Memory Care in Maine
Maine is now the state with the highest percentage of seniors in its population — 21.2% of Mainers are aged 65 or older — claiming the title from Florida as of the 2021 Census estimate. With such a large senior population, the number of people with Alzheimer’s in the state is correspondingly high as well. In 2020, there were 29,000 seniors with Alzheimer’s, and by 2025, that number is estimated to be 35,000. The disease ranked as Maine’s sixth-leading cause of death in 2019.
Maine is a relatively safe and healthy state for seniors overall, however, with very low crime rates and above-average ratings for water and air quality. Upon becoming a member of the AARP Age-Friendly Network in 2019, Maine reorganized its public assistance framework for elderly residents. Health care costs are on par with the national median, and memory care services in Maine cost an average of $7,331 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 helps seniors and their families understand the typical cost of memory care in Maine and the wider region. Assistance programs from state agencies and nonprofit organizations are also detailed, along with regulations governing memory care and available options to help pay for services.
The Cost of Memory Care in Maine
Note: The additional care required for people with Alzheimer’s typically increases the monthly cost of assisted living by 20-30%. To estimate memory care costs, we added 25% to the assisted living rates reported in the Genworth Financial’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey
Memory care services in Maine have an average cost of $7,331 per month, which is 30% above the norm for the United States. The cost goes up slightly in neighboring New Hampshire, with its average of $7,566 per month, and climbs even higher in Massachusetts to $8,125. Memory care services in Vermont ($6,563) and New York ($5,725) are significantly more affordable than in Maine. Seniors in Vermont save an average of $768 per month and those in New York save $1,606.
The United States
Within Maine, the cost of memory care varies widely depending on location. Bangor is the most affordable of the three cities included in the Genworth survey, with an average cost of $5,938 per month. Rates in Lewiston are also below the statewide average at $6,855 per month. Memory care programs in Portland charge the highest rates, with an average cost of $8,156 per month.
At $7,331 per month, memory care is one of the more expensive types of senior care available in Maine. Assisted living averages $5,865 per month, followed closely by home care and home health care services, which both cost $5,720. Adult day health care costs an average of $2,600 per month, although not all have programs for people with Alzheimer’s. Nursing homes offer the most expensive level of care in Maine. Semiprivate rooms cost $10,494, on average, while private rooms cost $11,254 per month, which is about $3,000-$4,000 more expensive than the rate paid for memory care.
Home Health Care
Adult Day Health Care
Nursing Home (semiprivate)
Nursing Home (private)
Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in Maine?
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 Maine.
The state Medicaid program in Maine is known as MaineCare. Seniors and people with disabilities who are eligible for both Medicaid and the Residential/Assisted Living program or Medicaid Waiver for Elderly and Adults with Physical Disabilities program may receive coverage for memory care services.
These programs are for low-income residents in certain vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, who need help paying for care in order to avoid nursing home placement.
What Memory Care Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Maine
Medicaid recipients who qualify for MaineCare’s Residential/Assisted Living program may receive coverage for services on an individual basis. Financial, functional and other needs are assessed when determining coverage. The following list is a general overview of covered services:
- Personal care (help with activities of daily living, mobility, hygiene, etc.)
- Nursing care
- Personal emergency response system (PERS)
- Assistive technology (devices that improve quality of life)
- Environmental modifications (accessibility aids, etc.)
- Homemaker services
- Case management
The cost of room and board in memory care facilities and other types of noninstitutional settings isn’t covered.
Memory Care Waiver Programs in Maine
Medicaid Waiver for Elderly and Adults with Physical Disabilities
The Medicaid Waiver for Elderly and Adults with Physical Disabilities program is available to individuals who meet eligibility guidelines for MaineCare. The services provided through this waiver are based on an assessment of the applicant’s financial status, medical needs and functional ability.
The waiver may cover services provided in the recipient’s own home, a residential care facility or a nursing home. As such, coverage for memory care services is a possibility if determined to be appropriate for the person’s needs and circumstances.
To apply for services through the Medicaid Waiver for Elderly and Adults with Physical Disabilities program, visit the DHHS website and complete the Long-Term Care application or submit a request online. Assistance with the application process is available at no cost from the resources provided further below.
How to Know if You’re Eligible for Medicaid in Maine
MaineCare is intended to help people with a low income and genuine need for the corresponding services. For the purposes of this guide, we’re focusing on the eligibility requirements for seniors and people with disabilities in residential care facilities, such as memory care and assisted living.
To qualify, an individual must:
- Be aged 65 and older or blind/disabled
- Currently live in Maine
- Be a U.S. citizen (or lawfully admitted alien)
- Demonstrate a financial need for assistance
- Demonstrate a functional need for services
Financial eligibility consists of income and asset limits as well as examinations of recent transactions and transfers of money and assets. As of 2022, an individual applying for Medicaid in Maine can have annual income of up to $17,131 and $2,000 in countable assets. Applicants may be required to spend a certain amount of their own income on care each month before the rest is funded by Medicaid.
2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Maine
Two-Person Household (Only One Person Applying)
$2,000 for applicant
$137,400 for non applicant
Two-Person Household (Both People Applying)
Applicants must also be assessed as to their functional abilities and requirements. The results of this assessment are used to determine coverage for most long-term care services. As such, coverage of residential care facility services may be provided for an individual who needs more help than what can reasonably be provided at home but doesn’t require nursing home placement.
