Memory Care in Arkansas |

Memory Care in Arkansas

According to information from the CDC, Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in Arkansas and the United States. Arkansas has the sixth-highest death rate from Alzheimer's in the country. Data from the Alzheimer's Association notes that 1,507 Arkansas seniors died from the disease in 2019. This information shows a 250.5% increase in deaths since 2000. In 2020, around 58,000 Arkansas seniors were living with Alzheimer's, and this number is projected to increase by 15.5% to 67,000 by 2025.

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 Arkansas, financial assistance options for paying for memory care, free memory care resources in the state, and a directory of memory care facilities in Arkansas.

The Cost of Memory Care in Arkansas

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.

To calculate the average cost of memory care, we added 25% to the assisted living costs reported in the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey

In Arkansas, the average monthly cost of memory care is $4,700, which is more affordable than the United States average of $5,625. Seniors in the neighboring state of Missouri pay $3,750, almost $1,000 per month less for memory care. Communities in Arkansas tend to charge a similar amount or slightly less than those in the nearby states of Texas ($4,998), Oklahoma ($4,819) and Louisiana ($4,685).

The average cost of memory care varies greatly across Arkansas, with seniors in Hot Springs paying the highest fees at $5,625 per month and those in Pine Bluff paying the lowest costs at $4,161. In the state capital of Little Rock, the average cost of memory care is $5,610, which is slightly lower than in Hot Springs. 

Arkansas Medicaid Programs for Memory Care

Medicaid does not directly cover the costs of memory care services in Arkansas; however, the Living Choices Assisted Living Waiver Program covers some of these costs for eligible seniors. 

  • Who Is Eligible: Applicants must be 65 years or older and residents of Arkansas. They must meet financial guidelines and be U.S. citizens or legal residents.
  • How To Apply: Seniors can contact the Arkansas Department of Human Services to begin the application process.

Living Choices Assisted Living Waiver Program

The Living Choices Assisted Living Waiver Program helps Arkansas seniors cover some of their assisted living or memory care costs. Seniors must require an intermediate level of care and the program should delay or avoid the need to move to nursing home care. Services covered by the waiver include social and recreational activities, physical and cognitive therapies, personal care, housekeeping and limited nursing. It also covers prescription drugs and medication administration. The waiver doesn't cover room and board.

  • Who Is Eligible: The waiver is open to all Arkansas residents aged 65 and over who require the level of care offered in an assisted living facility. All residents under 65 and over 21 who meet certain disability criteria may also apply. 
  • How To Apply: Applicants can contact their local DHS County Office or the Choices in Living Resource Center to start the application process.

Medicaid Eligibility for Seniors in Arkansas

To qualify for Medicaid in Arkansas, seniors must meet certain income and medical restrictions. Medicaid regulations require that single applicants earn $18,075 per year or less and have $2,000 or less in countable assets. Married couples are limited to $24,353 in annual income and may have up to $3,000 in assets. 

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Arkansas

family sizeannual income limitsasset limits
Single Person$18,075$2,000
Two-Person Household (Single Applicant)$18,075 for applicant$2,000 for applicant and $137,400 for non-applicant
Two-Person Household (Dual Applicants)$24,533$3,000

Additional requirements for Medicaid include:

  • Seniors must meet certain medical requirements
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents

Seniors must also provide the following documents:

  • Proof of income
  • Proof of current address
  • Birth certificate
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal resident status
  • Copies of burial arrangements
  • Current insurance policies
  • Title deeds to any property owned
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How To Get Help Applying for Medicaid in Arkansas

Caregivers and seniors have access to multiple options when seeking assistance in applying for Medicaid in Arkansas.

Arkansas MedicaidContact a local county officeSeniors and their family members can contact their local Arkansas Medicaid office for in-person guidance through the Medicaid application process.
Arkansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging866-964-7017This organization connects seniors with their local Area Agency on Aging. Seniors can contact the agency in person or by phone to receive assistance applying for Medicaid.
Arkansas Insurance Department800-282-9134The Arkansas Insurance Department can help seniors determine if they are eligible for Medicaid or other programs. In addition, it assists with appeals and complaints.

Can You Use Medicare To Pay for Memory Care in Arkansas?

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 Arkansas

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.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Arkansas

Memory Care Regulation

In the state of Arkansas, specialized units that are designed to provide care services for seniors with Alzheimer's and other types of dementia are known as Alzheimer's special care units (ASCUs). Both assisted living and nursing facilities can house ASCUs. Per state regulations, ASCUs must be housed in a separate and distinct unit from the rest of the facility.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Medical Services, Office of Long Term Care is responsible for licensing and regulating these facilities. To operate, a facility must offer assisted living services for at least three adult residents on a 24-hour basis.

All ALFs are required to renew their licenses on an annual basis. A comprehensive survey is conducted by the Office of Long Term care every 18 months, which may be planned or unannounced.

Facility Scope of Care

All ALFs are staffed by 24-hour caregivers to respond to residents' immediate needs and assist with activities of daily living. Facilities should offer mobility assistance, grooming, bathing, dressing and incontinence care, as well as medication assistance. Along with providing personal care services, facilities must host social and recreational activities for residents, and provide supportive services such as housekeeping and transportation to appointments. ALFs are also required to provide residents with three balanced meals, snacks and fluids each day. Additionally, facilities with ASCUs must offer services and programming specific to the needs of memory care residents.

Admissions Requirements

A wide range of residents are eligible for admission to an ASCU, but there may be restrictions. This table acts as a guideline for the types of residents who may or may not be granted admission.

