Rhode Island has a population that’s just slightly older than average for the country, with an estimated 17.7% of the population aged 65 or over. Even so, the impact of Alzheimer’s disease in the state has been relatively high. In 2019, there were 456 deaths attributed to the disease, and it ranked fifth in leading causes of death for Rhode Island residents.

Although the state has a generally high cost of living, Rhode Island’s average health cost is 19.9% lower than the U.S. average. Short-term hospital care is often required for people with Alzheimer’s, due to a fall or accident, but shouldn’t be considered an alternative to the types of services and living environments of memory care programs. These specialized programs are relatively expensive, however, with an average cost of $8,533 for memory care in Rhode Island.

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 gives seniors and families an overview of memory care costs in Rhode Island and the wider region, as well as an explanation of the state’s financial assistance and other resources.

The Cost of Memory Care in Rhode Island

Note: Memory care services and programs are generally provided by assisted living facilities, with expected additional costs of up to 20-30% of the usual rate. As such, we’ve compared costs by adding 25% to the assisted living data in Genworth Financial’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey.

Rhode Island’s monthly average cost for memory care is $8,533, which is almost $3,000 higher than the U.S. average. Prices are similarly high in some nearby states, with Massachusetts offering little relief at $8,125 per month. New Hampshire residents save approximately $1,000 per month in memory care fees compared to Rhode Island. Connecticut and New York have the lowest average costs, with a considerable gap of around $2,100 to $2,800 per month between the cost in Rhode Island.

$8533

Rhode Island

$5625

The United States

$8125

Massachusetts

$7566

New Hampshire

$6411

Connecticut

$5725

New York

Due to a general lack of data in the region, we can only compare memory care costs in Providence to those found in other nearby states. The average is much lower in Connecticut’s closest surveyed cities, with costs of $5,375 and $6,531 in Norwich and Hartford, respectively. New York City and Worcester, Massachusetts, are similarly priced, with average savings of $391 and $472 per month when compared to Providence.

$7579

Providence

$5375

Norwich, CT

$6531

Hartford, CT

$7106

Worcester, MA

$7188

New York, NY

Near the top of the list in terms of cost, the monthly average of $8,533 for memory care is below only the state’s nursing homes, at an average of $9,429 per month for a semiprivate room and $10,038 for a private room. Assisted living in Rhode Island costs less than memory care, with average savings of around $1,700 per month. Home care services may be suitable in the early stage of Alzheimer’s, averaging $5,720 per month for unskilled care and $5,958 for light medical care. Adult day care services have the lowest cost, at $1,798 per month, but are also the least suitable care for a person with Alzheimer’s or other cognitive issues.

$8533

Memory Care

$5720

Home Care

$5958

Home Health Care

$1798

Adult Day Health Care

$6826

Assisted Living Facility

$9429

Nursing Home (semiprivate)

$10038

Nursing Home (private)

Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in Rhode Island?

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 Rhode Island.

Yes, some low-income residents may be eligible for at least partial coverage of memory care services received in licensed facilities via Medicaid in Rhode Island. This type of personal care and supervision in a residential setting is provided as one of many Medicaid Long-Term Services and Supports that may be granted upon approval.

Applicants for LTSS must be eligible for Medicaid, financially and otherwise, while also meeting certain functional/clinical requirements that can only be determined during the initial and follow-up assessments. Further details on eligibility and where to find help are provided below.

What Memory Care Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Rhode Island

Some or all of the services listed below may be provided at no cost to residents of approved assisted living and memory care facilities in Rhode Island. Room-and-board costs aren’t covered by Medicaid.

  • Assisted living/personal care
  • Homemaker/housekeeping
  • Medical equipment and supplies
  • Case management
  • Environmental modifications/minor home modifications
  • Personal Emergency Response System

Coverage of many services is determined for each person based on their needs, including financial, functional and medical requirements. A case manager or memory care facility staff can help with the process.

How to Know if You’re Eligible for Medicaid in Rhode Island

Medicaid is available to low-income residents in various eligibility groups, including the elderly and people with disabilities. Coverage for assisted living and memory care services, however, requires additional approval for Medicaid Long-Term Services and Supports. As such, the eligibility overview below is designed for seniors and people with disabilities, and these details are relevant to memory care coverage in particular.

The maximum allowable income for an individual is equal to 300% of the current SSI Federal Benefit Rate. As of 2022, this adds up to a maximum income of $2,523 per month or $30,276 per year for an individual. Virtually all sources of income are considered in the financial eligibility process. Many assets don’t count toward the limit of $4,000 per person, however, such as a vehicle, household goods and the home/property itself if it’s occupied by family.

