New York is a popular destination for retirees, with almost 17% of the state’s 20 million residents aged 65 and above. In 2020, more than 400,000 New Yorkers were living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to jump 12.2% to 460,000 by 2025. More than 3,700 people die of the disease each year, and New York has a number of initiatives aimed at helping those experiencing memory loss. 

Access to high-quality programs and facilities is one of the most attractive features of retirement in New York. Three of the country’s top 10 geriatric hospitals are located in the state, with New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital known for its work in diagnosing and treating dementia.  Seniors may be happy to know that health care costs are on par with the national average. The average cost of memory care is $5,725 per month, and there are 264 physicians in New York for every 100,000 residents. 

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 has an overview of memory care costs in the state as well as the prices of other senior care options. You can also find information about financing memory care, state regulations for memory care facilities and resources available to help seniors in New York who are living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

The Cost of Memory Care in New York

Note: Those requiring memory care usually receive it as an added service in an assisted living environment. There is no national database that tracks memory care rates in the United States, but in general, the price is 20-30% higher than assisted living costs. The following memory care figures are estimates calculated by adding 25% to the assisted living costs in the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey.

At $5,725 per month, the cost in New York is slightly higher than the national figure of $5,625. New York is also affordable when compared to most of its neighbors. New Jersey and Massachusetts have high memory care costs at $8,119 and $8,125, respectively. Vermont ($6,563) and Connecticut ($6,411) are also less affordable. Pennsylvania is the only neighboring state with lower costs lower than New York, with seniors there paying $5,125 per month. 

$5725

New York

$5625

The United States

$5125

Pennsylvania

$6563

Vermont

$8125

Massachusetts

$6411

Connecticut

$8119

New Jersey

Memory care rates in New York vary widely depending on where you live. The most affordable care is found in Rochester, at $4,719 per month, and Glens Falls, where seniors pay $5,313. On the other end of the scale are Ithaca and Watertown, with costs of $10,094 and $10,519, respectively. The state’s biggest city, New York City, is at the higher end of the scale, with a cost of $7,188 per month, while Albany ($6,586) and Buffalo ($5,926) fall toward the middle of the range.

$5926

Buffalo

$4719

Rochester

$10519

Watertown

$10094

Ithaca

$5313

Glens Falls

$6586

Albany

$7188

New York City

There are many long-term care options available to seniors in New York. Adult day health care is the most affordable at $1,907, while nursing home care costs are at the other end of the scale, at $12,775 for a semiprivate room and $13,233 for a private room. Assisted living in New York costs $4,580, while home care and home health care are $5,339 and $5,529, respectively. 

$1907

Adult Day Health Care

$4580

Assisted Living

$5339

Home Care

$5529

Home Health Care

$5670

Memory Care

$12775

Nursing Home (semiprivate)

$13233

Nursing Home (private)

Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in New York?

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 New York.

Seniors in New York who qualify for Medicaid may be able to get help paying for residential memory care services through two waiver programs. Both of these programs are designed to help people who require a nursing home level of care continue to live in the community. Both programs allow services to be provided in an assisted living environment.

What Memory Care Services Are Covered by Medicaid in New York? 

The waiver programs in New York generally pay for the services provided in a residential care setting. This can include personal care services, such as assistance with activities of daily living, case management and adult day health care. Medical aid offered includes intermittent skilled nursing and occupational therapy. 

Memory Care Waiver Programs in New York 

Managed Long Term Care Program Waiver

The MLTC program is intended to help people with chronic illnesses or disabilities, including memory loss, get the care they need without entering a nursing home. People in the program enroll in a managed care plan, which has a network of health care providers, and after enrolling, you must get services from your plan’s providers. 

There are three types of plans available for people in the program: MLTC Medicaid Program, Medicaid Advantage Plus (MAP) and Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). The MLTC Medicaid program keeps Medicaid and Medicare separate, while MAP and PACE combine Medicaid and Medicare services into one plan. 

Enrollment in the program is mandatory for anyone who is over 21, dual-eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare and in need of long-term care for at least four months. Enrollment is voluntary for adults who aren’t dual-eligible. In addition to these criteria, applicants must meet Medicaid’s income and asset limits and must require a nursing home level of care. Participants can’t be enrolled in MLTC and another waiver program, such as ALP, at the same time. 

The exact benefits differ slightly depending on the type of plan you choose, mainly because some plans combine Medicare and Medicaid services. All plans provide care management, home care and other community long-term care services. These can be provided in an assisted living setting. Other services include occupational therapy, vision and hearing aids and medical social services. 

Applications for the program are made through local Department of Social Services offices

Assisted Living Program

The Assisted Living Program uses a mix of Medicaid and non-Medicaid funding to pay for the cost of assisted living services in licensed assisted living residences. This hybrid funding model means it can pay for both care services and room and board for qualified participants. 

The program is available to both Medicaid recipients and private payers. Applicants must still meet the financial and residency criteria to be eligible for Medicaid and must require a nursing home level of care. The program isn’t available to people who are bedridden, need constant nursing care or who are impaired in a way that endangers other residents.

