More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, including 410,000 New Yorkers aged 65 or older. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, this number is expected to rise an estimated 12.2%, with 460,000 cases in New York by 2025. Nationwide, the CDC expects cases to double by 2060. Alzheimer’s is a serious affliction for the aging population and has claimed 3,755 lives in 2018 in New York alone.

Memory care facilities provide residents with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with specialized care tailored to meet their unique needs. They’re designed to offer a safe, structured environment with set routines to prevent wandering, promote ease of navigation and reduce stress. Staff members are specifically trained to work with memory care residents, which may include checking on residents more frequently and providing extra support and structure throughout the day.

Memory care can either be offered on its own in a community designed especially for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s or, more often, 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 covers the cost of memory care in New York, financial assistance options for paying for memory care, free and low-cost memory care resources offered in the state, an overview of the laws governing residential adult care facilities and answers to some frequently asked questions.

The Cost of Memory Care in New York

Memory care requires specialized staff training and resources to provide a higher level of care compared to assisted living. Therefore, memory care costs are usually slightly higher than other types of residential care. On average, memory care costs 20% to 30% more than assisted living.

Memory Care Costs in Nearby States

According to the 2019 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, individuals can expect to pay approximately $5,788 per month in New York for specialized residential memory care. Nationally, the average cost is lower by more than $700 at $5,064 per month. Compared to nearby states, the estimated cost for memory care is higher in all but Pennsylvania, which is about $4,891 per month. Prices in Vermont are $900 higher at about $6,673 and in Massachusetts costs are more than $1,000 higher at $7,050. New Jersey is the costliest of all nearby states at an estimated $8,000 per month.

$5788

New York

$5064

National

$4891

Pennsylvania

$6673

Vermont

$7050

Massachusetts

$8000

New Jersey

Cost of Other Types of Care in New York

There are many different types of care for aging adults in New York, and the cost of memory care is higher than all other types, except nursing home care in a semiprivate room. This type of care runs $11,693, which is more than double the estimated cost of $5,788 for memory care. However, memory care is more expensive than assisted living at $4,630, in-home care at $4,767 and home health care at $4,957. It’s also significantly higher than adult day care, which offers the lowest cost of all options, at $1,842 per month.

$5788

Memory Care

$4767

In-Home Care

$4957

Home Health Care

$1842

Adult Day Care

$4630

Assisted Living Facility

$11693

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Memory Care in New York’s Top Cities

The cost of memory care can also vary greatly within the state. The largest city, New York City, has an average monthly cost of $8,688 for memory care. In comparison, Buffalo’s average monthly memory care cost is $5,554 and Rochester’s is $5,935. Syracuse has the lowest average memory care cost at $5,041 per month. The smallest of the larger cities, Albany, has an average monthly memory care cost of $5,656.

$8688

New York City

$5554

Buffalo

$5935

Rochester

$5041

Syracuse

$5656

Albany

Financial Assistance for Memory Care in New York

Special Needs Assisted Living Voucher Demonstration Program for Persons with Dementia

The Special Needs Voucher helps keep adults with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia in the least restrictive residential setting. When individuals are no longer able to afford a private-pay Special Needs Assisted Living Residence and are enrolled in Medicaid, they are typically transitioned to a skilled nursing facility. New York enacted this voucher, which subsidizes up to 75% of the average monthly private-pay rate for a SNALR in the region, to prevent this from happening.

Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible for the Special Needs Voucher, individuals must demonstrate financial need and have been medically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. They must have resided in an SNALR for no less than 12 months and can’t be on Medicaid. Applications must be submitted directly to the Department of Health, which makes the final determination of whether the applicant is financially eligible for the program. The voucher payment depends on the amount an approved applicant can pay toward their monthly SNALR service fee.

How to Apply
Individuals must fill out a Special Needs Assisted Living Voucher Demonstration Program for Persons with Dementia application. Completed applications should be mailed to the New York State Department of Health, ALTC Team, Empire State Plaza, Corning Tower, Suite 1415, Albany, NY 12237. Applicants can also scan and email their completed application to ALTCteam@health.ny.gov, which is also where all questions should be submitted.

Assisted Living Program

New York’s Assisted Living Program serves individuals who are medically eligible for nursing home care but whose needs can be met in an assisted living setting. This program pays for the basic costs of residing in an approved assisted living residence, including room and board, personal care, supervision, housekeeping, home health aides, nursing, case management services from a registered nurse, personal emergency response services, medical supplies and equipment, adult day health care, home health services and physical, occupational and speech therapies. Due to its limited enrollment, applicants are commonly placed on a waiting list for this program.

Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible, applicants must be at least 21 years old and fall within the income and assets limits. Income thresholds are higher for the ALP than for regular state Medicaid programs, and individuals with incomes above the limit may still qualify through the Medicaid Excess Income option. Applicants must be medically eligible for nursing home placement and would be placed in a nursing home due to a lack of a suitable home environment. However, applicants must not require continual nursing care, be chronically bedridden or impaired to the degree they couldn’t function in an assisted living environment.

How to Apply
Applicants who receive Medicaid or privately pay for their care may contact the Assisted Living Program directly at ALPapplication@health.ny.gov to begin the enrollment process. However, applicants who are Medicaid recipients must first contact their Local Social Services District to have their assisted living program services approved in advance.

Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in New York

New York residents also have access to low-cost or free memory care resources to assist and support them, their families and their caregivers. These resources offer a variety of services, including care consultation and planning, support groups, 24-hour helplines and referrals to other agencies and community-based support services.

ContactServices Provided
Centers of Excellence for Alzheimer’s DiseaseContact your local CEAD officeCenters of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease offer comprehensive, integrative and coordinated medical services for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia diagnosis; management and treatment for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients; and support and referrals to community-based support services for patients and their family members.
Alzheimer’s Disease Community Assistance ProgramContact your local ADCAP office or the 24-hour helpline at (800) 272-3900There are seven Alzheimer’s Association Chapters in New York to serve all 62 counties and operate the Alzheimer’s Disease Community Assistance Program. Services to individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementias include care planning and consultation, support groups, education and training for caregivers, community awareness and a 24-hour helpline that offers information and referrals.
NY Connects(800) 342-9871 or Contact your local NY Connects officeNY Connects offers free information and assistance to older adults and individuals with disabilities, including connecting individuals to long-term services and supports regardless of payer source, coordinating with other agencies to guide individuals through eligibility processes, helping with applications and enrollment in public assistance benefits and providing links to any necessary assessments.
New York Area Agencies on AgingContact your local AAA officeArea Agencies on Aging are the designated managers for state services and planning and usually contract with for-profit, nonprofit or public providers to deliver benefits. AAA may also directly provide supportive, case management, in-home, nutrition, information and assistance services.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman855-582-6769 or ombudsman@aging.ny.gov or Contact your local Ombudsmen CoordinatorThe Ombudsman Program advocates for residents of adult care homes, including assisted living and memory care facilities, by investigating and settling complaints made by or for the residents of these facilities. It also helps residents understand and exercise their rights to quality care.

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.

Scope of CareAdult 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 RequirementsA 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 RequirementsAll 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 RequirementsAll facility staff must undergo a criminal background check, and staff who have direct contact with patients must be screened for tuberculosis.
Staff Training RequirementsAssisted 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 CoverageThe 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 AbuseAbuse 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.