I. Paying for Memory Care in Utah

The Cost of Memory Care in Utah

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.

At an average monthly cost of $3,400, seniors in Utah pay far less for assisted living services than the U.S. national average of $4,051 per month. Memory care costs around 25% more than assisted living, so seniors in need of these services can expect to pay about $4,250 per month.

Costs do vary from city to city, so depending on the location of a facility, seniors may pay more or less than the state median. Logan is the most affordable option across the state, with a monthly average of $3,100, and Ogden is also quite budget-friendly at $3,250 per month. The most expensive location is the capital city of Salt Lake City, which costs around $3,835 per month. Keep in mind that these numbers reflect the cost of assisted living services. Memory care is likely to add another $750 to $1000 to the monthly cost.

   

Utah Medicaid Programs for Memory Care

New Choices Waiver (NCW)

The New Choices Waiver (NCW) is part of Utah’s state Medicaid program. Operated by the Utah Division of Medicaid and Health Financing, this program pays for adult residential services in ALFs and other residential settings. Once enrolled in the program, seniors can choose where they live as long as the setting provides the care they need, such as Type II ALFs with memory care units for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia. While it does not cover the cost of room and board, the program covers the personal care services they receive at the facility. This includes attendant care, household chores, rehabilitation services and nonmedical transportation.

  • Who Is Eligible: This program is available to seniors aged 65 and older who are residents of Utah and require a nursing home level of care. Applicants must be current residents of a nursing facility, licensed assisted living facility, Type N licensed small health care facility or any other licensed medical institution in the state of Utah. Seniors must have a gross monthly income below $2,313 and no more than $2,000 in savings.
  • How to Apply: Depending on their current living situation, seniors can choose between two application pathways: reserved slots and nonreserved slots. To request an application or inquire more about the program, seniors can call the New Choices Waiver program office at 800-662-9651.

Non-Medicaid Financial Assistance Programs for Memory Care in Utah

Medicare Advantage (MA)

While Medicare Advantage plans will not cover personal care services or the cost of room and board at an ALF, they do provide seniors with additional coverage for medical expenses. These supplemental benefits include vision care, dental and hearing, as well as wellness programs, prescription drugs and unexpected out-of-pocket expenses.

  • Who Is Eligible: This program is available to U.S. citizens aged 65 and older who are eligible for any type of monthly Social Security benefits. Seniors may also apply if they, or their spouse, had Medicare coverage as part of their government employment.
  • How to Apply: To apply for a Medicare Advantage plan, seniors should contact their local Social Security Office.

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 Utah

Memory Care Regulation

In the state of Utah, residential facilities that offer care services to seniors are known as assisted living facilities (ALFs). Depending on the level of care provided to its residents, an ALF is either classified as a Type I or Type II facility. ALFs can be further classified as large, small or limited capacity facilities, depending on the number of residents they can accommodate. Only Type II ALFs are permitted to admit residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

Both Type I and Type II ALFs are licensed by the Department of Health, Facility Licensing and Certification. All ALFs must renew their license to operate on an annual basis. The state’s Office of Long Term Care conducts a comprehensive survey of ALFs every 18 months. These inspections may be planned or unannounced.

Facility Scope of Care

Both Type I and Type II ALFs are required to provide residents with personal care services, housekeeping, laundry, maintenance, scheduled activities and assistance with medication administration. The facility must provide residents with three daily meals and snacks. Staff members are also required to coordinate medical services and dental care for residents. While not required, facilities may provide nursing services, such as assessments, health monitoring and routine tasks.

In addition to these services, Type II ALFs must also provide a high level of assistance with daily living tasks, including bathing, dressing and toileting, as well as daily supervision and nursing services. Facilities are required to have individual service plans for each resident, detailing their specific nursing care, medication and support needs to help promote their independence. Staff members must be available on-site 24 hours a day.

Admissions Requirements

While ALFs are able to serve a wide range of residents, there are some restrictions to those who may be admitted. The table below serves as a guideline for the types of residents who may or may not be admitted to a facility in Utah.

Residents Who May Be AdmittedOlder adults and people with:

  • Dementia
  • Mental health conditions
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Physical disabilities
  • AIDS
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Stable health
  • A need for assistance with two or more ADLs
Residents Who May NOT Be AdmittedThose who:

  • Are totally dependent in ADLs
  • Require inpatient hospital care
  • Require long-term nursing care
  • Are suicidal
  • Are aggressive and could pose a danger to themselves or others
  • Have active tuberculosis or any another communicable disease that could be transmitted to other residents

Care Plan Requirements

Prior to moving into an ALF, seniors are required to have an assessment to determine their condition and care needs. A licensed health care professional must review and sign this assessment. Within seven days of admission, the facility must develop a personalized care plan for each new resident that supports their unique cognitive, medical, physical and social needs. The plan must outline the services that will be provided, how often they will be provided and who will provide them. Residents are permitted to arrange their own personal care and medical care providers with an outside agency if they wish. Follow-up assessments must be conducted at least every six months, and service plans can be updated as needed.

