Wisconsin’s population of nearly 5.9 million includes approximately 1 million seniors aged 65 and older, nearly 18% of the population. Of that number, 120,000 are living with Alzheimer’s, and that number is expected to increase substantially over the next 30 years. Between 2020 and 2025 alone, the prevalence of the disease is estimated to rise 8.3% to 130,000. The greatest burden falls on caregivers, who give billions of hours in unpaid care, and on Medicaid costs, which are projected to increase 19% between 2020 and 2025.     

With a lower cost of living than elsewhere in the country, Wisconsin also has some other financial benefits for retirees, including an absence of Social Security taxes or taxes on government pensions. Crime rates are low, and the climate is comfortable. Health care costs are slightly above the national average, and the ratio of physicians to residents is greater than the U.S. average. Rates for memory care services, on a monthly basis, average $5,750.  

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 a comprehensive snapshot of memory care costs in Wisconsin, including what Medicaid will and won’t cover, eligibility requirements and steps needed to apply. Resource sections explain memory care financing options as well as free or low-cost services and programs created to help families find support, counseling and programs for their loved ones living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.  

The Cost of Memory Care in Wisconsin

Note: Normally provided in special wings of assisted living facilities, memory care is usually priced 20-30% higher than assisted living. Currently, memory care costs aren’t tracked or reported by any national database, so we’ve added 25% to the assisted living rates found on Genworth’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey to our memory care prices shown below.  

Costing approximately $5,750 per month, residential memory care services in Wisconsin are the highest among neighboring states. Similar services in Minnesota cost $5,635, or $115 less each month, and in Illinois, the rates are $5,610, a $140 difference. Iowa’s prices are lower still, at $5,459 each month. 

$5750

Wisconsin

$5625

The United States

$5635

Minnesota

$5459

Iowa

$5610

Illinois

Many cities in Wisconsin, particularly the larger ones like Milwaukee and Madison, are more expensive than the state average. In smaller cities, like Wausau, prices are lower, at $5,156 per month. Memory care rates in Eau Claire, also a northern city, rise to $5,469, still lower than the state average, while Green Bay’s monthly average of $5,563 is much closer. In Sheboygan, memory care costs $5,781, which is right above the average, while in Madison, memory care costs $6,000, a $250 monthly increase. Milwaukee, meanwhile, sees a significant spike in prices, costing on average $6,655 per month for memory care.  

$6655

Milwaukee

$6000

Madison

$5469

Eau Claire

$5563

Green Bay

$5156

Wausau

$5781

Sheboygan

There are other forms of care aside from memory care, and they range from daily support in the form of adult day health care, for $1,723 per month, to intensive skilled nursing support, in a semiprivate or private room, for $9,022 or $9,733 every month. Assisted living prices average $4,600 a month, while home care, in the form of assistance with daily living plus help with chores, averages $5,529. And home health care, which involves support from licensed professionals, runs approximately $5,720 a month.    

$1723

Adult Day Health Care

$4600

Assisted Living

$5529

Home Care

$5720

Home Health Care

$5750

Memory Care

$9022

Nursing Home (semiprivate)

$9733

Nursing Home (private)

Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in Wisconsin?

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 Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin, seniors needing memory care in a residential setting like a memory care facility may have some of their services covered through two programs: the Family Care Partnership Program and the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, which is available only in certain counties. Seniors must be Medicaid-eligible and require a skilled nursing level of care. Under the umbrella of Family Care, the FCPP is meant to help delay a move into a nursing home by delivering a wide array of supportive services. Seniors can receive these services at home, in an adult day care center or in an assisted living setting.

What Memory Care Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Wisconsin?

While room-and-board costs aren’t paid for by FCPP or PACE, these programs do help pay for nursing services, certain rehabilitative therapies, medical transportation and other forms of medical care like dentistry. Recipients may also qualify for home and personal care, delivered meals and access to activities and health care at an adult day care center in an effort to divert or delay nursing home placement.

Memory Care Waiver Programs in Wisconsin

There are two waiver programs in Wisconsin that may offer services in an assisted living facility. The Family Care Partnership Program differs from PACE in that seniors can be 55 and older, but to qualify for either program, recipients must need a nursing level of care. PACE is also limited to four Wisconsin counties, whereas FCPP is available statewide.

