Alzheimer’s disease is rapidly becoming one of the largest issues facing the public health system in Maryland, with current costs estimated at $1.2 billion per year through the state Medicaid program. An estimated 110,000 Marylanders have an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, impacting 335,000 family caregivers, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. While Maryland has one of the lowest Alzheimer’s mortality rates in the country at 18.6 deaths per 100,000 residents, that is likely to change by 2025, when the disease is expected to affect 130,000 seniors, an 18.2% increase over current numbers.

Memory care facilities provide a range of services designed to support seniors at all stages of Alzheimer’s and with other dementias. In Maryland, memory care units or communities are licensed as Assisted Living Providers but must document specific levels of care provided to seniors in a memory care unit. In general, memory care communities train staff in using a variety of techniques geared toward keeping patients with dementia calm, while also using advanced security measures to prevent wandering and keep residents safe. Multisensory therapy, tailored activity programs and brain fitness classes are often part of daily life in a memory care unit, helping seniors retain cognitive function for as long as possible.

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 offers an in-depth look at memory care in Maryland, including average costs, financial assistance programs, free resources for seniors and government regulations for memory care facilities.

The Cost of Memory Care in Maryland

In Maryland, memory care is typically offered at assisted living facilities that maintain special units for those with dementia. Costs for memory care wings tend to run 20 to 30% higher than standard assisted living in part due to the increased staffing and special training needed to operate these wings, along with extra security requirements like systems to prevent wandering and resident location monitoring. All cost comparisons provided use assisted living data adjusted for expected memory care increases. Rates can vary dramatically based on location, and some facilities may provide premium programming with pricing that reflects extras included in the cost.

Memory Care Costs in Nearby States

Memory care costs in Maryland are very close to the national average and mid-range compared to other Mid-Atlantic states, according to Genworth Financial’s Cost of Care Survey for 2019. Maryland seniors can expect to pay $5,375 per month, which is $484 higher than Pennsylvania and $687 higher than in West Virginia. In Virginia, costs average $6,000, which is $625 more than in Maryland, while Delaware is the most expensive in the region at $7,544—$2,169 more than in Maryland.

$5375

Maryland

$5064

National

$7544

Delaware

$4891

Pennsylvania

$4688

West Virginia

$6000

Virginia

Cost of Other Types of Care in Maryland

At $5,375, memory care is one of the most expensive long-term residential support options in the state. In these communities, seniors have a more traditional lifestyle which includes a reasonable amount of autonomy when compared with nursing homes, the most expensive level of care at $9,673. Though costs are higher than at a standard assisted living facility by $1,075 per month, the level of service is also greater.

In a unit dedicated to memory care, seniors who might not be accepted into traditional assisted living may find a suitable placement. Health aides may be an alternative to memory care in circumstances where seniors live with a caregiver and cost nearly $800 less, though memory care facilities provide around-the-clock assistance, specialized security and room and board for an average of $5,375. Adult day care programs offer some of the services provided in a memory care unit on an a la carte basis with average costs of $1,775 per month, though services are typically only available during the normal work week.

$5375

Memory Care

$4481

In-Home Care

$4576

Home Health Care

$1775

Adult Day Care

$4300

Assisted Living Facility

$9673

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Memory Care in Maryland’s Top Cities

Comparing Costs Across Maryland

In Maryland, the cost of memory care can vary by more than $3,100 per month. Coastal regions and areas south of the District of Columbia tend to be on the high side for the state at $6,563 and $7,829 per month, respectively. Baltimore, the largest city in the state, costs $5,281, just below the state average, and Hagerstown is even lower at $5,063. Cumberland, located on the panhandle at the western edge of the state is the most affordable at $4,688.

$5281

Baltimore

$7829

California

$4688

Cumberland

$5063

Hagerstown

$6563

Salisbury

Financial Assistance for Memory Care in Maryland

Senior Assisted Living Subsidy Program

Maryland’s Senior Assisted Living Subsidy Program (SALS) provides direct financial support to seniors at risk of nursing home placement. The program covers some of the costs associated with hands-on help provided in an assisted living community including assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, chores, meal preparation and mobility. It is designed for low- and moderate-income seniors who might not be financially able to bear all of the costs for assisted living.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for the SALS program, seniors must be aged 62 or older and earn a net monthly income that does not exceed 60% of the state median income. In addition to the income guidelines, asset restrictions limit seniors to no more than $19,000 in countable assets for individuals and $25,000 for couples. Seniors must also be physically or mentally impaired with a demonstrated need for assistance with daily living activities and already accepted to or living in an assisted living facility.

How to Apply
To apply, seniors can contact their local Area Agency on Aging to request an application.

Congregate Housing Services Program

In Maryland, seniors who can live comfortably with limited assistance may qualify for the Congregate Housing Services Program. In general, seniors can expect assistance with daily activities like housekeeping, meal preparation and personal care such as limited assistance with bathing, dressing or grooming. Congregate housing typically offers less service than might be offered in an assisted living program.

Who Is Eligible?
Seniors aged 62 and older with a mental or physical impairment and diagnosed need for help with at least one essential daily activity may apply for the Congregate Housing Services Program. Services are provided on a sliding scale basis and subsidies may be available to help with any additional costs for seniors that meet financial eligibility requirements of a net income of less than 60% of the state median income and countable assets totaling no more than $27,375 for individuals and $35,587 for couples.