The ALP pays for the basic cost of assisted living. Services provided include case management, personal care, room and board, recreational activities and supervision. On the medical side, skilled nursing, some therapies and medical supplies and equipment can be included. It’s important to note that basic costs may not cover every service that’s offered in a facility. Some memory care services may be offered in addition to the basic services and would need to be paid for by other means. 

As of February 2022, the ALP is only funded for 4,200 participants and new applicants are put on a waiting list. If eligible for other programs, such as MLTC, you may still be able to get assistance paying for care in assisted living, although room and board costs won’t be covered. 

The Department of Health recommends that interested seniors contact participating assisted living providers in their area to see if there’s a position available. New York’s Adult Care Facility Directory does state whether the facility has beds in the ALP and is a good place to start if you’re looking for a facility. Local Department of Social Services offices can also offer assistance. 

How to Know if You’re Eligible for Medicaid in New York

Medicaid in New York can help low-income residents from all walks of life access health care. Eligibility is based on a number of criteria, including finances, residency and health status. The criteria can differ depending on your circumstances. 

To be eligible for the waiver programs included in this guide, you must:

  • Be a New York resident
  • Be a U.S. citizen, national, permanent resident or legal alien
  • Be aged 65 or older, be legally blind or have a qualifying disability
  • Have an income of less than $934 per month if single or $1,367 if applying as a married couple
  • Have assets of less than $16,800 if single or $24,600 if applying as a married couple

If only one spouse is applying, the single limits apply. However, the non-applicant spouse can have up to $137,400 of assets and is entitled to a Community Spouse Monthly Income Allowance (CSMIA). Not all assets are included when making Medicaid assessments. Exempted assets include your primary home along with personal belongings, household items and a vehicle. 

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in New York

Income Limits* 

Asset Limits

Single Applicant

$11,200

$16,800

Two-Person Household

(Only One Person Applying)

$11,200 for the applicant spouse

$16,800, plus $137,400 for the non-applicant spouse

Two-Person Household
(Both People Applying)

$16,400

$24,600

*Per year

People who don’t meet the financial eligibility requirements may be able to access Medicaid through alternative pathways. These allow seniors to spend extra assets or income on approved expenses, such as medical needs, until they reach the financial limit. Once this limit is reached, the individual is considered Medicaid-eligible until the end of the period. 

How to Apply for Medicaid in New York

Medicaid applications can be made through a local Department of Social Services office or online at the NY State of Health website. The department recommends that people aged 65 and over apply with the Department of Social Services, unless they are the parent or caretaker relative of a minor family member. 

Information You Will Need

When applying for Medicaid, people aged over 65 must provide proof of:

  • Identity and date of birth
  • U.S. citizenship or immigration status
  • Current address
  • Current income
  • Health insurance, such as current policy, termination letter or Medicare card
  • Medical bills for the last three months
  • Resources, including bank account statements, and stock and bond certificates

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid 

New York has a number of programs available to help seniors apply for Medicaid, including the statewide Navigator program and the Health Insurance Information, Counseling, and Assistance Program. Local Department of Social Services offices can also provide assistance. 

Program

Contact

Services Provided

Find local numbers online

Navigators offer in-person enrollment assistance to people applying for health insurance through the Marketplace. This includes some Medicaid applicants. Assistance is available in a number of languages.

1-800-701-0501

HIICAP helps educate people about Medicare, Medicaid and other health insurance programs in the state. Counselors can help people determine their eligibility, resolve complaints and provide unbiased information. 

Find local numbers online

Local offices of the Department of Social Services take applications from Medicaid applicants and can also answer questions about eligibility, available benefits and more. 

Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in New York?

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

Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care in New York

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 toward 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 an individual can take out against the value of their home, essentially converting some of the home's equity into cash. These 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 LTC insurance.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in New York

New York has a variety of free and low-cost resources available to seniors that require memory care services. Services are offered by local and state governments and nonprofit organizations, and they can provide financial aid, advocacy and other support.

Program 

Contact

Services Provided

Contact via email ALTCteam@health.ny.gov 

The SNALR Voucher Program is a demonstration program that helps adults with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia pay for care in an assisted living setting. It’s designed to prevent enrollment in Medicaid and isn’t available to those who are Medicaid-eligible. The vouchers subsidize up to 75% of the average monthly cost for care in the region. Because it’s a demonstration program, there is a waitlist for new applicants.

1-800-342-9871

NY Connects provides information about resources and support available in the state. The free service is designed to connect older adults and people with disabilities with long-term services and support. It also coordinates with other agencies and helps people navigate eligibility, application and enrollment processes.

1-800-332-3742

The Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program helps low-income seniors aged 65 and over supplement their Medicare Part D drug plan costs. There are different benefits depending upon income, including assistance to pay premiums and lowering deductibles. 

Local numbers on website

New York’s Office for the Aging coordinates a wide range of programs designed to help older adults. Its local offices are the Area Agencies on Aging in the state, which can be found in every county. The department can assist with housing, meal programs, transportation and more. It also runs the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program in New York. 

