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Memory Care in Pennsylvania

As of 2022, Pennsylvania is home to eight of the top 25 retirement cities in the United States. The state has a population of 13,012,059 people, with 19% considered seniors, which is more than the national average. Alzheimer’s disease is of increasing concern to older Pennsylvanians, with cases expected to rise as the population ages. According to the CDC, Alzheimer’s-related deaths in the state increased by 20.35% between 2016 and 2020, a faster rate than total deaths. To meet this need, Pennsylvania has invested in improving dementia care through public health partnerships such as the Healthy Brain Initiative. The state’s Department of Aging provides a range of resources to seniors in need of support.

Pennsylvania’s memory care communities are designed for seniors experiencing various levels of dementia and cognitive impairment. They keep residents safe with 24-hour supervision and attend to a full range of personal care needs. This guide discusses the cost of memory care and other senior living options throughout the state. It also lists resources available to Pennsylvanians making dementia care decisions.

The Cost of Memory Care in Pennsylvania

When trying to decide how to pay for memory care, one of the first questions that comes up is "How much does it cost?" With the impact of inflation, it's more important than ever to have up-to-date information when making a financial plan for senior living. To help shed light on real senior living prices, has compiled proprietary cost data from its network of over 75,000 senior living providers to offer insight into the average cost of memory care in Pennsylvania and its 60 cities.

The Cost of Memory Care in Pennsylvania's Top Cities

Memory care costs across the state of Pennsylvania vary greatly. In Philadelphia, the average memory costs are $4,918, while on the other side of the state, memory costs are $4,798 in Pittsburgh. Allentown is home to some of the highest memory care costs in the state, at $6,000 per month, but further north in Scranton, these costs are significantly lower at $2,936 per month.











Inflation's Impact on the Cost of Memory Care in Pennsylvania

Inflation continues to cause rising costs across the country and memory care costs are no exception. From 2022 to 2023, memory care costs in Pennsylvania rose by 12%, as these costs increased from $4,649 to $5,201. This rise in costs is higher than the national increase in memory care costs of 10%.The change in memory care costs from 2022 to 2023 fluctuated significantly from state to state. Nearby states, Maryland and Ohio saw an increase of 8% and 11%, respectively, while costs in New York rose by 23%. Memory care costs in New Jersey fell by 11%.

Location2022 Cost (Historical)2023 Cost (Current)2024 Cost (Estimated)
U.S. Average$4,863$5,369$5,792
New York$5,244$6,449$6,416
New Jersey$7,091$6,289$6,787

The Costs of Other Types of Senior Living

Senior care costs vary based on the level of services provided. Independent living is the most affordable option, with average costs of $3,215. Seniors who require some supportive services, such as assistance with activities of daily living, may need assisted living care, which averages $4,653. Seniors with memory or cognitive decline need memory care services, which provide a secure setting for seniors. The average memory care costs are $5,201.

Assisted Living


Memory Care


Independent Living


Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in Pennsylvania?

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 Pennsylvania.

Some aspects of memory care services are covered by Pennsylvania Medicaid through the Community HealthChoices program. This managed care program is designed to help with access to long-term support services for seniors who are both Medicaid and Medicare-eligible. Participants must also meet the criteria for nursing home placement, though enrollment in a nursing home is not required.

Community HealthChoices was created to help seniors to remain in their homes. Used to replace the Pennsylvania Aging Waiver, services are generally intended to be used at home rather than in an assisted living facility. However, those who entered the program under the old waiver system while in an assisted living facility are sometimes able to keep their services.

What Memory Care Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Pennsylvania?

Community HealthChoices can be used to provide a number of assistive services, such as recreational and social programs, assistance with activities of daily living and medical supplies and mobility devices deemed essential. General Medicare will also provide up to 100 days of in-home skilled nursing care in certain circumstances, though custodial nursing care is not offered long-term. Medicare will also cover in-home hospice care for memory care patients deemed eligible by their doctors.

