Virginia is a state with a large and growing population of older adults. Of the Commonwealth’s 8.6 million residents, nearly 16% are seniors aged 65 and over. An estimated 150,000 seniors in Virginia are living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. That number is expected to rise by more than 26% by 2025 to 190,000 people. More than 1,500 Virginia seniors passed away from Alzheimer’s disease in 2019. That number is projected to reach more than 2,600 by 2025, a 22.4% increase. 

Virginia has a diverse range of terrain and climates, and nearly every part of the state has something to attract seniors. Mountains in the western highlands give way to broad rural farmland in the middle, with a warm and largely snow-free coastal climate near Virginia Beach. Virginia has a lower-than-average sales tax rate, and the state doesn’t impose taxes on Social Security benefits. Other forms of retirement income are generally exempt up to the first $12,000 a year. Residential memory care for Virginians with Alzheimer’s costs an average of $6,563 a year.

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 goes over memory care costs in Virginia, including a comparison with other types of long-term care for seniors. It includes information about how to finance memory care and about the state regulations for memory care programs. It also includes a helpful list of resources for seniors and their loved ones who are living with memory loss.

The Cost of Memory Care in Virginia

Note: Memory care in Virginia is most often provided in assisted living facilities with special dementia care licensure. Rates for memory care tend to run about 20-30% higher than the cost of assisted living in the same area. Because there is no national database of memory care costs, we have estimated the local monthly costs of memory care by adding 25% to the baseline for assisted living costs listed in Genworth’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey.

At an average monthly cost of $6,563 a month, memory care expenses in Virginia are nearly the same as those in neighboring Maryland at $6,560. Other nearby states, such as North Carolina and West Virginia, have lower costs, at $5,013 and $5,200, respectively.

$6563

Virginia

$5625

The United States

$5013

North Carolina

$6560

Maryland

$5200

West Virginia

Monthly rates for memory care in Virginia vary depending on many factors, including the location of a specific facility. Costs in Virginia cities range from a low of $5,781 a month in Lynchburg to a high of $7,406 in Roanoke. Costs tend to be low in Virginia’s most affordable cities, such as Staunton ($5,885), Virginia Beach ($5,863) and the state capital of Richmond ($6,126). Higher costs come with memory care in more expensive cities, such as Blacksburg ($6,994), Charlottesville ($7,125) and Harrisonburg ($7,139). Winchester, in the far north of the state, has intermediate costs for memory care, at $6,269 a month.

$6269

Winchester

$7139

Harrisonburg

$5885

Staunton

$7125

Charlottesville

$6126

Richmond

$5863

Virginia Beach

$5781

Lynchburg

$7406

Roanoke

$6994

Blacksburg

Memory care is only one option seniors in Virginia have for long-term care. Depending on your circumstances, other types of senior care may be more affordable and appropriate. Adult day health care, for example, costs an average of $1,690 a month in Virginia. Assisted living, not including memory care, costs an average of $5,250 in the state, while home care and home health care cost $4,767 and $4,954, respectively. The most expensive type of care is nursing home care but that’s because it provides skilled nursing care 24/7 for people who need ongoing medical attention. A semi-private room costs $8,213 per month. 

$4767

Home Care

$4954

Home Health Care

$1690

Adult Day Health Care

$5250

Assisted Living Facility

$8213

Nursing Home (semiprivate)

Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in Virginia?

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 Virginia.

Medicaid-eligible seniors who need memory care in Virginia may be able to get help through the CCC+ Waiver program and the Auxiliary Grant Program. Neither pays for room and board in a memory care facility, but they do help to pay for services received while in residence.

Seniors in Virginia who meet eligibility requirements can enroll in the state’s Medicaid program to receive these waivers. To qualify, seniors must be 65 or over and have an income below the state’s threshold for aid. While most adults who apply for Virginia Medicaid must demonstrate a specific medical need for coverage, seniors who meet other eligibility standards are prequalified.   

CCC+ Waiver

The CCC+ Waiver program pays for several services that can be helpful for seniors in need of long-term care and their families. Through the program, you can find help with personal care, assistive technology and private nursing services. As part of the intake process, you are assigned a care coordinator who can help devise a care plan and assist with facility placement. Your care coordinator can also answer questions about health services and help you find resources available for transportation and other social services.

