In South Dakota, where approximately 17% of the population, or 152,000 people, are aged 65 and over, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are increasingly prevalent public health concerns. Alzheimer’s is the fifth leading cause of death in the state and is linked to an increased hospital readmission rate and more emergency department visits. In 2020, 18,000 seniors were living with Alzheimer’s, and by 2025, it’s projected that 20,000 people will have this disease. South Dakota has the seventh highest Alzheimer’s death rate in the nation.

In the early stages of dementia, many seniors prefer to remain in their own home or in the home of a family member. However, as the disease progresses, this may no longer be a safe or practical option. Memory care provides around-the-clock monitoring and personal care services, enabling seniors to live in an environment that maximizes their independence and privacy while ensuring that they receive prompt, specialized 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 provides an outline of memory care costs throughout South Dakota and how they compare to costs in surrounding states. It also summarizes the financial assistance programs that are available to qualifying seniors, along with an overview of free and low-cost resources, information about memory care regulations and answers to frequently asked questions.

The Cost of Memory Care in South Dakota

In South Dakota, memory care is provided in memory care units, which are located within assisted living centers. These units have specially designed environments that maximize residents’ ability to function as safely and independently as possible. They also have special security features to prevent residents from wandering, and staff has additional training to meet the unique needs of those with memory-related diseases. Because of the additional requirements that memory care facilities must meet, monthly costs are typically 20-30% higher than standard assisted living. The following memory care prices are based on Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey with a 25% increase to account for the price difference.

Memory Care Costs in Nearby States

On average, memory care in South Dakota costs $4,375 per month, which is nearly $700 cheaper than the national average of $5,064. It’s among the most cost-effective states in the region for this type of care, with only North Dakota featuring lower memory support fees at $4,256 per month. In Wyoming, Minnesota and Nebraska, care is a little more costly at $4,725, $4,750 and $4,774, respectively.


South Dakota


The United States


North Dakota







Cost of Other Types of Care in South Dakota

With monthly costs averaging $4,375, memory care is a moderately priced senior care option in South Dakota. Assisted living, which offers personal care, meals and activities in a community residential setting, is $875 less per month at $3,500. The most expensive senior care option is nursing home care, which is $6,844 per month for a semi-private room.

For clients who wish to remain in their own home, memory services are considerably more costly. Non-medical in-home care and skilled home health care cost almost $1,000 more than memory care at $5,339 per month and don’t include around-the-clock monitoring, meals and lodging. Adult day care centers may have special programming for individuals with Alzheimer’s and typically cost $2,427, making them the most affordable senior care option in the state.


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Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Memory Care in South Dakota’s Top Cities

Comparing Costs Across South Dakota

While South Dakota is a generally affordable state for memory care, costs across the state vary by over $700. Of the two major cities surveyed, Sioux Falls is the cheapest at $4,195 per month for memory support. Rapid City is the pricier option at $4,935 per month, but it is still affordable compared to the national average. Across state lines, seniors find affordable care in Bismarck, North Dakota, where monthly costs average $4,256. In the Mankato Area in Minnesota, care is slightly higher at $4,305 per month. In Casper, Wyoming, the cost of care surpasses the national average at $5,531.


Rapid City


Sioux Falls


Bismarck, ND


Casper, WY


Mankato Area, MN

Financial Assistance for Memory Care in South Dakota

Home & Community-Based Options and Person Centered Excellence (Hope) Waiver

Medicaid covers memory care through the HOPE waiver for those who are at risk of nursing home placement. Some services that this waiver covers include transition coordination, non-medical personal care and assistance, adult day services, chore services, emergency response systems, meals, homemaker and laundry services, medical supplies and respite. The services that a participant receives is based on a needs assessment.

Who Is Eligible?
Applicants must be at least 65 years old or over 18 with a qualifying disability, and they must need nursing facility level of care. They must need at least one waiver service at least once monthly, and they must meet Medicaid’s income and asset guidelines.

How to Apply
To apply for this waiver, seniors should contact their local Long Term Services and Support office.

Optional State Supplement

South Dakota adds money to the federal SSI benefit via the optional state supplement. For those who live in a memory care facility, a state standard is established from which the federal SSI payment and countable income are deducted from. The remaining amount is paid to the beneficiary. This cash benefit can be used at the beneficiary’s discretion for living expenses, including memory support services.

Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible, seniors must meet SSI’s income and asset guidelines as determined by the Social Security Administration.

How to Apply
Those who reside in a memory care facility should apply for this benefit at their local Department of Social Services office.

Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in South Dakota

South Dakota seniors and families who are affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia have access to a variety of statewide resources. The following organizations provide free or low-cost services to help individuals research long-term care options, financial assistance and supportive programs.