Family Care Partnership Program

For frail elderly who require a nursing level of care, the Family Care Partnership Program may provide health care services in an assisted living setting, where memory care is often provided. In addition to being Medicaid-eligible, recipients must have a long-term care functional screen administered by a social worker or other qualified health professional through the local Aging and Disability Resource Center.   

Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly

Available to seniors 55 and older living in Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha or Waukesha counties who need skilled nursing services, the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly offers services through Medicare within the home or community. Those enrolled in the PACE program work with a team of health professionals who create a personalized care plan that evolves as needs change. Although some of PACE’s benefits are offered through Medicaid, the program is a combination of services from Medicare, Medicaid and home and community-based long-term care. More details about eligibility are available through the local ADRC.

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

Qualifying for Medicaid depends on meeting specific income and asset limitations as well as age, citizenship and disability status. Briefly, these qualifications are:

  • Annual income limit of no more than $30,276 for individual applicant or $60,552 for couples 
  • Held assets of no more than $2,000 for individuals or $4,000 for couples
  • A full-time Wisconsin resident 
  • U.S. citizenship, permanent resident or legal alien
  • Either 65 or older, blind or disabled 

Applicants who are single must earn no more than $30,276 per year and own no more than $2,000 in assets. In two-person households where only one person is applying, the numbers are the same, but the non-applicant can retain $137,400 in assets. In households where both spouses are applying, the limits are doubled: The income threshold increases to $60,552, and assets increase to $4,000.

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Wisconsin

Income Limits* 

Asset Limits

Single Applicant

$30,276

$2,000

Two-Person Household

(Only One Person Applying)

$30,276

$2,000 for applicant

$137,400 for non-applicant

Two-Person Household
(Both People Applying)

$60,552

$4,000

*Per year

In Wisconsin, seniors whose income and assets are over the allowable limits can participate in the Medically Needy Program, where applicants spend down income on medical bills in order to qualify for Medicaid services. Specific spend-down amounts are the difference between the program’s income limit and a senior’s actual monthly income over 6 consecutive months. Once this amount has been met, Medicaid will kick in and cover eligible expenses for the remainder of the month. 

How to Apply for Medicaid in Wisconsin

Seniors applying for Medicaid in Wisconsin can use ACCESS, the 24/7 online portal that lets them apply to multiple programs at once. Other options include printing and mailing in the form, going in person to the local income maintenance or tribal agency or calling to apply over the phone.

Information You Will Need

Before applying to Medicaid, you will need to show proof of income that spans a 5 year “look back” period, and this includes any other types of income from estates or trusts, retirement accounts, Social Security benefits or unemployment. You must also show proof of any assets bought or sold during the same time period.

In addition, you’ll need to have the following on hand:

  • Past 5 years of income tax returns
  • Copies of birth certificate and government-issued ID proving residency
  • Titles for any owned properties and vehicles
  • Power of attorney and guardianship documentation  
  • Proof of medical expenses to meet a deductible 

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid

Several resources help families apply for Medicaid. Wisconsin’s Aging and Disability Resource Centers can provide more insight into what criteria must be met for eligibility, and they can screen applicants to confirm financial and physical eligibility for the Long-Term Care Programs. Application assistance is also available by calling ACCESS, the online application portal.    

Program

Contact

Services Provided

(800) 362-3002

Families can call with general application questions weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. 

Varies by county

Staff can help families identify whether their loved one qualifies for Medicaid coverage by completing functional and financial eligibility screening. 

Online

This resource provides a comprehensive overview of Medicaid’s long-term care programs such as PACE and Family Care Partnership 

Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in Wisconsin?

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

Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care in Wisconsin

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 Wisconsin

Seniors in need of memory care have access to a number of valuable free and low-cost resources in their local Wisconsin community. From enrichment programs and support groups to educational classes, respite care and personalized care consultations, Wisconsin’s government and non-profit agencies provide a comprehensive array of services.  

Program 

Contact

Services Provided

(608) 266-2536

Provided by Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services, memory screening is available in communities throughout the state to improve early diagnosis. Screening also gives families an opportunity to connect with community-based programs and supports and find early intervention programs.

(800) 272-3900

This Association can be the first step in identifying relevant and personalized memory care supports and services. The Alzheimer’s Association Wisconsin Chapter offers counseling, education and care consultations that assess personal needs and provides empathy, problem-solving and planning assistance.

