Assisted living residences in Idaho are also 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.)
Assisted living in Idaho is regulated by the state’s Department of Health and Welfare.
The average cost of assisted living with memory care in Idaho is $4,906 per month, which breaks down to about $161 per day and $58,872 annually. A detailed list of all costs must be provided to anyone considering moving into an assisted living home in Idaho. File this document in case there are unexpected charges in the future. Assisted living, without the additional services required for memory care, costs Idaho residents about $3,749 per month and $44,988 annually.
The state’s largest city is Boise, where the average cost of memory care is $5,185 per month and $62,220 annually. Lewiston is the most expensive place for memory care, at $6,541 monthly and $78,492 annually. In the rural areas outside Idaho’s cities, memory care costs about $4,108 per month and $49,269 annually.
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
– Contact information for the Ombudsman for the Elderly
– Staffing patterns and staff qualifications
Every resident must be assessed before moving in, to determine care needs. (There is no standard form for this assessment.) No assisted living home in Idaho may admit someone whose needs cannot be met there.
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
– Open wounds in need of continuous draining
– Stage III or IV pressure ulcers
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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 also veterans’ homes in Idaho, which are facilities providing long-term residential 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 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 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.