Memory Care in Maine
Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 5.8 million Americans, including 29,000 older adults in Maine. By 2025, this number is projected to increase by 20%. Dementia and cognitive decline are serious health challenges for state residents, and the impact is just beginning to be felt. These conditions affect patients, caregivers and health care workers. Alzheimer’s disease is the state’s sixth-leading cause of death. It affects one in five hospice patients, and it contributes to a significant number of emergency room visits and hospital admissions.
Memory loss requires a high level of care even in its early stages. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, caregivers in Maine contribute more than 79 million hours of unpaid support annually. Families caring for a relative who has dementia can access in-home services and community-based daytime programs or opt for full-time care in a licensed residential facility.
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.
In this guide, families who are looking for more information about memory care can find details about average costs, financial assistance programs and free or low-cost resources available to residents statewide. We’ve also answered some of the most common dementia-related questions to help Maine residents navigate the decision-making process and learn more about their options.
The Cost of Memory Care in Maine
Memory care facilities provide much more than room, board and one-on-one assistance. These facilities offer specialized activities and therapeutic programs. They’re also equipped with advanced safety features to prevent wandering and other dangerous behaviors. Due to the level of service required, memory care typically costs 20-30% more than assisted living. All estimates in this guide are based on national survey data that has been adjusted accordingly.
Memory Care Costs in Nearby States
According to survey responses collected by Genworth Financial, memory care facilities in Maine charge an average of $6,461 per month. While regional rates are approximately 27% higher than the national average of $5,064, Maine is more affordable than other parts of New England. At $6,499 per month, average costs are comparable in Rhode Island and about $215 higher in Vermont, where seniors pay $6,673 per month for memory care. Cost differences exceed $590 per month in Massachusetts, and with an average cost of $8,776, seniors in New Hampshire pay $2,300 more per month for memory care than their counterparts in the Pine Tree State.
Cost of Other Types of Care in Maine
With an average monthly cost of $6,461, memory care provides a competitive value when compared to other alternatives, especially for individuals who require around-the-clock assistance. Seniors who have dementia but can safely live in the community may benefit from an adult day program or in-home care provided by a home health aide or professional homemaker. The average cost of these services is $2,513 and $5,117 per month, respectively, but it’s likely that seniors will have other living expenses. Individuals who need 24-hour support may benefit from assisted living, which costs $5,169 per month. Additionally, memory care is significantly more affordable than skilled nursing, which costs more than $10,000 per month. Based on these estimates, seniors in Maine can save up to $42,900 per year by choosing a memory care community over a nursing home.
Home Health Care
Adult Day Care
Nursing Home Care
The Cost of Memory Care in Maine’s Top Cities
Comparing Costs Across Maine
The average cost of memory care in Maine’s major metropolitan areas ranges from $5,941 to $8,250. Rates are highest in Portland, the state’s largest city. Seniors in this community pay $8,250 per month for memory care, which is $1,790 more than the state median. In Lewiston, seniors pay $6,731 for this type of care, which is about $270 or 4% more than the typical Maine city. Seniors who are looking for a more affordable community may consider Bangor. Monthly rates in the Queen City are $520 lower than the state median, which represents an estimated cost savings of 8%.
Financial Assistance for Memory Care in Maine
Maine Elderly and Adults With Disabilities Waiver
The Elderly and Adults With Disabilities Waiver is a Medicaid section 1915(c) program available through MaineCare. It can help with the cost of personal care and related services provided within an assisted living facility or dedicated memory care community. Other covered services include care coordination, financial management, assistive technology, emergency alert systems and transportation. Services are available in licensed residential care facilities if an individual is unable to live safely in the community.
Who Is Eligible?
This Medicaid waiver is available to disabled adults and seniors aged 65 and older who require a nursing home level of care, as determined by an Assessing Services Agency. Individuals must also meet the income and asset limits to qualify for MaineCare.
How to Apply
Waivers require a two-step application process. Individuals must apply for MaineCare before requesting a functional assessment. Applications can be submitted online or by visiting a Department of Health and Human Services office. Functional assessments can be scheduled by calling 833-525-5784. Application assistance is available through local Aging and Disability Resource Centers.
Maine Caregiver Respite Program
This state-funded Caregiver Respite Program is available to relatives and unpaid or informal caregivers who assist individuals with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or similar cognitive impairments. It covers the cost of in-home care, adult day programs and up to 14 nights in a residential facility. Additional benefits include informational services and emotional supports. The program pays for 80% of respite care expenses for a total of $3,040 per year. Waivers are available for caregivers who are unable to afford the 20% co-pay.
Who Is Eligible?
Funds from the Maine Caregiver Respite Program are available to individuals who care for someone who has a written diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. There’s an asset cap of $50,000 for individuals and $75,000 for couples. This program is designed especially for residents who don’t qualify for other statewide programs or waivers.
How to Apply
Individuals can contact one of the state’s five Area Agencies on Aging to learn more about this program or apply for benefits.