The Centers of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease are 10 medical centers and teaching hospitals that specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of people living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. In addition, the centers provide support to caregivers, information and access to clinical trials and connect people with community-based resources. 

Contact your local DCAP office or the helpline on (800) 272-3900

This statewide program is run in conjunction with local Alzheimer’s Association chapters. Services are designed to postpone or prevent nursing home placements and include support groups, care consultations and training and education for both caregivers and those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. In addition, there’s a 24-hour helpline that can provide information and referrals to local resources. 

COVID-19 Rules for Memory Care in New York

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including coronavirus.health.ny.gov. These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/13/2022, 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 NEW YORK COMMUNITIES

Can I visit my relative in person if he/she wants emotional support from me?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Can I visit my relative in person for end-of-life compassion care?

Yes

Will my loved one be required to self-quarantine after I visit him or her?

No

Do I need to wear PPE and/or a cloth mask if I do visit my relative in person?

Yes

Are Hairdressers and other non-medical contractors still allowed in senior living facilities?

Yes

Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?

Yes

Are visitors being screened for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are visitors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?

Yes

Outings & Social Activities

RULES FOR NEW YORK COMMUNITIES

Are residents allowed to leave the facility for non-medical reasons?

Yes

Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?

No

Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

RULES FOR NEW YORK COMMUNITIES

Are staff members and contractors being screened for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are staff members and contractors being tested for Coronavirus?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are staff members and contractors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?

Yes

Are staff members required to regularly screen residents for coronavirus symptoms?

Yes

Are residents relied on to screen themselves and self-report potential coronavirus symptoms?

No

Are staff members required to take residents’ temperatures?

Yes

Are residents being tested for coronavirus?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in New York

The New York State Department of Health licenses and regulates all types of residential adult care facilities, including special needs assisted living residences that provide memory care to individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other cognitive impairments. Adult care facility operators must adhere to all New York laws and regulations pertaining to the rules and responsibilities of these facilities, as highlighted below.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in New York
Scope of Care
Adult care facility operators must provide an organized, 24-hour a day program of care, supervision and services that includes case management, personal care, meals, housekeeping and social and recreational activities. SNALR operators must also coordinate health care services, offer medication administration and management, and monitor each resident’s condition.
Care Plan Requirements
A written Individualized Service Plan must be developed for each resident upon admission. Plans must be implemented within 30 days of admittance and include the medical, functional, cognitive, rehabilitation, nutritional and other needs of the resident. The plan must also include the type of services that will be provided, how and by whom.
Medication Management Requirements
All types of adult care facilities may assist with self-administration of medications, including identifying and opening medication bottles, storing medications and prompting residents. In assisted living residences and special needs assisted living residences, only licensed nurses and trained staff may administer medication.
Staff Screening Requirements
All facility staff must undergo a criminal background check, and staff who have direct contact with patients must be screened for tuberculosis.
Staff Training Requirements
Assisted living and special needs assisted living residences must employ registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and home health aides. Care providers must have graduated from a nursing program approved by the NYS Commissioner of Education or the licensing authority in another state as preparation for practice and have passed the NYS competency examination.
Medicaid Coverage
The Special Needs Assisted Living Voucher Demonstration Program for Persons with Dementia and Assisted Living Program covers a portion of the cost of memory care for those who qualify.
Reporting Abuse
Abuse should be reported to the office of the long-term care ombudsman at (855) 582-6769 or ombudsman@aging.ny.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does Memory Care Cost in New York?

Assisted living facilities cost an average of $4,630 per month in New York. Because memory care requires more specialized care, costs are usually higher, whether care is provided in an independent memory care community or in a separate wing housed within an assisted living facility. Memory care costs are generally 20% to 30% higher, so expect to pay approximately $5,556 to $6,019 per month for specialized residential memory care.

Are There Financial Assistance Programs for Memory Care in New York?

New York offers the Special Needs Assisted Living Voucher Demonstration Program for Persons with Dementia, which covers up to 75% of the cost of special needs assisted living residences for adults with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. New York’s Assisted Living Program also helps pay for the basic costs of residing in an approved assisted living residence that offers memory care.

What Is the Difference Between Memory Care and Assisted Living?

While many services are the same or similar, there are specific differences between memory care and assisted living. Assisted living offers housing, support services and health care as needed, as does memory care. However, memory care is a distinct type of long-term care that specifically serves those with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other memory issues. To account for the specialized needs of these residents, memory care facilities also provide 24-hour supervised care, additional security to minimize wandering and a physical layout better-suited to patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia that promotes ease of navigation.

What Types of Services Does Memory Care Provide?

Memory care services include medical monitoring, basic supervised care and assistance with activities of daily living. Other services may or may not require an additional fee, including three daily meals, housekeeping and laundry services, access to medical care, health and exercise programs, emergency call systems, 24-hour security, 24-hour staff supervision, transportation, and social activities and programs.

What Are Activities of Daily Living?

Activities of daily living are basic tasks people do every day as part of their routine care. These are essential self-care tasks that include bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, walking, toileting and getting into and out of beds and chairs.