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Illinois Residential Alzheimer’s Memory Care: Rules, Costs & Financial Help

Last Updated: November 28, 2022

 

In Illinois, assisted living provides full-time care for people with medical issues including dementia patients. Assisted living facilities care for at least three adults over 55 years old who are not related and need help with activities of daily living including bathing, eating, and walking from room to room. Staff is available 24 hours per day.

Illinois also has shared housing facilities which have 16 or fewer residents, mostly 55 or older and who need assistance with activities of daily living. Shared housing homes also provide 24-hour care. A key difference between assisted living and shared housing is the number of patients per room. Assisted living residents have private, one-person apartments unless the resident chooses to have a roommate, in which the maximum occupancy per room is two people. In comparison, there may be more than one or two people per room in shared housing. Shared housing is also called board and care homes.

Both types of residences can house people with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. These types of homes are often called memory care, Alzheimer’s care, or dementia care. To obtain this distinction, they must:

– Register its Alzheimer’s program with the Illinois Department of Public Health

– Designate a representative for each resident

– Ensure safety for those who wander or need supervision, and can help during an evacuation

– Enable communication between the resident, a representative, family members, and anyone else (like a doctor) designated in the resident’s service plan

– Provide stimulating and appropriate activities to encourage brain health

– Provide a minimum of 1.4 hours of service per resident per day

The state requires all assisted living homes to provide: three meals per day, housekeeping, laundry, security, and an emergency communication response system. Additionally, every resident must have a doctor’s assessment within 120 days of moving in and it must be updated annually.

Assisted living facilities and shared housing establishments in Illinois are regulated by the Department of Public Health, Division of Assisted Living. Illinois has over 300 memory care homes and 90 board and care homes that may serve residents with dementia. For free help finding memory care of any size to fit your family’s needs and budget, click here.

 

How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Illinois?

The average cost of memory care per month in Illinois is $5,448. Pricing varies widely depending where you live. The most expensive areas for memory care in the state are to the north in Rockford, in the state capitol in Springfield and in Bloomington. These pricey cities for care range from $6,184 to $6,368 monthly.

 In Illinois, free assistance is available to help families locate memory care homes to meet their needs and budgets. Get help finding affordable care here

The least expensive place for memory care is Carbondale in southern Illinois, where costs are about $4,270 monthly. People looking for memory care in western and southern Illinois might want to go across the state border into Missouri and Kentucky, which both have less expensive memory care. Missouri is one of the least expensive states in the entire country for memory care, with average rates of $3,644 per month. Kentucky’s average is a bit higher, costing $4,159 monthly. Other major cities include:

Illinois Memory Care / Assisted Living Costs (updated July 2022)
Region / City Daily Cost Monthly Cost
Statewide $179 $5,448
Chicago $192 $5,853
Champaign $189 $5,742
Bloomington $206 $6,257
Rockford $209 $6,368
Springfield $203 $6,184
Peoria $165 $5,006

 

Illinois Assisted Living Laws & Regulations

 Covid-19 Related Measures (updated July 2022)

Residents – Their temperatures are checked and patients are also tested regularly.
Visitors – Can visit loved ones, must wear a mask and temperature is checked upon entry.
Staff – Have temperatures checked upon entry and are regularly tested.

Admissions Requirements & Process

To move into a memory care facility in Illinois, an assessment needs to be completed within the first 120 days by a doctor. This evaluation looks at a person’s physical, cognitive, and psychosocial condition. This means they want to know how strong your loved one is physically, mentally, how easy (or difficult) it is to relate to others and function within the residence. A doctor must also confirm that your loved one has no contagious infections. Beyond the required evaluation, residences are given the freedom to create their own admissions standards. For example, some residences don’t charge for an assessment while others require it be completed by an outside doctor. If completed independently, the resident would be responsible for paying for it. It’s very important to ask the home what their policy is for admissions, including the assessment.

Someone cannot be accepted as a resident in assisted living, memory care, or shared housing if:

– The desired residence cannot give the proper level of care for the specific resident, or isn’t licensed to fit the person’s medical needs

– The staffing levels are not appropriately high enough to add a new resident

– The new resident is dangerous to themselves or others

– The new resident needs total help with more than two activities of daily living

Residents may not receive full-time medical care in assisted living. Limited, or intermittent care is allowed and outside medical professionals are allowed to enter residences to help patients. If your loved one needs to be under the care of an outside doctor on a consistent basis, you need to be clear on whether that care can be provided before moving in.

 Did You Know? A free functional needs assessment is available for Illinois residents over 60, through the state’s Choices for Care program. This screening determines whether your loved one has a medical condition, like dementia, and what programs are available to help. For more information, click here, or see Financial Assistance for Residential Alzheimer’s Memory Care below.

 

Facility / Residence

Assisted living (including assisted living with memory care) is required to provide single-person rooms to all residents except those who choose to be with a roommate. The maximum number of people per room in assisted living is two. In shared housing, there is no rule about how many residents are allowed per room. Also, there is no square footage requirement in Illinois regulations for rooms. Take care to inspect where your loved one would live to make sure the rooms are big enough to fill your needs. Every room in assisted living must have a private bathroom with a toilet, sink, ventilation or window, and any equipment upgrades detailed in the resident’s service plan. You’ll also want to be sure the design is dementia-friendly, meaning the layout is easy to navigate and hallways don’t run into dead ends. Outdoor space is also ideal for people with dementia, but not required in regulations.

 

Staff and Training

Regulations on staff-to-resident ratios are vague, saying that assisted living homes must have an appropriate number of staff for its residents. At least one member of the staff must be awake and on duty at all times, and that person must have CPR training. Ongoing employee training programs are required in all Illinois assisted-living residences. Multiple orientations are required for every employee within 30 days of beginning work in a residence. They cover topics like residents’ rights, abuse prevention, reporting requirements and training to assist with activities of daily living appropriate to the needs of each resident.