How to Apply
To apply, contact the program manager, Meg Barrett, at 410-767-1922 or send her an email at meg.barrett@maryland.gov.

Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in Maryland

Maryland government agencies and local nonprofits offer a wide variety of services at low or no-charge to seniors. Those with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis and their family members can reach out for help from one of these programs to get health referrals, case management services and education about care options, in addition to financial assistance.

ResourceContactServices
Alzheimer’s Association



1-800 272-3900Two local chapters, the Greater Maryland and National Capital Area, provide direct services for seniors throughout the state in partnership with the larger, national organization. In addition to a 24-hour helpline, local chapters host support groups and free educational programs.
Senior Centers



410-767-1100Maryland seniors centers act as a hub for socializing and accessing services designed for seniors. Many centers provide a location to eat a hot meal or pick up a prepared meal for later, health and wellness classes and medical screenings along with a variety of counseling and resource services.
Maryland Access Point (MAP)



844-627-5465This statewide program is dedicated to offering seniors and their caregivers information and assistance with a variety of healthcare services. Specialists help with long term care planning and maintain a detailed list of available free and low-cost services available to Maryland seniors.
Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center



410-502-9272

Operated by Johns Hopkins Hospital, a nonprofit teaching and research hospital, the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center operates several clinics and enrolls current patients in a variety of on-going research opportunities designed to develop more effective treatments for Alzheimer’s and works toward preventing onset.
Maryland Legal Aid



877-878-5920

Maryland Legal Aid operates a dozen offices throughout the state to offer pro bono legal services to those in need. For seniors in need of legal assistance in matters related to housing, guardianship, civil rights, financial matters and dozens of other topics, free legal counsel is available to discuss the laws that impact each individual’s situation.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Maryland

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is the regulatory body for Assisted Living Programs (ALPs) in Maryland. In general, seniors with Alzheimer’s must be enrolled in a program with a Level 3 license given the complexity of care required. Level 3 providers are licensed to offer extensive care, while a patient that only needs help getting dressed in the morning and opening medication packaging might only need Level 1 care. Specific regulations cover what a facility may provide, levels of staffing and required services that must be offered to all residents.

Scope of CareA facility with an Alzheimer’s wing or that advertises memory care must provide a detailed list of facility services specific to those with dementia. The document must clearly state the differences between its standard assisted living and memory care, along with documenting activities designed for those with dementia and staff training for Alzheimer’s care.
Care PlansBefore admission, ALPs must complete an assessment documenting the scope of care needed for each incoming resident. Assessments must be performed every six months during residency and immediately following any changes in condition or following any non-routine hospitalization.
Medication ManagementMedication management can include assistance with taking medication, provided staff is specially trained in medication administration. No special training is required to open medication packages and place pills or other oral medications into single-dose dispensing containers for seniors to self-administer.
StaffingThere are no mandated staff ratios, though in memory care units 24-hour awake staff may be required. Every facility must have a manager and alternate manager designated, along with a registered nurse available to delegate nursing tasks to other trained staff members. Medical technicians and direct care staff are also required, along with continuing education requirements for each level of staff.
Medicaid CoverageMedicaid Waivers may pay for some of the costs associated with memory care in an ALP. Programs are often needs-based and delivered to those in emergency situations first. Financial limitations apply.
Reporting AbuseWhen reporting abuse, seniors can contact Adult Protective Services of the local Department of Social Services, the Long Term Care Ombudsman, local police, or the Office of Health Care Quality. To file an initial claim and begin an investigation, call 1-800-332-6347 to contact the Department of Social Services APS branch.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Memory Care cost in Maryland?

In Maryland, the average cost for memory care is $5,375, which is $311 more than the national median. This type of care is more affordable than skilled nursing care but is 20-30% more expensive than traditional assisted living due to costs related to extra staffing, tailored activities and added security.

Does Medical Assistance pay for Memory Care?

Medical Assistance, the Maryland Medicaid program, may pay for some of the costs associated with assisted living through the Senior Assisted Living Subsidy waiver program. This program may have limited availability and has strict eligibility limits. There may also be a waiting period before benefits are available. Local Area Agencies on Aging can provide more information and other program options to help with coverage until a subsidy is available.

What are Activities of Daily Living?

Activities of daily living (ADLs) are tasks seniors perform every day that may require some physical agility such as preparing meals, getting dressed, getting into and out of bed, taking a shower, brushing teeth, and other grooming, hygiene and sanitation-related activities around the house.

What is the difference between Memory Care and Assisted Living?

Assisted living programs all offer meals and help with daily activities, but memory care also has increased security, staff trained in de-escalation and activities specifically designed to stimulate brains for better function after a dementia diagnosis.

What security features are present in memory care facilities?

In a memory care unit, the facility may have WanderGuard technology to monitor where residents are and ensure they stay in safe and monitored areas of the facility. This wearable technology helps keep residents away from kitchens or bathrooms without direct care staff on hand to help. Secured entry is also often a part of a memory care wing, protecting seniors who may become disoriented from immersion in an unfamiliar environment.