How to Apply for Medicaid in Maine
Applications for MaineCare can be completed at DHHS district offices or submitted online to begin a step-by-step process that helps determine eligibility for assistance. MaineCare and Long-Term Care applications can be printed out and mailed or delivered to a local DHHS office.
What Information You Will Need
Applicants should expect the process to involve questions and/or requests for verification of financial, medical and personal information. The following is a list of things to keep in mind, as details may be needed to complete the application or during the review stage.
- Identity (name, date of birth, Social Security number)
- Disabilities and/or blindness (and whether an official decision from Social Security has been received)
- Income (including benefits)
- Assets (stocks, bonds, trusts, annuities, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, etc.)
- Expenses (care, rent, mortgage, property taxes, insurance, utilities, etc.)
- Health insurance coverage (policy name, service coverage and other details)
If the application is missing information or contains something that can’t be verified, the applicant will be asked for further details and/or specific documents relevant to that claim.
How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid
The resources detailed here may help seniors, people with disabilities and their representatives in the various stages of applying for Medicaid and other assistance. Information and assistance from these sources is provided at no cost.
Call (855) 797-4357 or view local contact listings online
The Maine DHHS is responsible for the state Medicaid program (MaineCare) and can provide assistance with applications over the phone or in person at district offices throughout the state. DHHS staff can also help residents make an appointment for the functional assessment required for long-term care services.
Call (877) 353-3771 with questions and requests
Medicare beneficiaries in Maine, and those who expect to be eligible soon, can access free services and assistance via SHIP. Staff can clarify the different parts and plans available through Medicare, and importantly, the ways in which Medicaid can interact with Medicare. Callers are connected with local agencies to deal with the relevant issues, such as getting in-person help to enroll in programs.
Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in Maine?
The short answer is that no, Medicare does not cover the cost of memory care in Maine. 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 Maine.
Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care in Maine
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 Maine
Maine residents can contact the agencies and nonprofit organizations listed below for free help with accessing dementia resources, legal services and financial assistance programs, among other services.
View the service map to find local offices and contacts
Maine's Office of Aging and Disability Services (OADS) provides information and direct services to eligible residents via this network of local centers. Seniors and people with disabilities can ask about local and state assistance programs, Medicare and healthcare issues, legal assistance, assistive technology and aging-related topics in general.
Call (866) 636-0355 or find in-person help locations by zip code
This is the official health insurance marketplace for Maine. Applications for coverage via the website are also reviewed for MaineCare (Medicaid) eligibility, which can help streamline the process and reduce paperwork for those expecting to obtain both forms of coverage.
Call the national helpline at (800) 272-3900 or visit the website for information
The Alzheimer's Association chapter in Maine helps people with the disease and those who care for them. The helpline is available 24/7 for anyone with questions, and local support groups are hosted on a regular basis. The website also features a calendar of events as well as news and clinical trial updates.
Call (800) 499-0229 with questions or concerns
The LTCO Program is a free source of answers and assistance for Maine residents of long-term care facilities and those in need of memory care services. Staff can help residents and their families understand their rights and investigate complaints on their behalf. Seniors and caregivers with questions about long-term care services and financial assistance programs can call for assistance.
Call (800) 750-5353 or learn more on the website
Low-income residents aged 60 and older in Maine may be eligible for free assistance and legal representation for civil matters. Lawyers at MLSE can help seniors and their families in matters such as access to public benefits and long-term care facilities, guardianships, wills and estates, and consumer fraud.
COVID-19 Rules for Memory Care in Maine
The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including maine.gov and cdc.gov. These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 4/25/22, 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?
Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Maine
Assisted living facilities and dementia care units are licensed by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services. This agency sets specific standards for resident accommodations and all aspects of care.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does memory care cost in Maine?
The median cost of memory care in Maine is $7,331, although rates may vary depending on the geographic location and facility amenities and services. According to survey responses from long-term care providers, the average monthly cost across the state ranges from $5,938 in Bangor to $8,156 in Portland.
Are there financial assistance programs for memory care in Maine?
Yes, individuals who meet medical and financial criteria may qualify for the state’s Elderly and Adults with Disabilities Waiver, which is part of Medicaid. Families who don’t qualify for other programs may be eligible for the Maine Caregiver Respite Program, which covers a limited amount of institutional and in-home care. Military benefits can also help with these costs.
What is the difference between memory care and assisted living?
Memory care is type of assisted living provided in a dedicated unit. These facilities have secure entry systems and advanced security features to prevent wandering and ensure resident safety. They also provide specialized individual and group activities geared toward individuals who have memory loss or cognitive impairments.
Does Medicare pay for memory care?
Unfortunately, traditional Medicare does not pay for personal assistance provided at home or in a residential care facility. Relevant benefits included in this federal health insurance program are limited to hospice care and up to 100 days of skilled nursing. Alternatively, seniors may qualify for a Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan designed especially for individuals with dementia. These plans may cover the cost of personal care provided in designated settings, but they aren’t available in all areas.
What types of therapies are offered in memory care facilities?
Activities and therapeutic services offered by memory care facilities are designed to create a calm, peaceful environment while giving residents a sense of personal achievement. In particular, habilitation therapy is intended to enhance residents’ day-to-day functioning. Multisensory activities, such as music, pet visits, massage and aromatherapy, may also be helpful.