In Utah, where seniors account for over 11% of the 3.3 million residents and the senior community is projected to grow in the coming years, the rate of Alzheimer’s disease is on the rise. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, this disease is currently the fourth-leading cause of death in the state. Between 2000 and 2019, the number of Alzheimer’s-related deaths increased by 187%, and by 2025, the rate is expected to be nearly 25% higher than it was in 2020. To address the needs of the state’s senior community, there are several hospitals that specialize in geriatrics, including the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City and Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. The state also has several memory care facilities where residents receive compassionate care. On average, seniors in Utah pay $4,375 per month for this type of 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 more information on memory care costs and options to pay for services, as well as an overview of resources for seniors and families in Utah. 

The Cost of Memory Care in Utah

Note: In Utah, memory care facilities are licensed as assisted living facilities and have specialized care for those with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions. There are no authoritative databases that list memory care costs, but on average, seniors pay 20-30% more for this level of care than for standard assisted living services. We’ve calculated the following cost estimates by adding 25% to the base assisted living rates in the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey.  

In Utah, memory care facilities charge $4,375 per month for care compared to the national median of $5,625. Monthly rates in Utah’s bordering states tend to be higher, with seniors in Colorado paying $5,938 and those in Arizona paying $5,000. In Idaho, fees average $4,798, and in Nevada, memory care residents pay $4,688. 

$4375

Utah

$5625

The United States

$4798

Idaho

$4688

Nevada

$5000

Arizona

$5938

Colorado

Memory care rates in Utah’s major cities are competitive compared to the national median, and several cities have care costs lower than the state average. In Logan, residential memory care services are the most affordable in the state at $4,125, and in Salt Lake City, fees are comparable at $4,138. In St. George, memory care residents pay $4,375. Seniors in the Ogden area pay $4,579, and in the Provo region, rates are the highest in the state at $4,619.  

$4125

Logan

$4579

Ogden Area

$4138

Salt Lake City

$4619

Provo Area

$4375

St. George

Senior care in Utah is generally affordable, and there are several options available, depending on an individual’s budget, living preferences and functional needs. Adult day health care is the most cost-effective option at $1,939. Older adults who need personal care but don’t have memory impairments pay $3,500 for assisted living, and those receiving dementia services in specialized memory care facilities pay $4,375. Home-based care may be a good option for those with mild to moderate dementia and costs $5,625 for based home care and $5,720 for specialized home health care. Nursing homes charge the highest rates of $7,178 for semiprivate rooms and $9,125 for private accommodations. 

$4375

Memory Care

$3500

Assisted Living

$5625

Home Care

$5720

Home Health Care

$1939

Adult Day Health Care

$7178

Nursing Home (semiprivate)

$9125

Nursing Home (semiprivate)

Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in Utah?

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 Utah.

Qualifying Utah residents can get health insurance coverage through the state’s Medicaid program. This program is funded by the state and federal government and provides free comprehensive coverage for services, such as primary and specialty medical care, nursing home care and in-home services. It doesn’t pay for memory care services directly, but it provides coverage for residential dementia services through the New Choices Waiver program.  

The New Choices Waiver program is primarily for those who live in nursing homes but want to move back into their homes or a residential care community. Unlike regular Medicaid, which is an entitlement program, the waiver has limited enrollment slots. Even if someone qualifies for coverage, they may be placed on a waitlist until services are available.  

What Memory Care Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Utah?  

Utah Medicaid’s New Choices Waiver pays for services to help seniors and those with disabilities live at home or in memory care facilities instead of in nursing homes. It pays for transition services to help individuals relocate, including deposits, utility setup fees or technology fees, along with ongoing services, such as personal care, meals, durable medical equipment and assistive technology.  

Assisted Living Waiver Programs in Utah  

New Choices Waiver 

The New Choices Waiver pays for memory care services for those who qualify for nursing home level care but want to live in a non-institutional setting. It offers comprehensive coverage for long-term care services, including: 

  • Assisted living and memory care services
  • Adult day health care  
  • Emergency response systems
  • Financial management services
  • Medication assistance services  
  • Attendant care
  • Case management
  • Housekeeping, laundry and linen services
  • Nonemergency medical transportation
  • Personal money management
  • Respite services
  • Specialized medical equipment 

To be eligible for this program, applicants must meet age, financial and residency guidelines, and not all who qualify for services are guaranteed coverage. Applicants must be at least 65 years old, U.S. citizens or legal residents and permanent residents of Utah. They may have a monthly income of no more than $2,523 and no more than $2,000 in countable assets. Medicaid only counts assets, such as cash, money in checking and savings accounts, non-occupied real estate investment properties and stocks. It excludes personal belongings, the applicant’s primary residence and one personal vehicle. If spouses are both applying, these limits are doubled. If only one spouse is applying, they have an asset limit of $2,000, and the non-applying spouse can have up to $137,400.  

