Care in Arizona

Because of the specialized staff training and resources required to provide high-quality memory care, memory care typically costs more than other types of residential care. On average, memory care will cost 20-30% more than assisted living.

For the purposes of this guide, we've added 25% to the average assisted living costs reported in the 2021 Genworth Financial Cost of Care Survey to give an idea of the cost of memory care.

The typical cost of memory care in Arizona is $5,000. This makes it one of the more affordable states in the country compared to the national average fee of $5,625. Nearby New Mexico has prices nearly equal to the national average, at $5,623 per month. Seniors in Colorado ($5,938) and California ($6,563) face above-average memory care fees.

The price of memory care varies between cities. Seniors in Flagstaff pay some of the highest prices in the state for memory care, with average fees of $6,250. Meanwhile, those in Yuma ($4,750) and Phoenix ($4,969) pay less than the state average. Further north in Prescott Valley ($5,625) and Lake Havasu City ($5,875), average fees are higher than they are near the southern border.

Arizona Medicaid Programs for Memory Care

The Medicaid program in Arizona is known as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. Seniors who qualify for Medicaid may be eligible to receive support with the cost of memory care through the Arizona Long-Term Care System. This is the branch of Medicaid that supports elderly and disabled individuals living in nursing homes, memory care facilities and other types of long-term care arrangements.

  • Who Is Eligible: ALTCS is an entitlement program with no enrolment caps. Seniors must be aged 65 or over, U.S. citizens or qualified immigrants and residents of Arizona to qualify. They must also meet income and asset requirements, which vary depending on whether the applicant is an individual or part of a couple.
  • How to Apply: To apply for the ALTCS, seniors should contact the nearest ALTCS office. Alternatively, applicants can call 888-621-6880 to discuss their eligibility.

Medicaid Eligibility for Seniors in Arizona

To qualify for Medicaid, Arizona seniors must meet certain income and asset requirements. These requirements vary depending on whether the applicant is single or part of a couple. Sole applicants are allowed an income of $30,276 per year and are expected to spend most of their income on health care. When a married person applies by themselves, the spouse's income is ignored, and there's an allowance of between $27,480 and $137,400 for the spouse's community assets. In the case of dual applicants, the income allowance is $30,276 per year per person, with a combined asset limit of $3,000.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Arizona

family sizeannual income limitsasset limits
Single Person$30,276$2,000
Two-Person Household (Single Applicant)$30,276 for applicant Spouse's income is ignored$2,000
Two-Person Household (Dual Applicants)$30,276 per spouse$3,000

To receive help with the costs of long-term care, seniors must have been assessed as having a medical need for that care. In addition to the income and asset requirements, seniors must also meet other eligibility criteria, including:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or have a residency permit
  • Be aged 65 or over
  • Have a qualifying medical condition
  • Reside in Arizona

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid in Arizona

Seniors who require assistance with the Medicaid application process or are unsure if they qualify for Medicaid can seek advice from the following organizations, including helplines, resource websites and portals.

resourcecontactdescription is a national website that offers state-specific pages covering Medicaid and other benefits. The site includes benefit guides, contact details and a quick and easy eligibility checker.
Arizona Department of Economic Security855-432-7587Arizona DES provides a helpline to assist individuals who wish to apply for Medicaid or other benefits. It offers a short online guide that includes the information seniors need to have on hand to apply and the eligibility requirements. Those with more specific questions can call the helpline for advice.
Senior Planning888-891-1516Senior Planning provides free ALTCS application assistance and helps seniors find the right care services for their needs. It can also help with applications for veterans benefits and care planning for those with special needs.

Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Memory Care in Arizona?

Unfortunately, Medicare does not generally cover the cost of Memory Care. Most Memory Care Facilities are considered to be "social settings," so Medicare does not cover the cost incurred in these facilities. The only exception to that is if you are receiving memory care services in a Nursing Home. While this situation is much less common, Medicare would sometimes cover the cost, depending on a number of circumstances.

That being said, Medicare does still cover qualified doctor visits, medications, etc., as it would if you were still at home, but it will not cover the cost of care received at the Memory Care Facility.

More Ways to Pay for Memory Care in Arizona

In addition to the state programs mentioned above, those looking for resources to finance memory care may consider:

  • Long-Term Care Insurance: Depending on the policy details, long-term care insurance may be used to pay for memory care services. It's best to sign up for a policy early, as coverage will likely be denied if one already has long-term care needs. More information about the intricacies of long-term care insurance can be found at
  • Reverse Mortgages: Reverse mortgages allow some homeowners to take out a loan as an advance from the eventual sale of their primary residence. This can be a good way to fund memory care in the short-term, but the loans will need to be paid back after the sale of the home. The most commonly used type of reverse mortgages for seniors is the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage, which is the only reverse mortgage insured by the federal government.
  • Veterans Benefits: The Department of Veterans Affairs offers several programs that veterans and their spouses may use to cover health care needs such as memory care. More information about these programs can be found on the VA website.
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Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Arizona

Memory Care Regulation

In Arizona, all assisted living facilities, including those that provide memory care services, are licensed by the Division of Public Health Licensing Services, Bureau of Residential Facilities Licensing. To provide behavioral health services, these facilities are required to submit supplemental applications for approval. All facilities are inspected prior to licensing and are subject to annual renewal inspections. In cases where inspections do not uncover deficiencies, facilities may be able to renew licensing for a period of two years.

