Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of progressive-degenerative dementia impact more than 5.4 million Americans, and Alzheimer’s is the 6th-leading cause of death nationwide. Between 1999 and 2014, Alzheimer’s-related deaths increased by 54.5% in the U.S., but dementia-related deaths more than doubled in Tennessee over the same time period. Alzheimer’s disease is also the single-most expensive disease to manage, with care costs projected to reach over $1 trillion dollars by 2050. Thankfully, there are now a number of licensed residential memory care programs throughout Tennessee where dementia patients receive safe, supportive 24/7 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 Tennessee and nearby states, as well as the costs of other types of long-term care. There’s information on financial assistance programs for memory care services in Tennessee, and links to free and low-cost memory care resources for seniors, caregivers and family members. We’ve also summarized the rules and regulations around memory care in Tennessee, and answered some of the most common questions people have about memory care facilities and services.

The Cost of Memory Care in Tennessee

In general, residential memory care services cost about 20-30% more than assisted living costs. Given that memory care cost data isn’t available, we’ve calculated the cost of memory care in Tennessee by adding 25% to the average cost of assisted living care shown in Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey. Based on these calculations, the average cost of memory care in Tennessee is $4,875 per month, which is below the national average of $5,064.

Memory Care Costs in Nearby States

With the exception of North Carolina where memory care costs an average of $5,000 per month, memory care costs in all states neighboring Tennessee are lower than the cost of memory care in The Volunteer State. To the south, memory care costs $4,063 in Alabama, while the average cost of memory care in Arkansas is $3,969 and $4,371 in Kentucky.

$4875

Tennessee

$5064

United States Average

$5000

North Carolina

$4063

Alabama

$3969

Arkansas

$4371

Kentucky

Cost of Other Types of Care in Tennessee

In addition to memory care, Tennessee seniors who need long-term care services have a number of options to choose from. As is typical in most states, adult day health care is the least-expensive option at a monthly average cost of $1,495, while care costs are highest for nursing home care at $6,836 per month. For 44 hours of weekly in-home care, seniors pay an average of $3,813 for homemaker services, and $3,892 for a home health aide, while assisted living costs average $3,900 per month.

$4875

Memory Care

$3813

In-Home Care

$3892

Home Health Care

$1495

Adult Day Care

$3900

Assisted Living Facility

$6836

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Memory Care in Tennessee’s Top Cities

While the statewide average cost of memory care is $4,875, actual costs may be higher or lower than the state average. Costs are highest in the southeastern area of the state in Cleveland, where memory care averages $5,525 per month. Costs are much lower in Knoxville at $4,531, in Clarksville at $4,154 and lowest in Chattanooga at $4,031 per month. Seniors can expect to pay about $5,188 monthly for residential memory care in Nashville, and $5,141 in Memphis, located in the southwestern corner of the state.

$5525

Cleveland

$4031

Chattanooga

$4531

Knoxville

$4154

Clarksville

$5188

Nashville

$5141

Memphis

Financial Assistance for Memory Care in Tennessee

TennCare CHOICES in Long-Term Services and Supports

Tennessee seniors who are Medicaid-eligible, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, and require 24 hour memory care services may be eligible for enrollment in the TennCare CHOICES in Long-Term Services and Supports program. This Medicaid home and community-based waiver program provides a wide range of medical and non-medical services in order to slow the progression of dementia symptoms and delay or prevent nursing home placement, although the program does fund nursing home care.

Who is Eligible?
To qualify for enrollment in the TennCare CHOICES program, seniors must be aged 65 or older, meet the financial criteria for Medicaid enrollment, and require the level of care normally delivered in a nursing home setting.

How to Apply
To apply for enrollment in TennCare CHOICES, seniors should contact their nearest Area Agency on Aging and Disability.

VA Enhanced Pension Program

The VA Aid and Attendance and the Housebound Allowance are two enhanced pension programs. These programs provide beneficiaries with a higher monthly cash benefit than the regular VA pension does, and these funds can be used towards the cost of memory care services.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits, a veteran, survivor or dependent must first qualify for the regular VA pension.

For the Aid and Attendance benefit, regular VA pension beneficiaries must need hands-on help from another person to perform one or more activities of daily living; be bedridden due to chronic illness; reside in a nursing home; or have one or more severe visual impairments that renders them legally blind even when wearing corrective lenses.

For the Housebound Allowance, applicants must have a permanent disability rated at 100% by the VA. The disability must restrict the applicant to their home, which can be a memory care community, most of the time

How to Apply
To apply for VA Aid and Attendance Benefits or the VA Housebound Allowance, contact the Tennessee Department of Veterans Services or the nearest VA Vet Center.

Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in Tennessee

Seniors, their family members and caregivers of those living with memory loss have access to free and low-cost resources throughout the state. These resources include support groups, information about Alzheimer’s disease and help with legal issues related to elders and long-term care.

