Memory Care in Montana |

Memory Care in Montana

Montana's population includes an estimated 22,000 people aged 65 or older who are diagnosed with Alzheimer's according to a 2022 report from the Alzheimer's Association. An additional 5,000 people are expected to receive this diagnosis by 2025. This disease is already ranked as the third leading cause of death in Montana, with 326 fatalities in 2019. The cost of care for people with Alzheimer's is another challenge faced by family members and the federal and state governments. Medicaid covered $166 million in services provided to people with Alzheimer's in 2020, and that's expected to rise by 22.2% in 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 Montana, financial assistance options for paying for memory care, free memory care resources in the state, and a directory of memory care facilities in Montana.

The Cost of Memory Care in Montana

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 reflect the increased cost of memory care over assisted living, we've added 25% to the cost of care as reported in the Genworth Financial 2021 Cost of Care Survey. Montana's memory care programs are priced at $5,563 per month, just slightly below the U.S. average of $5,625. Other states in the region have lower costs for memory care, including North and South Dakota with averages of $4,239 and $4,188 per month, respectively. Wyoming has marginally cheaper memory care services that are $352 per month less than Montana at $5,211.

Although the cost of memory care varies from town to town throughout Montana, the difference is relatively small when compared to most other states. Great Falls is the most affordable city for memory care, where it's priced $375 per month below the state average at $5,188. Billings and Missoula push up the Montana average with their monthly costs of $5,705 and $5,813 per month, respectively.

Back to top

The state Medicaid program in Montana covers medically necessary services for eligible residents based on the individual's income and other factors, but coverage for memory care isn't included as part of that plan. Access to this and other Medicaid-funded services may be granted via the Big Sky Waiver, which is outlined below. For the purposes of this guide, all Medicaid eligibility requirements and other details relate specifically to seniors and/or people with disabilities.

  • Who Is Eligible: Low-income Montana residents aged 65 or over and people with blindness or disabilities as defined by Social Security are eligible for this program.
  • How To Apply: The official website handles online applications, notifications and document requests during the process. Montana residents can also call the Office of Public Assistance at (888) 706-1535 or visit a local branch.

Big Sky Waiver

This Medicaid waiver program opens up the possibility of receiving coverage for memory care, along with other long-term care services that may be covered as appropriate. All coverage of services from Big Sky is determined based on the functional abilities and requirements of each applicant. To qualify for Medicaid-funded long-term care via this waiver, an individual must require the type of care associated with a nursing facility, although the goal of this program is to avoid such placement.

  • Who Is Eligible: Waiver recipients must be financially and otherwise eligible for Medicaid and require a nursing facility level of care. Additionally, the individual must be assessed as having unmet needs specific to the requested services.
  • How To Apply: Medicaid recipients can call Mountain Pacific Quality Health at (800) 219-7035 to begin the application process. Applications and eligibility determinations can also be made at OPA field offices.

Medicaid Eligibility for Seniors in Montana

The income limit for a single applicant in Montana is equal to the SSI Federal Payment Amount, which changes every January. As of 2022, the monthly amount is $841 and, as such, a single applicant for Medicaid can earn no more than $10,092 per year and possess no more than $2,000 in countable assets.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Montana

family sizeannual income limitsasset limits
Single Person$10,092$2,000
Two-Person Household (Single Applicant)$10,092 for applicant$2,000 for applicant, up to $137,400 for non-applicant
Two-Person Household (Dual Applicants)$20,184$4,000

Applicants should also be ready to provide documentation on the following points as well as others relevant to the individual and their request for services.

  • State residency
  • Immigration status
  • Identification (name, date of birth, address and SSN)

How To Get Help Applying for Medicaid in Montana

Various state and local resources are available at no cost to help Montanans get access to Medicaid and other public programs or benefits. These websites also contain useful information related to Medicaid that may clear up some questions.

Montana Public Assistance Helpline888-706-1535The Office of Public Assistance (OPA) is available to help over the phone and at field offices throughout the state. Staff can answer questions about Medicaid and other assistance programs and help get the application process started.
Cover Montana844-682-6837The state's official health insurance marketplace, Cover Montana, can also be used to check eligibility and apply for Medicaid. Residents can call this helpline or visit the website to find local in-person assistance.
Montana State Health Insurance Assistance Program800-551-3191SHIP is a free counseling and advocacy service intended to help Medicare beneficiaries make the most of their coverage, evaluate their long-term care options and other avenues of support, including Medicaid.

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

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 Montana

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.
Back to top

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Montana

Memory Care Regulation

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.

Facility Scope of Care

Services that must be provided to residents in Montana memory care facilities include:

  • Personal care and assistance with daily tasks
  • Assistance with medication administration by a licensed health care professional
  • Regular health assessments
  • At least three meals per day at regular times
  • Social activities and entertainment
  • Local transportation to and from health care services and social activities
  • Housekeeping and laundry services by staff who are trained in proper procedures

Admissions Requirements

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:

  • Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia
  • Physical or developmental disabilities
  • The need for supplemental care from third-party providers

Residents Who May NOT Be Admitted

Those who:

  • Are incapable of responding to their environment or interacting with those around them
  • Require continuous nursing care

Care Plan Requirements

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:

  • An evaluation of the individual's cognitive and physical health
  • An order for treatment or services, including medications and diet
  • The resident's dietary preferences
  • Specific goals of treatment and measures to be used in assessing success
  • Information about any additional care required by the resident

Medication Management Requirements

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.

Facility Requirements

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.

Staffing Requirements

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.

Medicaid Policy

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.

Reporting Abuse

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.

Back to top

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Montana

In addition to the help available with the Medicaid application process, there are many nonprofits and agencies in Montana that provide free and low-cost services related to memory care, community-based care and aging in general.

Alzheimer's Association Montana800-272-3900This nationwide helpline is available 24/7 to connect Montanans with the state chapter of the Alzheimer's Association and local support groups. Seniors, caregivers and families can call with questions or search the website for information and news related to Alzheimer's.
Montana Area Agencies on Aging800-551-3191AAAs provide and coordinate services made available via the Older Americans Act and other state and federal funding sources. Eligibility typically begins at age 60 for services that have age restrictions. AAA staff can also help by answering questions and connecting residents with other agencies.
Montana Veteran Affairs Division406-324-3742MVAD helps Montanans interact more efficiently with the VA, and its staff is knowledgeable on the inner workings of eligibility and applications for VA and other benefits. Veterans who need help paying for memory care may find some assistance here depending on individual circumstances.
Montana Legal Services Association800-666-6899MLSA provides legal resources, information and representation in court at no cost to eligible low-income Montanans. Additionally, everyone can access self-help legal tools, such as automated forms and clear directions on what to file and where to do it.
Montana Aging and Disability Resource Center800-551-3191This database of local services, providers and other information for seniors and people with disabilities is maintained by the state and contains thousands of entries. Visitors can search the website by keyword and browse by category, including brain and memory-related services.

Montana 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)
Back to top