The state of Minnesota is a popular choice for seniors to settle in. Of the state’s 5.7 million residents, nearly 1 million are older adults aged 65 and over. Of these, nearly 100,000 Minnesota seniors live with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. This is expected to rise by 2025 to 120,000, which is more than a 21% increase over the numbers from 2020. This increase is mirrored by the nearly 12% increase in deaths from dementia expected over the same period, to roughly 3,000 seniors a year.

Minnesota has huge, wide-open spaces that are ideal for seniors who enjoy hiking, hunting and fishing. The state’s mild summers encourage outdoor activities for much of the year, while snowy winters make a cozy backdrop to the holiday season. Social Security income is only partially taxed in Minnesota, and senior taxpayers can deduct up to $9,600 on their state income tax forms, or $12,000 for married filers. On average, memory care in Minnesota costs $5,635 a 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 provides an overview of the likely costs of memory care in Minnesota. It compares the average rates for memory care with other types of long-term residential care, and it includes information about financing memory care and a list of resources for seniors with memory loss. Read on to learn more about state regulations governing long-term care in the state.

The Cost of Memory Care in Minnesota

Memory care is a long-term senior care option that is usually delivered at an assisted living facility at rates that are 20-30% above the rate for assisted living care. Though no national database of costs currently exists for memory care costs in particular, we have estimated the most likely monthly cost for memory care by adding 25% to the assisted living rates listed in Genworth’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey.

With costs averaging $5,635 a month for memory care, costs in Minnesota are somewhat higher than the cost of similar care in neighboring states such as North Dakota ($4,239), South Dakota ($4,188) and Iowa ($5,459). Costs are higher in Wisconsin, where memory care costs an average of $5,750 a month.

$5635

Minnesota

$5625

The United States

$4239

North Dakota

$4188

South Dakota

$5459

Iowa

$5750

Wisconsin

The price you pay for memory care within Minnesota can vary from one facility to another and from place to place. Costs in Minnesota range from Mankato, which averages $3,919 a month, up to Minneapolis, where seniors pay an average of $6,454 for similar services. In St. Cloud, costs average $5,125 a month, while seniors in Rochester average $5,225. Memory care in Duluth costs an average of $6,250 a month. 

$3919

Mankato

$5125

St. Cloud

$5225

Rochester

$6250

Duluth

$6454

Minneapolis

Memory care is just one option for long-term senior care in Minnesota. Other types of care may be more affordable and appropriate for some seniors. Adult day health care, for example, costs an average of $2,167 in Minnesota, while rates for a semiprivate room in a nursing care home rise as high as $11,601 a month. Assisted living costs an average of $4,508, while home care and home health care in Minnesota cost $6,673 and $6,912, respectively.

$2167

Adult Day Health Care

$4508

Assisted Living

$6673

Home Care

$6912

Home Health Care

$5635

Memory Care

$11601

Nursing Home (semiprivate)

$13072

Nursing Home (private)

Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in Minnesota?

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 Minnesota.

Seniors in Minnesota who need memory care services and who qualify for Medical Assistance can get help paying for care through the state’s Elderly Waiver (EW)

What Memory Care Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Minnesota?

Minnesota’s Elderly Waiver helps with a wide range of services seniors may need outside of a nursing care home setting. Seniors have the option of letting Medicaid manage their care for them, or they can opt to control their care options directly. For seniors in memory care, this can be done by a caretaker with medical power of attorney. 

At-home services covered by EW are directed toward helping seniors remain safely in their own homes and active in their residential community. These include:

  • Adult companion services
  • Case management
  • Chore assistance
  • Caregiver education, including training for dementia care
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Home-delivered meals
  • Home health services
  • Home and vehicle modifications
  • Personal care
  • Respite care
  • Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS)
  • Transportation assistance

In addition to community-based services, the EW program also helps pay for residential care costs. These include adult day care, transitional services and assisted living, including memory care. 

Memory Care Waiver Programs in Minnesota

Elderly Waiver

Elderly Waiver benefits are broad and cover services for older adults across a range of medical and care needs. The program is intended to support seniors with a level of need that is usually met by nursing home care, but that can be addressed at a lower level such as in-home care. EW helps seniors with assisted living, including memory care delivered in a residential setting. To apply, schedule a Long-Term Care Consultation (LTCC) by calling the number for your county or the Senior LinkAge Line at (800) 333-2433.

How to Know If You’re Eligible for Medicaid in Minnesota

Your eligibility for Medical Assistance in Minnesota depends on several factors, including your age, income and assets, citizenship and whether or not you have a pressing medical need for care. Standards for Minnesota’s Medicaid eligibility require that you:

  • Are aged 65 or over, legally blind or have a qualifying disability
  • Haver an income of up to 138% of the federal poverty limit ($17,130 a year), though you may earn up to 200% and still be eligible under MNCare
  • Own countable assets of less than $3,000 for single adults or $6,000 for married couples

Not all assets are considered countable for the purpose of establishing eligibility for Medicaid in Minnesota. Excluded assets include your home (up to $636,000 in equity), a single car and personal belongings. Irrevocable burial trusts and certain other assets are also exempt from consideration when assessing your application for eligibility status.

