I. Paying for Memory Care in Minnesota

The Cost of Memory Care in Minnesota

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

The average monthly cost of assisted living in Minnesota is $3,800, which is about $250 less than the national median. Assuming that the cost of memory care is an average of 25% more than assisted living, seniors in the state can expect to pay about $4,750 per month to reside in a residential memory care facility.

Within the state, the cost of memory care can vary from city to city. For example, seniors in Minneapolis pay an average of $4,782 for assisted living, while nearby in St. Cloud, the cost is below the state average at just $3,551 per month. Further north in Duluth, the cost is on par with the state average at $3,800 per month. Of course, it’s necessary to remember that the aforementioned prices are for standard assisted living. Memory care will usually cost between $1,000 and $2,000 more each month, depending on several factors, including the facility and its location.


Minnesota Medicaid Programs for Memory Care

Elderly Waiver

Minnesota’s Elderly Waiver helps senior citizens who live in their own homes to pay for the cost of care. While the program doesn’t pay for seniors to reside in an assisted living or memory care facility, it does cover some of the services seniors typically receive in a care home. This includes personal care assistance, skilled nursing visits and companion services, as well as case management and transitional services for those moving into or out of a facility or their own home.

  • Who Is Eligible: To qualify for the Elderly Waiver, seniors must be at least 65 years of age and require a nursing home level of care. The services provided under this program must equate to a lower cost than that of a nursing home. Additionally, applicants must be eligible for Minnesota’s Medical Assistance program, meaning their monthly income may not exceed $1,041 per month ($1,420 for couples), and they may not have more than $2,000 in countable assets.
  • How to Apply: Seniors can apply for the Elderly Waiver by contacting the Senior LinkAge Line at (800) 333-2433.

Community Access for Disability Inclusion Waiver

The CADI Waiver helps adults with disabilities to access care in their home or within a community setting. While the program is aimed at those under the age of 65, seniors who are receiving care under this waiver may continue to access it beyond their 65th birthday. The program covers a broad range of services, including case management, caregiver living expenses, family training, extended home care nursing and individualized home supports.

  • Who Is Eligible: In addition to being financially eligible for Medical Assistance, those applying to this waiver need to be under 65 years of age and certified as disabled by Social Security or the State Medical Review Team. They also must require a nursing home level of care and have an assessed need for the services provided by the CADI waiver.
  • How to Apply: Seniors can apply for this waiver in person or by calling their local county agency.

Non-Medicaid Financial Assistance Programs for Memory Care in Minnesota

Minnesota Consumer Support Grant

The Minnesota Consumer Support Grant helps seniors to access personal care or private duty nursing services. The program is funded by the state and provides monthly cash grants to cover the cost of care services that are provided to beneficiaries in their homes. Under this program, seniors may hire their own spouse or other family members, friends or neighbors to provide care.

  • Who Is Eligible: Seniors who wish to receive this grant must be eligible for Medical Assistance. Additionally, they need to be assessed and determined to require ongoing supports and continue to live in a natural home setting.
  • How to Apply: Seniors can apply for this waiver in person or by calling their local county agency.

Alternative Care

Alternative Care is a state-funded program that provides personal care services to seniors who choose to continue living in their own homes. Seniors who require memory care can access this program to cover the cost of supports such as adult day services, personal care and skilled nursing assistance, companion services and homemaker services.

  • Who Is Eligible: Seniors who wish to access this program must be at least 65 years of age and be determined to require a nursing home level of care by the Long-Term Care Consultation process. Additionally, they must be unable to pay for the cost of a nursing home stay lasting longer than 135 days and have no other way to pay for services.
  • How to Apply: Seniors can apply for this waiver in person, by calling their local county agency or by phoning the Senior LinkAge Line at (800) 333-2433.