Seniors aged 65 and over in Virginia may be eligible for CCC+ if they receive Medicaid benefits, need nursing home-level care and meet the program’s income and asset limits. You can apply for this program by calling the CCC+ helpline at 844-374-9159. In-person applications are available through your local Department of Social Services.

Auxiliary Grant Program

Virginia offers a cash benefit for seniors with serious financial need. The Auxiliary Grant Program is open to Virginia seniors who qualify for SSI, and it pays participating long-term care facilities a monthly cash grant to help pay for seniors’ care. Covered costs include room and board, medication assistance and other memory care-specific expenses.

To enroll in the Auxiliary Grant Program, a beneficiary must be over 65, a Virginia resident for at least 90 days prior to the date of application and a full-time resident of a participating assisted living facility, which may include a community that offers memory care. Applicants must also meet the financial criteria to receive SSI.

Seniors or their medical decision-makers can apply for help from the grant program at a local Department of Social Services. If the senior has already moved into long-term care, applications should be submitted in the city or county where they lived immediately before moving.

What Memory Care Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Virginia?

Medicaid pays for medically necessary treatments for its beneficiaries. That means that, while the program does not usually pay for room and board in an assisted living community, you can use Medicaid benefits to pay for therapeutic services. This can include medication and therapy sessions specifically for memory care. Your benefits may also cover certain personal care services, nursing care and other treatments authorized by your doctor as medically necessary.

How to Know If You’re Eligible for Medicaid in Virginia

Medicaid eligibility in Virginia is established with a review of your personal and health circumstances, citizenship status and financial need. Virginians who are 65 and over do not need to establish a health need for Medicaid coverage, though they must still be U.S. citizens, permanent residents of Virginia and have income and assets that fall within the program’s limits.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Virginia

 

Income Limits* 

Asset Limits

Single Applicant

$10,872

$2,000

Two-Person Household

(Only One Person Applying)

$14,652

$3,000

Two-Person Household
(Both People Applying)

$14,652

$3,000

*Per year

How to Apply for Medicaid in Virginia

To apply for Medicaid in Virginia, seniors can call 1-855-242-8282 for assistance over the phone, or they can visit the state’s online Medicaid portal. A paper application can also be downloaded and submitted at any county office of human assistance.

Information You Will Need

As part of the intake process, Virginia Medicaid must establish your eligibility for benefits under the program guidelines. You may be asked for proof of U.S. citizenship and current residency in Virginia. Copies of government-issued ID are generally adequate for these needs. You may also have to submit income and asset verification over the 60-month lookback period. This can be bank statements, tax returns and copies of the titles on any vehicles or real estate you own. Medicaid staff may also review any large transfers of property you’ve made over the last five years.

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid If the eligibility and application process is difficult or confusing, or if it imposes a burden on you to make it through, you don’t have to do it alone. Several resources are available to help you successfully apply for the coverage you need. CommonHelp is a nonprofit organization that works with the Virginia Department of Human Services to assist new applicants find the programs they are eligible for and to apply. This includes assistance applying for Medicaid and the Auxiliary Grant Program.

Program

Contact

Services Provided

(833) 522-5582

Agents provide assistance with Medicaid applications over the phone weekdays during regular business hours. 

(804) 662-9333

Operators can help callers determine if they are eligible for Medicare benefits and find programs they qualify for.

Online

Information is available about assistance with assisted living costs and memory care support in long-term care settings.

Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in Virginia?

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

Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care in Virginia

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 Virginia

Virginia seniors have several free and low-cost resources available to help them live independently and safely in the community, even with a progressive memory-related condition. Programs open to many seniors include legal advice, assistance with community relations and case manager services. 

Program 

Contact

Services Provided

1-800-272-3900

The Alzheimer’s Association of Virginia maintains four chapters in the Commonwealth. These are the Central and Western Virginia Chapter, the Greater Richmond Chapter, the National Capital Area Chapter and the Southeastern Virginia Chapter. These local offices assist seniors in Virginia with memory-related conditions, as well as seniors living more independently in their communities. Resources provided at no cost include community education, fundraising events, volunteer opportunities and referrals.

804-662-9154

The Virginia Office for Aging Services provides dementia services throughout the state for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The office coordinates services across agencies and oversees initiatives such as the Dementia State Plan, Brain Health Virginia and dementia-capable training for caregivers.