ContactServices Provided
Long-Term Care Ombudsman(877) 236-0013Tennessee’s long-term care ombudsman assists seniors living in nursing homes, homes for the aged and other residential facilities throughout the state, including memory care programs. Seniors, caregivers and family members can contact the ombudsman office to report concerns related to long-term care, patient rights, Medicaid and Medicare, and issues related to admissions, transfers and discharges.
State Health Insurance Assistance Program1-877-801-0044The State Health Insurance Assistance Program, commonly known as SHIP, provides free, unbiased information on Medicare to current and prospective Medicare members. Seniors can call the toll-free SHIP line to schedule a one-on-one Medicare counselling appointment with a trained SHIP volunteer.
Tennessee Senior Law Alliance1-844-435-7486The Tennessee Senior Law Alliance is an organization of five Legal Aid Societies which offer free and low-cost legal assistance to low-income seniors who need help with civil matters related to housing, healthcare, guardianship and finances. Seniors can connect with a volunteer lawyer by calling the statewide toll-free helpline.
Area Agencies on Aging and DisabilityContact your regional Area Agency on Aging and DisabilityTennessee seniors, caregivers and family members can contact their nearest Area Agency on Aging and Disability for free information, support and assistance with long-term care planning. These agencies also assist with TennCARE programs, including the TennCARE CHOICES home and community-based waiver.
Alzheimer’s Association – Tennessee Chapter(800) 272-3900The Alzheimer’s Association provides information for seniors, caregivers and family members, as well as referrals to regional memory care services. The organization also operates a number of ongoing peer support groups for families and people living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Tennessee

Tennessee memory care facilities are also known as assisted care facilities, and these facilities are licensed and regulated by the Tennessee Department of Health, Board of Licencing Health Care Facilities.

Scope of CareAssisted care living facilities that provide services to those living with Alzheimer’s disease or memory loss may only provide services in accordance with the terms of the state-issued license. These facilities cannot admit or retain residents with medical or behavioral needs which exceed the capacity of the facility and the staff of the facility, including residents who need continuous skilled nursing care.
Care Plan RequirementsA plan of care developed in collaboration with the resident, their family members and their legal representative must be prepared within five days of admission to a licensed care facility. The care plan must be reviewed at least once every six months, or more frequently if the resident displays significant changes in their health or behavior.
Medication Management RequirementsUnlicensed care staff may provide medication reminders and supervise self-administration of medications prescribed to residents. Staff may not administer medication unless licensed to do so as a medical professional.
Staff Screening RequirementsACLF staff need to clear a criminal record check prior to working in direct contact with residents.
Staff Training RequirementsStaff should have a basic understanding of the principles of memory care, and maintain an up-to-date knowledge through ongoing annual training.
Medicaid CoverageTennessee’s Medicaid program covers care costs for memory care services delivered in an assisted living setting or a nursing facility through the TennCARE CHOICES home and community-based services waiver.
Reporting AbuseConcerns regarding abuse, exploitation or neglect of a resident in a memory care program in Tennessee should be immediately reported to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman or the nearest law enforcement agency.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Tennessee?

The statewide average cost of memory care in Tennessee is $4,875 per month, although actual costs may be higher or lower depending on the location, facility and services. The highest costs in the state are in Cleveland, where residential memory care costs an average of $5,525 per month, while the least expensive memory care services are in Chattanooga, where costs average $4,031 per month.

Does Tennessee Medicaid Pay for Memory Care?

Yes. Seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another type of progressive-degenerative dementia who meet the financial eligibility requirements for Medicaid coverage can apply for TennCare’s CHOICES in Long-Term Services and Supports, a Medicaid home and community-based waiver. This waiver funds a range of medical and non-medical services and supports for those who require the level of care normally delivered in a nursing home setting, although CHOICES services are available to those who reside in assisted living facilities and other community settings.

What Security Features Are Present in Memory Care Facilities?

Memory care facilities generally have a number of security features designed to reduce wandering among residents living with memory loss. These features often include delayed-egress exit doors secured with a digital lock, monitored security cameras and enclosed outdoor spaces such as fenced yards and interior courtyards. Some memory care facilities also use WanderGuard, a non-invasive electronic monitoring system that allows caregivers to track the exact location of each resident through a wearable, wireless bracelet.

What Types of Services Does Memory Care Provide?

In addition to providing accommodations, housekeeping, laundry service and all meals, memory care facilities provide 24/7 supervision by specialized caregivers. Services may also include daily social and activity programming designed to promote health and wellness while slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of memory loss. Some facilities offer escorted outings to area attractions, music and pet therapy, and support groups for family members and friends of residents.

What Are Activities of Daily Living?

Activities of daily living are the basic everyday tasks each individual needs to complete in order to maintain their health and wellness, and comply with social standards around personal hygiene. Also known as ADLs, activities of daily living include using the toilet, getting dressed, bathing and grooming, and moving about one’s home.