Income Limits*

Asset Limits

Single Applicant

$30,276

$4,000

Two-Person Household (Only One Person Applying)

$30,276

$4,000 (spouse w/o coverage can keep up to $137,400)

Two-Person Household (Both People Applying)

$60,552

$8,000

*Per year

In addition to the financial criteria, the following requirements must be met by applicants for Long-Term Services and Supports coverage from Medicaid.

  • Aged 65 or blind/disabled (as defined by Social Security)
  • Documented need for the level of care provided (help with functional activities, for example)
  • Rhode Island resident and United States citizen or satisfactory immigration status

Applicants are assessed as to their medical diagnosis and treatments, cognitive status and functional ability. Memory loss and other issues related to Alzheimer’s are reported in the assessment, as well as the individual’s expected daily care needs in their home, a memory care program or other long-term care. The level of care assessment must be performed by a licensed health care provider, which will be arranged soon after a request for LTSS is made.

How to Apply for Medicaid in Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s official health coverage marketplace, HealthSource RI, accepts online applications for Medicaid. The website has a helpful process of checking eligibility for various programs automatically, and telephone or in-person support is also available.

Alternatively, applications can be submitted to the regional offices of the Department of Human Services. The statewide DHS Call Center can be reached at (855) 697-4347.

Information You Will Need

Applicants may be asked to verify certain information as their request makes its way through the system. The following is a broad list of information that may be in question at some point.

  • Valid identification and Social Security number
  • Proof of state residency (for example, utility bill for an address in Rhode Island)
  • Financial records that include assets, income and expenses
  • Details of any current health care coverage, life and other insurance policies

Seniors who are currently receiving other types of public assistance, or have in the past, may not need to provide as many supporting documents if the necessary information can be retrieved.

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid

There is help available for each step of the application process, including before and after, from the free programs and agencies listed below. Seniors and families can ask questions and get one-on-one options counseling to help determine a care plan that best fits the situation for each individual.

Program

Contact

Services Provided

Visit the website for local in-person assistance or call HealthSource RI at (855) 840-4774

HealthSource RI is the official health insurance coverage marketplace for Rhode Island. Help is available with Medicaid, and if the individual doesn't qualify, staff try to find an affordable plan. In-person assistance is available in several locations, with details and contacts listed on the website.

Call (401) 462-4444 or find a local office via the website

The Office of Healthy Aging is a useful source of information and assistance for people aged 55 and over. The helpline is open 24/7 to answer questions about health care, public benefits, private programs and other aging-related concerns. Residents can also find help in person at local offices.

Call the statewide helpline at (855) 697-4347 or find a local office via the website

The Department of Human Services is responsible for the state Medicaid program and should be contacted for help understanding the requirements and completing the application. This statewide call center can provide answers and solutions to some issues over the phone, and in-person assistance is available at local offices.

Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in Rhode Island?

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

Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care in Rhode Island

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 towards 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 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) 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 a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Rhode Island

The agencies and organizations listed here provide assistance to Rhode Island seniors, people with disabilities and those who care for them. Helpful services may be delivered in the home, community or long-term care facility at no cost to eligible residents, and many issues can be handled over the phone.

Program

Contact

Services Provided

Call the OHA at (401) 462-3000 or learn more via the website

The Rhode Island OHA helps seniors and people with disabilities through its various programs that include housing and in-home care, legal assistance, transportation and other issues relating to long-term care and the aging population.

Call (401) 462-6393 to discuss the program

The NHTP is an initiative of the Health and Human Services Department that helps current nursing home residents who are moving back to their homes or other community-based settings, such as memory care programs and assisted living.

(401) 434-1400

PACE is a method of care for people who need daily care, transportation and other services but can still live in their own homes. Residents with Alzheimer's and other cognitive issues can still participate in PACE and receive specialized care. Membership in the program can continue to provide support and coverage of various transition services when or if the individual needs to relocate from home to a memory care facility.

Find information and tools via the website or call (401) 435-8888

RIALA is a nonprofit membership organization comprised mostly of professionals in the assisted living sector. The website can be a great source of information for anyone else interested in learning more about assisted living, such as how it works, how it's paid for and which particular facilities accept public funding sources.

Call the home delivery department at (401) 351-6700 or apply via the website

Seniors with Alzheimer's may be eligible for weekday home deliveries from Meals on Wheels. This may be particularly useful as a short-term solution while a plan is developed for memory care in the future.

Find information and contact a local center via the website

There are dozens of community centers throughout Rhode Island that provide services and other resources for seniors. As well as being a place to socialize and eat lunch, these centers have staff who can help visitors understand the local options for long-term care and public assistance programs.

