Memory Care in Arkansas
An estimated 58,000 Arkansasians live with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and that number is projected to increase to 67,000 by the year 2025. Deaths from Alzheimer’s in Arkansas has skyrocketed by 239% since 2000, and the state now has the 8th-highest Alzheimer’s death rate in the nation. Not only is dementia a leading cause of death, but supporting those living with memory loss can take a tremendous toll on families, many of whom provide countless hours of unpaid care. Memory care facilities take that load off of caregivers by providing the care and comforts that seniors with memory loss need.
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 an overview of memory care services in Arkansas, including a list of memory care costs in the state, financial aid programs to help low- and middle-income seniors cover care costs and information on state regulations related to residential memory care. There’s also a list of free and low-cost resources for seniors and their family members, and answers to many of the most common questions regarding residential memory care.
The Cost of Memory Care in Arkansas
While memory care communities may look and feel much like assisted living facilities, memory care provides a higher staff-to-resident ratio, structured daily programming and special safety features designed to keep Alzheimer’s patients safe. The additional services and features mean that memory care costs approximately 20% to 30% more than assisted living, so we’ve added 25% to the cost of assisted living listed on the Genworth 2019 Cost of Care Survey to determine that $3,969 is the average memory care cost in Arkansas. Costs in Arkansas are well below the national average of $5,064 per month.
Memory Care Costs in Nearby States
At $3,969 per month, memory care costs in Arkansas are well below costs in many nearby states, including Louisiana ($4,563), Mississippi ($4,405) and Oklahoma ($4,398). Memory care costs in Missouri, which average $3,601, are the lowest in the region.
United States Average
Cost of Other Types of Care in Arkansas
Memory care is just one of the many options available to Arkansas seniors who need long-term care and support. Seniors can access adult day care programs, which involve recreational and social programming in a communal setting, for an average cost of $1,948 per month. In-home care services such as a homemaker or home health aide cost an average of $3,623 per month based on 44 hours of care per week, while assisted living costs $3,175 per month. Nursing home care, which includes 24/7 care in a skilled nursing facility, averages $5,505 per month.
Home Health Care
Adult Day Care
Assisted Living Facility
Nursing Home Care
The Cost of Memory Care in Arkansas’ Top Cities
Comparing Costs Across Arkansas
As is common in most states, the cost of memory care services in Arkansas varies depending on the location. Costs are lowest in Pine Bluff at an average of $3,314 per month and highest in Little Rock at $5,979 per month. Just west of Little Rock, monthly memory care costs are slightly less expensive in Hot Springs at $5,000, and even more affordable along Arkansas’ western border in Fayetteville ($4,514) and in Fort Smith ($3,645). In the northeast region of the state, residential memory care costs an average of $4,000 per month in Jonesboro.
Financial Assistance for Memory Care in Arkansas
Living Choices Assisted Living Waiver
Living Choices is a Medicaid home and community-based waiver that covers the cost of care in an assisted living facility. Care may include social and recreational programming, nonmedical transportation, attendant care and limited skilled nursing services.
Who Is Eligible
To qualify for enrollment in the Living Choices Assisted Living Waiver, seniors must be aged 65 or older, require the level of care normally provided in a nursing home, and be able to live safely in an assisted living facility. For those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or any form of dementia, this means that their needs can be accommodated in Alzheimer’s special care unit, a dedicated memory care unit within an assisted living facility.
How to Apply
For more information on the Living Choices Assisted Living Waiver, call 1-866-801-3435 or visit the nearest Department of Human Services office.
VA Aid and Attendance and Housebound Allowance Benefits
Veterans, dependents and survivors who need help covering their memory care costs may qualify for cash benefits through VA Aid and Attendance and the Housebound Allowance. These two enhanced VA pension programs provide additional pension payments to those who are eligible to receive the regular VA pension, and who also meet the medical criteria for each program.
Who Is Eligible?
VA pension recipients who live in a nursing home, need help to perform at least one activity of daily living, are bedridden due to chronic illness or disability or are legally blind may be eligible for Aid and Attendance.
VA pension recipients who have one permanent disability assessed at 100% by the VA and who are largely restricted to their place of residence due to that disability may be eligible for Housebound.
Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in Arkansas
Seniors, their family members and caregivers of those living with memory loss have access to free and low-cost resources throughout the state. These resources include support groups, information about Alzheimer’s disease and help with legal issues related to elders and long-term care.
|Arkansas Long-Term Care Ombudsman||501-508-8857 or the local LTC Ombudsman||The ombudsman provides free support and advocacy services to seniors living in long-term care facilities, including memory care communities. Seniors and their loved ones can contact their nearest ombudsman to file complaints about a facility, learn how to self-advocate and get information about residents’ rights and facility regulations.|
|Alzheimer’s Association — Arkansas Chapter||1-800-272-3900 or 501-265-0027||The Arkansas chapter of the national Alzheimer’s Association provides a range of resources to those living with dementia, their families and caregivers. The chapter operates a number of peer support groups throughout the state, maintains an extensive database of local, regional and statewide resources, and advocates on behalf of Alzheimer’s patients.|
|Senior Health Insurance Information Program||1-800-224-6330 or 501- 371-2782||The State Health Insurance Information Program, SHIIP, provides free, unbiased information on Medicare, Medigap and long-term care insurance. A statewide network of SHIIP volunteers conducts one-on-one in-person and phone appointments.|
|Arkansas Legal Services Online||1-800-952-9243||Arkansas Legal Services Online is a collaboration between the Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas, two nonprofit law firms that provide free legal assistance to low-income seniors dealing with civil law matters. Seniors and their legal representatives can contact ALSO to connect with the nearest pro-bono lawyer in their area or dial the statewide legal helpline.|
|Alzheimer’s Arkansas||501-224-0021||Alzheimer’s Arkansas is a statewide independent nonprofit organization. The organization operates a 24/7 toll-free caregiver support line, caregiver education sessions, in-service training for memory care facility staff, and a lending library with printed and video materials.|
Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Arkansas
Arkansas long-term care facilities with Alzheimer’s special care units (ASCUs) are licensed and regulated by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Medical Services, Office of Long Term Care. ASCUs are separate, distinct units located within an assisted living or long-term care facility, and these ASCUs provide specialized programming for those with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
|Scope of Care||Facilities may only admit and retain individuals whose needs can be safely met under the facilities’ license. Level I ALFs cannot serve residents who require a nursing home level of care, while Level II ALFs may serve nursing home eligible residents as long as those residents are not bedridden, are not terminally ill or present a danger to themselves or others due to aggressive or self-harming behaviors.|
|Care Plan Requirements||Upon admission, a comprehensive care plan must be prepared for each resident, and that plan must be reassessed annually or more frequently if the resident experiences significant changes in their physical and/or cognitive health.|
|Medication Management Requirements||In Level I facilities, staff may help with the self-administration of prescription medications, while licensed nursing staff in Level II facilities can administer medications to residents who are unable to self-administer medications. All Level II facilities must contract with a consulting pharmacist who oversees medication management in the facility.|
|Staff Screening Requirements||Facility administrators are responsible for the screening of staff through the Employment Clearance Registry of the Office of Long Term Care, and the Adult Abuse Register. All current staff must be rescreened at least once every five years.|
|Staff Training Requirements||Each facility must have a full-time administrator who is on-site a minimum of 40 hours per week and who delegates a suitable replacement to provide back-up coverage. Level II facilities must also contract or employ at least one registered nurse and one or more licensed practical nurses to provide direct resident care.|
|Medicaid Coverage||The Illinois Medicaid waiver covers care costs for memory care services delivered in an assisted living setting, which can include memory care units.|
|Reporting Abuse||Concerns regarding exploitation, abuse or the neglect of a long-term care resident should be reported to the Adult Maltreatment Hotline at 1-800-482-8049 or the nearest law enforcement agency.|
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does memory care cost in Arkansas?
The average cost of memory care in Arkansas is $3,969 per month, although actual costs vary in each region. Costs are highest in Little Rock, where residential memory care services cost an average of $5,979 per month, and lowest in Pine Bluff at $3,314.
Does Arkansas Medicaid pay for memory care?
Yes. Seniors aged 65 and older who are Medicaid-eligible and who require long-term residential memory care services may qualify for enrollment in the Living Choices Assisted Living Waiver, a Medicaid home and community-based services waiver.
What security features are present in memory care facilities?
While most memory care facilities look just like assisted living communities, Alzheimer’s special care units are equipped with additional security features designed to minimize dangerous wandering among residents. These features may include delayed-egress exit devices on exterior doors, fenced and gated outdoor spaces, and motion-activated lights, cameras and alarms to alert staff if a resident attempts to leave the facility without an escort.
What are activities of daily living?
Activities of daily living, or ADLs, are all the basic daily activities seniors need to perform to maintain basic hygiene and wellness. ADLs include dental care, toileting, bathing and grooming, as well as installing and adjusting prosthetic devices, dressing and moving about the home.
What types of services does memory care provide?
Residential memory care provides semi-private or private accommodations, three daily meals plus snacks, and 24/7 monitoring and care under the direction of a registered nurse. Most memory care programs also provide structured daily activities that are designed to delay the progression of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and these activities may include fitness classes, brain games, art therapy and peer support groups.