Memory Care in Minnesota |

Memory Care in Minnesota

The number of people over the age of 65 with Alzheimer's disease in Minnesota continues to grow. In 2020, there were 99,000 reported cases, while 2,552 people died from complications from the condition in 2019. It's estimated there will be over 120,000 people with Alzheimer's disease in Minnesota by 2025. This represents a rise of over 21% according to the Alzheimer's Association.

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

The Cost of Memory Care in Minnesota

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 estimate the cost of care in Minnesota, we added 25% to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey. The average cost statewide is $5,635 per month. The cost for care in Minnesota is similar to other Midwestern states, such as Wisconsin and Illinois. Wisconsin is a little more expensive, while Illinois costs a little less.

Where a person resides in the state can have a significant impact on the cost of care. Larger cities such as Minneapolis and Duluth have the most expensive memory care in Minnesota. Mankato is the city with the lowest cost of care in the state. 

Minnesota Medicaid Programs for Memory Care

Medicare might not be enough to cover the cost of memory care. Minnesota provides assistance for people who require memory care and can't afford treatment. To see if you qualify for one or more of these programs, check the eligibility requirements and review what is and isn't covered in the program. For example, a program might help with some of the medical services that someone receives at a care facility, but it doesn't cover the cost of the facility itself.

Community Access for Disability Inclusion Waiver

Many people who've been approved for Medical Assistance before the age of 65 may be able to obtain this waiver if they require memory care before reaching this age. The CADI Waiver was primarily designed to assist non-seniors, but you can continue to receive benefits after your 65th birthday if you qualify.

  • Who Is Eligible: To qualify, you must be eligible for financial assistance, be certified as disabled and need a nursing facility level of care. You also need to apply for and be accepted into the program before you turn 65. 
  • How To Apply: Applications are taken in person. You can also contact your county's health agency to apply. 

Elderly Waiver

The Minnesota Elderly Waiver doesn't pay for the cost of living in an assisted living facility, but it can help cover the cost of services like personal care, skilled nursing services, case management, transitional services and companionship. It's especially useful for providing aid to families who must pay for the costs associated with helping a family member transition from their home into a community. 

  • Who Is Eligible: This waiver is open to seniors over the age of 65 who have a medical need for long-term nursing care. Applicants must qualify for Minnesota's Medical Assistance program and meet income requirements to receive aid. For example, an individual may not make more than $1,041 per month.
  • How To Apply: Call (800) 333-2433 to apply through the Senior LinkAge Line.  

Medicaid Eligibility for Seniors in Minnesota

To qualify for Medicaid, you must first meet certain income requirements. The maximum amount of money you're able to make each month while still qualifying for Medicaid depends on the total number of people in your household, including dependents. Here are the current income limits in Minnesota.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Minnesota

family sizeannual income limitsasset limits
Single Person$30,276$3,000
Two-Person Household (Single Applicant)$30,276 (applicant only)$3,000 for applicant & $137,400 for spouse
Two-Person Household (Dual Applicants)$60,552$6,000

How To Get Help Applying for Medicaid in Minnesota

Minnesota provides assistance for seniors through the following resources.

MinnesotaHelp.infoOnlineMinnesota Help connects seniors and their families with health care services and financial aid programs. You can chat with someone on the website or call the Senior LinkAge Hotline for assistance over the phone.
Minnesota Department of Human Services800-657-3739The Minnesota Department of Human Services offers assistance to residents across the state with a number of health needs. It accepts and processes applications for the medical assistance program and can mail an application or direct individuals to their county office for further assistance.
Senior LinkAge Hotline800-333-2433The Senior LinkAge Hotline is provided through
Ombudsman for Long-Term Care800-657-3591The Office of the Ombudsman helps people in need of long-term care, legal assistance, education and support services.

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

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 Minnesota

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 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.

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Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Minnesota

If you or someone you care about is experiencing cognitive decline, there are plenty of resources available to help people stay active, healthy and engaged. In addition to state-funded programs, you can take advantage of free and low-cost programs run through local groups and charitable organizations, such as the Alzheimer's Association of Minnesota. Here are some programs that offer statewide support to seniors in Minnesota who require memory care.

Kairos Alive612-926-5454Kairos Alive uses the power of music and dance to keep the mind and body sharp. It brings seniors together who are living with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or dementia, and it offers classes across the state.
Giving Voice Chorus612-440-9660Giving Voice Chorus is a choral program for those living with cognitive decline. It offers a number of music programs to residents throughout the state.
Navigating M.C.I and Dementia952-767-7570Those in the early stages of dementia can take this course for information and resources to help them understand how to proceed.
Alzheimer's Association, Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter800-272-3900The Alzheimer's Association connects people with the medical services, community support and assistance they need to live their best lives.
Administration for Community LivingOnlineThe ACL is a federally funded program that helps seniors find a variety of outreach and care programs in their local area.

Minnesota COVID-19 Rules for Memory Care Facilities

Note: The following information was compiled and most recently updated on 2/8/2022. 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
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 (Conditions Apply)
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 (Conditions Apply)
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