As the population ages, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia have become a major health concern. In Idaho, an estimated 27,000 seniors aged 65 and older live with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is projected to grow to 33,000 by the year 2025. Alzheimer’s was the sixth-leading cause of death in the Gem State in 2018, and the statewide Alzheimer’s death rate has increased by 154% since 2000.

Not only does memory loss have a tremendous impact on seniors, but their families also bear a tremendous burden. Unpaid caregivers provided an estimated 99,000,000 hours of care to Idaho seniors living with dementia in 2019 alone. Thankfully, there are a growing number of memory care programs in the state that provide specialized care and support to Alzheimer’s patients.

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 a comprehensive overview of residential memory care services in Idaho, including care costs, financial aid programs, government regulations and links to organizations and agencies that offer support to Alzheimer’s patients, caregivers and family members.

The Cost of Memory Care in Idaho

Residential memory care services can cost 20-30% more than assisted living care. To calculate the cost of memory care in Idaho, we’ve added 25% to the assisted living costs listed on Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey. The average cost of memory care in Idaho is $4,660 per month, which is $404 below the national average of $5,064.

Memory Care Costs in Nearby States

Memory care costs in Idaho are relatively affordable compared to many nearby states. At a monthly statewide average of $4,660, the cost in Idaho is slightly below costs in neighboring Montana ($4,775) and Wyoming ($4,725), while costs in Oregon are notably higher at $5,624 per month. To the south of Idaho, the cost in Utah is $410 less, with a monthly average of $4,250.

$4660

Idaho

$5064

The United States

$5624

Oregon

$4775

Montana

$4725

Wyoming

$4250

Utah

Cost of Other Types of Care in Idaho

There are a number of community-based and residential care options available to Idaho seniors. The least expensive option is adult day care at an average cost of $2,275, while the costliest option is nursing home care at $7,924 per month. Seniors who can safely remain in their own homes with support can expect to pay about $4,195 per month for a homemaker, while hiring a home health care aide costs $4,290 per month. Assisted living, which is geared toward those without dementia and other major health issues, costs an average of $3,728 per month.

$4600

Memory Care

$4195

In-Home Care

$4290

Home Health Care

$2275

Adult Day Care

$3728

Assisted Living Facility

$7924

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Memory Care in Idaho’s Top Cities

Comparing Costs Across Idaho

While the statewide average cost of residential memory care is $4,600, actual costs vary throughout Idaho. The cost in Idaho Falls averages $4,188 per month, making this the least expensive place to seek memory care in the state. Costs are higher in Twin Falls ($4,541), Couer d’Alene ($4,750) and Boise City ($4,940). Lewiston, located in Idaho’s north-central region, has the highest average memory care cost in the state at $6,244 per month.

$4188

Idaho Falls

$4531

Twin Falls

$4750

Coeur d’Alene

$4940

Boise City

$6244

Lewiston

Financial Assistance for Memory Care in Idaho

Idaho Aged and Disabled Medicaid Waiver

Idaho’s Aged and Disabled Medicaid Waiver is a Home and Community-Based Waiver. The Waiver is designed to reduce nursing home placements among Medicaid beneficiaries who meet the clinical criteria for nursing home care, but who can be safely supported in a less-intrusive setting, such as an assisted living community or adult foster home. Benefits are assigned on a case-by-case basis and may include adult day care services, adult residential care, nonmedical transportation and attendant care.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for enrollment in Idaho’s Aged and Disabled Medicaid Waiver, seniors must be aged 65 or older and eligible for Medicaid coverage, or be aged 64 or under and designated disabled by the Social Security Administration. Applicants must also be assessed as needing the level of care normally provided in a nursing home.

How to Apply
To apply for enrollment in the Aged and Disabled Medicaid Waiver, contact the nearest Area Agency on Aging.

VA Enhanced Pension Benefits

Veterans and their survivors and dependents who qualify for the regular VA pension and require memory care services may be eligible for either the VA Aid and Attendance or the Housebound Allowance program. These two federally funded VA programs provide additional monthly cash benefits that can be used to pay for memory care services.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for Aid and Attendance or Housebound, applicants must first meet the criteria for enrollment in the regular VA pension plan.

For Housebound, applicants must also have a disability that’s rated by the VA as 100% and that leaves the applicant largely housebound.

For Aid and Attendance, applicants must either be legally blind, bedridden, a resident of a nursing facility or need daily help from another person to perform one or more activities of daily living.