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

To be eligible for Pennsylvania Medicaid, seniors must meet income and resource limits shown in the table below. Income used in this calculation includes:

  • Social Security payments
  • Pensions
  • Savings and investment interest and dividends
  • Rental income
  • IRA withdrawals
  • Spousal income (if residing together)
  • Veteran’s benefits (except MAGI MA)

Resources include most valuable assets. A few exceptions exist, such as your home, one vehicle, burial reserves that meet specific limits and a burial marker and space. Counted assets include:

  • Cash
  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Savings certificates
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Trust funds
  • Life insurance
  • Additional vehicles
  • Non-resident properties

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Pennsylvania Seniors

Household SizeNumber of ApplicantsIncome Limits Per Year*Asset Limits: Applicant(s)****Asset Limits: Non-Applicants
One Person1$32,904$2,000
Two Person1$32,904**$2,000$148,620
Two Person2$65,808***$4,000*****

*Depending on the facility setting, a recipient may not be able to keep income up to this level.

**Income limit is for applicant only.

***Income is limited to $2,742 per month per spouse.

****In addition to the asset limits listed, Pennsylvania allows an extra $6,000 exemption. However, if an applicant has income more than $2,523/mo., the asset limit is $2,400 rather than the total asset limit of $8,000 ($2,000 plus $6,000 disregard).

*****Assets are limited to $2,000 per spouse

Aside from income and assets, seniors must meet a number of other eligibility requirements to participate in Medicaid programs. Additional requirements include:

  • Full-time Pennsylvania residency as a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, legal alien or national
  • Social security number
  • Identification such as a driver’s license, state-issued identification card or passport
  • Specific household composition requirements
  • Be 65 years old or above, have a qualifying disability or be legally blind
  • Be a full-time resident of Pennsylvania
  • Be either a U.S. citizen or U.S. national, hold permanent residency or have legal alien status

How to Apply for Medicaid in Pennsylvania

There are four options to apply for Pennsylvania Medicaid:

Information You Will Need

To make the application process easier, you will need supporting evidence and documentation. Make sure to gather all the information and documents you’ll need in advance:


  • Evidence of household income from all eligible sources
  • Federal tax filing information
  • Birth dates and Social Security numbers for everyone in the household
  • Information from your current or most recent health insurance policy
  • Home and utility information
  • Proof of citizenship or documents demonstrating lawful U.S. residency
  • Information on resources, such as life insurance policies, extra vehicle titles, bank accounts, etc.

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid

Seniors who need assistance with their Pennsylvania Medicaid applications have options available to them online, over the phone and in person. A helpline is available for anyone needing help completing the online COMPASS application, and the county assistance offices are available to assist with applications in person or over the phone. For those using alternative application methods, the Consumer Service Center for Health Care Coverage offers phone consultations, or an appointment can be made at the appropriate county assistance office.

ProgramContactHow It Works
COMPASSOnline or by phone at (800) 692-7462The website offers instructions and applications online. Agents are available by phone to assist with application questions.
Consumer Service Center for Health Care Coverage(866) 550-4355Agents can assist with applications over the phone and answer any questions.
County Assistance Office (CAO)Contact information found onlineCaseworkers are available to take applications and renewals and can answer any questions in person or over the phone.

Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in Pennsylvania?

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

Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care in Pennsylvania

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.

NameHow To ApplyHow It Works
Aid and AttendanceLearn more and apply online at 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 MortgagesLearn more about your options and how to apply at ftc.govIf 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) InsuranceLearn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and how to apply for a policy at 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 Pennsylvania

There are many resources in Pennsylvania that assist seniors in their retirement. has compiled information on local organizations, programs and agencies and categorized them into care types for easy reference.


