According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is currently the 5th leading cause of death in the state of Arizona. In 2018, the number of deaths due to Alzheimer’s was 3,012, and that number rose 188% by the year 2000. Aside from the growing number of deaths, emergency room visits and hospital admission rates also continued to increase. As of 2020, the number of seniors aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s reached approximately 150,000, with that number expected to rise to 200,000 by 2025.

Around 18% of the state’s population is aged 65 and older, which shows many retirees settle here to enjoy its benefits. The cost of living in the state is just slightly above the national average, but groceries and health care tend to cost less than the average American city. The cost of memory care is around $5,000 per month, which is also less than the national average.

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 covers the cost of memory care in major cities in Arizona and includes a comparison of costs of care in neighboring states. It also provides information on financial assistance and community resources that help address the most common needs of older adults living with Alzheimer’s.

The Cost of Memory Care in Arizona

Note: Memory care is a type of residential long-term care for people living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The cost is around 20% to 30% more than assisted living rates. To determine the cost of memory care in Arizona, we added 25% to the assisted living rates listed in the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.

The median monthly cost of memory care in Arizona is $5,000 per month, which is $625 less than the national average. Utah and Nevada seniors pay less at $4,375 and $4,688 per month, and those in California and New Mexico pay more at $6,563 and $5,623 per month.

$5000

Arizona

$5625

The United States

$4375

Utah

$4688

Nevada

$6563

California

$5623

New Mexico

Memory care in Arizona ranges in cost from $4,750 in Yuma to $6,250 in Flagstaff. Phoenix residents pay around $31 less than the state average while those in Tucson pay approximately $63 more per month. Sierra Vista residents pay around $188 more than the state average, and seniors in Lake Havasu pay $875 more. Prescott Valley costs are the same as the national average at $5,625.

$5875

Lake Havasu City

$6250

Flagstaff

$5625

Prescott Valley

$4750

Yuma

$4969

Phoenix

$5063

Tucson

$5188

Sierra Vista

There are several other choices for long-term care. Adult day health is the least expensive option in Arizona at $2,102. Care is provided only during the day for up to 10 hours in a safe environment typically while family members work outside of the home. Assisted living is $4,000 per month. Home care provides help with daily activities and costs around $5,339, and home health care provides some medical care at $5,434 per month. Nursing homes, which deliver around-the-clock skilled nursing, are the most expensive type of long-term care. A semiprivate room in a nursing home in Arizona is around $6,540 per month, and a private room is around $8,030.

$2102

Adult Day Health Care

$4000

Assisted Living

$5339

Home Care

$5434

Home Health Care

$5000

Memory Care

$6540

Nursing Home (semiprivate)

$8030

Nursing Home (private)

Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in Arizona?

Note: For the purposes of this guide, when we say “Memory Care” we are referring to memory care provided in a “social setting,” such as an Assisted Living Facility. This is the most common way to receive Memory Care and is the best fit for all but the frailest seniors. Sometimes the actual service of memory care can be provided in a Nursing Home (“medical setting”), so the financial assistance options will be very different. To learn more about the financial assistance options available for memory care provided in a nursing home, read our guide to Nursing Home Care in Arizona.

Yes, some services are covered through Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), the name for Arizona’s Medicaid program. Instead of waivers, the Arizona Long-Term Care System (ALTCS) provides care and home and community-based services on a managed care model. The ALTCS is an entitlement program, which means all who meet the eligibility requirements receive assistance. Once an applicant is accepted, the individual meets with a case worker to determine the best health care plan that covers his or her individual needs.   

What Memory Care Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Arizona?

AHCCCS doesn’t cover the cost of room and board. Instead, it covers the cost of personal care services, including grooming, bathing, toileting, housekeeping, meal prep, transportation, shopping and companionship. In most cases, it also covers some medical costs while in memory care, including behavioral health, dental care, care coordination assistance, home nursing and hospice care.

How to Know If You’re Eligible for Medicaid in Arizona

To meet Medicaid eligibility in Arizona, seniors must have an income no greater than 300% of the SSI Federal Benefit Rate (FBR). As of 2022, this rate is $30,276 per year or $2,523 per person with assets totaling no more than $2,000. If both spouses apply, these rates are doubled. If only one spouse applies, the spouse remaining at home may be entitled to a Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA) from the applicant spouse under the Spousal Impoverishment Act. In addition, the asset limit for a non-applicant spouse is $137,400.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Arizona

Income Limits*

Asset Limits

Single Applicant

$30,276

$2,000

Two-Person Household

(Only One Person Applying)

$30,276

$2,000 for applicant

$137,400 for non-applicant

Two-Person Household

(Both People Applying)

$30,276 per spouse

$4,000

($2,000 per spouse)

Other eligibility requirements include:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen
  • Be a resident of Arizona
  • Be 65 and older or have a recognized disability
  • Have a level of care required by a skilled nursing home

How to Apply for Medicaid in Arizona

To apply for Medicaid in Arizona, seniors may contact the ALTCS at (888) 621-6880 or connect virtually through the Arizona Department of Economic Security website. Seniors may create an account at Health-e-Arizona Plus and submit an application online or download and print the application and return it by fax to (202) 690-7442 or through the mail at the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Family Assistance Administration, P.O. Box 19009, Phoenix, Arizona 85005-9009. To submit the application in person, search for an assistor online for local contact information.