Medication Management Requirements

There are four types of medication administration assistance permitted at ALFs in Utah: residents can self-administer medications; self-administer medications with minor assistance, including reminders and opening containers; have a family member administer medications or have a facility staff member administer medications. A licensed health care professional conducts an assessment on each resident to determine which of these types of assistance is best suited to their needs. All medications must be reviewed every six months by a licensed pharmacist or health care professional.

Facility Requirements

In Utah, all ALFs are required to provide separate living units for each resident. Up to two residents are permitted to share a unit if they both express that they wish to do so in writing. Each unit must have a space for living and sleeping, as well as a bathroom. Units may also offer a kitchen area. Facilities must offer apartment-style units for Medicaid waiver program participants.

Type I ALFs must have at least one toilet and sink on each level of the facility for every six residents and at least one bathtub or shower for every ten residents. If resident units in Type II ALFs do not offer a private bathroom, the facility must provide a toilet and sink for every four residents and a bathtub or shower for every ten residents. Showers must be able to accommodate residents and wheelchairs.

If a facility offers a memory care unit, it must be secure and have an emergency evacuation plan in place.

Facility licenses are valid for a period of two years. The department conducts surveys of ALFs when possible or in the event that a formal complaint is filed.

Staffing Requirements

Type I ALFs are required to have a full-time administrator on staff to recruit, employ and train the facility’s care staff. The facility must also employ direct staff to provide personal care services to residents, as well as a licensed nurse to provide health monitoring and care coordination. A registered nurse must be available for residents who require assistance with medication management. While there are no minimum staff to resident ratios, a facility must have an adequate number of staff members on-site 24 hours a day to care for the needs of its residents.

Type II ALFs must also have an administrator on staff to manage the facility’s staffing and training. Additional staffing requirements include certified nursing aides to provide personal care services and a licensed nurse for health monitoring and delegating tasks. There are no minimum ratios, though at least one certified nursing aide must be on-site 24 hours a day, and a registered nurse must be available to provide assistance and care as needed. If the facility offers memory care services, at least one staff member with Alzheimer’s and dementia training must be present at all times.

Both types of facilities require their employees to go through an orientation to familiarize themselves with specifics of their job description, ethics, residents’ rights, emergency plans and the facility’s policies and procedures. Staff members must also complete in-service training that’s specifically tailored to their job duties, which may include nutrition and meal preparation, housekeeping, personal and social care, medication assistance, first aid and accident prevention.

Medicaid Policy

Adult residential services in ALFs are covered by the state of Utah under the Medicaid New Choices 1915(c) Waiver program. While the state does not provide a Supplemental Security Income payment to cover services in ALFs, residents may receive family supplementation to help cover the costs of room and board.

Reporting Abuse

Residents’ family members or anyone who has a concern with a situation of abuse or neglect in an ALF should immediately contact the Utah Adult Protective Services’ abuse hotline at 800-371-7897 or make a report online.

Concerned individuals may also register a complaint with the Long-Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO).

III. Free Memory Care and Alzheimer's Resources in Utah

ResourceContactDescription
Memory Matters Utah/Nevada435-519-0407Memory Matters is an organization that seeks to improve the wellness of seniors with dementia and reduce their isolation by offering support groups, educational seminars, consultations and activities programs.
Alzheimer’s Association – Utah Chapter800-272-3900Through the Utah Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, seniors with dementia and their family members can access educational resources and find local support services. The organization is also involved in funding and research efforts.
Music & Memory801-746-4334 x113Music & Memory is an effort organized by Jewish Family Services. The community-based program uses music as a tool to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia engage their minds and reconnect with memories through personalized playlists.
Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias ProgramFor more information, visit https://livingwell.utah.gov/contact and fill out their online form.Provided by Living Well Utah, the Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Program provides educational resources to help increase knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The program also offers home care services, support groups, workshops and events.
Dementia DialoguesFor more information, visit https://livingwell.utah.gov/contact and fill out their online form.Dementia Dialogues is an interactive educational program offered by Living Well Utah that’s designed for individuals, groups and organizations who care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.