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Idaho Residential Alzheimer’s Care (Memory Care): Laws, Costs & Financial Help

Last Updated: October 28, 2020

 

In Idaho regulations, assisted living residences are called “residential care facilities” and must provide room and board, meals, and assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) to residents who are elderly or have special care needs. Full-time supervision and delivery of all necessary services are required for Idahoans in assisted living. Basic services provided in all Idaho assisted living homes also include laundry, emergency medical care, first aid, medication management assistance, and television access in common areas.

Assisted living for people with Alzheimer’s disease, or a related dementia, is often called “memory care,” and any residence providing memory care must have additional safety measures in place. Staff who work with people who have dementia must also have additional training. (For more on facility and training requirements, see below.)

There are over 150 memory care residences in Idaho, and over 200 board and care homes, which provide the same services as assisted living (including memory care, in some cases) in a smaller, more house-like setting. For free help finding memory care in Idaho to meet your family’s needs and budget, click here. Assisted living in Idaho is regulated by the state’s Department of Health and Welfare.

 Did You Know? Idaho has one of the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s disease in the country, with an estimated 10% of residents over 65 having been diagnosed. However, that number is expected to increase over the next five years, as the number of people with Alzheimer’s jumps from 27,000 in 2020 to 33,000 in 2025.

 

How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Idaho?

The average cost of assisted living with memory care in Idaho is $4,470 per month, which is about $53,640 annually. In Boise, the average cost of memory care is $4,720 per month and $56,640 annually. Lewiston is the most expensive place for memory care, at $5,960 monthly and $71,520 annually. In Meridian, memory care is less expensive than in other Idaho cities, costing about $3,700 per month and $44,400 annually. Other cities and costs:

Residents of southern Idaho might consider crossing the state line into Nevada or Utah, which both have overall less expensive memory care than Idaho, at about $4,000 per month. The northern-Utah town of Logan, for example, has three memory care residences that charge an average of $3,700 monthly.

 Idaho residents are entitled to free assistance finding memory care residences that meet their needs and budget even if the residence is located out-of-state. Get help here.

Idaho Memory Care / Assisted Living Costs (updated Oct. 2020)
Region / City Monthly Cost Annual Cost
Boise $4,720 $56,640
Meridian $3,700 $44,400
Nampa $4,740 $56,880
Idaho Falls $4,000 $48,000/td>
Pocatello $4,220 $50,640
Coeur d’Alene $4,540 $$54,480
Twin Falls $4,320 $51,840

 

Idaho Assisted Living Laws & Regulations

Admissions Process & Requirements

Anyone interested in moving into an assisted living residence in Idaho is entitled to its written admission policy, which includes the following:

– List of available services and their purposes
– Any restrictions based on philosophy or religion
– Limitations on delivery of care by persons who are the opposite gender
– Notice of any registered sexual offenders in the residence
– A detailed list of all costs, including basic rates and additional services, supplies, or equipment (file this document as protection against unexpected charges)
– Contact information for the Ombudsman for the Elderly
– Staffing patterns and staff qualifications

You do not require a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia to move into memory care in Idaho. Symptoms and needs are more important than a diagnosis, and dementia is difficult to diagnose anyway.

It is possible to move into assisted living on short notice in Idaho, but every resident must be assessed before moving in, to determine care needs. There is no standard form for this assessment, but it is to be conducted by a medical professional who works at the residence. The findings from the assessment are then used to create a personalized plan for care that must be updated periodically. The plan includes the following information:

– Ability to perform activities of daily living, and support required for ADLs
– Health services needed
– Medication assistance needed
– Behavioral symptoms

How much this assessment costs, and whether you pay for it at all, depends on the residence. There is no standard. Some memory care communities in Idaho will send someone to your loved one’s house to do a free assessment before you sign a contract. Some communities might charge a “community” or “move-in” fee that covers up-front costs of becoming a resident, including the assessment, the creation of a care plan, and details like painting and deep cleaning the living unit to get it ready for a new occupant. As you investigate options, be sure to ask about the process for assessment, including pricing.

No assisted living home in Idaho may admit someone whose needs cannot be met there. Because dementia is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse as it advances from early to middle and late stages, the residence needs to anticipate changing symptoms as your loved one gets older. Be prepared, in other words, for care needs to increase over time.
Someone with the following health issues may not be admitted into assisted living:

– Requires 24-hour skilled nursing care
– Needs feeding tubes or a catheter
– Requires physical restraints, including bed rails
– Is comatose
– Is on a mechanical breathing system
– Tracheotomy
– Open wounds in need of continuous draining
– Stage III or IV pressure ulcers

 Covid 19-Related Rules for Admissions
During the pandemic, new residents of Idaho assisted living homes should be isolated from the other residents (quarantined in their rooms) for 14 days upon admission, according to state health officials.

