An estimated 22,000 Montanans live with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and that number is expected to grow to 27,000 by the year 2025. In 2015, 277 deaths in the state were attributed to Alzheimer’s, and each year, Montana’s Medicaid program spends about $150 million on memory care services. On average, people with Alzheimer’s live 3-11 years following diagnosis, but some survive for 20 years or more, and during that time, most require intensive 24-hour supervision and support.

Not only can a diagnosis of dementia be devastating to the patient, but it can also have a profound impact on the patient’s spouse and family. Alzheimer’s symptoms such as anger and aggression, wandering and hallucinations can be exceptionally difficult to manage at home. Thankfully, there are now a number of community-based and residential memory care services in Montana that provide specialized Alzheimer’s care, giving families much-needed relief from caregiving duties.

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, family members and caregivers learn about residential memory care costs, regulations and resources in Montana. There’s information on Medicaid programs that includes memory care benefits and a list of frequently asked questions about Alzheimer’s and dementia care programs in The Treasure State.

The Cost of Memory Care in Montana

Memory care costs tend to be approximately 20-30% greater than assisted living costs. We’ve calculated the cost of residential memory care services in Montana by adding 25% to the assisted living costs documented in Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey, which makes the average monthly cost of memory care in Montana $4,775, or $289 below the national average of $5,064.

Memory Care Costs in Nearby States

Average memory care costs in the four states bordering Montana range from a low of $4,256 in North Dakota up to $4,725 in Wyoming. In Idaho, residential memory care services cost an average of $4,660 per month, while similar services cost $4,375 in South Dakota.

$4775

Montana

$5064

United States

$4725

Wyoming

$4660

Idaho

$4375

South Dakota

$4256

North Dakota

Cost of Other Types of Care in Montana

Memory care services are geared towards seniors who need 24/7 support and supervision. Seniors who require a different level of care have a number of options in Montana, including adult day care services, which cost $2,167 per month, and in-home care or homemaker services at a cost of $4,576 per month. In addition to residential memory care, assisted living ($3,820) and nursing home care ($7,459) are geared toward seniors who require long-term care services that include room and board.

$4775

Memory Care

$4576

In-Home Care

$4576

Home Health Care

$2167

Adult Day Care

$3820

Assisted Living Facility

$7459

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Memory Care in Montana’s Top Cities

Comparing Costs Across Montana

As is common in most states, there’s a range of costs for memory care services throughout Montana. Costs are highest in Missoula near Montana’s western border at $6,116 per month. In the southeastern part of the state, costs average $5,438 per month in Billings, while the most affordable memory care services are in Great Falls, where memory care costs are close to the statewide average at $4,750 per month.

$4750

Great Falls

$5438

Billings

$6116

Missoula

$4935

Rapid City, SD

$4188

Idaho Falls, ID

Financial Assistance for Memory Care in Montana

Big Sky Waiver Program

Montana’s Big Sky Waiver Program is a Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Program designed to prevent or delay nursing home placement among frail seniors and people with disabilities. The program funds a wide range of services, including adult residential living, which may include memory care services.

Individuals who are accepted into the program are assigned to a local Case Management Team consisting of a registered nurse and a licensed social worker. This team assigns services based on the medical and psycho-social needs of each participant and provides ongoing case management services.

Who is Eligible?
To qualify for enrollment in the Big Sky Waiver, applicants must be financially eligible for Medicaid and meet the admission criteria for a nursing facility. Applicants must also have medical, social and behavioral needs that can be safely met in a community-based, noninstitutional setting.

How to Apply
To apply to the Big Sky Waiver Program, call Mountain Pacific Quality Health at 1-800-219-7035.

VA Aid and Attendance and Housebound Allowance Benefits

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs administers two enhanced pension programs known as VA Aid and Attendance and the Housebound Allowance. These programs provide beneficiaries with a monthly cash benefit that can be used towards long-term care costs, including residential memory care services.

Who is Eligible?
To qualify for the Housebound Allowance, applicants must have a disability rated as 100% by the VA and be largely housebound as a result of that disability. For the purposes of this program, the applicants’ home can be a long-term care facility.

To qualify for Aid and Attendance, applicants must be bedridden, a resident of a skilled nursing facility, legally blind or dependent on help from a caregiver to perform at least one activity of daily living.

For either benefit program, applicants must also be eligible to receive the regular VA pension. Qualifying illnesses and disabilities do not need to be service-related.

How to Apply
To apply for either enhanced VA pension program, contact the nearest VA location or Montana Veterans Affairs.

Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in Montana

Seniors, their family members and caregivers of those living with memory loss have access to free and low-cost resources throughout the state. These resources include support groups, information about Alzheimer’s disease and help with legal issues related to elders and long-term care.

ResourceContactServices Provided
Montana Long-Term Care OmbudsmanCall 1-800-332-2272 or contact the regional Area Agency on AgingMontana’s statewide network of Ombudsmen works to ensure long-term care residents know their rights and that those rights are protected. Ombudsmen resolve problems and complaints from long-term care residents, and if necessary, communicate those complaints to the appropriate authorities.
Alzheimer’s Association – Montana Chapter1-800-272-3900The Alzheimer’s Association is a national nonprofit agency that works to advance research, funding and services for those living with memory loss. The Montana Chapter facilities a number of patient and caregiver support groups, offers information on local resources and maintains a comprehensive library of materials related to memory loss.
Montana’s Area Agencies on Aging


Contact the regional Area Agency on AgencyMontana’s statewide network of 10 Area Agencies on Aging provides a variety of free and low-cost programs designed to help seniors maintain their health, independence and community connections. Services vary depending on the location and may include transportation, case management and long-term care planning.
State Health and Insurance Assistance Program1-800-551-3191Montana’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program, also known as SHIP, provides free, unbiased health counseling services to Medicare beneficiaries, their families and legal representatives.
Montana Legal Services Association1-800-666-6899Montana Legal Services Association works to ensure low-income individuals have access to high-quality legal information and representation throughout the state. Low-income seniors can call the organization’s helpline to apply for legal services and obtain information on the nearest legal clinic.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Montana

Residential care facilities such as memory care and assisted living communities are licensed and regulated by Montana’s Department of Public Health and Human Services. Category A and Category B assisted living facilities can provide care to those living with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, while Category C facilities can admit and retain residents with advanced dementia.

Scope of CareAll assisted living facilities may admit and retain residents diagnosed with dementia in accordance with licensing standards. Residents who require around-the-clock skilled nursing care or who are incapable of interacting with their environment may not be admitted in any Montana assisted living facility.
Care Plan RequirementsA comprehensive care plan must be prepared within 21 days of admission to a memory care program and reviewed at least once per year.
Medication Management RequirementsAll prescription and over-the-counter medications must be stored in a locked container located in a secure room or locked medication cart. Caregivers in Category A and B facilities can assist with self-administration of medications, while only licensed medical staff in Category C facilities can administer medications.
Staff Screening RequirementsFacility administrators are responsible for screening all direct care staff. Screening must include background checks, verification of educational credentials and reference checks.
Staff Training RequirementsDirect care staff in all assisted living and memory care facilities must be trained in CPR and first aid as well as in the policies and procedures of the facility they work in.
Medicaid CoverageMontana’s Big Sky Medicaid waiver benefits include memory care services, although the waiver does not cover the room and board portion of memory care and assisted living fees.
Reporting AbuseSituations that present an immediate threat to the health and safety of any vulnerable person, including those living with memory loss, should be reported to the nearest law enforcement agency.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Memory Care cost in Montana?

The average cost of memory care in Montana is $4,775 per month. Actual costs vary with each facility, depending on the location, the level of care, amenities and accommodations.

Does Montana Medicaid pay for Memory Care?

Montana’s Big Sky Medicaid waiver provides a wide range of benefits, including residential memory care services, although the waiver does not cover room and board costs within a memory care or assisted living facility.

What is the difference between Memory Care and Assisted Living?

While both memory care and assisted living include room and board, recreational and social programming and 24/7 access to on-site caregivers, there are some major differences between these two types of long-term care. Memory care communities have a much higher staff-to-resident ratio than assisted living, and memory care facilities usually have a number of security features designed to keep residents safe and secure. Memory care programs also offer structured daily programs to help slow the progression of memory loss, reduce aggressive behaviors and address symptoms, such as sundowning.

What types of facilities offer Memory Care?

In Montana, memory care services are offered in assisted living facilities. Facilities that hold a Category A or Category B license may admit and retain residents who have mild to moderate dementia and who can also direct their own care. Facilities with Category C licenses may admit and retain adults who have advanced dementia and who are unable to direct their own care, but who do not require 24/7 skilled nursing care.

What are “Activities of Daily Living?”

Bathing, eating, adjusting prosthetic devices and moving about are among the activities of daily living everyone needs to do in order to maintain basic health and wellness. Also referred to as ADLs, these activities also include taking prescription medications as directed, eating and communicating.