Alzheimer’s disease is a growing concern for seniors throughout the United States, and in Nebraska it’s the sixth most common cause of death. The state had 683 fatalities due to the disease in the most recent annual statistics provided by the Alzheimer’s Association, and a total of 35,000 Nebraskans aged 65 and older have been diagnosed with the disease as of 2020. The number of seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is projected to reach 40,000 by 2025.

As the number of affected people continues to increase, so does the importance of providing care in the most dignified and least restrictive setting. The unique challenges of Alzheimer’s disease and others forms of dementia can be significantly reduced when seniors receive personalized care from trained staff, as they do in memory care facilities throughout Nebraska.

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 includes an overview of the cost of memory care in Nebraska compared to nearby states and the national average, as well as comparisons to other forms of long-term care within the state. Information about financial assistance programs and state regulations for memory care is also provided.

The Cost of Memory Care in Nebraska

Nebraskans who receive memory care in dedicated facilities or units within other long-term care communities generally pay 20% to 30% more than those in assisted living. We’ve added 25% to the surveyed assisted living costs to account for the additional expense of memory care. The increase in cost is unavoidable due to the extra security, staffing and training associated with this level of care.

Memory Care Costs in Nearby States

Nebraska’s average cost for memory care is $4,774 per month, according to the Genworth 2019 Cost of Care Survey, which is roughly 6% lower than the national median and 17% below the average in Kansas. Iowa is approximately 7% more expensive than Nebraska for this level of care. Wyoming’s average monthly cost is only $50 less than in Nebraska, and South Dakota presents the only significant savings in the region, with a $400 reduction in the average monthly cost.

$4774

Nebraska

$5064

The United States

$5591

Kansas

$5098

Iowa

$4725

Wyoming

$4375

South Dakota

Cost of Other Types of Care in Nebraska

Memory care is one of the most expensive options in any state — Nebraska is no exception — although there are some state-specific differences in cost for other types of care that must be carefully assessed. For example, both forms of in-home care are roughly 10% more expensive than the national averages, whether or not the individual requires skilled nursing services, whereas memory care costs are 6% lower than the norm. As a result, memory care could be a much more attractive scenario when the other costs associated with living independently are factored in.

Assisted living is more affordable than memory care — with a significant difference of $955 per month — and this is generally the most appropriate alternative to memory care. Specialized adult day care programs may be available in some areas, starting at an average of $1,820 per month, although this level of care is not ideal for most Nebraskans with Alzheimer’s. Nursing home costs are the highest of all in Nebraska, with an average cost of $7,003 per month.

$4774

Memory Care

$4671

In-Home Care

$4957

Home Health Care

$1820

Adult Day Care

$3819

Assisted Living Facility

$7003

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Memory Care in Nebraska’s Top Cities

Comparing Costs Across Nebraska

Although the state is not particularly expensive overall when compared to the national average and nearby states, the cost of memory care varies by a considerable amount between the surveyed cities in Nebraska. Lincoln is the most expensive city for memory care — and the only area with costs higher than the national average — with an average cost of $7,325 per month. Omaha and Grand Island have similar costs that are in line with state and national figures, at averages of $5,000 and $4,931 per month, respectively. The cost is slightly lower in nearby Sioux City, Iowa, at an average of $4,625 per month, while in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the average cost of $5,675 per month is higher than most areas of Nebraska.

$7325

Lincoln

$5000

Omaha

$4931

Grand Island

$4625

Sioux City, IA

$5675

Cheyenne, WY

Financial Assistance for Memory Care in Nebraska

Nebraska Medicaid Aged and Disabled Waiver

Seniors and people with disabilities who have little or no income are eligible for Nebraska Medicaid services ranging from prescription drugs and in-home care to nursing facility services. Furthermore, eligible Nebraskans can receive the Aged and Disabled Waiver, which grants access to many more services as deemed appropriate. These additions are known as Home and Community-Based Services, and the list includes personal care at home or in an assisted living facility, assistive technology, meal delivery, respite care and nonmedical transportation.

Who Is Eligible?
Applicants must be aged 65 and older, visually impaired or have a disability recognized by Social Security. They must be at or below $4,000 in countable assets ($6,000 for couples) and have an income no higher than 100% of the federal poverty level, which is $1,064 per month as of 2020. Applicants for the Aged and Disabled Waiver must also be assessed as needing nursing care but be able to live safely outside of a nursing facility.

How to Apply
Nebraskans can check eligibility and apply for Medicaid online via the ACCESSNebraska website. Alternatively, help is available at local DHHS offices or by calling 855-632-7633. Applications for the Aged and Disabled Waiver can arranged at a local Area Agency on Aging.

Disabled Persons and Family Support Program

Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services created the DPFS program to help seniors and others pay for their disability-related expenses. State residents may be eligible for up to $300 per month to cover the cost of services, such as attendant and medical care, transportation and health insurance. Most seniors with Alzheimer’s disease qualify if they also have a low income.

Who Is Eligible?
Applicant must show a medical need for additional funding based on their degree of disability, and they must be unable to pay for the services. As of 2020, financial eligibility is based on the median income of Nebraskans in 1989, which is $1,364 per month for an individual.

How to Apply
Seniors and caregivers can call 402-471-9220 to ask about the Disabled Persons and Family Support Program or visit a local DHHS office.