Maine Residential and Nursing Care Services
Sponsored by the Office of Aging and Disability Services, the state’s Residential and Nursing Care Services program helps with the cost of residential care, assisted living or skilled nursing, including facilities that accept individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Services are typically provided in a state-funded long-term care facility or independent housing development that offers enhanced services.
Who Is Eligible?
Seniors and disabled adults must be financially eligible for Medicaid long-term care, and their functional needs must be consistent with the type of facility selected.
How to Apply
Individuals must apply for MaineCare long-term care before requesting a functional assessment. Applications can be submitted online or in person at a Department of Health and Human Services office. Assessments can be scheduled by calling 833-525-5784.
Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in Maine
Individuals who need assistance with memory-related issues can take advantage of free and low-cost services provided by government agencies and nonprofits statewide. Available resources include support groups, legal assistance and community-based services.
|Area Agencies on Aging||877-353-3771||Maine is home to five regional Area Agencies on Aging that provide a single point of contact for seniors, disabled adults and caregivers. Individuals who are dealing with Alzheimer’s or dementia can access home- and community-based services, wellness programs and other supports through these agencies. Local AAAs and ADRCs also handle Medicaid waiver applications and caregiver benefits.|
|Alzheimer’s Association Maine Chapter||207-772-0115||Based in Scarborough, the Maine Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association connects residents with informational resources and peer-to-peer support groups statewide. The organization sponsors fundraising events, clinical research and online message boards. Many services can be accessed by calling the association’s 24-hour helpline at 800-272-390.|
|MemoryWorks||207-797-7891||Founded by two dementia patients, MemoryWorks is a statewide nonprofit that operates a network of memory cafes and provides a wealth of resources for caregivers and individuals living with memory impairments. MemoryWorks also hosts conferences, fundraisers and outreach events.|
|Dementia-Capable Maine||207-805-7709||The Lunder-Dineen Health Education Alliance of Maine provides memory-related resources aimed at health care providers and members of the public, including educational publications, screening tools and cognitive assessment information. These resources are part of the Maine Dementia Capable Service Systems, which is funded by the Office of Aging and Disability Services.|
|Legal Services for the Elderly||1-800-750-5353||Established in 1974, this statewide nonprofit operates a toll-free hotline and manages five regional offices in Augusta, Bangor, Lewiston, Presque Isle and Scarborough. Staff members help low-income residents aged 60 and older access Medicare/Medicaid benefits, apply for health insurance and appeal denials. The organization also focuses on elder rights, estate planning, guardianship and scam avoidance.|
|Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program||1-800-499-0229||The state’s long-term care ombudsman protects the rights of individuals who currently reside in a memory care community or licensed health care facility. Staff members and trained volunteers can answer questions, investigate complaints and advocate for residents. All services are free and confidential.|
|Healthy Living for ME||1-800-620-6036||Healthy Living for ME is a wellness initiative serving residents statewide. The organization offers a wide range of evidence-based programs, including fall prevention resources and guides for managing chronic health conditions. One of its flagship programs is the six-session Savvy Caregiver Workshop, which focuses on Alzheimer’s and dementia.|
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.
|Scope of Care||Residential care facilities provide 24-hour personal assistance, service coordination, housekeeping and related services. Additionally, licensed dementia care units must provide weekly individual and group activities that promote physical activity, self-care, social engagement and spiritual well-being. They must also offer outdoor activities, crafts and multisensory therapy.|
|Facilities||Dementia care units must provide a secure, segregated or locked environment with comfortable, noninstitutional common areas that promote freedom of movement. Facilities must also establish written policies and procedures for addressing dementia-related behaviors, such as wandering.|
|Care Plans||Individualized service plans must be developed within 30 days of admission and reassessed every six months. Facilities must secure a written diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia, as well as documentation appointing a health care agent who is authorized to make decisions on the resident’s behalf.|
|Medication Management||Maine permits self-administration and staff-guided medication management based on a resident assessment performed at the time of admission. Such activities must be performed by a specially trained staff member or overseen by a registered nurse.|
|Staffing||New employees must complete eight hours of classroom training and eight hours of clinical orientation related to dementia before direct patient contact. All certified nursing assistants must pass a criminal background check.|
|Medicaid Coverage||Financial assistance for personal care and related services provided in a residential care facility may be available through the Section 19 home- and community-based services Elderly and Adults With Disabilities Waiver, or the Section 20 home- and community-based services Adults with Other Related Conditions Waiver.|
|Reporting Abuse||Instances of suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation or any rights violation must be reported immediately to the Department of Health and Human Services by calling 1-800 383-2441.|
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does memory care cost in Maine?
According to survey responses from long-term care providers, the average monthly cost of memory care in Maine ranges from $5,941 in Bangor to $8,250 in Portland. The median rate across the state is $6,461, although costs vary depending on the geographic location and facility amenities and services.
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.