Residents Who May Be Admitted

Older adults and people who:

  • Have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or another dementia
  • Are found to be in need of a higher level of care following their facility assessment
  • Have mental health conditions
  • Have existing developmental or physical disabilities
  • Have suffered traumatic brain injuries

Residents Who May NOT Be Admitted

Those who:

  • Cannot get out of bed or evacuate on their own
  • Are not independently mobile or are not capable of evacuating the facility within three minutes without assistance
  • Are not capable of understanding and responding to staff members
  • Have a feeding or intravenous tube
  • Do not have control of their bowel or bladder
  • Have a communicable disease that could threaten the health and safety of staff and residents
  • Have a mental illness, intellectual disability, dementia or addiction that requires higher care or attention than what the facility can provide
  • Have dietary regimens a facility cannot readily meet
  • Require physical restraints
  • Exhibit violent behavior
  • Require nursing services than cannot be provided by a certified home health agency on a temporary basis

Care Plan Requirements

Prior to moving in, prospective residents must be assessed to determine the level of care and services they need, and a personalized care plan drawn up to meet their needs. Reassessments are required to be conducted on an annual basis, or more frequently if a resident's needs or condition changes. Residents must also sign a compliance agreement that outlines how the facility will respond in situations or conditions involving risk.

Medication Management Requirements

Residents of CBRFs are permitted to administer their own medications, unless they have been found incompetent to do so by their physician. When necessary, medications may be administered or their administration directed by a registered nurse, nurse practitioner or pharmacist. Certain medications, including nebulizers, injectables and those administered rectally or vaginally, must always be administered by a nurse.

Facility Requirements

All apartment units in an ALF must be large enough for residents to carry out daily functions and activities, such as sleeping, dressing, personal hygiene, eating food and entertaining visitors, and must be accessible for residents who use a wheelchair or other mobility aid. Bathroom and kitchen areas must be separate from other living areas, and the unit must include a small refrigerator and microwave oven. For resident safety, each room must feature a lockable door and 24-hour call system. In a Level I facility, there can be no more than two residents residing in a single unit. All units in Level II facilities are single-occupancy, with exceptions made for married couples, and adults who have requested to reside together.

ASCUs must be located in a separate unit of an ALF that is specifically designed to accommodate the needs of memory care residents.

Staffing Requirements

In Arkansas, ALFs are required to have enough personnel on-site at any given time to adequately support the health and safety of its residents. Staffing ratios for ASCUs are based on the number of residents in the ASCU only, not the ALF as a whole. Both Level I and Level II ALFs must have at least one full-time administrator, on-site manager or responsible staff member available and awake 24 hours per day. Level II ALFs must also be staffed with at least one registered nurse, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants and a consulting pharmacist. Personal care aides may also be employed to provide direct care services.

When hired, all ALF staff must be trained on topics such as building safety, emergency protocols, incident reporting and the residents' bill of rights. Staff members are required to complete further training within the first six months of their employment on topics such as medication assistance and monitoring, dementia and cognitive impairment, communication skills and disability sensitivity. Six hours of ongoing education are required on an annual basis.

In addition to general ALF training requirements, dementia care staff must undergo 30 hours of training on subjects including facility policies, the treatment of dementia, stages of Alzheimer's disease and behavior management. Staff must also complete two hours of in-service training each quarter on an ongoing basis, covering topics such as therapies, environmental modifications and developments in the field.

Medicaid Policy

Arkansas' State Medicaid plan covers the cost of personal care services for seniors, whether those services are provided in an individual's own home or a residential care setting. Services in ALFs are covered under the Living Choices Assisted Living waiver program, as long as the facility is licensed as a Level II facility.

Reporting Abuse

Family members of residents or anyone concerned about the abuse or neglect of residents in an ALF should contact the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Office of Long Term Care. Complaints can be submitted via phone, fax, email or letter. Investigations are confidential and can be made anonymously, though a name, address and phone number or email address is needed if an individual wishes to be contacted when the investigation is complete.

The Arkansas Long Term Ombudsman Program is also available to assist residents and their family members.

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Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Arkansas

Seniors with Alzheimer's and their caregivers have access to several programs and services to guide and support them through their journey with memory loss.

Alzheimer's Arkansas501-224-0021Alzheimer's Arkansas is a non-profit organization offering support services to seniors living with dementia-related diseases and their families, including support groups, respite for caregivers, educational programs and a toll-free 24-hour support line.
Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC)501-603-1965The Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC) offers informational programming to help spread awareness and increase knowledge in the community about dementia and Alzheimer's disease through family caregiver workshops, first responder dementia training and community awareness events.
Alzheimer's Association Arkansas Chapter800-272-3900The Arkansas Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association provides support services, resources and educational materials to seniors with dementia and their families. It’s also involved with both state and national research and funding efforts.
Art Together501-372-4000Organized by the Arkansas Arts Center, Art Together is a monthly program that uses artistic exploration and appreciation to create positive experiences for seniors with dementia.
Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education (SCSHE)479-751-3043A cooperative effort of the DWR-IOA and Northwest Health System, the Schmieding Center seeks to improve the quality of life of older adults with dementia. The organization offers a number of resources and services, including training, educational programs, activities and support groups.

Arkansas 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?Not Available*
Is my loved one required to quarantine after I visit him or her?Not Available*
Am I required to wear a mask if I visit my loved one in person?Not Available*
Are visitors screened for elevated temperatures?Yes
Are residents allowed to leave the facility at-will?Not Available*
Are residents of senior living facilities who leave required to quarantine when they get back?Not Available*
Are staff members and contractors checked for elevated temperatures?Yes
Are staff members and contractors tested for COVID-19?Not Available*
Do staff members have to regularly screen residents for COVID-19 symptoms?Not Available*
Do staff members have to regularly check residents for elevated temperatures?Not Available*
Do staff members have to regularly test residents for COVID-19?Not Available*

*Note: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.

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