Area Agency on Aging

Retirees can find support and advice on various senior-related issues from their local Area Agency on Aging. The agency provides advice on topics such as financial assistance programs, in-home care and long-term care planning. It also connects seniors and caregivers with community-based resources.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania Area Agencies on AgingEach Area Agency on Aging in Pennsylvania operates under the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. Services available to seniors include legal assistance, Medicare counseling and prescription assistance. They can also access information regarding financial exploitation, protective services and the long-term care ombudsman program. Additionally, seniors can receive help with housing and meals. The agency runs the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which is open to qualifying Pennsylvanians who are 55+.

Cash Assistance Programs

Cash assistance programs in Pennsylvania provide financial support to help low-income retirees remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Seniors and caregivers can apply for tax rebates and reductions, discounts on vital services and help covering the cost of heating and cooling their home.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania Lifeline Program800-234-9473The LifeLine Program offers a discount on landline or mobile telephone service, ensuring that participants can stay in contact with loved ones.

Financial Assistance for Senior Care and Senior Living

Whether living in their own home or in a senior living community, Pennsylvania seniors can find financial assistance from numerous local resources. These organizations help residents cover some of the costs associated with in-home or long-term care and connect them with other helpful community-based resources.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania Living Independence For the Elderly (LIFE)LIFE (Living Independence for the Elderly) is a Pennsylvania care program that offers an extensive package of medical and supportive services to seniors aged 55 and older. Care services include dental, audiology, in-home care and medical transportation. To be eligible for LIFE, seniors must live in an area served by a LIFE provider and meet the standard of care needed for a nursing home.
Pennsylvania Nursing Home Transition Waiver800-753-8827The Nursing Home Transition waiver is designed for Medical Assistance enrollees who are living in nursing homes and want to transition back to their homes and communities.

Food Assistance Programs

Local organizations help ensure elderly citizens have a balanced diet and receive essential vitamins and minerals to remain healthy. Through nutrition programs, congregate meals, home-delivered meals and food pantries, these programs help Pennsylvania seniors afford the nutritious food they need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania Meals on WheelsMeals on Wheels provides free home meal deliveries to seniors through local volunteers.
Pennsylvania Department of Aging Senior Meals717-783-1550The Pennsylvania Department of Aging Senior Meals program provides congregate noontime lunches at over 500 different senior centers in the state. In addition to the congregate meal programs, the state can also provide home delivery of meals to homebound seniors. To participate in either program, adults must be 60 years of age or up, or married to an individual who meets the age requirement. While there's no charge for this service, donations are accepted.
Pennsylvania Senior Food Box Program800-468-2433The Pennsylvania Senior Food Box Program provides supplemental shelf-stable foods to qualifying individuals aged 60 or older as a way to enhance their diets and overall nutrition. Boxes may contain pantry staples such as peanut butter, pasta, dry beans and canned fish. Pennsylvanians must fall within a specific income range to qualify. Individuals who have applied and are deemed eligible can receive the boxes via their local food bank.

Free Used Medical Equipment

Due to the high cost of purchasing new medical equipment, several organizations in Pennsylvania collect lightly used medical devices such as wheelchairs, ramps and walkers and distribute them to local seniors and residents in need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF)484-674-0506This statewide nonprofit organization helps seniors access necessary assistive technology. It provides information about possible sources of financial assistance, including private and public grant programs. PATF also offers zero-interest loans of up to $7,000 for eligible seniors. These loans may be used to purchase assistive technologies, such as hearing aids and vision devices.

Health Insurance & Prescription Drug Coverage for Seniors

Pennsylvania seniors who meet certain income criteria can apply to local resources to help them pay for prescription drugs. Eligible residents can also receive assistance through health insurance and other programs to access free or discounted medical services.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania Department of Aging's Health & Wellness Programs717-783-1550Pennsylvania's Department of Aging offers a robust selection of Health & Wellness Programs for older adults. Seniors can take various programs to benefit both their physical and mental health. Fitness programs focus on needs such as nutrition, strength, balance and fall prevention. Medication management and programs to help seniors cope with chronic illnesses or pain are also available. On the mental health side, seniors can work to prevent depression and make lifestyle changes to support wellness.
Pennsylvania PACE and PACENET Prescription Assistance Programs800-225-7223These Prescription Assistance Programs give older Pennsylvanians access to low-cost prescription medications. Eligible seniors pay a small copay for each drug, reducing out-of-pocket medication costs. Alternatively, PACENET offers low-cost prescriptions to seniors who exceed the income limits for the regular PACE program.

