Arkansas is home to over 3 million residents, more than 17% of whom are aged 65 and older. Sadly, of the state’s 525,000 plus seniors, more than 58,000 were living with Alzheimer’s disease as of 2020, and by 2025, it’s estimated that this number will reach 67,000, an increase of more than 15%. Furthermore, 2019 saw 1,507 deaths from Alzheimer’s disease in Arkansas, an increase of more than 250% since 2000, making this disease the state’s 6th leading cause of death.

When it comes to life for seniors in Arkansas, many appreciate the state’s mild winters, which usually see just 4 inches of snow each year and an average low temperature of 28 degrees. A cost of living that’s 21 points below the national average makes Arkansas a great destination for seniors, too. Healthcare costs are about 86.5% of the national median, and residential memory care costs an average of $4,700 per month.

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.

The guide that follows gives an overview of memory care costs and regulations throughout Arkansas. It also includes cost comparisons against other types of care in Arkansas and memory care in nearby states. Additionally, readers can find a list of resources for seniors in Arkansas who are living with dementia and memory loss.

The Cost of Memory Care in Arkansas

Note: In most cases, residential memory care is provided in assisted living facilities. Typically, memory care costs 20-30% more than standard assisted living. Since no national database exists to track memory care costs, in the cost comparisons below, we used the assisted living rates in the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey and added 25%.

Memory care costs are relatively similar in states across the region. The exception is Missouri ($3,750), where monthly costs are $950 less than in Arkansas ($4,700). In other surrounding states, including Louisiana ($4,685) and Mississippi ($4,375), memory care costs are slightly less. However, in Oklahoma, seniors pay an average of $4,819 per month, which is $119 more than their peers in Arkansas.

$4700

Arkansas

$5625

The United States

$3750

Missouri

$4819

Oklahoma

$4685

Louisiana

$4375

Mississippi

$5625

Arkansas

$3750

Missouri

$4819

Oklahoma

$4685

Louisiana

$4375

Mississippi

Throughout the state, memory care rates vary from slightly over $4,100 to more than $5,600. The least expensive option is Pine Bluff, where seniors pay an average of $4,161, followed by Jonesboro and Fayetteville, which both have an average monthly cost of $4,563. In Fort Smith, seniors can expect to pay about $4,813 per month for memory care, while Hot Springs and Little Rock are more expensive at $5,625 and $5,610 per month, respectively.

$4563

Fayetteville

$4813

Fort Smith

$5625

Hot Springs

$5610

Little Rock

$4161

Pine Bluff

$4563

Jonesboro

Seniors in Arkansas have several care options that provide varying levels of attention and service. Each of these care types also comes at a different cost. Adult day care costs an average of $1,733 per month, while assisted living is the least expensive type of residential care at $3,760. Memory care is somewhat more expensive at $4,700 per month. Seniors who wish to remain in their own homes while receiving care pay an average of $4,185 per month for homemaker services and $4,195 for home health care. Those who need 24-hour residential medical supervision pay $6,083 per month for a semiprivate room or $6,692 for a private room in a nursing home.

$1733

Adult Day Health Care

$3760

Assisted Living

$4185

Home Care

$4195

Home Health Care

$4700

Memory Care

$6083

Nursing Home (semiprivate)

$6692

Nursing Home (private)

Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in Arkansas?

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 Arkansas.

While basic Medicaid doesn’t directly pay for memory care services in Arkansas, eligible seniors can access coverage indirectly through the Living Choices Assisted Living Waiver.

What Memory Care Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Arkansas?

In Arkansas, seniors can get help paying for memory care services that are provided by a licensed senior care facility. Coverage includes therapeutic, social and physical care, but seniors are required to cover their own room-and-board expenses.

Memory Care Waiver Programs in Arkansas

Living Choices Assisted Living Waiver Program

The Living Choices Assisted Living Waiver Program helps Arkansas seniors cover the cost of care in assisted living and memory care facilities. The waiver allows seniors who require an intermediate level of care to remain in the community and avoid or delay placement in a nursing home. 

Services covered by this program include: 

  • Personal care
  • Prescription drugs
  • Medication administration
  • Nonmedical transportation
  • Limited nursing services
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Physical and cognitive therapies

The waiver is open to individuals aged 65 and older, as well as those under age 65 who are eligible for Social Security benefits due to disability or blindness. 

