Alzheimer’s disease is a public health crisis in Oregon, currently affecting an estimated 69,000 seniors throughout the state. By 2025, that number is projected to grow by 29.2%, to 84,000. Alzheimer’s is a challenging, degenerative disease that impacts diagnosed seniors and their loved ones emotionally, mentally and financially. The 69,000 cases of Alzheimer’s in Oregon mean life-changing caregiving tasks fall on 184,000 people, and the estimated economic impact is tremendous, at $235 million spent through Medicaid alone. Alzheimer’s is also the sixth leading cause of death in the state.

For caregivers seeking safe and secure residential solutions for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, memory care facilities may be helpful. These communities, which must be endorsed by the Oregon Department of Human Services, retain staff members specially trained to assist those with dementia. They also provide secure facilities to help prevent wandering. Activity programs are often tailored to meet the needs of residents with cognitive impairments and might include memory games for brain fitness, modified exercise programs and multisensory therapy.

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.

Keep reading for an in-depth look at memory care in Oregon, including average costs, financial assistance options, free and low-cost resources and government regulations governing memory care wings or residences.

The Cost of Memory Care in Oregon

In Oregon, memory care is generally available in special units, memory care wings in larger assisted living communities or small residences designed specifically for those with dementia. Service costs for memory care typically range 20 to 30% higher than traditional assisted living, in large part due to the greater expenses related to security, specialized activities, employee training and staffing requirements. Below are cost comparisons that use average prices for assisted living adjusted for memory care. Rates often vary based on location, available amenities, pricing structures and programming.

Memory Care Costs in Nearby States

Average costs for memory care in Oregon are approximately $600 more than the national average but consistent with costs in other western coastal states, according to Genworth Financial’s Cost of Care Survey for 2019. For example, average costs in California are just $1 more per month. Further north in Washington, costs are near the high end of the spectrum at $6,875 — $1,251 more than Oregon. Away from the coast in Nevada and Idaho, costs are significantly lower, ranging from $4,250 to $4,660, respectively.

$5624

Oregon

$5064

National

$6875

Washington

$4660

Idaho

$4250

Nevada

$5625

California

Cost of Other Types of Care in Oregon

At an average cost of $5,624 per month, memory care is one of the more expensive options for long-term senior care in Oregon. However, in-home care and home health care are priced similarly, at $5,148 and $5,339, respectively. When home is no longer a safe option, the increase in cost is negligible, at an average of $285-$476 more per month. Memory care also offers care that extends throughout the day and night and includes room and board, while in-home care is often limited in scope and schedule. Only nursing home care — the highest level of care available — is priced higher than memory care, at $9,551 per month. Memory care offers a more traditional lifestyle and activities and is an alternative for those with dementia who don’t need round-the-clock nursing care at a substantially more affordable price point of $3,927 less per month.

Memory care units cost about $1,100 more than standard assisted living but provide services dedicated to those with cognitive degeneration. Daytime programs may be a more affordable option for those who need intermittent assistance. These programs may include special activities for those with cognitive health issues. Pricing for day programs averages $2,167 per month, but it’s often only available during normal working hours.

$5624

Memory Care

$5148

In-Home Care

$5339

Home Health Care

$2167

Adult Day Care

$4499

Assisted Living Facility

$9551

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Memory Care in Oregon’s Top Cities

Comparing Costs Across Oregon

Memory care costs can vary dramatically by region in Oregon. Prices vary by $1,462 per month, depending on location, with a range starting at $4,938 and extending up to $6,400. Medford and Grants Pass, neighboring cities, have both the highest and lowest costs in the state, while mid-size cities like Salem, Corvallis, Bend and Eugene are all closer to the state average. Portland, the largest city in the state, also has some of the highest prices for memory care, at $6,248 per month.

$6248

Portland

$5344

Salem

$5190

Corvallis

$5406

Eugene

$6400

Grants Pass

$4938

Medford

$5249

Bend

Financial Assistance for Memory Care in Oregon

Oregon K Plan

Medicaid in Oregon offers the K Plan to seniors who might otherwise qualify for nursing home placement, giving them an alternative to live in the community. The program assists seniors with at-home services or services provided at a memory care unit, helping to delay institutional placement. Some covered services include help with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, eating, housekeeping and memory care. Respite care and transportation services are also included in the umbrella of services available through the K Plan.

Who Is Eligible?
Applicants to the K Plan must be Oregon residents who need an institutional level of care and qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid financial eligibility requirements limit applicants to no more than 300% of the Federal Poverty Level, which is $3,190 per month for individuals and $4,310 for married couples as of 2020. Asset restrictions limit seniors to no more than $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for married couples, but some exemptions apply, including an applicant’s home, vehicle and personal belongings.

How to Apply
To access the K Plan, seniors must first apply for the state Medicaid plan and then apply for K Plan benefits. Applications are accepted through local Seniors & Peoples with Physical Disabilities Offices. An annual needs assessment is completed as part of the application process.

Aged and Physically Disabled Waiver

The Aged and Physically Disabled waiver is available to qualified applicants in addition to K Plan services. This program helps facilitate a move from an institutional setting into a community-based care option. Adults with a qualified disability of any age or seniors 65 and older may be eligible for assistance with the original deposit and moving funds, along with case management services and welfare assistance.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for this waiver, disabled adults or seniors aged 65 or older must be Medicaid-eligible and require specialist services as verified by a doctor or health care provider. The same financial restrictions apply to all Medicaid applicants.