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 Minnesota

Memory Care Regulation

Memory care and assisted living facilities in Minnesota are licensed and regulated by the Minnesota Department of Health. The department continually monitors all facilities and conducts regular inspections to ensure compliance with state laws and administrative rules. Throughout the state, memory care and assisted living facilities are licensed as either class a or class f home care providers and must also be registered annually with the Department of Health as a housing with services establishment. All facilities are inspected and surveyed prior to licensing approval or renewals.

Facility Scope of Care

Any facility in Minnesota that deems itself an assisted living or memory care facility must provide the following services to residents:

  • Medication administration or assistance with self-administration
  • Assistance with a minimum of three activities of daily living
  • Regular physical and cognitive assessments that are conducted by a registered nurse
  • Weekly housekeeping and laundry
  • Opportunities for socialization
  • Assistance with transportation to medical and social services
  • Two meals per day

Additionally, all assisted living and memory care facilities in Minnesota are required to provide a service agreement or service plan to the resident prior to their move-in.

Admissions Requirements

Assisted living facilities that are classified as special care units may admit residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. The chart that follows provides a more detailed look at who special care units may and may not admit.

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:

  • Require continuous nursing care
  • Require services that the facility isn’t equipped or approved to provide
  • Pose an immediate threat to the health or safety of themselves or those around them

Care Plan Requirements

Upon admitting any resident to an assisted living or memory care facility, the care provider must provide the resident with a service agreement that includes the following:

  • A description of the services that will be provided and who will be providing them
  • Details regarding the schedule of service
  • Information about who will supervise care
  • A contingency plan that can be followed if services are unable to be provided for any reason

Additionally, facilities must offer to provide an assessment by an RN to determine the resident’s physical and cognitive needs.

Medication Management Requirements

In Minnesota, all assisted living facilities must offer to provide assistance with self-administration of medications. In special care units that offer memory care, it’s preferred that staff are available to administer medications to residents. Caregivers who administer medications to residents must do so under the supervision of a registered nurse, who is required to provide instructions for every resident in writing.

Facility Requirements

Assisted living and memory care facilities in Minnesota are not required to provide residents with apartment-style or single vacancy units. Assisted living facilities that operate special care units must provide a secure, segregated area for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Staffing Requirements

There are no minimum staff ratios for assisted living and memory care facilities in Minnesota. All establishments must employ enough staff members to meet the needs of its residents.

Staff who are providing memory care services or medication administration must undergo a complete training program and pass a competency test. Persons providing direct care in an assisted living facility must undergo four hours of training on dementia care and complete 160 working hours each year. Those in supervisory roles are only required to complete 120 working hours annually. Two hours of additional dementia care training are required each year for both direct caregivers and supervisors.

Medicaid Policy

Several waiver programs are available in Minnesota to cover the cost of assisted living. While room and board are not included in these waivers, residents may be able to obtain an optional state supplement to offset these costs. Minnesota doesn’t cap room-and-board charges for Medicaid participants; however, family supplementation is allowed in the state.

Reporting Abuse

The Office of the Ombudsman for Long-Term Care, which is provided by the Minnesota Board on Aging, protects the rights and quality of life of elderly individuals who reside in long-term care facilities. Complaints about abuse, quality of care or service termination can be directed to this office by calling (800) 657-3591.

III. Free Memory Care Resources in Minnesota

Resource Contact Description
Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter 800-272-3900 The Alzheimer’s Association offers support services, program referrals and information to seniors who are living with dementia and those who care for them.
Giving Voice Chorus 612-440-9660 Giving Voice Chorus helps seniors who are living with dementia to remain connected to music, which can foster joy and preserve well-being. The program connects seniors with choirs and other music programs throughout Minnesota.
Kairos Alive 612-926-5454 Kairos Alive promotes health and well-being through dance. This program engages seniors in long-term care and assisted living facilities, particularly those who are living with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Classes are available throughout Minnesota.
Navigating M.C.I. and Dementia 952-767-7570 This program is a 10-session educational group that provides information and support to seniors with early-stage dementia.