The majority of slots are open exclusively to nursing home residents who want to move to a non-institutionalized setting. Non-reserved slots are limited and open to current assisted living and memory care residents. Applicants must have lived in a nursing home for at least 90 days or in a residential long-term care facility, such as a memory care facility, for 365 days before applying for the waiver. Nursing home residents can apply for the waiver at any time, but those already in residential long-term care can only apply during certain enrollment windows. The department must have the application within five days of the end of the enrollment period, or it will be automatically denied. Enrollment periods include: 

  • March 1-March 14
  • July 1-July 14
  • November 1-November 14

Historically, there are far more applicants than enrollment slots, so priority is given to those who’ve been in nursing home or residential care the longest. In most cases, memory care residents wait much longer than 365 days for enrollment.  

Seniors can’t apply for this waiver program online, but they can request a paper application by calling (800) 662-9651 and selecting option 6. Seniors in nursing homes can request an application for reserved slots, and those in memory care facilities can request an application for non-reserved slots. After the application is completed, the individual can fax it to the UDOH Bureau of Long Term Services and Supports at (801) 323-1586 or mail it to:   

UDOH Bureau of Long Term Services & Supports  
P.O. Box 143112  
288 North 1460 West  
Salt Lake City, UT 84114 

How to Know if You’re Eligible for Medicaid in Utah  

Individuals must be able to demonstrate financial need to qualify for Medicaid. Single applicants can have a monthly income of up to $1,074. Medicaid counts all forms of income, including government and private pensions, veterans’ and survivors’ benefits, Social Security benefits, money made off investments and withdrawals from retirement accounts. Seniors may also have up to $2,000 in countable assets, including stocks, bonds, bank accounts, cash and non-occupied real estate.  

Married applicants can have up to $1,452 in income and $3,000 in countable assets. If only one spouse is applying for Medicaid, spousal impoverishment rules let them transfer income and assets to their spouse under certain circumstances. Those whose income and assets exceed these guidelines may still qualify through spend-down programs or Medicaid planning. 

Applicant

Income Limit*

Asset Limit

Single Applicant

$1,074

$2,000

Married (both spouses applying)

$1,452

$3,000

Married (one spouse applying)

$1,452

$3,000

*Per month

Applicants must also be legal U.S. citizens or residents and permanent Utah residents.  

How to Apply for Medicaid in Utah  

To apply for Medicaid, individuals can submit applications to the Department of Workforce Services online, in person or over the phone. To apply online, seniors can visit the MyCase platform. Alternately, they may download a paper application and fax it to (888) 522-9505 or mail it to:  

Department of Workforce Services  
PO Box 143245  
Salt Lake City, UT 84114  

Seniors can also visit their local DWS office and fill out a paper application in person.   

Information You Will Need  

When DWS contacts an applicant, the representative provides a comprehensive list of supporting documents applicants must provide. These may include:  

  • Birth certificate 
  • Social Security number 
  • Proof of income 
  • Proof of assets 
  • Policy numbers for current health insurance coverage 
  • Proof of state residency  

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid 

There are several resources available to Utah residents to help them navigate the Medicaid application process, including determining eligibility, submitting supporting documents and appealing denied coverage. The following table lists important websites and phone numbers for prospective and current beneficiaries.  

Resource

Contact

Description

(801) 538-6155 (within Salt Lake City)

(800) 662-9651 (outside Salt Lake City)

The Medicaid Customer Service helpline has specialists who answer questions about Medicaid’s application process and benefits. The helpline is available on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday). 

(801) 538-6417 (within Salt Lake City)

(877) 291-5583 (outside Salt Lake City)

The Medicaid Member Feedback line answers questions for seniors who receive veterans’ benefits and Medicaid services, as well as those who need to file complaints or concerns regarding their coverage.

Online Only

The American Council on Aging provides up-to-date information on Utah’s Medicaid program, including income and asset guidelines, spousal impoverishment rules and options for applying when over the limits. The council also helps seniors connect with Medicaid planners in their region who can help them access services if they’re ineligible due to excess income and assets.

Online Only

Medicaid beneficiaries can file appeals for denied claims with the Hearings Unit. This unit provides impartial reviews of denied coverage and may help reverse Medicaid decisions in cases where the program isn’t paying for covered services.

Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in Utah?

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

Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care in Utah

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 Utah

Utah seniors and families affected by dementia can get support and guidance from numerous nonprofit organizations and government programs. These programs can help individuals find long-term care options in their communities and identify ways to pay for services. They can also connect seniors and families with support groups and dementia-informed social and recreational activities.

Resource 

Contact 

Description 

(800) 272-3900 

The Alzheimer’s Association is a nonprofit volunteer-based health organization that provides information, support and direct services to those impacted by Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Through the Utah chapter, which serves all 29 counties in the state, individuals can participate in in-person and virtual support groups and connect with early-stage engagement programs. The organization also has a free helpline individuals can call to speak with a specialist who provides emotional support and advice on obtaining long-term care and community-based services.

