Demand for memory care in Nebraska may be increasing. The state is home to a growing number of adults, and Alzheimer’s cases are on the rise. Seniors aged 65 and older currently represent 16.2% of the state’s nearly 2 million residents. According to the State Plan on Aging, the number of adults aged 60 and older will increase by 36% by 2035. Currently, more than 35,000 older adults are living with Alzheimer’s disease in the Cornhusker State, and an additional 5,000 diagnoses are expected by 2025. The disease affects more than 60,000 caregivers, and it’s the sixth leading cause of death in the state. Memory care is one option to consider for families who want to make sure all their loved ones’ needs are met in a safe, secure setting.

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 a detailed overview of long-term care costs and ways to pay for care through Medicaid and other programs. You’ll also find information about state regulations and a directory of agencies that focus on serving families who have been affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

The Cost of Memory Care in Nebraska

Note: Memory care costs are based on pricing data for assisted living, since no official studies are available. In most cases, these services cost 20-30% more than assisted living, so prices from Genworth Financial’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey have been increased by 25% to account for this difference.

The median cost of memory care in Nebraska is $5,095 per month, which is about 10% lower than the national average of $5,625. Rates are typical for the Plains states. Seniors in Iowa pay $5,459 per month on average. Prices in Kansas rise by $630 to $5,725, and seniors in Colorado pay $5,938, for an increase of $843. Some locations may provide a better value. For example, prices in South Dakota are $907 lower at $4,188, which is a savings of about 18%.

$5095

Nebraska

$5625

The United States

$5725

Kansas

$5459

Iowa

$4188

South Dakota

$5938

Colorado

Local memory care prices vary depending on the local cost of living and the facility selected. Prices in Norfolk are very close to the state median at $5,185, and rates in Omaha and Lincoln are significantly higher at $5,815 and $5,894 per month, respectively. Prices are similar in Kansas City, Missouri, where the median is $5,731. However, seniors in Denver pay about $1,000 more per month for memory care based on its average of $6,875.

$5815

Omaha

$5894

Lincoln

$3633

Grand Island

$5185

Norfolk

$5731

Kansas City, MO

$6875

Denver, CO

Memory care provides a high level of around-the-clock supervision for $5,095 per month, which is 25% higher than the $4,076 average for conventional assisted living. In-home care costs $5,148 for homemaker services and $5,339 per month for specialized home health care. Nursing homes provide skilled nursing care and charge $7,483 for a semiprivate room, while private rooms cost approximately $8,289. Families who are looking for a more budget-friendly option may consider a community-based adult day health care program. Daytime care for dementia patients costs just $1,842, which can provide some savings, depending on the senior’s living arrangements.

$5095

Memory Care

$5148

Home Care

$5339

Home Health Care

$1842

Adult Day Health Care

$4076

Assisted Living

$7483

Nursing Home (semiprivate)

$8289

Nursing Home (private)

Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in Nebraska?

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 Nebraska.

If you need help paying for memory care, you may be able to access financial assistance through the state’s Aged and Disabled Waiver. This program gives residents access to Home- and Community-Based Services that aren’t normally covered by Medicaid. It covers housekeeping and a variety of one-on-one services to help with activities of daily living. However, individuals are still responsible for monthly rental fees. Some of the services that the Aged & Disabled Waiver may cover at home or in memory care facilities include:

  • Accessibility modifications
  • Adaptive technology
  • Assisted living
  • Chore services
  • Daytime health care programs
  • Emergency alert systems
  • Home-delivered meals
  • Housekeeping
  • Life skills training
  • Nursing home transitions
  • Nutritional services
  • Personal assistance
  • Respite for unpaid caregivers

What Assisted Living Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Nebraska? 

The Aged & Disabled Waiver covers services that help participants with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting and mobility. It also provides assistance with instrumental daily activities, such as cooking, cleaning and laundry. A sliding-scale share of cost may be required, depending on the applicant’s income. Here are a few of the services the Aged & Disabled Waiver may cover when provided in memory care facilities or other community-based settings:

  • Personal assistance
  • Health monitoring
  • Recreational activities
  • Help with shopping and errands
  • Household chores
  • Medication reminders
  • Nonmedical transportation
  • Laundry service 

Memory Care Waiver Programs in Nebraska

Aged and Disabled Waiver

Nebraska’s Aged and Disabled Waiver is an important financial assistance program for older adults who need help paying for memory care and other community-based supports. There are financial eligibility requirements, and you must provide proof that you need a nursing home level of care. The state will request a functional needs assessment and information from your primary care provider. The waiver application includes more details about these requirements. You can submit your completed application to the DHHS Division of Developmental Disabilities at the address listed on the form. Paper applications are accepted by mail, email and fax.

If you have questions or would like to apply over the phone, call the Department of Developmental Disabilities at (877) 667-6266. Assistance is also available at your local DHHS office. You can find a county-by-county directory of Public Assistance Offices online.

How to Know if You’re Eligible for Medicaid in Nebraska

Medicaid benefits, including waivers for Home- and Community-Based Services, are available to adults and families who have limited resources and may be unable to afford the care they need. In Nebraska, income and asset limits are the same whether you’re applying for regular Medicaid or help with long-term care. However, Home- and Community-Based Services have additional medical eligibility requirements. You may be eligible for the Aged and Disabled Waiver and other Medicaid benefits if you require a nursing home level of care and have no more than $1,133 per month in earned and unearned income. The income limit for couples is $1,526 per month for 2022. Nebraska sets income levels at 100% of the federal poverty level.