Facility Scope of Care

Assisted living and memory care facilities may provide supervisory care, personal care, directed care, behavioral health services, and ancillary services. Each facility is required to provide a detailed outline of the services it offers when applying for licensing. In addition to personal care, assisted living and memory care facilities are required to provide three healthy meals each day as well as snacks. These meals must meet the dietary needs of each resident.

Admissions Requirements

The table below provides details about who may or may not be admitted to memory care programs in Arizona.

Residents Who May Be Admitted

Older adults and people with:

  • Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia
  • Physical or developmental disabilities
  • A hospice or private duty nurse providing supplemental care

Residents Who May NOT Be Admitted

Those who:

  • Are bedbound
  • Are unable to direct self-care
  • Require continuous nursing care
  • Require continuous physical or chemical restraints, including bed rails
  • Have stage III or IV pressure sores
  • Require services that the facility is unable to provide
  • Pose an immediate threat to their own health and safety or the health and safety of other individuals

Care Plan Requirements

All assisted living facilities in Arizona are required to provide a written service plan for each resident within 14 days of acceptance. This care plan must outline the resident's medical conditions, including cognitive, physical, behavioral, or functional impairments, as well as their need for medication assistance and administration. Additionally, the written service plan must provide a detailed description of the services the resident will receive.

In any case where nursing services or medication administration are provided to a resident, a nurse or other medical practitioner is required to review and sign off on the service plan. These plans must be updated as follows:

  • Every three months for residents receiving directed care services
  • Every six months for residents receiving personal care services
  • Every 12 months for residents receiving supervisory care services

Medication Management Requirements

Assisted living facilities in Arizona are permitted to provide medication administration, as well as assistance or monitoring of self-administration and medication procurement. However, all medication administration must be carried out by a licensed nurse, while medication assistance may be carried out by a trained caregiver or certified assisted living manager. Facilities that provide administration assistance are required to store medications on behalf of residents.

Facility Requirements

In Arizona, memory care and assisted living residents may be provided with either single- or double-occupancy bedrooms. Each residential unit must be equipped with a keyed entry, as well as a resident-controlled thermostat, a bathroom and kitchen area.

In assisted living and memory care facilities with 10 residents or less, sleeping areas must be situated on the ground floor, and each facility must have at least one toilet, sink and shower per every eight residents.

Staffing Requirements

All staff members providing care in a memory care or assisted living facility in Arizona must be capable of providing all services that the facility offers. While there is no minimum staff-to-resident ratio, there must be sufficient staff on duty at all times to provide services as needed by the facility's residents. Additionally, at least one manager or trained caregiver must be awake and on duty at all times when residents are on the premises.

All staff who are responsible for providing care in a memory care or assisted living facility are required to undergo an orientation and in-service education, which must be provided by the facility manager. This training must be specific to the duties that they are expected to perform. All staff must also have first-aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation training.

Medicaid Policy

Arizona's Medicaid plan, the Arizona Health Care Costs Containment System, does not cover the cost of room and board in memory care facilities. However, financial assistance may be available to cover the cost of memory care services under the Arizona Long-Term Care System.

Reporting Abuse

Arizona's Long-Term Care Ombudsman investigates claims regarding the quality of care or treatment of residents in long-term care facilities throughout the state. Complaints and concerns can be reported to county offices or can be made by calling the state office at 602-542-6454.

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Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Arizona

Seniors who reside in Arizona can take advantage of the following service providers and advice lines to get assistance with long-term care planning and accessing the care they need, either in a memory care facility or within the community.

Alzheimer’s Association Arizona Chapter602-528-0545The Alzheimer’s Association Arizona Chapter provides support services and resources for seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia and their caregivers.
Arizona Association of Area Agencies on Aging928-298-2574The Association of Area Agencies on Aging oversees Arizona's regional agencies. Each Agency provides support for seniors at a local level, delivering services and offering advice and signposting for seniors at different stages of their retirements.
Arizona Caregiver Coalition888-737-7494The Arizona Caregiver Coalition helps caregivers support the seniors in their lives by providing free education, training and information. It also offers a limited number of respite grants.
Long-Term Care OmbudsmanThe long-term care ombudsman program advocates for the rights of those living in long-term care facilities. It works with patients and their families to resolve complaints or queries about the standard of care at individual facilities. See the LTCOP website for the contact details for the nearest ombudsman.
Arizona Healthy Aging LiaisonArizona's Healthy Aging Liaison can provide health information and support for those aged 50+. The Liaison promotes the principles of aging well, living well, retaining independence for as long as possible and having access to quality care when needed.

Arizona COVID-19 Rules for Memory Care Facilities

Note: The following information was compiled and most recently updated on 2/2/2022. Since COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving crisis, be sure to contact your Memory Care Facility or local Area Agency on Aging for the most up-to-date information.

Am I allowed to visit my loved one in person?Yes (Conditions Apply)
Is my loved one required to quarantine after I visit him or her?No
Am I required to wear a mask if I visit my loved one in person?Yes
Are visitors screened for elevated temperatures?Yes
Are residents allowed to leave the facility at-will?Yes (Conditions Apply)
Are residents of senior living facilities who leave required to quarantine when they get back?No (Conditions Apply)
Are staff members and contractors checked for elevated temperatures?Yes
Are staff members and contractors tested for COVID-19?Yes
Do staff members have to regularly screen residents for COVID-19 symptoms?Yes
Do staff members have to regularly check residents for elevated temperatures?Yes
Do staff members have to regularly test residents for COVID-19?Yes
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