In Colorado, an estimated 14.6% of the 5,812,069 residents are age 65 and over. Approximately 76,000 of Colorado’s seniors have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia — and that figure is expected to rise by 21.1% in the next 5 years. There were 1,909 deaths from Alzheimer’s in 2019, making it the 6th leading cause of death in the state.

Colorado is a tax-friendly state for retirees with deductions on retirement income, which may be helpful for seniors on a limited budget. In addition, Colorado is home to the world-class St. Joseph Hospital in Denver, along with the University of Colorado Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center in Aurora. This facility conducts Alzheimer’s research and provides treatment at its Memory Disorders Clinic. According to Genworth’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of memory care in Colorado is $5,938 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.

This guide to memory care in Colorado contains information about memory care costs throughout the state and in neighboring states. There’s also information about financial assistance for memory care and free resources for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.

The Cost of Memory Care in Colorado

Colorado residential assisted living communities also often provide memory care in separate secured areas. There is no national authority on memory care costs, so we used assisted living data from Genworth’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey with 25% added, as memory care is 20-30% more than assisted living on average.

Memory care costs in Colorado are $5,938, which is close to the national average of $5,625. The costs of memory care in nearby states vary. Utah has an average monthly memory care cost of $4,375, and Nebraska’s is $5,095. Wyoming’s cost is $5,212 per month on average for memory care and New Mexico’s is $5,623. Kansas has an average monthly memory care cost of $5,725, which is close to Colorado’s.

$5938

Colorado

$5625

The United States

$4375

Utah

$5212

Wyoming

$5095

Nebraska

$5725

Kansas

$5623

New Mexico

Colorado’s cities also have varying memory care costs depending on location. Boulder is the city with the highest cost for memory care at an estimated $7,844 per month. Denver’s cost is slightly less at $6,875 and Colorado Springs’ is $5,829. Greeley has a memory care cost of $5,500 per month on average, and Grand Junction’s is $5,313. Memory care in Fort Collins’ is less expensive at $5,000. The most affordable city in Colorado for memory care is Pueblo, with an estimated monthly cost of $4,750.

$4750

Pueblo

$5829

Colorado Springs

$6875

Denver

$5000

Fort Collins

$5500

Greeley

$7844

Boulder

$5312

Grand Junction

There are other care types for Colorado seniors besides memory care. Adults who require daytime care can receive adult day health care services for approximately $1,950 per month. Assisted living facilities cost around $4,750 per month, and both home health care and home care are $6,387. The $5,938 estimated cost of memory care in Colorado is lower than nursing home costs. For a semiprivate room, costs are approximately $8,567 per month, and private rooms cost around $9,726 monthly.

$1950

Adult Day Health Care

$4750

Assisted Living

$6387

Home Care

$6387

Home Health Care

$5938

Memory Care

$8567

Nursing Home Facility (semiprivate room)

$9726

Nursing Home Facility (private room)

Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in Colorado?

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 Colorado.

Colorado Medicaid — which is called Health First Colorado — does not directly cover memory care costs at a residential facility. However, seniors who have Medicaid or are eligible may qualify for the Elderly, Blind and Disabled Waiver (EBD). This waiver can help cover the costs of residential memory care for seniors with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Seniors whose income disqualifies them for the Health First Colorado program may qualify for the Old Age Pension Health and Medical Care Program (OAP), which provides limited care and may be helpful in reducing expenses to income that can be used for memory care costs.

What Memory Care Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Colorado?

Medicaid does not directly cover the costs of memory care in Colorado. The EBD waiver provides the same medical benefits as Health First, along with other services including transition assistance, transportation and various other personal care services that memory care recipients may need. The OAP also covers certain types of senior care, but it’s more limited in scope than the EBD waiver. Both programs can help seniors retain more income that would usually be spent on the medical services these programs cover, so more funds can go towards residential memory care.