Assets are limited to $4,000 for individuals or $6,000 for couples if both you and your spouse require long-term care. Certain items may be excluded depending on your situation, including one vehicle, your primary home and many personal belongings. If only one spouse requires care, the non-applicant can keep $137,400 in non-exempt assets. Your spouse may also be entitled to a monthly maintenance needs allowance. Even if you earn too much to qualify, you may be able to spend down excess income on medical bills. No matter how you qualify, the state may be entitled to collect funds from your estate to cover the cost of memory care and other services provided.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Nebraska 

Income Limits* 

Asset Limits

Single Applicant

$13,596

$4,000

Two-Person Household
(Only One Person Applying)

$13,596 for applicant

$4,000 for applicant
$137,400 for non-applicant

Two-Person Household
(Both People Applying)

$18,312

$6,000

Medicaid is an entitlement program available to certain low-income individuals and families based on their age, medical needs and other factors. To qualify for long-term care benefits, you must: 

  • Live in the state of Nebraska
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • Be aged 65 or older or disabled if younger
  • Meet medical eligibility requirements

How To Apply for Medicaid in Nebraska 

Nebraska offers several application options depending on whether you want to apply online, in-person, over the phone or by mail or fax. Learn more about your options.

  • To apply online, visit the official application portal at ACCESSNebraska.
  • To apply over the phone, call the DHHS customer service hotline at (855) 632-7633.
  • Paper applications can be mailed to the state Medicaid Eligibility Program or your local benefits office

Information You Will Need 

When you apply for Medicaid for the Aged and Disabled, you must provide a variety of personal and financial information to confirm your eligibility. A few of the items you’ll need to provide include: 

  • Name, address and contact details
  • Proof of citizenship or immigration
  • Social Security numbers
  • Monthly and annual income
  • Recurring expenses
  • Tax deductions and filing information
  • A list of assets, including real estate and vehicles
  • Information about any property sold or given away
  • Details about any insurance coverage you may have

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid

If you need help completing your application or appealing a decision, contact the Department of Health and Human Services directly. Assistance is available over the phone and through local offices. Area Agencies on Aging and other community-based organizations may be able to help if you need help getting benefits for a loved one.

Program

Contact

Services Provided

(855) 632-7633

ACCESSNebraska is the official online application portal for Medicaid and other economic benefits. Customer service agents can answer questions about program eligibility, check your application status or help you apply for benefits over the phone.

(402) 471-3121

To receive in-person assistance with your Medicaid application, contact the DHHS call center, or locate the nearest Public Assistance Office. The agency provides an online directory of locations listed by county and city.

(877) 667-6266

If you applied for the Aged and Disabled Waiver or another Medicaid program and your request was denied, you can contact the Division of Developmental Disabilities to speak with a case manager. You may be able to appeal the decision or submit additional documentation when you reapply.

Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in Nebraska?

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

Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care in Nebraska

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 Nebraska

If you’re interested in learning more about dementia or have immediate needs for long-term care, transportation or other supports, the following organizations can help. These government agencies and nonprofits provide an array of helpful resources, including one-on-one consultations and information about financial assistance programs.

Program

Contact

Services Provided

(800) 272-3900

The Nebraska Chapter of The Alzheimer’s Association is part of a national organization that’s dedicated to supporting dementia patients and funding research for a cure. This statewide chapter operates offices in Omaha, Lincoln and Kearney. It provides a variety of resources, including educational materials, training courses and information about support groups and financial assistance programs that can help with the cost of emergency alert systems and respite care.

(844) 843-6364

Nebraska is home to eight Area Agencies on Aging that deliver local, state and federal benefits across designated counties. These agencies can help with long-term care needs assessments, Medicaid waiver applications, in-home care and community-based services, including meals, recreational programs and transportation. Many services are free to seniors aged 60 and older and their spouses.

211

Nebraska 211 is a joint program sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services, Area Agencies on Aging and other partners. You can call this helpline to learn more about resources in your area, including financial assistance, help with dementia, Medicare plan comparisons and ways to report abuse or other concerns. This service also maintains a comprehensive online directory of resources listed by category and need.

(402) 420-4021

The Nebraska Department of Veterans' Affairs administers a number of statewide benefits to veterans and their families, including tax breaks, education credits and memorial services. Individuals who need help applying for Aid & Attendance or other VA benefits can contact their County Veterans Service Office for free, confidential assistance. The state also operates four long-term care facilities for former service members.

(800) 942-7830

Nebraska’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program includes six regional ombudsmen and a central statewide office. Ombudsmen are dedicated to giving a voice to seniors who live in assisted living facilities, memory care units and other licensed health care facilities. They provide information to consumers who are considering long-term care, and they work to prevent and resolve disputes related to the care provided in these facilities.

(800) 527-7249

Legal Aid of Nebraska is a statewide nonprofit that operates seven regional offices and a telephone hotline for older adults. ElderACCESSLINE provides information and advice about Medicare/Medicaid, government benefits, housing, consumer rights and estate planning. Attorneys may be able to help you establish guardianship or create a power of attorney to handle medical or financial decision-making.

Dementia Friendly Nebraska is a statewide initiative established as part of the Nebraska State Plan. Policymakers have identified 31 areas of reinforcement that can help improve the lives of those affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia. The organization is focused on educating the public, providing community-based supports and protecting residents’ safety.

COVID-19 Rules for Memory Care in Nebraska

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/COVID-19. 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 Nebraska 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 Nebraska 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 Nebraska 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 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.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Nebraska

Admission and Disclosure

Memory 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 Care

Facility 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 Education

All 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 Requirements

Most 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 Policy

Assisted 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 Procedure

The 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.