804-662-9333

VICAP provides free, unbiased health insurance counseling for seniors who need help finding and getting the care that they need. Program counselors can help out with no-cost advice relating to Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans, prescription drug counseling and long-term care insurance, as well as low-income options such as Medicaid.

804-662-7000

Virginia’s Adult Services Program promotes independence and self-sufficiency in the lives of seniors throughout the state. Services offered through the program include long-term care placement and ongoing support, as well as screening and assisted living facility assessments and reassessments.

844-802-5910

The Senior Legal Helpline provides assistance, advice and referrals for Virginia residents aged 60 and over. You can call the helpline and speak to attorneys at no cost on complex legal topics specific to seniors, such as long-term care issues, abuse and neglect, and public benefits like Medicaid.

COVID-19 Rules for Memory Care in Virginia

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including vdh.virginia.gov and cdc.gov. These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 4/30/22, 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 Virginia 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

Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?

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 Virginia 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 Virginia 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 Virginia

In Virginia, memory support is provided in special care units or dementia care units, which may be freestanding or located within an assisted living facility. These facilities are governed by the Department of Social Services, which has rules and regulations pertaining to staffing and scope of care.

MEMORY CARE LAWS AND REGULATIONS IN VIRGINIA
Scope of Care
Memory care facilities must provide at least 16 hours of scheduled services weekly. These include activities that support gross and fine motor skills, cognitive stimulation and social or natural world activities like having a picnic. Facilities must meet residents' physical, social and emotional needs, provide protection and supervision, promote a secure environment and foster resident involvement and engagement. Residents receive moderate assistance with two or more activities of daily living, along with living accommodations and three meals daily. The facility may provide intermittent nursing services directly or contract a nurse from a licensed home care agency.
Care Plans
The facility must conduct an assessment for a resident prior to admission and then once every 12 months or following a significant change in physical or cognitive abilities. Additionally, memory care residents' care plans must outline services based on an assessment from a mental health provider.
Medication Management
The Department must review a facility's medication management plan, which should include details regarding medication storage, staff qualifications, administration protocol, medication reviews and oxygen therapy. Residents may self-administer medications if they're capable of doing so and have a safe place in their room to store medications. Medications can only be administered by licensed nurses or physicians or by medication aides who've completed an approved training program, passed a competency evaluation and are registered with the Virginia Board of Nursing. A licensed health professional must review memory care residents' medications every six months.
Staffing
Each facility must have an administrator to oversee day-to-day operations, direct care staff and medication aides. No minimum staffing ratios are imposed by the state, but facilities must have sufficient staffing to care for scheduled and unscheduled needs. At least two direct care staff members must be awake and on duty at all times, and enough direct care staff must be present on field trips to supervise and care for residents. A designated staff member who's responsible for planning structured activities must be on-site at least 20 hours weekly.
Medicaid Coverage
Virginia Medicaid covers memory support through its Commonwealth Coordinated Care Plus Medicaid Waiver, which covers expenses such as personal care assistance, durable medical equipment, personal emergency response systems and skilled private duty nursing.
Reporting Abuse
Abuse, neglect or exploitation should be reported to the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman by calling 800-552-3402.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does memory care cost in Virginia?

Based on the cost of assisted living, memory care services in Virginia range from $5,760 to $6,240 per month, with the monthly fee for this level of care averaging $6,000. This is considerably higher than the national average.

Does Virginia Medicaid pay for memory care?

Virginia Medicaid doesn’t cover memory services directly. However, the state’s Commonwealth Coordinated Care Plus Medicaid Waiver covers care provided in an assisted living facility, including one that provides memory support.

Does Medicare pay for memory care?

Medicare doesn’t pay for memory care services provided in residential care communities, though it does cover doctor’s visits and medications used to treat dementia symptoms. In some cases, Medicare Advantage plans, which are offered by private insurers, provide additional benefits and may cover some memory support services.

What are activities of daily living?

Activities of daily living are basic self-care tasks that must be completed on a daily basis, such as bathing, toileting and dressing. Similarly, instrumental activities of daily living are tasks that are necessary but don’t directly relate to personal care, such as preparing food or doing laundry.

What is the difference between memory care and assisted living?

While both memory care and assisted living offer personal care services, living accommodations and meals, memory care provides specialized programming specifically for those with memory impairments. Dementia care units also have added safety and security features to monitor residents and prevent wandering, and staff has additional training for handling common dementia-related issues.