Alzheimer’s disease is a growing health crisis in America, and that’s especially true in Utah, where Alzheimer’s is the fourth-leading cause of death, while nationally, it’s the six-leading cause. Alzheimer’s and dementia rates are expected to increase from 34,000 in 2020 up to 42,000 in the year 2025.

Given that Alzheimer’s is a progressive degenerative disease, over time, most people diagnosed with dementia will need the support of a memory care program. Not only do specialized dementia programs provide evidenced-based activities and services that help slow the progression of the disease, but these programs also give families much-needed relief from the rigors of 24/7 unpaid caregiving.

Memory care can be offered on its own in a community designed especially for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s. 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 a comprehensive summary of memory care in Utah, including the costs and financial aid programs that fund memory care services. There’s an overview of the state laws and regulations around residential memory care, a list of free and low-cost resources, and answers to the most frequently asked questions about memory care in Utah.

The Cost of Memory Care in Utah

Memory care programs in Utah are usually co-located in an assisted living facility in a specially-designed wing or floor. Memory care areas are equipped with safety and security features to minimize wandering and confusion and are staffed by specially-trained caregivers who have expertise in Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Costs for these services tend to be about 20-30% higher than assisted living, so we’ve added 25% to the prices listed on Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey to determine that the average cost of memory care in Utah is $4,250 per month, which is below the national average of $5,064 per month.

Memory Care Costs in Nearby States

At an average monthly cost of $4,250, memory care costs in Utah are among the lowest in the region. Costs in neighboring Nevada are the same, while costs in Idaho ($4,660), Arizona ($4,688) and Colorado ($5,119) are higher.

$4250

Utah

$5064

United States Average

$4250

Nevada

$4688

Arizona

$5119

Colorado

$4660

Idaho

Cost of Other Types of Care in Utah

In addition to residential memory care services, there are a number of long-term care options available for Utah seniors who need support. Assisted living, which includes room and board, costs an average of $3,400 per month, while a semi-private room in a skilled nursing facility is $6,403 per month. Seniors can expect to pay about $1,560 per month for adult day health care while hiring either a homemaker or home health aide for 44 hours a week costs an average of $4,576 per month.

$4250

Memory Care

$1560

Adult Day Health Care

$4576

In-Home Care

$4576

Home Health Care

$3400

Assisted Living Facility

$6403

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Memory Care in Utah’s Top Cities

Comparing Costs Across Utah

Long-term care costs vary depending on the location and services. In Utah, residential memory care services are highest in the state capital of Salt Lake City, with an average of $4,794 per month. Costs in St. George are the same as the state average at $4,250 per month, while average costs in Ogden ($4,063), Provo ($4,048) and Logan ($3,875) are all below Utah’s average.

$4250

St. George

$4048

Provo

$4794

Salt Lake City

$4063

Ogden

$3875

Logan

Financial Assistance for Memory Care in Utah

New Choices Waiver (NCW)

Utah’s New Choices Waiver is a Medicaid waiver program designed to help institutionalized individuals transition to a less-restrictive, community-based setting such as a Type II assisted living facility that offers memory care services.

While NCW does not cover the room and board costs, the waiver does include a range of services such as adult day care, adult residential services, case management and attendant care.

Who is Eligible?
The New Choices Waiver is available to Medicaid-eligible seniors aged 65 and older, and adults who are classified as disabled under Medicaid rules. Applicants must meet the clinical criteria for nursing home placement and currently reside in a nursing facility, licensed assisted living facility, Type N facility or any other licensed medical institution except a facility for those with mental illness.

How to Apply
For more information and application assistance, call the New Choices Waiver program office at 800-662-9651.

VA Aid and Attendance and Housebound Allowance Benefits

VA Aid and Attendance and the Housebound Allowance are two programs that provide monthly cash benefits that can be used towards the cost of long-term care, including residential memory care services.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for either Aid and Attendance or Housebound, applicants must be eligible to receive the regular VA pension. Successful applicants may be awarded either Aid and Attendance or Housebound, but not both.

For Aid and Attendance, applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Be bedridden as a result of a chronic illness or disability
  • Be a resident of a skilled nursing facility
  • Be legally blind
  • Be dependent on a caregiver to perform one or more activities of daily living

For Housebound allowance, applicants must have at least one disability rated by the VA as 100%, and be largely restricted to their place of residence as a result of that disability.

How to Apply
To apply for VA Aid and Attendance or Housebound, contact the nearest VA location or the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs.

Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in Utah

A number of government and non-profit organizations offer memory care resources in Utah. These resources are geared toward people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, as well as family members and professional caregivers.

ResourceContactServices
Alzheimer’s Association — Utah Chapter800-272-3900The Utah Chapter of the national Alzheimer’s Association provides a range of services and programs geared towards those living with memory loss, their family members and caregivers. Programs include peer support groups, education sessions and assistance with accessing long-term care programs.
University of Utah Center for Alzheimer’s Care, Imaging and Research801-585-7575The University of Utah’s Center for Alzheimer’s Care, Imaging and Research uses an interdisciplinary approach to provide early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. The Center also provides patients with a personalized assessment and disease management plan prepared in collaboration with social workers, neuropsychologists, health educators and neurologists.
Area Agencies on AgingContact the nearest AAAUtah’s network of 12 Area Agencies on Aging administer a range of free and low-cost programs designed to help seniors aged 60 and older remain as independent as possible at every stage of life. Services vary depending on the location and may include case management, support groups, transportation, meal delivery and adult day health programming.
Utah Department of Human Services – Adult Protective Services800-371-7897Utah’s Adult Protective Services department works to protect vulnerable adults, including those who live in long-term care facilities, from neglect, abuse and exploitation. By law, anyone who believes an adult is being abused must contact the department to file a report.
Utah Legal Services800-662-4245Utah Legal Services is a non-profit law office that provides free legal information and assistance to low-income Utahns who require help with non-criminal matters, including estate planning, guardianship and health insurance.

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.

Scope of Care
Care Plan RequirementsPrior 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 RequirementsAll 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 RequirementsFacility 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 RequirementsStaff 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 CoverageMemory care facilities are not obligated to accept Medicaid-funded residents.
Reporting AbuseIn 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.