Managers must be at least 21 years old, and complete eight hours of training every year. The ongoing education must cover:

– Promoting resident dignity, independence, self-determination, privacy, choice, and resident rights
– Procedures in case of disaster
– Hygiene and infection control
– Medication management and assisting residents with self-administering
– Abuse and neglect prevention
– Reporting requirements
– Assisting residents with activities of daily living

Memory care facilities has additional requirements for employees and managers. For residences who house people with Alzheimer’s or related dementia, managers and supervisors must:

– Have a college degree including coursework specific to dementia
– One year of hands-on experience working with people with dementia
– Two years of management experience working with people with dementia
– Six hours of specifically dementia-related training is required annually

For staff in memory-care facilities, they must additionally:

– Complete four hours of dementia-specific training before beginning the job, including techniques to minimize disruptive behavior, communicate, and identify safety risks for someone with Alzheimer’s

– Have 16 hours of on-the-job training and orientation covering assistance with activities of daily living, how to evacuate people with dementia in case of emergency, minimizing challenging behavior, how to work with families and cope with caregiver stress, and communicating with someone with dementia.

– Complete 12 hours of dementia-specific training annually

 

Evictions

There are no regulations that say a patient must be given advance notice before being evicted for nonpayment, inappropriate behavior, or another reason. Homes will have their own criteria, and it’s important to be clear on eviction rules before agreeing to move in. Knowing exactly why a person can be evicted, and how that process works is vital before moving into an assisted living home. By knowing these answers ahead of time, you can prevent an unfair eviction of your loved one. For more on memory care evictions, click here.

 

Financial Assistance For Residential Alzheimer’s Memory Care

Medicaid Supportive Living Program

Medicaid is a jointly funded federal and state program. In Illinois, there is help that pays for care in assisted living through the Illinois Supportive Living Program. To be eligible, your loved one must be accepted to reside in an assisted living facility that works with the program and must go through the preadmission screening. The Supportive Living Program will cover the cost of services in assisted living like laundry, meals, security and transportation and provide a $90 monthly personal allowance. The resident would still need to pay room and board. Your loved one can only apply for Supportive Living Program help if they have income equal or more than the Supplemental Security Income monthly benefit of $841. More on Medicaid here.

 

Choices for Care

This state program sends care coordinators to evaluate Illinois residents over 60 and determine what needs must be met and whether there is a progressive medical issue like dementia that would require placement in assisted living. Coordinators assess what the best living options are for your loved one. Whether that be staying at home or moving into assisted living, memory care, or a nursing facility. Choices for Care also works with families to identify financial assistance a person is eligible to receive. Screening consultations are free. For more information, find Care Coordination Services in your area here, or visit the Choices for Care program page.

 

Veterans Affairs (VA)

Veterans are statistically more likely to develop dementia. Among the reasons for this is that traumatic brain injuries and posttraumatic stress disorder lead to a higher probability of developing the condition. The VA offers many benefits for Alzheimer’s and dementia as well as different pension types.

 

VA Pensions

There are three types of VA Pensions available. The benefits change annually and are valid from December 2022 to December 2023. The benefits (and their maximum allowance) are as follows:

1) Basic Pension – This benefit is also known as a death pension. It is for veterans and surviving spouses who are aged or disabled. The qualifying disability does not need to be related to their military service. On an annual basis, the Basic Pension pays:

– Veterans without spouses or children up to $16,073

– Veterans with dependent spouses or children up to $21,001

– Surviving spouses without dependent children up to $10,756

2) Aid & Attendance – Abbreviated as A&A, this is an important program for veterans and their surviving spouses who require assistance with activities of daily living. This means they need assistance with activities like bathing, dressing, and eating. A&A is particularly helpful for people with dementia, especially in the middle and later stages of the disease, when the need for more assistance becomes necessary. A&A is intended to help with the long-term care costs of adult day care, in-home care, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing. Based on an individual’s need and the progression of the disease, most of these additional services that support your loved one will become necessary. Annually, the A&A pays:

– Veterans without spouses or children a maximum of $26,751

– Veterans with dependent spouses or children a maximum of $31,713

– Surviving spouses without dependent children a maximum of $17,191

3) Housebound – For veterans and surviving spouses who are permanently disabled and unable to leave their homes, making them require additional assistance. The definition of “home” can include assisted living, memory care, and nursing home. The Housebound pension, like the A&A pension, is meant to help cover long-term care costs. Annually, the Housebound pays:

– Veterans without spouses or children a maximum of $19,598

– Veterans with dependent spouses or children a maximum of $24,562

– Surviving spouses without dependent children a maximum of $13,145

 More information on VA Pensions’ eligibility criteria, payment rates and the application process is available here. 

 

Veterans’ Homes

Veterans’ homes 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. There are also four veterans’ homes in Illinois. They are in Anna, Lasalle, Manteno and Quincy. Neighboring states have more veterans’ homes, so a loved one might consider looking there for more options as there are no requirements that one must live in the state. For example, Missouri has almost twice as many VA homes coming in at seven statewide, Kentucky has four and Wisconsin has three. Click here for more info.

 

Other Options

1)Elder care loans exist for families to cover the costs of moving into memory care while waiting for other financial resources to become available. For example, if one is waiting for a VA pension to be approved or waiting to sell a home. More on bridge loans for memory care.

2) 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 can include assisted living costs.

3) A reverse mortgage can be an option for a married person moving into memory care, if their spouse continues to live in the home. However, if the spouse moves from their home, the reverse mortgage becomes due.