As of 2020, Alzheimer’s disease is ranked as the 6th-leading cause of death in the United States, and more than 5 million Americans are currently living with a diagnosis of dementia. In Rhode Island, Alzheimer’s is the 5th leading cause of death, and the number of Rhodians living with Alzheimer’s is expected to rise from 24,000 to 27,000 by the year 2025.

While there’s no known cure for dementia, there are a number of treatments that can help slow the progression of symptoms and improve day-to-day life for those living with memory loss. In Rhode Island, there are a number of specialized residential memory care programs that offer support, care and therapeutic activities.

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 offers an overview of residential memory care services in Rhode Island, including the costs and information on programs to help cover memory care expenses. There’s also an overview of the state regulations around memory care, links to free and low-cost resources for seniors and their families, and answers to many of the most commonly-asked questions about memory care facilities in Rhode Island.

The Cost of Memory Care in Rhode Island

Memory care costs tend to be about 20-30% higher than assisted living costs due to the additional staffing, extra programming and specialized security features designed to keep residents safe. We’ve calculated the cost of residential memory care in Rhode Island by adding 25% to the assisted living costs in Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey. Based on these calculations, memory care throughout Rhode Island costs an average of $6,499 per month, which is notably higher than the national average of $5,064.

Memory Care Costs in Nearby States

At an average monthly cost of $6,499, the cost of memory care in Rhode Island is $1,435 above the national average of $5,064. Long-term care costs throughout New England are relatively high, ranging from a low of $6,461 for residential memory care services in Maine up to a high of $8,776 for comparable services in New Hampshire. Just north of Rhode Island, memory care costs an average of $7,050 per month in Massachusetts, while costs are somewhat lower to the west in Connecticut at $6,100 per month.

$6499

Rhode Island

$5064

United States

$7050

Massachusetts

$6100

Connecticut

$8776

New Hampshire

$6461

Maine

Cost of Other Types of Care in Rhode Island

Residential memory care is just one of the many types of long-term care available in Rhode Island. Seniors who can safely remain in their own homes with support can expect to pay an average of $5,148 per month for 44 hours of weekly care from either a homemaker or home health aide, while adult day health services, also known as adult day care, costs an average of $1,771 per month. Assisted living costs average $5,199, while a semiprivate room in a skilled nursing facility costs an average of $9,961 per month.

$6499

Memory Care

$5148

In-Home Care

$5184

Home Health Care

$1771

Adult Day Care

$5199

Assisted Living Facility

$9961

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Memory Care in Rhode Island’s Top Cities

Comparing Costs Across Rhode Island

With a population of just over one million, Rhode Island is a relatively small state with only one city, Providence, listed on Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey. According to the survey, average monthly memory care costs in Providence are $6,499, which is the same as the statewide average. For comparison, we’ve included the average memory care costs from a number of cities in neighboring states such as Norwich, CT ($5,309), New Haven, CT ($4,688), Barnstable Town, MA ($6,938), and Boston, MA ($8,053).

$6499

Providence

$5309

Norwich, CT

$4688

New Haven, CT

$6938

Barnstable Town, MA

$8053

Boston, MA

Financial Assistance for Memory Care in Rhode Island

Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver

Rhode Island’s Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver is a comprehensive waiver that covers a wide range of services for Medicaid-eligible seniors and adults with disabilities. Services are assigned on a case-by-case basis, and may include case management, residential care in a specialized facility and skilled nursing care. The waiver does not cover room and board costs.

Who is Eligible
To qualify for benefits through the Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver, applicants must meet the financial criteria for Medicaid coverage and be assessed as needing one or more services provided through the waiver.

How to Apply
To apply, contact the Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging at 401-462-3000.

VA Special Monthly Pension

The VA offers two special monthly pension programs that provide eligible recipients with a higher monthly benefit than the regular VA pension. These special pensions, known as Aid and Attendance, and Housebound, provide cash benefits that beneficiaries can use towards the cost of memory care services.

Who is Eligible?
To qualify for either special pension, applicants must be eligible for the regular VA pension.

For Housebound, applicants must also have a disability rated at 100% that leaves them largely housebound, or have at least one disability rated at 100%, and one or more additional disabilities rated at 60% or greater.

For Aid and Attendance, applicants must live in a nursing home; be legally blind; be bedridden; or be dependent on another person to perform at least one activity of daily living such as bathing, grooming or getting dressed.

How to Apply
To apply for either Aid and Attendance or Housebound, contact the nearest VA location or the State of Rhode Island’s Office of Veterans Services at 401-921-2119.

Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in Rhode Island

In addition to Medicaid-funded memory care services, there are a number of free and low-cost resources available to those living with memory loss, their families and caregivers. These resources are offered by a number of government agencies and non-profit organizations, and include legal information, caregiver support groups and case management services.

ResourceContactServices Provided
Alzheimer’s Association Rhode Island Chapter

1-800-272-3900The Alzheimer’s Association is a nationwide non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of dementia research, treatments and support programs. The Rhode Island Chapter operates a number of in-person and online support groups and caregiver training sessions as well as one-on-one case management services.
Rhode Island Legal Services

1-800-662-5034Rhode Island Legal Services provides legal information, advice and representation to low-income seniors who need help with non-criminal matters. The organization can assist with issues related to health insurance, Social Security benefits, elder abuse, neglect, guardianship and estate planning.
Office of Healthy Aging

1-401-462-3000The Office of Healthy Aging is Rhode Island’s designated state unit on aging. The Office works to support healthy aging by advocating for state and federal funding of programs for seniors, administrating a number of services geared towards older adults, and maintaining regional information and referral services through a network of six Point offices.
Rhode Island Long-Term Care Ombudsman

1-888-351-0808

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman works to protect the rights of long-term care residents statewide. Anyone can contact the Ombudsman with concerns around living conditions and care in a long-term care facility, including memory care units.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center

401-444-6440Located at Rhode Island Hospital, the Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center provides a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for those living with memory loss. Patients are provided with a comprehensive care plan as well as support accessing local services, and the Center’s services are covered under many health insurance plans. The Center also offers free monthly lectures that are open to the public.

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 licence, 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.

Scope of CareFacilities 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 RequirementsA 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 RequirementsRegistered 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 RequirementsFacility 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 RequirementsOnce 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 CoverageRhode Island’s Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver program covers some care costs for eligible seniors who require memory care services.
Reporting AbuseAny 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.