Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are an increasingly prevalent concern among seniors in Alabama, a demographic that accounts for over 17% of the state’s residents. In 2020, the Alzheimer’s Association stated that 96,000 Alabama seniors aged 65 and over were living with Alzheimer’s. By 2025, that number is projected to increase by nearly 15% to 110,000. Alabama has the highest Alzheimer’s death rate in the country. Statewide, this disease is the sixth leading cause of death. In 2018, 2,616 deaths were linked to Alzheimer’s, which is a 192% increase over the number of deaths reported in 2000. Additionally, this disease contributes to an increased number of emergency department visits and higher hospital readmission rates.

While seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia may safely live at home under the supervision of a caregiver, as the disease progresses, this is often not a viable option. For many seniors with dementia, memory care provides a safe, enriching environment where they receive around-the-clock supervision and support. In Alabama, seniors with moderate to severe dementia reside in specialty care assisted living facilities. In these facilities, residents participate in structured daily activity programs that emphasize social awareness and cognitive ability.

Memory care can either be offered on its own in a community designed especially for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, or, more often, it’s provided as a service in a separate wing of an assisted living facility. Memory care programs are designed specifically 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 provides a comprehensive overview of memory support services in Alabama, including how much it costs and what financial assistance options are available. It also outlines free and low-cost resources and government regulations pertaining to memory care.

The Cost of Memory Care in Alabama

Memory care in Alabama is considerably more affordable than the national average and its nearby states, which may appeal to seniors and families with restrictive budgets. On average, memory services in specialty care assisted living facilities cost 20-30% more than traditional assisted living services. This is due to more stringent staffing requirements, specialized programming and increased security measures. The following cost comparisons are based on the average cost of assisted living with a 25% adjustment to account for these differences. Exact rates for services depend on a facility’s location, amenities and pricing structure.

Memory Care Costs in Nearby States

Based on data published in Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey, Alabama is one of the most cost-effective states in the country for memory care, with monthly fees coming in roughly $1,000 lower than the national average at $4,063. It’s also the most affordable option in the southeastern region of the country. In Georgia, which borders Alabama from the east, memory services cost $4,169 per month, and in Florida, which borders from the south, services cost $4,375 monthly. Mississippi and Tennessee are costlier options at $4,405 and $4,875 per month, respectively.

$4063

Alabama

$5064

National

$4405

Mississippi

$4875

Tennessee

$4169

Georgia

$4375

Florida

Cost of Other Types of Care in Alabama

Alabama seniors have several care options available to them depending on their needs and budget. Nursing home care, which is the most intensive care option with around-the-clock supervision and skilled nursing services, is the most expensive option at $6,388 for semi-private accommodations. Memory care, which is typically provided in a community setting, is the second most expensive option at $4,063. Assisted living features lodging, meals and personal care in a community setting and is more affordable at $3,432 monthly. Seniors who prefer to remain in their own home may opt for non-medical in-home care or skilled home health aide services, which cost $3,394 and $3,432, respectively. The most affordable are option is adult day care, where seniors participate in social activities, enjoy congregate meals and receive personal care services for $758 per month on average.

$4063

Memory Care

$3394

In-Home Care

$3432

Home Health Aide

$758

Adult Day Care

$3250

Assisted Living Facility

$6388

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Memory Care in Alabama’s Top Cities

Comparing Costs Across Alabama

While the cost of memory care varies widely across Alabama, most cities are affordable compared to the nation as a whole. In the capital city of Montgomery, memory services are $3,918 monthly, which is lower than state and national averages. In Gadsden, monthly care costs average $3,125, making it the cheapest city in Alabama for dementia care. Care in Florence and Anniston costs $4,075 and $4,029 per month, and in Daphne, it costs $4,250. In Huntsville and Auburn, memory care fees are closer to the national average, with respective monthly costs averaging $4,875 and $5,181.

$3918

Montgomery

$4250

Daphne Area

$4075

Florence Area

$4029

Anniston Area

$3125

Gadsden

$4875

Huntsville

Financial Assistance for Memory Care in Alabama

Elderly and Disabled Waiver

The Elderly and Disabled Waiver is a provision under Alabama Medicaid that covers assisted living services for Medicaid beneficiaries who would otherwise need to live in a nursing home, including those with conditions such as dementia. Case managers work with participants to determine which services they would benefit most from. Covered services include personal care, companion services, respite and meals. Under the state’s Personal Choices program, beneficiaries have the option of directing their own care, meaning they decide who they receive services from. In some cases, friends or family members may be eligible for hire.

Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible to this waiver, applicants must meet Alabama Medicaid’s income, asset and residency guidelines. They must also require nursing home level care but desire to live at home or in a community setting.

How to Apply
To apply for this waiver, seniors should contact their local Area Agency on Aging. Medicaid recipients can call 1-800-243-5463 to apply over the phone.

Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly

PACE provides community-based services for seniors in Mobile and Baldwin counties, letting them avoid or delay nursing home placement. It allows for flexibility in addressing health needs and offers comprehensive medical and social services to supplement care received at home. Some services that PACE covers include nutritional counseling, transportation, personal care, vision and hearing care, prescription drugs, primary care and social services. Seniors who receive Medicaid won’t pay a monthly premium for the long-term care portion of the PACE benefits. Medicare beneficiaries pay a premium for long-term care services and prescription drugs. A private pay option is available to those who don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid.

Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible for PACE, applicants must be at least 55 years old and qualify for nursing home level care. They may live either in their own home or in the community and must be able to do so safely with services. They must also reside in a PACE area. Currently, PACE is available in Baldwin and Mobile counties.

How to Apply
To apply for PACE, seniors can contact their local Alabama Medicaid office or their local PACE location.