Veterans Affairs – Aid and Attendance Benefits

Veterans and their dependents could qualify for a substantial increase in their regular VA pension amount if approved for the Aid and Attendance benefit. The additional payments vary from around $1,000 to $3,000 per month, depending on the individual’s age, health and disability status, and the money can be spent on care at home or in an assisted living or memory care facility.

Who Is Eligible?
Veterans aged 65 and older who have little income and few assets may be eligible for this benefit if they also require personal care on a daily basis. The specific requirements of eligibility are relatively complex, but help is available with determining eligibility and completing and filing an application from trained staff at County Veterans Services offices throughout the state.

How to Apply
Seniors can contact their local CVSO for assistance. Those who live near Lincoln can also visit the State Service Office or call 402-420-4021.

Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in Nebraska

Nebraskans who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, as well as their family and caregivers, may find useful information and assistance from the resources detailed below.

ResourceContactServices
Area Agencies on AgingSee website for regional contactsNebraska is served by eight AAAs that work in partnership with local, state and federal governments to provide information, assessments and direct services to the aging population. Seniors can ask questions about financial assistance programs, memory care facilities and other local resources.Most services are free for eligible residents. In Nebraska, the Area Agencies on Aging also serve as the Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) for their respective regions.
Alzheimer’s Association – Nebraska Chapter1-800-272-3900The Alzheimer’s Association is a nationwide organization with a focus on finding a cure for the disease. At the state level, Nebraskans with memory issues, and their caregivers, may benefit from support groups, clinical trials, educational workshops and referrals for other appropriate services.
2-1-1 Iowa/Nebraska211Nebraskans can call the 2-1-1 helpline at any time to find local services — many of which are relevant to seniors with disabilities, such as memory impairments — and be referred to appropriate providers. Residents can also search the online directory by zip code or download the app.
County Veterans Service OfficesSee website for regional contactsThe Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs has its central offices in Lincoln, and it manages the CVSOs in each county. Local staff are employed to help veterans gain access to VA and other benefits. Veterans with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia may qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program of Nebraska1-800-942-7830The LTC Ombudsman program represents residents in any of Nebraska’s nursing facilities, assisted living communities and memory care facilities. The program can provide information on local facilities, attempt to resolve disputes between residents and facilities and act as a resident’s advocate in other issues related to aging and long-term care.
Legal Aid of Nebraska – ElderAccess Line1-800-527-7249Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services recommends the ElderAccess Line as a source of state-specific legal assistance and documents related to Alzheimer’s and dementia. This is a free service provided by Legal Aid of Nebraska, and its lines are open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Nebraska

Nebraska’s assisted living facilities — including those providing memory care — are licensed and inspected by the Department of Health and Human Services. Facilities that provide memory care are officially known as Alzheimer’s special care units.

Admission and DisclosureMemory care facilities, or dedicated areas within a facility, must have a written statement describing their philosophy and mission regarding Alzheimer’s and other dementias. This statement must also provide details on placement and discharge, assessments, facility features and activities that support cognitively impaired residents, a breakdown of all expected costs and the Medicaid funding policy.
Plan of CareFacility staff must assess incoming residents to formulate a plan that addresses medical, social and other elements of care to be provided. Memory care facilities aren’t permitted to provide licensed nursing care on a long-term or permanent basis.
Staff Training and EducationAll staff in memory care facilities must receive training appropriate to the cognitive abilities of residents, and they must undergo additional training each year that addresses Alzheimer’s disease and new developments in providing care.
Medication RequirementsMost memory care residents are deemed unfit to handle their own medication, which shifts responsibility to the facility. If a facility has one or more residents who can’t self-administer, it must employ a registered nurse to evaluate practices and train qualified personnel. Medication must be administered by licensed health care professionals.
Medicaid PolicyAssisted living and memory care facilities in Nebraska aren’t required to accept state funds via Medicaid or its waiver program. Facilities that do accept Medicaid must reference this in the admission statement of each applicable resident and provide a list of any Medicaid-specific limitations or policies in place.
Complaint ProcedureThe Nebraska DHHS Licensure Unit handles complaints and reports of abuse in the state’s health care facilities. Residents, family members and concerned citizens can submit an anonymous complaint via the unit’s online form or by calling Adult Protective Services at 1-800-652-1999.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does memory care cost in Nebraska?

Residents in Nebraska’s Alzheimer’s special care units pay an average of $4,774 per month, which is roughly $300 less than the national average.

Does Nebraska Medicaid pay for memory care?

Yes, it may cover the cost of care and services received in memory care if the individual qualifies, but Nebraska Medicaid never covers room and board fees.

What are activities of daily living?

Activities of daily living (ADLs) cover the basic tasks that most people do every day, such as bathing, dressing, ambulation, preparing meals and eating, transferring to and from a bed or wheelchair and maintaining continence.

What types of facilities offer memory care?

Memory care is generally provided in a wing of an assisted living community or in a facility dedicated to residents with cognitive issues. It’s also provided to a certain degree in specialized adult day care programs.

What types of services does memory care provide?

Each facility can vary considerably, but the basics include accommodation, housekeeping, laundry, meals, security, personal care services and activities that take the physical and cognitive abilities of residents into account.