When assessing your eligibility for Medical Assistance, your intake worker evaluates your income and assets over a 60-month look-back period. You must report your income from all sources over this period, as well as any countable assets you have owned, even if you have transferred control to another person. 

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Minnesota

Income Limits* 

Asset Limits

Single Applicant

$17,130, not counting a personal needs allowance of $111 a month, or $1,332 a year

$3,000

Two-Person Household

(Only One Person Applying)

$30,276

$3,000 for the applicant

$137,400 for the non-applicant

Two-Person Household
(Both People Applying)

$60,552

$6,000 for both applicants combined

*Per year

Seniors in Minnesota who need Medicaid but who have income above the 138% poverty threshold may still qualify for assistance through MNCare. This program may require a share of the cost that directs some of the expense of treatment to you at the point of service. This program can help people in Minnesota who earn up to 200% of the federal benefits threshold. Beneficiaries who meet their annual spend-down limits are covered for the rest of the calendar year at no additional cost. 

How to Apply for Medicaid in Minnesota

You can apply for Medicaid in Minnesota in several ways, including the online application or by mailing in Form DHS-6696. If you are 65 or over, Medical Assistance recommends submitting a paper application at your county or tribal office. You can request a paper application to be sent to your home through the mail by calling either (651) 431-2670 or (800) 657-3739.

If you need help filing your application, you can ask for assistance from an intake worker at your tribal office or county human assistance office. You can also call (800) 333-2433 to ask for advice from a case manager at Senior LinkAge. Be sure to have the necessary information available before you call or start to fill out your paper application.  

Information You Will Need

Minnesota’s Medical Assistance program requires verification of some information before you can be approved for benefits. Basic information needed to establish your eligibility for assistance includes identity documents and proof of income and assets. To verify these, your worker may ask you for:

  • A government-issued ID, which may be a license to drive or another state ID card
  • A copy of your home’s title, as well as similar documents for any vehicles or investment properties you own
  • Verified copies of your investment portfolio, including employer-provided IRA or 401(k) accounts

Program staff also have to verify your income over the 5-year look-back period. This can be done by submitting these documents:

  • Paystubs or other proof of income
  • Bank statements and/or copies of canceled checks you’ve written above $500 during the prior 60 months
  • A verification letter stating your monthly Social Security benefit amount
  • Tax returns for the last 5 years

As a normal part of the intake and application process, you may be asked for any one or several of these documents. Speak with your worker about any trouble you’re having in obtaining the needed verification. You may be able to submit alternate documents to establish your citizenship, residency and financial eligibility.

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid

Seniors in Minnesota can get help applying for Medical Assistance from a number of local sources. In addition to the state-operated Senior LinkAge helpline, applicants can get help filling out and submitting their applications from local senior centers or from these free resources. 

Program

Contact

Services Provided

1-800-657-3672

MNCare agents are able to provide advice and application assistance by phone during regular office hours 

763-559-8200

American Senior Benefits workers can help you determine your eligibility and navigate the application process by phone

320-235-2500

Authorized MNCare navigators can help with information about qualified health plans, MinnesotaCare and Medical Assistance for seniors and adults with disabilities

Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in Minnesota?

The short answer is that no, Medicare does not cover the cost of memory care in Minnesota. 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 Minnesota.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care in Minnesota

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.

Reverse Mortgages

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 Minnesota

Seniors in Minnesota have a number of free and low-cost resources available to help them stay safe and active in the community. Services open to seniors at no cost include meal delivery, prescription drug assistance, special programs for veterans and advocacy for residents of memory care facilities and other types of congregate care.

Program 

Contact

Services Provided

1-651-431-2500

Minnesota's seven Aging and Disability Resource Centers/Area Agencies on Aging provide free case manager services for seniors who need help locating and applying for age-related benefits. These centers are located at various places around the state, and together they provide coverage for the entire state.

Contact via website

The Minnesota Drug Card program provides eligible seniors with discounts of up to 80% off of their out-of-pocket prescription drug costs. There's no cost to apply for the card, though you must be a U.S. citizen and resident of Minnesota with a financial need for the discount program.

1-800-657-3591

The Office of Ombudsman for Long-Term Care works to protect the rights and care of seniors in long-term care facilities across the state. Volunteer ombudsmen can provide caregivers with information about state care standards, help with filing reports and even escalate serious concerns to the attention of law enforcement. 

1-800-272-3900 

Seniors with Alzheimer's disease, caregivers and family members can get support in group settings and free education programs through the Alzheimer's Association Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter. This service offers in-person assistance at six locations around the state.