(801) 585-7575 

The University of Utah Center for Alzheimer’s Care, Imaging and Research helps seniors and families access comprehensive treatment, clinical trials and education pertaining to Alzheimer’s management. The center also provides seniors with personalized assessments and disease management plans prepared by social workers and field experts.

(801) 538-4171 

There are 12 Area Agencies on Aging in Utah, each of which serves older adults in their designated regions. Seniors and families can contact their local AAA for help with finding community-based services, such as support groups and early-stage engagement activities. The AAAs also have options counselors and legal and financial advisors who help families make informed decisions regarding their loved one's care. AAA services are free and open to those aged 60 and over.

(800) 541-7735 

Utah’s Medicare Assistance program provides free, unbiased health insurance options counseling to Medicare-eligible individuals across the state. Through the helpline, seniors and families get comprehensive information on Medicare benefits and private options, including Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans. Volunteers can also help individuals understand their medical bills and memory care facility contracts and file appeals for denied health insurance claims.

(800) 662-4245 

Utah Legal Services is a statewide program that provides free civil legal services to those aged 60 and over. Through this program, families get personalized help with addressing legal issues related to dementia, including assigning guardianship and powers of attorney. The office can also help seniors determine eligibility and apply for public benefits, such as Medicaid, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.

(801) 538-3924 

The statewide long-term care ombudsman works on behalf of those in memory care facilities to ensure they receive the standard of care they’re entitled to. The ombudsman can help families research local facilities and find customized options for paying for services. The ombudsman can also mediate disagreements among families or with memory care facilities regarding an individual’s care and investigate concerns regarding substandard care.

Online Only 

Living Well Utah is an initiative of the Utah Department of Health. It operates the Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Program, which implements the state’s Alzheimer’s plan. Through the website, individuals can see an overview of local resources and programs that provide support, education and opportunities to participate in clinical trials.

COVID-19 Rules for Memory Care in Utah

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including coronavirus.utah.gov. These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/15/2022, 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 Utah 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 Utah 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 Utah Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?

Yes

Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

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?

Yes

Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Utah

In Utah, memory care services are provided in Level II assisted living facilities, or ALFs. These facilities are inspected, licensed and regulated by the Utah Department of Health, Facility Licensing and Certification and Resident Assessment Bureau. Licenses must be renewed each year, and each facility is thoroughly inspected by the state every 18 months or less.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Utah

Scope of Care

Care Plan Requirements

Prior to admission, residents must undergo a comprehensive assessment performed by a licensed health care professional. Within seven days of admission, the facility must prepare a personalized care plan for the resident, which outlines the services and supports that will be provided. A follow-up assessment must be performed every six months or sooner, and information from those assessments is used to update the care plan.

Medication Management Requirements

All medications administered in an ALF must be reviewed by a licensed pharmacist, physician or registered nurse at least once every six months. Able residents may self-administer medications under the supervision of a staff member, while licensed caregivers such as registered nurses may administer medications.

Staff Screening Requirements

Facility administrators are responsible for ensuring all direct care staff have the skills and experience needed to provide safe, respectful care. Although the state does not mandate criminal background checks, most assisted living facilities perform extensive background checks on all employees.

Staff Training Requirements

Staff must complete a comprehensive orientation period prior to commencing duties, and that orientation must include training that is specific to the needs of the residents.

Medicaid Coverage

Memory care facilities are not obligated to accept Medicaid-funded residents.

Reporting Abuse

In accordance with Utah law (62A-3-305), anyone who suspects or witnesses the abuse, neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult, including adults who reside in long-term care facilities, must immediately file a report with Utah’s Adult Protective Services department by calling 1-800-3711-7897 or contact the nearest police department.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does memory care cost in Utah?

Statewide, Utah’s average cost of residential memory care services is $4,250. Actual costs may be higher or lower depending on the location, amenities, services and accommodations.

Does Utah Medicaid pay for memory care?

Yes. Utah’s New Choices Waiver, a home and community-based Medicaid waiver, includes memory care benefits.

What is the difference between memory care and assisted living?

The biggest difference between memory care and assisted living is the level of support provided in each type of program. Memory care programs have a higher staff-to-resident ratio than assisted living, and memory care staff have specialized training in supporting residents who live with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. While assisted living residents are free to come and go as they please, memory care residents are generally supervised at all times. They can only leave the facility with an escort.

What security features are present in memory care facilities?

Wandering is a common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, and when combined with confusion and disorientation, can be exceptionally dangerous. Memory care facilities use a variety of security devices to help keep residents safe and secure, including security cameras, motion-activated alarms and wireless wearable tracking devices for residents. Most facilities also have enclosed outdoor spaces such as courtyards, gardens and patios, and access-controlled exterior exit doors.

What types of therapies are offered in memory care facilities?

Memory care facilities may offer a variety of innovative, research-based therapies designed to slow the progression of memory loss and reduce confusion, agitation and depression among residents. Pet, art, aromatherapy and music therapy are common, as are skills-based programs such as gardening, cooking and sewing.