In recent years, Alzheimer’s disease has become an increasingly pressing health issue in Arizona. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2018, there were 3,012 Alzheimer’s-related deaths in the state, which is a 188% increase over the number reported in 2000. In addition to being the fifth leading cause of death in the state, this condition is also associated with increased hospital readmission rates and emergency room visits. As of 2020, 150,000 people aged 65 and over in the state were living with Alzheimer’s. Within five years, that number is expected to increase by over 33% to 200,000.

For seniors with moderate to severe stages of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, memory care facilities provide needed services and supervision in a homelike setting. In Arizona, memory support is typically provided in assisted living facilities that are outfitted with secure outside areas for residents who wander. These facilities provide a range of services, including daily meals and snacks, activities and personal care.

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 support in Arizona and its surrounding states, as well as how the cost of memory services compare to other senior care options. It also outlines financial and community resources available to Arizona seniors, the rules and regulations that govern these facilities and answers to most frequently asked questions.

The Cost of Memory Care in Arizona

In Arizona, memory care services are generally provided in assisted living facilities. In addition to providing standard services such as daily meals and personal care services, assisted living facilities that provide memory support must have secured outdoor areas where residents can enjoy without the risk of wandering. Some facilities also have special programming that includes consistent routines and therapeutic activities to foster social interaction and mental engagement. Because of these increased security measures and program features, memory care typically costs 20% to 30% more than assisted living. These rates vary widely depending on a facility’s location and the services and amenities it provides. The following costs are based on the cost of assisted living as reported in Genworth Financial’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey with appropriate adjustments.

Memory Care Costs in Nearby States

On average, memory services in Arizona cost $4,688 per month, which is considerably lower than the national average of $5,064. The state is among the more affordable options in the Southwest, with only Utah and Nevada costing less at $4,250 per month. Seniors pay $5,625 per month in California and $5,125 in New Mexico for this type of care.

$4688

Arizona

$5064

National

$5125

New Mexico

$4250

Utah

$4250

Nevada

$5625

California

Cost of Other Types of Care in Arizona

Memory care services are 20% to 30% more expensive than assisted living, which costs $3,750 per month on average in Arizona. Nursing home care, which offers skilled nursing services in a hospital-like setting, is the costliest senior care option in the state at $6,433 monthly. Seniors in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia may prefer to receive services while living at home. In-home care and home health care are slightly more expensive at $4,767 per month. Adult day care, which is provided in a center and features services such as medical care, recreational activities and Alzheimer’s support, costs $2,102 per month on average.

$4688

Memory Care

$4767

In-Home Care

$4767

Home Health Care

$2102

Adult Day Care

$3750

Assisted Living Facility

$6433

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Memory Care in Arizona’s Top Cities

Comparing Costs Across Arizona

While Arizona is a generally affordable option for memory care, costs vary throughout the state. The most affordable cities for this type of care are Yuma and Phoenix, both of which have costs below the national average at $4,344 and $4,375, respectively. In Tucson and Sierra Vista, seniors pay more than the state and national average monthly fees, with respective fees coming in at $5,869 and $5,513. The most expensive city in Arizona for memory support is Flagstaff, where services cost $6,250 monthly.

$4344

Yuma

$4375

Phoenix

$5513

Sierra Vista

$5869

Tucson

$6250

Flagstaff

Financial Assistance for Memory Care in Arizona

Arizona Long Term Care System

The Arizona Long Term Care System is a Medicaid program that helps seniors with limited income to afford the care that they need. This program works similarly to a traditional HMO health plan with in-network doctors, nursing homes, assisted living and memory care facilities, hospitals, specialists and pharmacies. Those who qualify for long-term care may receive services such as assisted living and memory support services, case management, home-delivered meals, dental care and attendant care. Like regular Medicaid, ALTCS is an entitlement, meaning that there are no enrollment caps.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for this program, applicants must be at least 65 years old and meet Medicaid’s eligibility guidelines. As of 2020, single applicants may have an income of up to $2,349 and up to $2,000 in countable resources.

How to Apply
Enrolling in this program requires filling out an application, and the approval process generally takes 60-90 days. For assistance with determining eligibility and applying for ALTCS, individuals should visit their nearest ALTCS office location or call 888-621-6880.

Home and Community Based Services

Home and Community Based Services provides non-medical care and assistance with daily activities with the purpose of delaying or avoiding nursing home placement. Some services covered by this program include adult day care, home-delivered and congregate meals, housekeeping, personal care, transportation and nurse visits. Program participants are assigned caseworkers who help them identify the services that they will benefit most from.

Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible for this program, applicants must be at least 60 years old or have a documented disability. They must also be functionally impaired and unable to perform daily living activities such as mobility, toileting, bathing and grooming.

How to Apply
For more information about Arizona’s HCBS program or to apply for services, individuals should contact their local Area Agency on Aging.

Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in Arizona

Arizona is home to several organizations that provide supporting services to seniors and families who are impacted by Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. These programs are free of cost and can help individuals connect with local agencies that may help pay for memory support services.

ResourceContactServices
Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium

602-839-6525Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium is a statewide collaboration of Alzheimer’s disease research. It provides education for Arizona residents regarding Alzheimer’s disease, the latest developments in research and resources that help patients and their families manage this disease.
Banner Alzheimer’s Institute

602-839-6900Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is a Phoenix-based research facility that partners with local arts organizations to provide a variety of life enrichment programs for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Some programs that are available include a Memory Café at the Tempe Learning Center, weekly art classes and choir. Most programs are free of charge and no prior experience is necessary.
Area Agencies on Aging

602-542-4710Arizona’s Area Agencies on Aging are public or nonprofit organizations that provide a variety of services to enrich the lives of older adults and promote independence. While some services vary by location, all agencies provide medical transportation, congregate and home-delivered meals and homemaker service. Services are generally free of charge and are available to older adults at least 60 years of age.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman

602-542-6454The long-term care ombudsman advocates on behalf of seniors living in residential care. Its office identifies, investigates and resolves reported concerns regarding senior abuse, neglect and substandard care. It also helps long-term care residents obtain needed services and educates them on their rights. Anyone can contact the long-term care ombudsman to file a concern or complaint.
Alzheimer’s Association Desert Southwest Chapter

602-528-0545The Alzheimer’s Association’s Desert Southwest Chapter offers educational resources and support services for Arizona seniors and families who are affected by Alzheimer’s disease. The organization also serves as an advocate for the needs and rights of those living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Legal Services Assistance

602-542-4710Arizona’s Legal Assistance Program was established under the Older Americans Act and offers information, advice and assistance to Arizona adults aged 60 and over. Some legal services that the program offers include advanced directives, creation of wills, guardianship and power or attorney.
Arizona Senior Centers

602-534-7436Arizona is home to over 150 senior centers spread throughout the state. These centers provide congregate meals, wellness checks and health screenings, as well as recreational and social activities.
Family Caregiver Support Program

888-737-7494Arizona’s Family Caregiver Support Program is a resource for family caregivers who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. It connects participants with services such as counseling, caregiver training and some supplemental services like nutritional and housekeeping services. This program is available to those who are caring for an older adult age 60 and over.

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.

Scope of CareMemory 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 PlansWithin 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 ManagementMemory 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.
StaffingMemory 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 CoverageArizona 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 AbuseArizona’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.