Cottonwood
507- 831-1803
Lincoln
507-829-0780
Lyon
507-532-1326
Murray
507-836-8705
Nobles
507-295-5262
Redwood
507-627-1016
Rock
507-283-5064

A.C.E. of Southwest Minnesota provides free memory screening and diagnosis services for seniors who may not have access to neurological screenings on their own. The group also performs advocacy and education work throughout the communities of Cottonwood, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Nobles, Redwood and Rock counties. 

COVID-19 Rules for Memory Care in Minnesota

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus. 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.

Visitation Policies

Rules for Minnesota Communities

Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are relatives allowed to visit for end-of-life care?

Yes

Are residents required to quarantine after visiting with a loved one?

No

Are visitors required to wear PPE (including masks) in order to visit residents?

Yes

Are non-medical contractors (such as hairdressers and entertainers) allowed in senior living facilities?

Yes

Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are visitors required to answer questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?

Yes

Outings & Social Activities

Rules for Minnesota Communities

Are residents allowed to leave (errands, visiting family, etc.) for non-medical reasons?

Yes

Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?

No

Are residents allowed to eat meals together in a common area?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are residents allowed to gather in common areas for group activites?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for Minnesota Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?

Yes

Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are staff members members regularly required to do a health and safety screening, including questions about travel, contact with positive cases, etc?

Yes

Are residents regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms?

Yes

Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Health oversees memory care, which is provided by assisted living facilities with a special license for dementia care. These facilities are licensed as either a class a or f home care provider and must be registered with the Department of Health as a housing services home. Facilities are subject to regular inspections that ensure elder care facility laws and regulations are being followed.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Minnesota

Scope of Care

Assisted living facilities with a memory care license are required by law to provide residents with a service plan prior to their move-in date. The plan is renewed regularly after a registered nurse conducts physical and cognitive assessments. Care in the facility includes two meals per day, medication administration or help with self-administration, help with a minimum of three activities of daily living and opportunities for socializing. The facility must offer weekly housekeeping, laundry and assistance obtaining transportation to medical and other services.

Care Plans

Before the resident’s care plan is drafted, the facility must offer to provide an assessment by a registered nurse who determines the resident’s physical and mental needs. If accepted, the plan will include the RN’s analysis. A detailed description of the services the resident will receive, the provider of the necessary services and the schedule of services will be described in the plan. Additionally, it must note who will supervise these services and what will happen if the services cannot be provided for any reason.

Medication Management

While assisted living facilities have to offer assistance with medication administration or self-administration, the state prefers staff to administer medications directly to residents. If a caregiver administers medication, a registered nurse must be present to supervise the process. The RN is also required to write out instructions for the caregiver to administer the medication.

Staffing

In Minnesota, minimum staff ratios for assisted living and memory care facilities are not mandated by the state. The only requirement is that a facility employs enough staff members to meet the needs of its residents.All staff members working with memory care residents must complete a training program and competency test. Those providing direct care must complete four hours of dementia training and 160 hours of memory care per year, while supervisors must complete 120 hours.

Medicaid Coverage

Medicaid in Minnesota offers waivers to help pay for the cost of care, although they don’t include room and board. Family supplementation and state supplemental monies are accepted.

Reporting Abuse

The Office of the Ombudsman for Long-Term Care, a division of the Minnesota Board of Health, advocates for seniors and their rights while living in a long-term care facility, including memory care. Complaints about the quality of care and elder abuse can be phoned into the office at 1-800-657-3591.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does memory care cost in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, memory care costs range from $3,729 to $5,978 and average $4,750 per month. The cost is $314 less than the national average, so seniors in the state pay less for memory care than their peers do nationally.

Are there financial assistance programs for memory care in Minnesota?

Yes, the state offers three programs to seniors in different circumstances. The Elderly Waiver provides home and community-based services to seniors who qualify for the state’s Medicaid plan, while the Alternative Care program has the same services for seniors who don’t qualify for Medicaid. The Consumer-Directed Community Support program offers financial assistance for special therapies that might benefit seniors in memory care facilities.

What types of facilities offer memory care?

In Minnesota, memory care is offered in assisted living facilities licensed to provide special care. Dementia care licenses fall under chapter 144G of the state statutes.

What is the difference between memory care and assisted living?

The main difference between memory care and assisted living is that memory care residents receive specialized care in a separate setting designed for those with cognitive impairment. The environment may be equipped with features to encourage memory function and discourage exit-seeking behaviors. It may also include low staff-to-resident ratios and increased security features. Both memory care and assisted living facilities provide meals, room and board, assistance with activities of daily living, social activities and transportation.

What are activities of daily living?

Activities of daily living, or ADLs, include personal care such as bathing, dressing and grooming, medication management and housekeeping services. Often as people age, they have difficulty with these tasks, which is a significant reason aging seniors opt to move into assisted living or memory care facilities.