(401) 921-2119

This organization assists veterans and their families by connecting them with services at the local level and helps coordinate services from a large network of providers. Direct services include housing, medical and legal assistance, transportation and access to benefits and pensions.

COVID-19 Rules for Memory Care in Rhode Island

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including health.ri.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 Rhode Island Communities

Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are relatives allowed to visit for end-of-life care?

Yes

Are residents required to quarantine after visiting with a loved one?

No

Are visitors required to wear PPE (including masks) in order to visit residents?

Yes

Are non-medical contractors (such as hairdressers and entertainers) allowed in senior living facilities?

Yes

Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are visitors required to answer questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?

Yes

Outings & Social Activities

Rules for Rhode Island Communities

Are residents allowed to leave (errands, visiting family, etc.) for non-medical reasons?

Yes

Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?

No

Are residents allowed to eat meals together in a common area?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are residents allowed to gather in common areas for group activites?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for Rhode Island Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?

Yes

Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?

Not Available*

Are staff members members regularly required to do a health and safety screening, including questions about travel, contact with positive cases, etc?

Yes

Are residents regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms?

Not Available*

Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?

Not Available*

Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?

Not Available*

*Note: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, all long-term care facilities are inspected annually, licensed and regulated by the state’s Department of Health, Center for Health Facilities Regulation. Memory care is provided in assisted living facilities, and those facilities must hold an F1-M1 license, which means residents require assistance in an emergency situation, and the facility provides medication storage and medication administration. Facilities that advertise dementia care services and/or house one or more residents with dementia-related functional impairments must also have a special dementia care license.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Rhode Island

Scope of Care

Facilities that hold a dementia care license may be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of progressive-degenerative dementia. Residents who require skilled nursing care for 45 days or longer; who are bedridden; and/or who pose a threat to themselves or others may not be admitted to, or retained by, an assisted living or memory care facility.

Care Plan Requirements

A registered nurse must complete a comprehensive Assisted Living Resident Assessment prior to admission to determine placement suitability. Once the resident is admitted, the assessment is used to develop an individualized care plan which is reviewed on a regular basis, or whenever the resident displays a significant change in behavior or physical health.

Medication Management Requirements

Registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and staff who have successfully passed the four-hour medication administration training and exam who work in M1 licensed facilities that offer memory care services may administer most oral and topical medications. Only licensed medical staff may administer controlled substances such as prescription narcotics.

Staff Screening Requirements

Facility administrators are responsible for the screening and hiring of direct care staff, and they may opt to include a criminal background check as part of that screening process.

Staff Training Requirements

Once hired, staff assigned to work in a dementia care program must complete a minimum of 12 hours of workplace orientation and training related to dementia care. All dementia care units must have at least one registered nurse either on-site or on-call at all times.

Medicaid Coverage

Rhode Island’s Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver program covers some care costs for eligible seniors who require memory care services.

Reporting Abuse

Any individual who witnesses or suspects the neglect or abuse of a vulnerable adult, including memory care residents aged 60 and older, must report their concerns to the Director of the Department of Elderly Affairs, Protective Services Unit at 1-401-462-0555.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Rhode Island Medicaid pay for memory care? How much does memory care cost in Rhode Island?

The statewide average cost of residential memory care services in Rhode Island is $6,499. Actual costs may be higher or lower than the state average depending on the facility, location and additional amenities and services.

Does Rhode Island Medicaid pay for memory care?

Yes. The Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver is a Medicaid waiver that includes coverage for memory care services, although participants are responsible for the room and board portion of their memory care costs.

What security features are present in memory care facilities?

Over half of those diagnosed with dementia experience wandering. In order to help keep residents safe, memory care facilities or units often have a number of security features such as fully enclosed courtyards, delayed-egress exit doors, security cameras and motion sensors. Some facilities also use a wireless, wearable tracking system called WanderGuard which lets caregivers track the exact location of each resident in a way that’s discrete and non-invasive.

What are activities of daily living?

Bathing, getting dressed and using the toilet are activities of daily living. Also known as ADLs, these are the activities everyone needs to perform on a daily basis in order to maintain basic personal hygiene and wellness. Many people who live with memory loss need help with one or more ADLs.

What is the difference between memory care and assisted living?

Memory care services are designed to address the unique needs of those living with memory loss, while assisted living is geared towards seniors who are relatively free of any major medical issues such as dementia. In a memory care facility, there’s a significantly higher staff-to-resident ratio than what is usually offered in assisted living. Memory care facilities also offer structured therapeutic programming and extra safety features, while assisted living residents are generally free to spend their time however they’d like.