Alzheimer’s Association – South Dakota Chapter

800-272-3900The South Dakota Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is a valuable source of information and support for seniors and families who are affected by Alzheimer’s. Its statewide office offers an array of programs and services, including a 24-hour helpline, care consultations, support groups and early-stage social engagement programs. It also has free online tools to help members find community resources, learn more about this disease or plan for long-term care.
South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care and the Music & Memory Program

605-336-3505SDFMC implements the national Music & Memory program in nearly five dozen facilities across the state. This program uses personalized music playlists to help individuals engage with the world. Ongoing research shows that this program enhances participants’ happiness and engagement, promotes a calm environment and helps with behavioral management issues.
South Dakota Caregiver Program

605-773-5990The Caregiver Program is funded through the Older Americans Act and provides an range of services to informal caregivers age 18 and over who provide care for anyone with Alzheimer’s or a related disease. Some services available through the program include information about long-term services and support, respite care, assistance with accessing available services and supplemental services on a limited basis.
Dakota At Home

833-663-9673Dakota at Home is a free information and referral service that provides options counseling for seniors and families seeking long-term care services and supports. Assistance is given over the phone or via the online referral service.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

866-854-5465The Ombudsman Program advocates on behalf of and protects the rights and interests of those who live in long-term care facilities. While ombudsmen don’t regulate assisted living and memory care facilities, they work with residents and families to resolve concerns and complaints. They also field reports of senior abuse, neglect or exploitation.
Senior Health Information and Insurance Education

Eastern South Dakota: 605-333-3314Central South Dakota: 605-494-0219Western South Dakota: 605-342-8635SHIINE provides options counseling for seniors and families seeking information regarding Medicare, Medicaid and other senior health insurance options. Counselors provide assistance with comparing Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans, long-term care insurance and other senior health insurance options. All counseling is free, unbiased and confidential.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in South Dakota

In South Dakota, memory support services are generally provided in assisted living centers in memory care units. The South Dakota Department of Health regulates assisted living centers and enforces various laws regarding aspects such as scope of care, staff hiring and training, medication management and care planning.

Scope of CareMemory care facilities provide assistance with daily living activities, medication management, infection control, as well as housing, three daily meals and housekeeping and laundry services. They must also provide specialized programming and secured indoor and outdoor areas to meet the needs of those with dementia.
Care PlansMemory care facilities are required to create personalized written care plans for residents to ensure safe and effective care from the day of admission. Care plans must be provided upon admission, 30 days after admission and at least annually and should address personal care, as well as the resident’s medical, dietary, emotional, physical and cognitive needs.
Medication ManagementA pharmacist must review the drug regimens of all memory care residents who are on prescription medications. Medications must be stored in a locked storage area in their original containers. Medications can be administered by registered nurses or unlicensed personnel who have completed resident-specific medication administration training. Residents who have the cognitive ability to self-administer medications, including insulin injections, may do so, and they may store medications in their rooms. A physician, physician’s assistance or nurse practitioner must evaluate their ability to self-administer medications as least quarterly.
StaffingSouth Dakota doesn’t have minimum staffing ratios, but facilities must have enough qualified staff members to provide safe and effective care at all times. Facilities are prohibited from hiring individuals who have been convicted of abusing another person. All staff members must complete a formal orientation program within 30 days of their hire date and an ongoing education program annually. Topics that the training should cover include nutritional and hydration needs of residents, accident prevention, infection control, problem solving techniques for residents with cognitive impairments and resident rights. Any staff members who work in memory care units must have specific training regarding the unique needs of residents in that unit. At least one caregiver must be on duty at all times. The facility must have a plan for increasing staffing during times of resident illnesses.
Medicaid CoverageMedicaid covers memory care through the HOPE waiver, which is a Home and Community Based Services program. Applicants are subject to the waiver’s income, asset and residency guidelines.
Reporting AbuseMemory care facilities are required to have a grievance process that enabled residents to file complaints verbally or in writing regarding care or lack of care, the behavior of other residents and infringement of the resident’s right. Complaints may also be filed with the state’s Long Term Care Ombudsman office by calling 866-854-5465.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does memory care cost in South Dakota?

In South Dakota, memory care costs $4,375 per month on average, with costs across the state’s major cities ranging from $4,195 and $4,935. Exact cost depends on factors such as a region’s cost of living and the facility’s pricing structure.

Are there financial assistance programs for memory care in South Dakota?

South Dakota’s Medicaid program covers memory care through its HOPE waiver. This waiver covers lodging, meals, personal care, housekeeping and other services, depending on the individual’s needs. Applicants must be residents of South Dakota and eligible for Medicaid to qualify for this waiver.

What are activities of daily living?

Activities of daily living, or ADLs, are tasks that a person must complete routinely to maintain personal care and physical functioning. These activities include transferring, mobility, dressing, grooming, toileting, bathing and eating.

What are the differences between memory care and assisted living?

Assisted living provides lodging, meals, housekeeping and personal care services for seniors who need help with daily living activities. Memory care, which is generally provided in dedicated secured wings of assisted living facilities, offers these services along with specialized care for those with dementia.

What security features are present in memory care facilities?

Memory care facilities keep residents safe and prevent wandering with security features such as a single point of entry that is monitored around the clock, surveillance cameras and wearable wandering safety devices.

Memory Care Facilities in South Dakota (2)