How to Apply
To apply for either enhanced VA pension benefit, contact the nearest VA location.

Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in Idaho

Idaho residents who need help accessing memory care services can access a number of free resources available throughout the state. These resources include legal assistance for low-income seniors, Alzheimer’s and dementia support groups and advocacy services.

ResourceContactServices Provided
Area Agencies on AgingContact the nearest AAAIdaho’s network of six Area Agencies on Aging provide a range of services and supports to seniors, caregivers and family members. These services include case management, referrals to local resources, senior nutrition programs and assistance with long-term care planning.
Adult Protective ServicesContact the nearest AAAIdaho’s Commission on Aging, Adult Protective Services department works to protect the rights of vulnerable adults and respond to reports of abuse, neglect, self-harm and exploitation.
Idaho Legal Aid Services208-746-7541Idaho Legal Aid provides free legal assistance to low-income seniors who need help dealing with civil matters, such as guardianship, estate planning and access to health insurance.
Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Idaho Chapter1-800-272-3900The Alzheimer’s Association is a nationwide nonprofit organization focused on education, research, advocacy and support for those living with Alzheimer’s. The Greater Idaho Chapter of the AA operates a number of patient and caregiver support groups, provides assistance with case management and maintains a database of area memory care programs and services.
Idaho Senior Medicare PatrolContact the nearest Area Agency on AgingIdaho’s Senior Medicare Patrol works to prevent, detect and respond to health care fraud. The volunteer-based agency also helps seniors identify mail and telemarketing scams, identity theft and health insurance double-billing.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Idaho

Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare inspects, licenses and regulates residential care and assisted living facilities in the state, including facilities that provide memory care services. The following is a brief summary of the state licensing rules regarding residential care in Idaho.

Scope of CareFacilities may not admit or retain residents who require 24/7 skilled nursing care, and those who present a danger to themselves or others due to violent, aggressive behavior.
Care Plan RequirementsEach resident must have a completed personal assessment that covers their need for assistance with activities of daily living, need for health services and all physicians’ orders.
Medication Management RequirementsResidents may self-administer prescription and over-the-counter medications. Unlicensed staff who have completed an approved medication course can help residents self-administer meds under the supervision of a licensed nurse. All medications must be supplied in pharmacy-prepared blister packs or dispensed by a registered nurse.
Staff Screening RequirementsAll employees who have direct access to residents must complete a fingerprint-based background check that includes a search of state and national criminal registries.
Staff Training RequirementsAt least one staff certified in CPR and first aid must be awake and on-site at all times, and all staff need to complete a minimum of 16 hours of orientation before commencing work in a residential care facility. Memory care facilities must ensure that all direct care staff have specific dementia care training that covers communications, behavior management and stress reduction.
Medicaid CoverageIdaho’s Aged and Disabled Medicaid Waiver provides coverage for memory care services.
Reporting AbuseConcerns regarding the quality of care provided in a long-term care facility should be reported to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman via the nearest Area Agency on Aging. For issues involving an immediate threat to the health and safety of memory care residents, contact the nearest law enforcement agency.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Idaho?

Statewide, the average cost of residential memory care in Idaho is $4,600. Actual costs vary throughout the state, with costs ranging from a low of $4,188 in Idaho Falls up to a high of $6,244 in Lewiston.

Does Idaho Medicaid Pay for Memory Care?

Yes. Seniors enrolled in Medicaid who require placement in a residential memory care facility may be eligible for benefits through the Aged and Disabled Medicaid Waiver.

What Is the Difference Between Memory Care and Assisted Living?

Memory care and assisted living provide residents with accommodations, meals and access to 24/7 on-site caregivers. However, assisted living is geared toward those who are free from any major health issues, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Memory care communities generally have a relatively high staff-to-resident ratio, structured daily programming specifically designed to support those living with dementia and special security features to reduce the risk of wandering.

What Types of Therapies Are Offered in Memory Care Facilities?

Memory care facilities often offer a variety of small group and one-on-one therapies designed to delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. These therapies vary with each facility and may include music, art and pet therapy, and light therapy to help decrease agitation and promote healthy sleep patterns. Some facilities also use aromatherapy, color therapy and fitness classes to support those living with memory loss.

What Security Features Are Present in Memory Care Facilities?

Wandering is common among people with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, so in order to help keep residents safe, memory care facilities often have a number of anti-wandering security systems and features in place. These features may include a wearable device that allows staff to monitor the whereabouts of each resident, security cameras, enclosed courtyards and motion sensors.