Memory Care Waiver Programs in Colorado

The Elderly, Blind and Disabled Waiver (EBD)

The Elderly, Blind and Disabled Waiver (EBD) is limited to individuals who require long-term care at a level that’s comparable to a nursing facility. Applicants age 65 and older must be qualified by a doctor as having a significant cognitive and/or physical impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. Applicant income must not exceed 300% of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) limits. Individuals cannot have resources exceeding $2,000. For couples, the resource limit is $3,000.

This waiver covers everything that’s covered by Health First Colorado, which includes but is not limited to doctor visits, dental care, emergency services, behavioral health services, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. In addition, there are senior-specific services that are covered by the EBD waiver, such as electronic monitoring and personal care, among others.

To apply for the Elderly, Blind and Disabled Waiver (EBD), you must first apply and qualify for the Health First Colorado program. If you are already enrolled in this program, contact the Member Contact Center at (800) 221-3943 or the local Single Entry Point (SEP). If you do not know your SEP location, you can find the location and contact information on the website.

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

Colorado’s Health First Medicaid program has eligibility criteria that include age, disability status, citizenship status, age and income. Eligibility requirements for memory care recipients that must be met to qualify include:

  • Age: Applicants must be 65 or older.
  • Disability Status: Blind and/or disabled individuals may be eligible.
  • Income: Applicants must have a gross yearly income that does not exceed $17,131 for singles and $23,169 for couples.
  • Resources: Individuals can have no more than $2,000 in resources, and couples cannot exceed $3,000.
  • Citizenship: Applicants must be verified as U.S. citizens to be eligible or provide documentation of legal resident status.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Colorado

Income Limits* 

Asset Limits

Single Applicant

$17,131

$2,000

Two-Person Household
(Both People Applying)

$23,169

$3,000

*Per year

Seniors who don’t meet income eligibility requirements for the Colorado Health First Program may qualify for other financial assistance programs through the Connect for Health Colorado Marketplace. The Colorado Indigent Care Program  (CICP) and prescription savings plans may also help reduce overall expenses so that more income can go towards memory care costs.

How to Apply for Medicaid in Colorado

Seniors or their caregivers can apply for Colorado Medicaid online at the Colorado PEAK website. Paper applications can be printed and mailed or dropped off at the correct county Medicaid office or application assistance site. In-person applications with a Medicaid worker can be done at the same locations.

Applications can also be submitted over the phone by calling (800) 221-3943 or State Relay: 711. Telephone service is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Information You Will Need

Verifications must be provided when applying for the Colorado Health First Medicaid program. Seniors must provide the following information when applying:

  • Identification and Social Security cards
  • Immigration documentation if not a verified U.S. citizen
  • Verification of income that may include tax documentation or employer information
  • Verification of Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Insurance policy documentation for all household members

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid

Seniors can obtain assistance with applying for the Health First Medicaid program by contacting the Office of Adult, Aging and Disability Services. Alternatively, assistance can be obtained at a local application assistance site. Help can also be found on the PEAK website, or seniors can contact the Colorado Division of Aging and Adult Services.

Program

Contact

Services Provided

(720) 737-4909

Through this state office, seniors or their caregivers can get help with applying for Medicaid over the phone.

Online

PEAK provides assistance with Medicaid applications. Help can be received through virtual chat on the PEAK website, or seniors can find the contact information for their local county office on the PEAK website and obtain assistance in person or via telephone.

(303) 866-2800

The Colorado Division of Aging and Adult Services connects seniors with their local Area Agency on Aging. In addition to Medicaid and waiver application assistance, this organization offers various other services for seniors and caregivers.

Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in Colorado?

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

Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care in Colorado

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 Colorado

Colorado has many free services for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. There are legal advocacy programs, services for veterans and a wide variety of other resources and services for all seniors, including those with memory care issues.

Program 

Contact

Services Provided

(303) 866-7500

Seniors in memory care can receive support services through their local Area Agency on Aging. There’s transportation and care services, along with outreach and information assistance. Telephone reassurance and in-person visitors may also be available for memory care recipients.

(844) 265-2372

This organization provides a variety of support types to seniors in memory care and their caregivers. Access to help and information is available, along with counseling and planning services.