Information You Will Need

  • Proof of citizenship
  • Government issued ID
  • Alien registration cards
  • Social Security numbers
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Address verification
  • Income verification for the past 60 days
  • Proof of medical insurance
  • Proof of asset ownership
  • Bank statements for the past 60 days

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid

Several organizations offer assistance to seniors signing up for Medicaid benefits. These free or low-cost services help seniors navigate their choices and make it easier to sign up for a plan that best suits their needs.

Program

Contact

Services Provided

(602) 787-9646

AMPS provides trained counselors who offer unbiased recommendations on Medicaid and the available options. They also help locate lesser known options, including the Aid and Attendance Housing Benefit for veterans and other public benefits.

(888) 891-1516

Senior Planning is a free service that answers questions about the Medicaid application process and helps seniors locate the care services they need.

(800) 344-3536

Cover Arizona is a network of over 900 members that work to ensure eligible Arizona residents have health care coverage. The network has counselors who can answer questions regarding Medicaid, Medicare and supplemental insurance options, including prescription coverage.

Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in Arizona?

The short answer is that no, Medicare does not cover the cost of memory care in Arizona. As was mentioned above, this doesn’t apply to Memory Care received in a Nursing Home. Since it is the most common to receive memory care in a “social setting” (such as an assisted living facility), Medicare won’t be a viable financial assistance option for most seniors who need Memory Care. However, Medicare will still cover things like approved medications, doctor visits, medical equipment, etc., just like it would if you lived at home.

For more information about when Medicare can be used to pay for Memory Care in a nursing home, and for Medicare-related resources, see our guide to Nursing Homes in Arizona.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care in Arizona

Seniors who are not eligible (due to location, financial situation, or other factors) for other types of financial assistance, do still have some options. See the table below for an overview of some of the most common ways to make Memory Care affordable.

How to Apply

How It Works

Aid and Attendance

Learn more and apply online at va.gov.

Veterans who receive a VA pension may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, a monthly cash allowance that veterans receive in addition to their standard pension amount. The benefit is intended for veterans in need of long-term care services and may be used towards paying for Memory Care.

Reverse Mortgages

Learn more about your options and how to apply at ftc.gov

If you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to help pay for Memory Care. Reverse mortgages are loans that one can take out against the value of their home, essentially converting some of the home's equity into cash. Reverse mortgage loans do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months of receiving the loan.

Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance

Learn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and how to apply for a policy at acl.gov.

Seniors who already have long-term care insurance may be able to use it to pay for Memory Care. Most policies cover at least a portion of the cost, but it depends on the specific policy terms. Note that older adults who are already in need of Memory Care will not typically be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Arizona

There are various services and resources in Arizona that help address a variety of needs for seniors. Many of these resources provide free to low-cost assistance to seniors with dementia and other memory issues.

Program

Contact

Services Provided

(602) 839-6525

The Alzheimer’s Consortium is the number one resource on Alzheimer’s research. The group encourages early detection and research to help stop or slow the disease. Annual conferences are held to create public awareness and to increase donations.

(602) 747-4483

The Banner Alzheimer’s Institute works to end Alzheimer’s through research, chemical trials and education. The institute also offers patient care and provides support information to seniors with cognitive impairments.

(877) 600-2722

Arizona has seven Area Agencies on Aging. These agencies offer programs and services that enhance the lives of seniors in their regions. Services include nutrition counseling, meals, caregiver support, case management, information and referrals, insurance counseling and transportation.

(602) 542-6454

The long-term care ombudsman is a program that advocates for seniors who are in long-term care facilities. The ombudsman listens to complaints against facilities and works to resolve the issue. They also make annual visits to communities to ensure they are abiding by the laws and regulations set by the state government.

(800) 272-3900

The Alzheimer’s Association provides education and support to seniors, family members and caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The association also serves as an advocate toward the advancement of research, early detection and better care.

(877) 600-2722

Arizona’s legal services program offers advice, information and assistance to seniors aged 60 and older. The program is for those with low incomes to receive the legal help they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford with creation of wills, designating powers of attorney, appointing guardianships and fighting for elder rights.

(602) 534-7436

Arizona senior centers provide a safe, secure place for seniors to socialize and take part in a variety of activities. Services include congregate meals, transportation, health screenings, arts and crafts, fitness and group activities.