(608) 232-3400 or (888) 308-6251

Staffed with Dementia Outreach Specialists that remain with families throughout their dementia journeys, the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin also connects families with support groups, respite care, memory cafes and educational classes.

Contact local ADRC

Available at all Aging and Disability Resource Centers across the state, Dementia Care Specialists encourage independence and the highest quality of life by connecting those living with Alzheimer’s to research and enrichment opportunities. Dementia Care Specialists work closely with families to assist them with care planning and connect them to support groups, respite care and educational webinars.

Contact via website

A statewide effort between local organizations and DHS, Dementia-Capable Wisconsin seeks to increase options for those with dementia in crisis, improve care for those in assisted living and nursing home facilities and increase dementia and brain-health awareness.

COVID-19 Rules for Memory Care in Wisconsin

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including  dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19. 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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin Communities

Are residents allowed to leave (errands, visiting family, etc.) for non-medical reasons?

Not Available*

Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

Not Available*

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?

Yes

Are residents allowed to eat meals together in a common area?

No

Are residents allowed to gather in common areas for group activites?

No

*Note: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, memory care facilities are categorized as community-based residential facilities. CRBFs are governed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Bureau of Assisted Living. To ensure high-quality care, the department requires memory support facilities to adhere to strict rules and guidelines. It enforces these rules through inspections that are conducted at random and in response to complaints.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Wisconsin

Scope of Care

In addition to room and board, memory care facilities may provide assistive services, intermediate-level care and treatment to residents. These facilities may accept residents with dementia and other forms of dementia, but not those who need around-the-clock care. Facilities may also provide recreational and social activities, meals and transportation services.

Care Plans

Prior to admission, memory care facilities must assess a prospective resident’s physical and mental abilities and care requirements to ensure that the individual’s needs can be met in that setting. Upon admission, the facility must develop a temporary individualized service plan, and a more comprehensive plan that outlines what services the resident receives and how often must be developed within 30 days.

Medication Management

Memory care residents are permitted to self-administer their own medications unless a physician has deemed them unable to safely do so. Medications that aren’t self-administered must be administered by a registered nurse, a nurse practitioner or a pharmacist. Some types of medications, including injections, nebulizers and suppositories must be administered by a nurse.

Staffing

While Wisconsin doesn’t impose minimum staffing ratios, memory care facilities are required to ensure that there is enough staff present at all times to see to scheduled and unscheduled needs. Staff members must undergo specialized training that includes resident rights, provision of personal care, reporting abuse and managing the physical and psychological needs of memory care residents. In addition to this, staff must receive at least 15 hours annually of continuing education relevant to their job responsibilities.

Medicaid Coverage

Wisconsin Medicaid covers memory care services through two waiver programs, including IRIS and Family Care Programs. Those with dementia may be eligible for these programs if they meet income and asset guidelines.

Reporting Abuse

Anyone who is concerned about the quality of care provided by a memory care facility in Wisconsin should contact the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman by calling 800-815-0015.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Memory Care cost in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, memory care costs $5,437 per month on average, which is a little higher than the national average. This care is about 20-30% costlier than assisted living due to the higher level of care required, but it is more affordable than nursing home care.

Are there financial assistance programs for Memory Care in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin has several programs that may help residents pay for assisted living services, including IRIS, Family Care Programs, the Exceptional Expense Supplement and the Alzheimer’s Family and Caregiver Support Program. Income and asset guidelines apply, and applicants may need verification from a physician to show that services are needed.

What are “Activities of Daily Living?”

Activities of daily living are essential everyday tasks such as bathing, personal grooming, dressing and meal preparation. Memory care facilities in Wisconsin provide assistance with all ADLs. Residents who need help with multiple ADLs may qualify for nursing home care, which may be paid for through Medicaid or Medicare.

What types of services does memory care provide?

Memory care facilities provide long-term care services specifically for those with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. These facilities typically provide services such as 24-hour staffing and supervision, medication management, personal care services, housekeeping and laundry services, supervised activities and individualized care plans.

What security features are present in memory care facilities?

To keep memory care residents safe, facilities have security features such as emergency call buttons, passcode or lock-and-key security or alarm systems and secured outdoor courtyards to prevent wandering.