I. Paying for Memory Care 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.

In Arizona, the average monthly cost of assisted living is $3,750, which is about $300 below the national average of $4,051. Assuming that memory care costs, on average, 25% more than assisted living, seniors should expect to pay approximately $4,688 per month for residential memory care in Arizona.

The cost of memory can vary quite a bit from city to city, even within the same state. For example, the average cost of assisted living in Phoenix is $3,500 per month, while in Tucson the cost is significantly higher at $4,695. Farther north, the cost in Lake Havasu City averages $4,000, which is mid-range when compared with the cities discussed above. It is important to keep in mind that the prices mentioned are for standard assisted living, and memory care may cost between $1,000 and $2,000 more per month, depending on the facility and its location.


Arizona Medicaid Programs for Memory Care

Arizona Long-Term Care System (ALTCS)

The Arizona Long-Term Care System is the branch of Medicaid, known as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), that provides care for elderly and disabled individuals. ALTCS operates using a managed care model, providing a caseworker who helps determine which health care services a participant requires and ensures they receive the best long-term care for their needs. It covers memory care and assisted living when required, as well as other long-term care types such as nursing care, home care, and adult foster care. ALTCS is an entitlement program, meaning there is no cap on the number of members who may be enrolled at any one time.

  • Who Is Eligible: To qualify for ALTCS as a senior citizen, applicants must be at least 65 years old, a resident of Arizona and legal U.S. citizen or qualified immigrant, and be determined by AHCCCS to require a nursing level of care. Financially, as of January 2020, applicants are limited to a monthly income of $2,349 and $2,000 in countable resources.
  • How to Apply: Those who wish to apply for this program should contact their nearest ALTCS office or call 888-621-6880 to determine eligibility.

Non-Medicaid Financial Assistance Programs for Memory Care in Arizona

Arizona Non-Medical Home and Community Based Services (NMHCBS)

The NMHCBS program is funded by the state of Arizona and provides care services to seniors who require assistance with at least three activities of daily living. The program is focused on providing non-medical care to those who remain in their own homes. These services may include housekeeping, personal care, or meal support. Upon enrollment, each participant or a representative such as a family member works with the program’s caseworker to determine the exact care services that are required.

  • Who Is Eligible: Caregivers who provide informal, in-home care to an individual with functional disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, or other forms of dementia are eligible for these services, provided they are an adult family member of the person who is receiving care.
  • How to Apply: Seniors who wish to apply for this program can contact their nearest Area Agency on Aging to determine eligibility and begin the application process.

Family Caregiver Support Program

While this benefit does not provide financial support, it is an excellent resource for family caregivers who are providing memory and personal care in their own homes or in the home of a loved one. The program connects caregivers with appropriate services such as caregiver training, counseling, respite care and supplemental services such as in-home nursing care, nutritional and housekeeping services.

  • Who Is Eligible: To be eligible for the NMHCBS program, seniors must be 60 years of age or older and functionally impaired to the point they require assistance with activities of daily living.
  • How to Apply: Caregivers who wish to apply for this program can contact their nearest Area Agency on Aging to determine eligibility and begin the application process.

More Ways to Pay for Memory Care

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 longtermcare.acl.gov.
  • 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.
  • Life Insurance: Some life insurance policies allow policyholders to cash out their policy before a qualifying death. There may be some downsides to accessing a life insurance benefit early, so be sure to read more about the process.

II. 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.

III. Free Memory Care Resources in Arizona

Resource Contact Description
Alzheimer’s Association Arizona Chapter 602-528-0545 The 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.
Alzheimer’s Task Force 602-542-4710 The Alzheimer’s Task Force is a state-funded program that promotes dementia awareness and aims to provide enhanced supports for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.
Alzheimer’s Caregiver Coalition 888-737-7494 The Alzheimer’s Caregiver Coalition helps caregivers in Arizona by providing respite grants and free education, including first aid and CPR courses.
Banner’s Alzheimer’s Institute 602-839-6900 Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix, AZ, is a state-of-the-art research facility that provides a broad range of programming for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Some of the programs it offers include memory studies, memory screenings and support groups.