In Connecticut, assisted living homes for people with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia are called “Alzheimer’s special care units” or “Alzheimer’s special care programs.” These homes are also referred to as “memory care.” In order to be licensed by the state’s Department of Public Health, a special care unit must check a number of boxes. Anyone considering memory care in Connecticut is entitled to a disclosure document with the following:
– Written statement of the residence’s overall philosophy and mission reflecting the needs of people with dementia
– The process of placement within, or transfer from, the unit
– The process for assessing a resident’s health needs
– The method for altering a health plan if conditions change
– Staff-to-patient ratios and staff training
– Physical space and design features appropriate for residents with dementia
– Types of activities offered, and how often
– Familial involvement and support programs
– Costs, including additional fees
These are in addition to the normal assisted living services that are standard for homes that may not have Alzheimer’s special care units. Assistance with activities of daily living, regular meals, housekeeping, and more should all be considered standard for adults in assisted living in Connecticut.
The average cost of memory care per month in Connecticut is $6,382, which breaks down to about $209 per day and $76,584 annually. Remember that assisted living homes in the state are required to provide a disclosure that includes all charges, including additional fees beyond the base rates. File this document as protection against unexpected costs. Assisted living, without the additional services required for memory care, costs Connecticut residents about $4,877 per month and $58,524 annually.
The state’s most expensive place for memory care is also its largest city: In Bridgeport, memory care costs about $8,336 per month and $100,032 annually. The least costly place is the second-largest city, New Haven, where memory care costs on average $4,906 per month or $58,872 annually.
New residents must be assessed within seven days of moving in, to establish a client services program (completed by a registered nurse) that outlines healthcare needs and specific services that the unit will provide your loved one. An example would be determining exactly which activities of daily living, like eating, the staff will need to assist with. The services program must be reviewed as often as necessary, or at least every four months (120 days), and include the following:
– Medical issues and needs
– Services and equipment required
Unlike many other states, Connecticut does not have square footage requirements for bedrooms. Regulations simply state that residents have access to a full bathroom and a place for the preparation and storage of food. There must also be a common living area big enough to accommodate half of all the residents at any given time. There is also no maximum number of people per room, though residents must agree to be roommates before they’re put together.
Ten-hour orientation is required for new employees in all assisted living homes in Connecticut, covering topics including regulations, policies on handling emergencies, and organizational structure. Anyone working directly with residents must have completed adequate training and passed a competency exam.
Alzheimer’s special care units in Connecticut are required to provide annual training that specifically addresses how to serve people with dementia. Six hours of dementia-specific training is required within six months of beginning employment, and then eight more hours of training is required annually. Additionally, two hours of training is required every year for pain recognition and pain management techniques. A registered nurse must be on call 24 hours per day.
There are no staff-to-resident ratios, but a supervisor must be appointed at all residences to oversee staff and make sure services are adequate to meet the needs of every resident. The supervisor must be a registered nurse with adequate experience.
The goal of this Connecticut Medicaid program is to keep seniors in their homes or assisted living communities rather than moving into a more expensive nursing home. For certain low-income people it may cover the complete cost of assisted living. Recipients must demonstrate a need for assistance with multiple activities of daily living. There are two sets of eligibility criteria: state-funded or Medicaid waiver. State-funded applicants must demonstrate assets under around $38,500 for an individual or $51,500 for a married couple. To receive CHCPE through the Medicaid waiver, a person must apply for Medicaid, which includes eligibility requirements like monthly income under $2,349 for an individual. More information on CT Medicaid eligibility criteria and more information on the program. Take an online Medicaid eligibility test and if eligible, one can apply online or in person at your local Department of Social Services field office.
This program offers heavily subsidized housing with medical services for older adults in more than a dozen locations throughout the state. The CHSP homes are mostly located in rural areas of eastern and western CT. Funding is provided through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Participants must be at least 62 and in need of help with at least three ADLs. Monthly income and assets are not a factor in eligibility, and priority is given to people with the greatest medical need. Participants are expected to pay between 10 and 25 percent of room, board, and care costs. Memory care communities typically provide a higher level of care, so CHSP may be best for people in the early stages of dementia. For more information, click here. To apply, contact your local office for the Department of Aging and Disability Services.
Veterans are statistically more likely to develop dementia. Relevant in all states including Connecticut is the VA’s Aid & Attendance pension program for veterans and surviving spouses, which is an amount of money added to veterans’ and survivors’ basic pensions. Applicants must be at least 65 years old (or disabled) and require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) like eating, bathing, and mobility. The cash assistance from these pensions can be used as the recipient wishes, meaning it can go toward the cost of memory care. In addition, the cost of residential care can be deducted from one’s income, effectively reducing the amount of calculable income used to determine the benefit amount. The latest (2020) maximum amount a veteran can receive through A&A is $27,194 per year, and surviving spouses can receive as much as $14,761. Learn more here.
There are also veterans’ homes in Connecticut, which are residential care facilities that provide long-term care for veterans. In addition to nursing home care, assisted living and memory care may be provided. Payment is made directly from the VA to the facility. State veterans’ homes are typically reserved for veterans whose need for care stems at least 70 percent from their military service. Because there is often a waiting list, contact a home before visiting to see if your loved one is eligible to live there.
Other ways to help pay for memory care include tax credits and deductions like the Credit for the Elderly and the Disabled, or the Child and Dependent Care Credit (if you can claim your elderly loved one as a dependent). Remember also that medical and dental expenses can be deducted, and that may include some assisted living costs.
A reverse mortgage may be a good option for a married person moving into memory care, if their spouse continues to live in the home. Should the spouse move from their home, the reverse mortgage would become due.
Elder care loans are for families to cover initial costs of moving into memory care, if you need a little help at first but can afford costs after the initial payments. For example, if one is waiting for a VA pension to be approved or waiting to sell a home.