(800) 272-3900

The Alzheimer’s Association advocates for memory care recipients and their families. In addition, this association raises funds for research and raises awareness of Alzheimer’s disease. Through the Colorado chapter, seniors can receive local services, resources and referrals.

(303) 866-7500

Seniors can receive legal services through this department, which protects seniors’ rights and ensures they understand those rights. Advocacy and access to representation is also available.

(800) 698-2411

Through this website, senior veterans can find their local Veterans Affairs Office. These offices provide a variety of services, including referrals, counseling and assistance with claiming benefits.

211

Call 2-1-1 to access many senior services. Long-term care services and information are available through this service, along with many other disability and aging resources. The website can also help direct seniors and caregivers to the right resources for their needs.

COVID-19 Rules for Memory Care in Colorado

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including covid19.colorado.gov. These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/7/2022, 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 Colorado 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?

Yes

Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

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

Yes

Outings & Social Activities

Rules for Colorado Communities

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

Yes

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 (Conditions Apply)

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

Yes (Conditions Apply)

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for Colorado 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 Colorado

Building design, levels of care, dining, medication management and staff training issues are among the rules and regulations enforced by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Memory care programs can be incorporated within a secure area of an assisted living facility or dedicated structure. In Colorado, these types of facilities are often called Alternative Care Facilities and less commonly known as Personal Care Homes.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Colorado

Scope of Memory Care

Assisted living facilities are permitted to offer memory care, including some nursing care, but residents with serious or long-term medical needs may be ineligible. Residents must be provided with appropriate and engaging activities and programs relating to their memory disorder. They must also receive the basics such as accommodation, security, meals, medication, assistance and socialization.

Admission and Care Plan

Colorado’s long-term care facilities are responsible for creating an admission policy. The state imposes some limits, such as the type and amount of nursing care provided and a prohibition of violent or self-harming residents. Each resident receives a care plan based on an initial assessment and followups, and it must include specifics on memory care if/when diagnosed, such as social and recreational opportunities tailored to cognitive abilities.

Medication Management

Medication can only be administered by professionals known as qualified medication administration persons (QMAP) and must be logged and stored in a secure area. Assisted living residents can manage and self-administer unless expressly forbidden. Memory care residents generally require assistance and/or administration.

Staff Screening and Training

All staff must receive a clear background and criminal history check upon employment in any role. Staff members must have the required or appropriate education, certification and licenses based on their role and resident needs. This includes training on the proper care and services for cognitive impairments such as dementia.

Medicaid Funding

Assisted living facilities that accept funding from Medicaid and are certified by the state to do so are known as Alternative Care Facilities. The facility is reimbursed for most personal care services, but residents must cover room and board.

Complaints, Abuse and Neglect

Residents and others concerned can call (303) 691-4045 report suspected violations in memory care and assisted living. Reports can also be submitted online or by mail. Staff members are legally required to report various issues to the state, facility management and/or administrators.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does memory care cost in Colorado?

The average cost for Coloradans in memory care is $5,119 per month, which puts it in line with the national average. Utah’s monthly average is lower by $869, but Colorado isn’t particularly expensive for the region.

Does Colorado Medicaid pay for memory care?

The state Medicaid program and an appropriate waiver, such as the EBD Waiver detailed in this guide, can cover the personal care costs for eligible residents in memory care. Unfortunately, Medicaid never covers or provides reimbursements for room and board in memory care or assisted living.

What are “Activities of Daily Living?”

As the name suggests, this term covers the everyday tasks and movements of an individual, which includes getting out of bed, using wheelchairs and mobility aids, hygiene and eating. Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) is a requirement in assisted living and memory care.

What types of services does memory care provide?

Caregivers assist with activities of daily living to varying degrees based on the cognitive and physical abilities of each resident. Qualified staff can administer medication, and facilities can employ or coordinate with physical, occupational and speech therapists, as well as other service providers as needed.

What security features are present in memory care facilities?

Memory care programs must take place in a secure facility or as a secure unit that is separated from a larger facility, which is most often an assisted living community. Most states allow the use of technology, such as keypad access, and physical barriers to prevent memory care residents from wandering. Each facility determines its own security beyond what is mandated by law.