Home Repair and Modifications

Seniors and those with disabilities can access a variety of local resources to help them pay for home repairs and modifications. Programs in Pennsylvania have different eligibility criteria and often assist retirees by providing grants or loans.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)Pennsylvania's Weatherization Assistance Program provides funds for increasing energy efficiency and reducing energy costs. Participants may qualify for minor repairs, attic or window insulation, caulking, heating/cooling system replacement or other weatherization services

Many organizations offer free or low-cost legal services to Pennsylvania seniors. Older adults can access advice on issues such as estate planning, living wills and power of attorney. Some firms also act as long-term care ombudsmen, advocating for the rights of seniors in senior living communities.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania's Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program717-783-8975LTC ombudsmen fulfill several roles. They act as advocates for seniors in conflict with long-term care facilities. They investigate complaints of abuse and neglect made by seniors or caregivers, and when their investigations are complete, they attempt to negotiate a resolution between the senior and the facility. LTC ombudsmen also advise seniors on billing disputes and applying for Medicare or Medicaid. Ombudsmen can provide information on available resources and educate the broader community about the rights of seniors in LTC communities.
Pennsylvania Health Law Project (PHLP)800-274-3258The Pennsylvania Health Law Project works with low-income individuals, including seniors and persons with disabilities, to help them access publicly funded healthcare services and ensure their rights are protected. The project can assist with issues related to managed care, Medicaid eligibility, access to Medicaid services and long-term services and supports.
Pennsylvania SeniorLAW Center Access Services877-727-7529Pennsylvania seniors requiring help with civil law matters can turn to the SeniorLAW Center for assistance. The Center can provide direct representation on some issues and information on problems with housing, exploitation or abuse of seniors, powers of attorney, wills, advanced medical directives and many consumer issues. The Center cannot help with criminal matters, divorce cases or lawsuits.
Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network717-236-9486PLAN helps low-income seniors gain access to free legal services throughout Pennsylvania. Residents can get help with age discrimination, unlawful evictions, bankruptcy and many other civil issues. Services may include legal education and court representation. To receive assistance, seniors must have an income that's 125% or lower than the poverty level.

Senior Centers

Senior centers in Pennsylvania bring together residents through recreational activities and events. Many also offer advice and support on senior issues, run wellness and nutrition programs, and connect older adults with other resources in the local area.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania Help at Home (OPTIONS)717-783-1550The Pennsylvania Options Program helps seniors 60+ in the state to obtain financial aid for their care needs, whether it's home help, Meals on Wheels or nursing home care. The senior's health and physical abilities are assessed. The program then looks at funding options to cover some or all of their care.

Senior Engagement

Senior engagement resources and programs in Pennsylvania help older adults remain active and ensure they contribute to the community. Resources include wellness programs, volunteer opportunities, support groups and organizations that help residents connect with the community to live fulfilling lives.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania East Stroudsburg University Life Long Learner877-230-5547East Stroudsburg University is keeping seniors mentally sharp and connected to the local community by allowing them to enroll in courses tuition-free. The Life Long Learner initiative has been operating in the city since 1981, and accepts legal residents of Pennsylvania aged 60+ who are not employed full-time. Program participants receive free tuition as long as they are enrolled in no more than six credits (which is typically two courses) per semester and have a non-degree status.
Pennsylvania West Chester University's Senior Citizen Program610-436-3541Located about 15 miles from Phoenixville, West Chester University offers lifelong learning opportunities for seniors. Retirees who are 60 years of age or older can sign up for tuition-free courses, as long as space is available. Possible areas of study include art history, economics and mathematics. Seniors may be responsible for other costs associated with their studies, such as textbooks.