Optional State Supplement

Seniors who receive the federal Supplement Security Income benefit may also be eligible to receive the optional state supplement. This supplement is added to the federal benefit and can be used for living expenses at the recipient’s discretion. For seniors residing in personal care homes, including those that provide memory care services, the benefit ranges from $56 and $110 per month, depending on the types of home the individual lives in.

Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible for this benefit, seniors must be eligible for SSI and receive in-home care services in their own home or in a personal care home.

How to Apply
To apply for the optional state supplement, seniors should contact their county’s Department of Human Resources.

Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in Alabama

Alabama seniors have access to a range of free and low-cost services that can help them navigate memory care services. These agencies may provide referrals, options counseling and guidance with planning for current and future care needs.

ResourceContactServices
Alzheimer’s Association – Alabama Chapter

800-272-3900The Alabama Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association provides community outreach opportunities, referrals and support for seniors and families affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama

205-871-7970Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama serves seniors and families in 21 counties across central Alabama by providing scholarships for adult day care, Project Lifesaver bracelets to diminish risk of wandering, support groups and community education programs.
Area Agencies on Aging

800-243-5463Alabama has 14 Area Agencies on Aging, each of which serves a designated area. AAAs provide services such as transportation, meals, case management and personal care services for seniors.
Alzheimer’s Resource Center

334-702-2273The Alzheimer’s Resource Center is a nonprofit organization that facilitates annual fundraisers, advocates on behalf of those with dementia, provides services and hosts family support groups.
Alabama CARES and SeniorRX

334-242-5743The Alabama Department of Senior Services has two programs, Alabama CARES and SeniorRX, to help financially vulnerable seniors with disabilities cover care-related expenses. Alabama CARES provides respite services and information for caregivers, while SeniorRX provides free or low-cost medications for seniors managing chronic conditions.
Alabama State Health Insurance Assistance Program

800-243-5463Alabama SHIP provides free, unbiased Medicare counseling for seniors. Services are provided by trained volunteers who answer questions about Medicare and its affiliated programs, assist with understanding health insurance benefits and provide referrals to other programs and agencies when appropriate.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Alabama

In Alabama, memory support is provided in specialty care assisted living facilities, which are assisted living facilities that are specially licensed and staffed to care for residents with cognitive impairment. These facilities are governed by the Alabama Department of Public Health. This department has a variety of regulations in place to ensure a consistent level of care. These regulations pertain to staffing requirements, day-to-day operations, public funding and how to report abuse.

Scope of CareMemory care facilities provide assistance with the activities of daily living, health monitoring and medication services. They must also have a daily activity program
Care PlansWithin 30 days prior to admission, the facility RN or care coordinator must screen a prospective resident to assess physical functioning and behaviors. Based on this assessment, the RN or care coordinator must build a care plan with the resident and their physician that includes the resident’s needs or problems that require facility intervention. After admission, assessments should be conducted on a monthly basis or whenever the resident experiences significant weight loss, falls, signs of adverse drug reactions, harmful or combative behaviors or any other significant change in behavior or care needs. Facilities must also have a written plan that outlines the resident’s transfer plan if their needs become more extensive than the facility can accommodate.
Medication ManagementResidents are permitted to manage and store their own medications with a physician’s order. Medications may only be administered by a physician or by an RN or LPN in accordance with physician orders and the Nurse Practice Act. Medications administered to residents must be recorded on a daily basis, with the record including information such as the resident’s name, the name and dosage of their medication, the time of day it was administered and the method of administration.
StaffingWhile there are no minimum staffing ratios, memory care facilities must have enough caregivers on-site to ensure the safe evacuation of all residents in the event of an emergency. There must be at least one caregiver who is CPR-certified on-site at all times. Prior to hire, all caregivers must be evaluated for tuberculosis and be vaccinated in accordance with CDC guidelines. Individuals listed on the Alabama Department of Public Health Nurse Aide Abuse Registry aren’t eligible for hire. All direct care staff must undergo extensive training that covers topics such as resident rights, basic first aid and environmental safety, and they must complete The Dementia Education and Training Act Care Series Training.
Medicaid CoverageAlabama Medicaid covers memory care services via the Elderly and Disabled waiver program.
Reporting AbuseSuspected abuse should be reported to the Alabama Department of Senior Services’ Elder Abuse Prevention program at 334-242-5743. Complaints can also be filed with the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, which can be reached at 334-242-5753.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does memory care cost in Alabama?

In Alabama, memory care services range between $3,900 and $4,225 per month for an average of $4,063. The most affordable city for memory support is Gadsden, where seniors pay $3,125 per month on average. Auburn is the most expensive city at $5,181 per month.

Does Alabama Medicaid pay for memory care?

Alabama Medicaid covers memory care services through its Elderly and Disabled waiver program. It covers services such as personal care, meals, case management and homemaker services. To be eligible for this waiver, applicants must meet income, asset and residency guidelines.

Does Medicare pay for memory care?

While Medicare doesn’t cover memory support services, it does cover medical expenses related to dementia, such as doctor’s appointments and prescription drugs. Some Medicare Advantage plans may cover long-term care, including memory care, as an additional benefit.

What are activities of daily living?

Activities of daily living are tasks that must be completed regularly to ensure health and safety. ADL tasks include continence management, personal hygiene, eating and ambulation. Similarly, instrumental activities of daily living are ADLs that an individual must complete to live independently, including money management and grocery shopping.

What types of facilities offer memory care?

Memory support services are typically provided in a designated wing of an assisted living facility. These facilities offer social activities and structured programs that meet the needs of those with dementia. In Alabama, memory care is provided in specialty care assisted living facilities.