Memory Care in Kentucky
In Kentucky, where seniors comprise nearly 17% of the population of 4.5 million, Alzheimer’s is increasingly becoming a public concern. According to data published by the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the state, and the number of those with this disease is projected to increase in coming years. In 2018, the organization estimated that 71,000 Kentucky residents aged 65 and over were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. By 2025, that number is projected to increase by about 20% to 86,000 seniors.
Fortunately, Kentucky residents have access to a range of programs and services through government and nonprofit agencies that improve the lives of those with this diagnosis. The state is also home to outstanding medical facilities, including the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital, a 569-bed acute care hospital in Lexington, and St. Elizabeth Healthcare Edgewood-Covington Hospitals in Edgewood. Overall, health care costs in the state, such as hospital stays and primary care services, are about 10% lower than in the nation as a whole.
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 Kentucky, including how much residents pay for this type of care and how rates compare to those in nearby cities and other senior care types. It also provides an overview of the financial options available to memory care residents, the regulations governing memory care facilities and statewide resources for seniors and families affected by dementia.
The Cost of Memory Care in Kentucky
Note: There are no authoritative data sources with national memory care cost data. However, dementia services are provided in assisted living facilities that are licensed to provide this level of care and typically cost 20-30% more than standard assisted living. To estimate memory care costs, we’ve added 25% to the assisted living rates published in the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey.
In Kentucky, older adults pay $4,310 per month for residential dementia services, which is over $1,000 lower than the national rate of $5,625. Local care costs are over $2,000 cheaper than rates in Virginia, which exceed the national median at $6,563. In Indiana, rates are more competitive but still higher than in Kentucky at $5,354, and in West Virginia, seniors pay $5,200. Tennessee seniors pay $5,131 for residential dementia services.
The United States
Owensboro is the most budget-friendly city in Kentucky to obtain memory care services, with facilities charging approximately $3,860 per month for care. In Elizabethtown, rates are a little higher but still affordable at $4,031. In Bowling Green and the Louisville region, rates are consistent with the state median at $4,375, and in the Lexington area, residential dementia costs are higher than the national rate at $5,710.
Memory care facilities in Kentucky charge $4,310 for services, making it among the more moderately priced senior care options in the state. Those who need personal care but don’t require dementia services pay $3,448 for assisted living, and adult day health care services are even more affordable at $1,690 per month. Basic homemaker services and home health aide services cost $4,767 monthly. Older adults with more extensive care needs may require nursing home placement, which costs $7,178 for semiprivate rooms and $7,969 for private accommodations.
Home Health Aide
Adult Day Health Care
Nursing Home (semiprivate)
Nursing Home (private)
Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in Kentucky?
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 Kentucky.
Currently, Kentucky Medicaid doesn’t cover memory care services directly through the regular program or indirectly via waiver programs. However, this program provides comprehensive health insurance coverage for medical expenses, such as inpatient and outpatient primary and specialty services, over-the-counter and prescription medications, emergency medical transportation and speech and physical therapy. When used alongside Medicare, it can eliminate or significantly reduce out-of-pocket medical expenses, which may leave more money in the bank for residential memory care services.
Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in Kentucky?
The short answer is that no, Medicare does not cover the cost of memory care in Kentucky. 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 Kentucky.
Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care in Kentucky
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.
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 Kentucky
Kentucky is home to numerous programs and agencies that serve older adults and families affected by dementia. The following table features statewide resources that can help individuals connect with support groups in their region, find community-based services and research options for paying for residential memory care services.
The Alzheimer's Association’s Greater Kentucky/Southern Indiana Chapter serves seniors and families affected by dementia in 125 counties. Through this nonprofit organization, Kentucky residents can connect with early-stage engagement programs, such as memory cafes, Memories at the Museum and the Peer to Peer program, which enables seniors newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to speak on the phone with others living with the disease. The organization also has a 24-hour helpline that individuals can call for emotional support and help with locating resources in the community.
The Department for Aging and Independent Living operates 15 Area Agencies on Aging and Independent Living throughout Kentucky. These nonprofit agencies have information and referral specialists who help seniors with dementia connect with community-based programs, such as prescription drug assistance, support groups and durable medical equipment loans. Agencies also provide referrals for legal and financial counselors who help seniors and families navigate issues related to dementia and transitioning to residential care.
The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs administers benefits and services to qualifying veterans in the state. Through this department, older veterans connect with benefits counselors who help them apply for VA programs that may help cover memory care services. The department can also help qualifying individuals transition to veterans’ homes, which may reduce out-of-pocket memory care costs.
