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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.
According to the Genworth 2019 Cost of Care Survey, seniors in Montana pay an average of $3,820 per month for assisted living care, which is $231 below the national median. Assuming that memory care costs 25% more than assisted living, the average cost of living in a residential memory care facility in Montana would be $4,775 per month.
Throughout the state, the average cost of assisted living varies from city to city. At $4,893 per month, Missoula’s average assisted living cost is the highest in the state. Billings’ cost is midrange at $4,350 per month, while in Great Falls the average cost is considerably lower at $3,800 per month. It’s important to keep in mind that these average costs are for assisted living, and memory care may cost between $760 and $1,500 more per month.
Montana Medicaid’s Big Sky waiver program helps seniors access long-term care services in their home or an assisted living or memory care facility. Each participant is assigned a registered nurse and social worker who work together to oversee their care. Services available through the program include adult day care, private duty nursing, personal assistance, homemaker services and specialized medical services. Seniors who continue to live at home may enlist family members to provide their care under this program.
Seniors in Montana may be eligible for the Optional State Supplement, which is a monthly cash benefit that’s payable to aged, blind and disabled persons. The payment amount is based upon the recipient’s income and living situation. Beneficiaries can use this payment, which is meant to supplement federal Supplemental Security Income payments, to offset the cost of memory care. These two payments are issued together each month and in some cases, can be paid directly to the senior’s care facility to cover living costs and personal needs.
Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Medicare Part C, provide seniors with all the benefits of regular Medicare while covering additional expenses. All Medicare Advantage plans are administered by private insurance companies, which coordinate with Medicare to cover the benefits provided under Parts A and B while offering a variety of additional benefits, which often include dental and vision services. Because these plans are offered privately, they vary in the services covered, as well as co-pay amounts and costs. Some, such as the Humana Choice plan, may cover a portion of the cost of memory care, but it’s important to research plans to ensure they provide the coverage a senior needs before enrolling.
In addition to the state programs mentioned above, those looking for resources to finance memory care may consider:
Montana’s memory care and assisted living facilities are licensed and regulated by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. It’s the responsibility of this department to ensure that all facilities comply with state laws and administrative rules by requiring a comprehensive licensing process and conducting regular inspections. In Montana, seniors with mild to moderate dementia may qualify for care in a category A or category B assisted living facility. Only category C assisted living facilities may provide memory care for individuals who are unable to make their own care decisions.
Services that must be provided to residents in Montana memory care facilities include:
Category C assisted living facilities may provide full-time, residential care to seniors who require assistance with activities of daily living and need continuous help with cognitive tasks due to dementia. The following table shows the stipulations regarding who may or may not be admitted to an assisted living facility.
|Residents Who May Be Admitted||Older adults and people with:
|Residents Who May NOT Be Admitted||Those who:
Residents must be provided with a detailed health care plan within 21 days of admission to a memory care facility. The plan must include the following:
In Montana, the law requires memory care facilities to store all prescription drugs in locked containers in a secured room or medication cart. If residents are self-administering their medications, they must be provided with a secure storage place. Unused medications must be disposed of, safely and lawfully.
In category C assisted living facilities, direct care staff members who are administering medications must be trained and licensed to do so. When providing residents with medications, they must verify that the drugs are offered according to a practitioner’s current order and ensure that all dispensed medications are taken from labeled prescription containers.
Montana’s category C assisted living facilities must be secure and locked at all times. Additionally, if the facility offers other categories of care, they must have dining and day or activity areas for memory care residents that are separate from the remainder of the facility’s residents.
In Montana, facility administrators are responsible for overseeing the hiring of all direct care and support staff. Administrators must work with the Montana Department of Public Health to develop safe policies and procedures for hiring, including a system for conducting background and reference checks. At all times, the facility must have a sufficient number of qualified staff on duty to meet the needs of residents.
All employees at assisted living and memory care facilities in Montana must complete orientation and on-site training. They also must be provided with an overview of policies and procedures, their job description and the services that the facility provides. All direct care staff must be trained in the abdominal thrust maneuver, basic first aid and CPR.
Although there is no requirement in the state, most assisted living and memory care facilities in Montana accept Medicaid payments. Montana Medicaid’s Big Sky waiver program may cover the cost of memory care services; However, the program does not cover room-and-board charges.
Seniors or their loved ones can report abuse in long-term care facilities by contacting the Long-Term Care Ombudsman at 800-332-2272 or the Department of Public Health at 844-277-9300.
|Alzheimer’s Association – Montana||800-272-3900||The Alzheimer’s Association helps those living with dementia and their loved ones access dementia care and programs that may help to improve cognitive abilities. This nonprofit organization also aims to spread awareness about the disease and funds research in hopes of finding better treatments or a cure.|
|Montana State University Memory Loss Resources||406- 994-5695||Montana State University hosts a collection of legal and financial resources that are specifically tailored to meet the needs of seniors who are experiencing memory loss.|
|Montana Alzheimer’s & Dementia State Plan||Contact via web form||The Montana Alzheimer’s & Dementia State Plan aims to preserve the well-being and safety of seniors in the state who are living with dementia. The program advocates for seniors and connects them and their loved ones with local resources.|
|Montana Aging and Disability Resource Center||406-444-0998||The ADRC helps seniors and disabled persons throughout Montana access information about long-term care programs and services. This agency can connect seniors and their loved ones to programs that specifically meet the needs of those with dementia, and services such as transportation and case management.|