Seniors can apply for the Living Choices Assisted Living Waiver Program by calling the Choices in Living Resource Center at (866) 801-3435.

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

To qualify for Medicaid as a senior citizen in Arkansas, applicants must be at least 65 years of age and a legal permanent resident or U.S. citizen who resides in the state full-time.

Medicaid requires that single individuals earn no more than $18,075 per year and have $2,000 or less in countable assets to be eligible for the program. Additionally, applicants must require help with activities of daily living to receive benefits. Married couples who both apply may have up to $24,353 in yearly earnings and up to $3,000 in assets. If only one spouse applies, the non-applicant may keep up to $137,400 in joint assets and be eligible for a portion of the applicant’s monthly income according to federal spousal impoverishment standards

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Arkansas

Income Limits* 

Asset Limits

Single Applicant

$18,075

$2,000

Two-Person Household
(Only One Person Applying)

$24,353

$2,000 for applicant
$137,400 for non-applicant

Two-Person Household
(Both People Applying)

$24,353

$3,000

*Per year

How to Apply for Medicaid in Arkansas

Seniors can apply for Medicaid online via Access Arkansas. This website helps Arkansas residents access Medicaid coverage, as well as a range of other useful financial benefits. Alternatively, seniors can visit Access Arkansas to print the appropriate application and deliver it to their nearest Department of Human Services office.

Information You Will Need

There are income and asset limits in place for those who apply to Arkansas’ Medicaid program. To qualify for help, applicants will need to provide proof of income and assets that are in their names. 

Furthermore, seniors should plan to provide the following along with their application:

  • Government-issued photo ID that verifies residency
  • Copies of burial plots or other unconventional assets
  • Copies of income tax returns
  • Documents that outline any legal arrangements such as powers of attorney, personal directives or wills

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid

Resources are available throughout Arkansas to help seniors navigate the Medicaid application process. These resources can assist with completing applications, determining eligibility and submitting applications to the correct government offices.

Program

Contact

Services Provided

Contact county office

Seniors and family members can contact their nearest Arkansas Medicaid office for help with the application process.

(866) 964-7017

This organization can connect seniors and their loved ones with their local Area Agency on Aging where they can access help with applying for and navigating Medicaid benefits.

(800) 282-9134

The Insurance Department helps seniors and other Arkansas residents determine their eligibility for Medicaid and other programs. It also provides assistance with claims, appeals and other common insurance-related issues.

Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in Arkansas?

The short answer is that no, Medicare does not cover the cost of memory care in Arkansas. 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 Arkansas.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care in Arkansas

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 Arkansas

There are several free and low-cost resources available to Arkansas seniors and families who are affected by dementia, memory loss and other physical or cognitive disabilities. 

Program 

Contact

Services Provided

(501) 224-0021

This independent nonprofit organization assists seniors and their families statewide. Through Alzheimer's Arkansas, residents can access caregiver education classes, a library of dementia-related informational resources and a 24/7 toll-free support line. The organization also provides in-service training for memory care facility staff members.

(877) 386-0206

Arkansas' prescription assistance program helps seniors and low-income residents who are living with chronic conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, access affordable prescription medications. This program provides its beneficiaries with discounts or free prescriptions as determined by a sliding scale.

Find local contact information on the website

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is designed to protect the rights and safety of seniors who are living in memory care and other long-term care facilities. Representatives of the program are authorized to accept, mediate and help resolve complaints about facilities that are received from residents, staff, family members or the public.

(800) 272-3900 

The Alzheimer's Association provides assistance to those living with dementia and their families through support groups, learning opportunities, online resources and advocacy. The organization also hosts events for seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer's, as well as for those who care for them.

(866) 801-3435

The Choices in Living Resource Center helps seniors and their loved ones access information about long-term care and support programs throughout Arkansas. Its representatives can help with completing forms and applications, understanding Medicaid and accessing dementia care.

COVID-19 Rules for Memory Care in Arkansas

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including healthy.arkansas.gov. 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 Arkansas Communities

Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?

Not Available*

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

Not Available*

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

Not Available*

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

Not Available*

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 Arkansas Communities

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

Not Available*

Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

Not Available*

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?

No

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

Not Available*

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

Not Available*

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

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for Arkansas Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?

Yes

Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?

Not Available*

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?

Not Available*

Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?

Not Available*

Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?

Not Available*

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

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.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Arkansas

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.