Social Security Offices

Social Security offices in Pennsylvania help seniors and disabled people access the benefits they're entitled to. Older adults can contact their local office for information about receiving retirement benefits, disability allowance and Supplemental Security Income.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania Social SecuritySocial Security is a source of income available to retirees and people who can no longer work because of a disability. The money for Social Security comes from a payroll tax levied on employers, employees and self-employed individuals. When you retire, you'll receive monthly payments based on how much you earned when you were working.

Tax Assistance

Seniors can apply for tax assistance from several Pennsylvania resources. Elderly residents and those with disabilities could be eligible for tax exemptions on medical expenses, reductions on property tax and other tax assistance programs.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program888-222-9190The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue offers a property tax abatement for senior homeowners and tenants. The maximum rebate ranges from $250 to $650 per year for homeowners. Renters receive a rebate of $500 to $650.

Utility & Energy Bill Assistance

Low-income seniors who are struggling to meet the costs of maintaining their homes can find support from organizations that offer assistance with utility and energy bills. Pennsylvania retirees could also qualify for emergency funding programs if they're in danger of losing utility services due to unpaid invoices.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania ​Heating Assistance/Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)866-857-7095LIHEAP offers cash grants to help low-income Pennsylvania residents pay their energy bills. The program also offers crisis grants to replace broken heating equipment, prevent service disconnection and address hazardous conditions.

Veteran's Services

Pennsylvania retirees who have served in the U.S. military can find support from local veteran services. These offices and organizations help vets access the benefits they're eligible for and provide advice and information on a variety of issues.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania VA Benefits and Health CareVeterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses are eligible for services through the Pennsylvania VA Benefits and Health Care program. This agency can ensure veterans have access to all eligible benefits, services and programs. The state operates six senior living facilities for veterans that offer personal care, memory care and skilled nursing services, as well as several VA medical centers and dozens of VA health care clinics.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania assisted living communities that offer memory care services and dedicated residential memory care programs are regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. State-licensed assisted living residences and personal care homes can offer memory care services.

Scope of CareMemory care facilities and programs may only admit and retain residents with medical, behavioral and emotional needs that can be safely met at the facility. Personal care homes cannot admit residents who require the level of care normally provided in a nursing home setting. Residents who are ventilator-dependent, require 24/7 skilled nursing care or who exhibit aggressive behavior that can only be safely managed with the use of physical restraints are also excluded from admission to an assisted living residence or personal care home.
Care Plan RequirementsAssisted living residences and personal care homes must conduct comprehensive preadmission assessments, which are used to develop a personalized care plan. A second written assessment and care plan must be created within 30 days of admission, and memory care residents must have their care plan reviewed by a registered nurse or licensed physician annually.
Medication Management RequirementsALRs and PCHs can provide assistance with self-administration of prescription and over-the-counter medication if that medication has been ordered by a medical professional. Facilities can offer medication administration services if the service is provided by a licensed staff member who has the required certification and training.
Staff Screening RequirementsStaff must demonstrate the skills, knowledge and aptitude needed to provide safe, respectful care to those living with memory loss. Most facilities require that direct care staff pass a criminal record check, although this is not mandated by the state.
Staff Training RequirementsDirect care staff must complete at least 16 hours of approved training related to memory care each year, and new hires need to complete at least 8 hours of dementia-specific training within 30 days of commencing work at a memory care facility. Program administrators must complete a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education each year.
Medicaid CoveragePennsylvania's Community HealthChoices program covers the cost of memory care services for Medicaid-eligible seniors.
Reporting AbuseSuspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of a senior in a Pennsylvania memory care community must be reported to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman by calling (717) 783-8975. Situations where a senior is at immediate risk of harm must be reported to local law enforcement officials or by calling the statewide elder abuse hotline at 1-800-490-8505.

Frequently Asked Questions

Memory Care Facilities in Pennsylvania

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