(502) 564-6930, Ext. 3507
The Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Council is a provision of the Department for Aging and Independent Living to support Kentucky seniors and families affected by dementia. Through this nonprofit agency, individuals get help with finding programs and informational services to improve access to dementia care.
The Sanders-Brown Center on Aging is located within the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. It has a range of resources for Kentucky residents diagnosed with dementia, including access to research studies, memory screenings and clinical evaluations. It also has educational workshops on topics related to dementia, including recognizing signs of the disease and finding long-term care.
COVID-19 Rules for Memory Care in Kentucky
The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including chfs.ky.gov.. These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/8/2022, 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.
Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?
Are relatives allowed to visit for end-of-life care?
Are residents required to quarantine after visiting with a loved one?
Are visitors required to wear PPE (including masks) in order to visit residents?
Are non-medical contractors (such as hairdressers and entertainers) allowed in senior living facilities?
Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?
Are visitors required to answer questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?
Outings & Social Activities
Are residents allowed to leave (errands, visiting family, etc.) for non-medical reasons?
Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?
Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?
Are residents allowed to eat meals together in a common area?
Are residents allowed to gather in common areas for group activites?
COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents
Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?
Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?
Are staff members members regularly required to do a health and safety screening, including questions about travel, contact with positive cases, etc?
Are residents regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms?
Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?
Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?
*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 Kentucky
The assisted living facilities in Kentucky that provide memory care are regulated by the Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living. Personal care homes that offer memory care are regulated by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health Services, Office of Inspector General, Division of Health Care. Any special staff training, services, placement processes, costs and other factors related to memory care must be carefully documented.
Scope of Care
Seniors receiving memory care in Kentucky benefit from the entire scope of services provided by assisted living facilities and personal care homes, including the activities of daily living. While regulations don’t require any specific memory care services, any specialty services in this area must be fully documented so that they can be subject to review.
Residents at assisted living facilities that provide memory care must be ambulatory or mobile nonambulatory. There is an exception if the condition is temporary. Their care requirements must fall within the scope of care documented by the facility. They must also not be a danger to themselves or others.
Prior to entering a new community, a memory care resident must go through a thorough assessment to determine their exact care needs. A similar assessment must take place at least once per year to identify changing needs. Residents have the right to make additional service arrangements with outside individuals or providers.
Residents who can self-administer their medication can get help with reminders, opening containers and pouring medication by trained staff members. However, the staff at assisted living facilities, including those with memory care, are not permitted to administer medication for patients directly. Only licensed professionals, such as registered nurses, are allowed to administer medication.
Assisted living communities with memory care services must have a designated manager, but there are no minimum staffing ratio requirements. At least one staff member must be awake and available at all times, and there must be sufficient staff to meet both the scheduled and unscheduled needs of residents.
All staff members at an assisted living facility providing memory care must go through an orientation within 90 days of hire. Workers who are caring directly for residents with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia must go through specific training related to their duties. Annual education is required for a variety of topics, including resident’s rights, first aid, abuse and neglect, and CPR.
Residents in memory care or their loved ones can report abuse to Kentucky’s Elderly Protective Services. It investigates issues involving abuse, neglect and exploitation involving victims aged 60 and older. Louisiana’s Health Standards Section is responsible for investigating complaints and grievances against assisted living facilities.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does memory care cost in Kentucky?
Memory care in Kentucky can cost anywhere from $2,708 to $5,371 per month, depending on the location. The least expensive city is Owensboro, while the most expensive is Lexington. The overall Kentucky average is $4,372.
Are there financial assistance programs for memory care in Kentucky?
Some Kentucky seniors may be able to get financial assistance for memory care through Medicaid or the VA. Medicaid recipients can apply for the Home and Community-Based Services Waiver Program, which can pay for supports within a memory care setting. Veterans may be eligible for Aid and Attendance, which can pay for room and board.
What are activities of daily living?
Activities of daily living, or ADLs, are the things people need to do to survive and maintain a positive quality of life. They include bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, eating and general mobility.
What is the difference between memory care and assisted living?
Memory care usually includes all the amenities and services of assisted living with additional features designed to support residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, such as special cognitive programs and enhanced security.
What security features are present in memory care facilities?
The main security features of memory care facilities are designed to prevent residents from wandering off the property. They can include locked entry and exit points, cameras, fencing and well-lit exteriors. Many properties also have alarms.