How to Apply
To apply for the APD waiver, seniors must contact their local Seniors & Peoples with Physical Disabilities Office.

Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly

PACE is a national program with local administrators. It uses an integrated care model that combines medical and long-term supports through a single pathway. Teams of physicians, social workers, therapists and other medical specialists work together to create care plans and deliver needed services. PACE is available through Medicare and Medicaid and bundles all covered services into one comprehensive model that allows seniors to live in a setting of their choice, including a memory care unit. Currently, seven Oregon counties have PACE providers serving dozens of zip codes.

Who Is Eligible?
PACE is available to adults aged 55 and older who live in an area with a PACE provider. Medicare and Medicaid enrollees may opt-in, and private pay options are available for those not enrolled in either program.

How to Apply
To apply, contact a local PACE provider or contact the PACE Coordinator at 1-844-224-7223.

Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in Oregon

Oregon provides a wide variety of local and statewide services for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Programs may provide free referrals, caregiver informational resources and other supportive services.

ResourceContactServices
Alzheimer’s Association


1-800-272-3900In addition to operating a 24-hour helpline for caregivers and seniors, the Oregon and Southwest Washington chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association also fundraises to support Alzheimer’s research. Caregivers have access to an array of educational materials and local resources.
Oregon Health & Science University Brain Institute


503-494-7647A research and treatment institution, OHSU provides support for caregivers and family members of those with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Monthly support groups meet online or in person to share challenges and offer support, while the university website has resources to help with long-term planning and actionable tips for immediately after diagnosis. Patients can sign up for the ACTNOW program to participate in available research studies and get information about any news related to Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s Network of Oregon


1-866- 425-9638The Alzheimer’s Network of Oregon serves four counties and gives local residents a connection with volunteers, who can help with a variety of tasks or provide professional assistance in their fields. Online support groups offer an outlet for those struggling with the disease and their family and caregivers.
Aging and Disability Resource Center of Oregon1-855-673-2372The ADRC of Oregon maintains informational listings of an array of services and supports for seniors. In addition to discussing memory care options, it offers information about legal services and long-term planning that may be necessary to support Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers.
Oregon Care Partners


1-800-930-6851Oregon Care Partners offers caregivers, friends and families of those with Alzheimer’s a place to access information and educational resources about the illness and how to assist. It’s state-funded and operates classes online and in person.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Oregon

The Oregon Department of Human Services handles licensing for memory care communities. Each licensed facility must meet or exceed state requirements and train staff members on topics specific to dementia care. Licenses are valid for two years at a time, and facility inspections occur at least once during that period. To offer memory care, a residential care facility must obtain an endorsement specific to memory care on its license.

Scope of CareAll senior residential programs must provide a minimum of three meals a day and snacks. Menus must be published at least a week in advance. Personal and laundry services are required, along with a schedule of activities designed to meet the capabilities of the residents, including those tailored toward residents in a memory care unit. Staff must use accepted methods for supporting residents with cognitive impairments and assist with all activities of daily living.
Care PlansA service plan or care plan must be completed prior to a resident moving into a memory care unit and updated within 30 days of their residency. The service plan must be evaluated and changed to meet evolving needs on a quarterly basis.
Medication ManagementMedication can be administered by memory care staff under the supervision of a registered pharmacist or registered nurse. The supervisor must inspect medications and processes every 90 days to ensure compliance with regulations and dosage instructions. Medications must be kept secure when not being delivered to residents.
StaffingWhile there are no specific staffing requirements beyond having ample staff available 24 hours per day, staffing minimums may be assessed after an inspection or complaint.
Medicaid CoverageSeveral Oregon Medicaid programs may provide financial assistance with residential long-term care services. Each program has personal and financial eligibility requirements.
Reporting AbuseTo report suspected abuse, seniors or their loved ones can call the hotline administered by the Department of Human Services (1-855-503-SAFE), the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman (1-800-522-2602) or a local Area Agency on Aging.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does memory care cost in Oregon?

Seniors in Oregon can expect to pay an average of $5,624 per month for memory care. This cost is slightly more expensive than the national average and approximately 20-30% more than standard assisted living. Additional charges associated with specialized activities and care account for the increase in cost.

Are there financial assistance programs for memory care in Oregon?

Oregon has a variety of programs that may provide financial assistance to seniors moving into memory care, including the K Plan, PACE and several other programs administered through the state Medicaid program.

Does Medicare pay for memory care?

Medicare doesn’t cover assisted living or memory care and has limited benefits for nursing home care. It does cover hospice care, even if delivered in a residential setting. It may provide care planning, safety inspections and cognitive assessments. For seniors who don’t qualify for Medicaid, long-term care insurance is a possible option.

What are activities of daily living?

Critical everyday tasks, such as getting dressed, preparing a meal, eating and moving around the house, are considered activities of daily living.

What is the difference between memory care and assisted living?

Memory care is often offered at assisted living communities in specialized housing with entry and exit restrictions. The level of care is nearly identical, but all services in memory care facilities are tailored to meet the needs of those with cognitive impairments.