 

Facility

Assisted living residences with memory care, for people who have dementia, must provide communal living areas both inside and outside that are safely secured for residents who may be prone to wandering. Private bedrooms must be at least 100 square feet, and rooms for two people must be at least 160 square feet. Two is the maximum number of people allowed in one room. One toilet is required for every six residents and a tub or shower is required for every eight residents.

 Covid 19-Related Rules for Visitations
During the pandemic, assisted living residences in Idaho are not required to be closed to all visitors unless there has been a positive test. The state has advised that visitations be limited, and only take place outdoors.

 

Staff & Training

Staff in assisted living residences that provide memory care for people with dementia must be trained in the following topics:

– Dementia symptoms and behaviors
– Communication for people with dementia
– Adjusting residents to new living situations
– Managing behavior
– Assisting with activities of daily living (ADLs)
– Stress reduction

Every residence must have at least one state-licensed administrator who is responsible for organization and administration. This person must be reachable at all times. Additionally, an employee with training in first aid and CPR must be awake and on-duty 24 hours per day. There is no staff-to-resident ratio. Administrators are required to have adequate education and experience to receive a license. (This includes at least 200 hours of experience working in assisted living.) Twelve hours of continuing education is required annually for administrators. For regular staff, 16 hours of orientation is required before they may work alone with residents. At least eight hours of training are required annually, and if an assisted living residence serves people with particular health needs, staff must be trained in meeting those needs.

 Covid 19-Related Rules for Staff
During the pandemic, staff in Idaho assisted living must be trained on infection prevention and control, including putting on and removing “full PPE” (personal protective equipment). Full PPE is a facemask, eye protection, gown, and gloves.

 

Evictions Rules

In Idaho, 30 days notice is required to evict a resident from assisted living (except in an emergency situation). The reasons a person can be given notice and asked to leave include:

– Physical / mental condition has gotten so bad that care needs can no longer be met there
– Nonpayment of fees

Other possible reasons for eviction may be established in the contract at the time of admission, and it’s important to be familiar with these. Homes can make their own rules about this, but those rules must be written down and agreed upon. For information on the next steps to take if your loved one receives an eviction notice, click here.

 

Financial Assistance for Residential Alzheimer’s Memory Care

  The 3 programs described below are all Medicaid program. Eligibility for Medicaid in Idaho is complicated and depends on a variety of factors including income, home ownership and marital status. Read a full description of Medicaid eligibility requirements in Idaho here or take a Medicaid eligibility test.

 

Aged and Disabled (A&D) Medicaid Waiver

For people over 65 who require nursing-home-level care, the A&D waiver can cover the costs of services while allowing them to remain at home or in assisted living (including assisted living with memory care). The goal of the program is to help Idahoans save money by not having to move into more expensive nursing homes. Medicaid-eligible recipients work with the state to choose from a list of benefits, including costs in assisted living (other than room and board), special medical equipment, and transition services for anyone moving back into assisted living after a long stay in an institutional setting like the hospital. The application is available to download here. A limited number of people can be accepted into this program at one time, so there may be a waiting list. (Check on waiting list status by contacting the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare offices.)

 

Personal Care Services Program (PCSP)

Personal Care Services is another Idaho Medicaid program to help people cover the costs of getting help with activities of daily living (ADLs) like eating and bathing. The program is for people who live in their homes or in assisted living, and does not cover care in a nursing home. Applicants must be Medicaid-eligible, including monthly income under $836, though there may be assistance available for people who don’t quite qualify. For more information, including contact information for Medicaid offices in Idaho that can help you apply, click here.

 

Medicaid Medicare Coordinated Plan (MMCP)

Idaho’s Medicaid Medicare Coordinated Plan program is for people who are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare and need help with costs and managing the services provided. Recipients must already be enrolled in each state plan (every kind of Medicare counts toward eligibility for MMCP). People residing in assisted living with memory care may be eligible, and the benefits include behavioral health services, assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), and prescription drugs. MMCP is not available in every Idaho county. For a list of eligible counties, and for more information including how to enroll, click here.

 

Veterans Affairs (VA)

Veterans are statistically more likely to develop dementia. Relevant in all states including Idaho is the VA’s Aid & Attendance pension program for veterans and surviving spouses, which is 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 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 $14,761. Learn more here.

There are three veterans’ homes in Idaho, which are facilities providing long-term residential care for veterans. They are in Boise, Lewiston, and Pocatello (in the southeast region of the state). In addition to nursing home care, assisted living and memory care may be provided. Payment is made directly from the VA to the facility, and veterans are admitted without consideration of their financial status. State veterans’ homes are typically reserved for veterans whose need for care stems at least 70 percent from their service. Because there is often a waiting list, contact a home before visiting to see if your loved one is eligible to live there. For more information, including phone and email contacts, click here.

 

Other Options

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 claim your elderly loved one as a dependent). Remember also that medical and dental expenses can be deducted, and that might 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, the reverse mortgage would become due.

Elder care loans are for families to cover 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.