With an estimated 5.8 million Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, memory loss is emerging as a serious health crisis nationwide. In Pennsylvania, Alzheimer’s rates are expected to rise 14.3% between 2018 and 2025. Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in Pennsylvania, and in 2015, 4,012 state residents died from the disease.

While there’s currently no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, there are a number of treatments and therapies that can help improve the quality of life for those living with memory loss. Pennsylvania memory care programs provide memory loss patients with 24/7 specialized care and support in a safe, secure setting staffed by caregivers who have additional training in dementia care.

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 covers the cost of memory care in Pennsylvania and nearby states, as well as the cost of other types of senior care services. There’s also information on programs to help seniors cover memory care costs, and links to free and low-cost resources for seniors and their families who are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of progressive-degenerative memory loss issues.

The Cost of Memory Care in Pennsylvania

In most states, memory care costs are approximately 20-30% higher than assisted living costs, and slightly lower than the cost of nursing home care. Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey shows that the average monthly cost of assisted living in Pennsylvania is $3,913, and adding a 25% increase puts the statewide average cost of residential memory care services at $4,891 per month.

Memory Care Costs in Nearby States

At an average of $4,891 per month, memory care costs in Pennsylvania are below the national average of $5,064 per month. Average costs in neighboring states are higher, and range from $5,375 in Maryland up to $8,000 in New Jersey.

$4891

Pennsylvania

$5064

National

$5788

New York

$5424

Ohio

$5375

Maryland

$8000

New Jersey

Costs of Other Types of Care in Pennsylvania

Seniors in Pennsylvania have a number of options when it comes to long-term care. Adult day health care, which includes programming in a communal setting during regular business hours, is the lowest-priced option at an average of $1,457 per month. Assisted living care costs $3,913 per month, while 44 hours of in-home care costs $4,385 for a homemaker, and $4,481 for a home health aide. As with most other states, nursing homes offer the costliest type of senior care at $9,733 per month.

$4891

Memory Care

$1457

Adult Day Health Care

$3913

Assisted Living

$4385

In-Home Care

$4481

Home Health Care

$9733

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Memory Care in Pennsylvania’s Top Cities

Although the statewide average cost of memory care in Pennsylvania is $4,891, actual costs vary depending on the location. Memory care costs vary throughout the state and range from a low of $3,183 in Scranton up to $6,188 in Harrisburg. Costs in Philadelphia ($6,094), Altoona ($5,560) and York ($6,000) are also significantly higher than the state average, while memory care costs are much more affordable in Johnstown ($3,674), Erie ($4,423) and East Stroudsburg ($4,750).

$3183

Scranton

$3674

Johnstown

$4423

Erie

$4750

East Stroudsburg

$5560

Altoona

$6000

York

$6094

Philadelphia

$6188

Harrisburg

Financial Assistance for Memory Care in Pennsylvania

Community HealthChoices

Community HealthChoices is Pennsylvania Medicaid’s mandatory managed care waiver program. The program provides long-term support services, including residential care, to Medicaid-eligible seniors who meet the criteria for nursing home placement. Benefits include services delivered in a memory care program, such as assistance with activities of daily living and recreational and social programming, along with essential medical supplies including mobility devices.

CHC does not cover the room and board portion of memory care costs.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for enrollment in CHC, seniors aged 65 and older must meet the financial criteria for Medicaid coverage and be assessed as needing the level of care normally provided in a nursing home setting.

How to Apply
To apply for CHC, contact the PA CHC Helpline at 1-844-824-3655.

Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in Pennsylvania

There are a number of free and low-cost memory care resources available to Pennsylvania seniors and their families. These resources include peer support groups, legal advice and representation, health insurance information and counseling and help locating long-term care services.

ContactServices Provided
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program(717) 783-8975As part of the Department of Aging, Aging Services Division, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program works to resolve complaints and allegations of abuse related to long-term care settings throughout the state. Residents, family members and caregivers can contact the Ombudsman’s office to report concerns related to residential memory care communities in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania SeniorLAW Center(877) 727-7529The Pennsylvania SeniorLAW Center provides free and low-cost legal services to low-income seniors aged 60 and older. The nonprofit organization operates a number of legal access programs for seniors, including neighborhood legal clinics and direct representation for civil matters, such as health insurance, housing and elder abuse.
Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Pennsylvania Chapter(800) 272-3900The Alzheimer’s Association is a nationwide not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing research, funding and services for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The Greater Pennsylvania chapter offers free support, information and advocacy services in 59 counties in the state through six regional offices.
Area Agencies on AgingContact the nearest AAASeniors, family members and caregivers can access free information about local long-term care resources and support programs by contacting their regional Area Agency on Aging.
PACE Prescription Assistance ProgramApply online or call 1-800-225-7223Low-income seniors aged 65 and older who need help covering their prescription medication costs can apply to the PACE Prescription Assistance Program.

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

How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Pennsylvania?

The average cost of residential memory care in Pennsylvania is $4,891 per month, although actual costs vary depending on a facility’s location, amenities and services. Average monthly memory care costs are highest in Harrisburg at $6,188, and lowest in Scranton at $3,183.

Does Pennsylvania Medicaid Pay for Memory Care?

Pennsylvania’s state Medicaid plan will cover care costs for beneficiaries who need specialized residential care services due to a progressive-degenerative memory condition, such as Alzheimer’s disease, through Community HealthChoices, a Medicaid managed care program. Medicaid does not pay the associated room and board costs.

What Is the Difference Between Memory Care and Assisted Living?

Memory care and assisted living differ in that assisted living communities are designed for seniors who are largely free of any major cognitive issues, such as dementia, while memory care programs are geared towards those diagnosed with dementia. Memory care programs offer a higher staff-to-resident ratio, structured daily programming and an environment that’s designed to prevent dementia-related wandering, confusion and agitation.

What Security Features Are Present in Memory Care Facilities?

Memory care facilities have specialized security features designed to minimize wandering among residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. These features often include delayed-egress fixtures, digital locks on exterior doors, interior and exterior security cameras and motion sensors. Many communities offer fully enclosed outdoor areas, such as courtyards, and some facilities are equipped with WanderGuard, a discrete, wireless monitoring system that allows caregivers to track the whereabouts of each resident. All memory care facilities in Pennsylvania must have 24/7 awake staff on-site.

What Types of Facilities Offer Memory Care?

Memory care services may be offered as part of an assisted living community, within a nursing home, or as a stand-alone community. When memory care is provided in a community with multiple levels of care, the memory care program is usually delivered in a separate wing or on a specific floor that’s designed to meet the unique needs of those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.