COVID-19 Rules for Memory Care in Arizona

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including azdhs.gov/covid19. These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/2/2022, but since COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving pandemic, contact your local senior living facility or Area Agency on Aging for more specific and up-to-date information.

Visitation Policies

Rules for Arizona Communities

Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are relatives allowed to visit for end-of-life care?

Yes

Are residents required to quarantine after visiting with a loved one?

No

Are visitors required to wear PPE (including masks) in order to visit residents?

Yes

Are non-medical contractors (such as hairdressers and entertainers) allowed in senior living facilities?

Not Available*

Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are visitors required to answer questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?

Yes

*Note: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.

Outings & Social Activities

Rules for Arizona Communities

Are residents allowed to leave (errands, visiting family, etc.) for non-medical reasons?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?

No

Are residents allowed to eat meals together in a common area?

Yes

Are residents allowed to gather in common areas for group activites?

Yes

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for Arizona Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?

Yes

Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes

Are staff members members regularly required to do a health and safety screening, including questions about travel, contact with positive cases, etc?

Yes

Are residents regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms?

Yes

Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Arizona

In Arizona, memory support services are generally provided in assisted living facilities that have added security measures. These facilities are governed by the Division of Public Health Licensing Services. The division enforces specific laws and regulations to ensure a safe, enriching environment for residents, including care plan requirements, staff training and Medicaid coverage.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Arizona

Scope of Care

Memory care communities provide supervision, personal care services, behavioral health services and ancillary care. Along with care service, facilities provide three meals and snacks daily that meet each resident’s dietary needs. When applying for licensing, facilities must provide a detailed outline of the services they provide.

Care Plans

Within 14 days of a resident’s admission, the facility’s manager must complete a care plan that outlines things like the resident’s medical or health problems; the level of service the resident expects to receive; the amount, type and frequency of services; necessary nursing or medication administration services; and planned strategies and actions for managing psychosocial behaviors. The care plan must be reviewed and updated within 14 days of a significant change in the resident’s physical, cognitive or functional condition. At a minimum, plans must be reviewed every 12 months for those receiving supervisory care services, every six months for those receiving personal care services and every three months for those receiving directed care services.

Medication Management

Memory care facilities that provide medication administration must ensure that medication is properly stored; reviewed and approved by a medical practitioner, nurse or pharmacist and administered to the resident only as prescribed. If a resident refuses medication, the refusal must be documented in their medical record. Under the direction of a medical practitioner, residents are permitted to self-administer their medication.

Staffing

Memory care communities are required to have managers, caregivers and assistant caregivers on staff. All staff members must be capable of providing assisted living services, behavioral care and ancillary services as needed. No staff minimum ratios are enforced, but sufficient staff must be present at all times to provide the level of care needed for residents. At least one manager or caregiver must be awake at all times.

Medicaid Coverage

Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program, covers memory care services directly through its ALTCS program. This long-term care program has in-network healthcare providers, hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities that program participants must receive care from to have costs covered.

Reporting Abuse

Arizona’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman fields claims regarding substandard care or treatment of assisted living and memory care residents. Complaints and concerns can be made by residents, family members, facility visitors and staff members. To report abuse, neglect or exploitation, Arizona residents should call the state office at 602-542-6454.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does memory care cost in Arizona?

In Arizona, memory support services cost between 20% to 30% more than assisted living services. Statewide, seniors pay an average of $4,688 per month, which is considerably lower than the national average. Across the state, costs range from roughly $4,344 to $6,250 per month, depending on location.

Are there financial assistance programs for memory care in Arizona?

Memory services in Arizona are covered through two programs, including ALTCS, which is a provision of the state’s Medicaid program, and the Home and Community Based Services program. While ALTCS is an entitlement program with no enrollment caps, the HCBS program has limited funding and only accepts a certain number of applicants. Eligibility for these programs may depend on an applicant’s age, care needs, income and assets.

Does Medicare pay for memory care?

While Original Medicare doesn’t provide coverage for memory support, eligible seniors may enroll in a Medicare Advantage program and receive coverage for some services. Like private insurance, MA plans are provided by private insurance companies, and benefits and out-of-pocket costs vary from one plan to another.

What is the difference between memory care and assisted living?

In Arizona, memory care is provided in assisted living facilities. To provide these services, facilities must have secured outdoor common areas that memory care residents can enjoy without the danger of wandering. The state doesn’t have additional provisions pertaining to dementia care staff or staff training, but facilities may require additional training for staff members or utilize specialized programming that is tailored to residents with dementia.

What are activities of daily living?

Activities of daily living, or ADLs, are tasks that must be completed every day. These tasks include bathing, dressing, personal grooming, eating and toileting. In Arizona, memory care facilities provide assistance with ADLs as necessary.