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

Last Updated: November 30, 2020

 

Assisted living residences in Kansas may be called Assisted Living Facilities, Residential Health Care Facilities, or Home Plus residences. These are long-term care homes that provide room and board, meals, and services for people with needs including full-time supervision, access to nursing care, and assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) like eating and dressing. Regular wellness and health monitoring is required. Nursing care may be available at all times, but only accessible in intermittent, limited terms. In other words, medical care is always available in these homes, but someone who requires 24-hour nursing care may not be admitted into Kansas assisted living.

Home Plus is different from other assisted living options because it offers a smaller, more house-like residence, with a maximum of 12 people living there. Home Plus residences are also called “board and care homes.”

Any of these types of communities may house people with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia (vascular, frontotemporal, Lewy body, etc.), but additional requirements must be checked, including dementia-specific training for staff (see below). Dementia units are often called “memory care” and may be a wing of a larger assisted living home or their own entire residence.

All types of assisted living homes are inspected and regulated by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. There are 90 memory care residences in Kansas. For free help finding one to fit your family’s needs and budget, click here.

 Did You Know? Roughly 55,000 people in Kansas have Alzheimer’s disease, representing about 12.5% of those over 65. That number is expected to increase to more than 62,000 by 2025.

 

How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Kansas?

The average cost of memory care per month in Kansas is $5,340, which breaks down to about $64,080 annually. The state’s most expensive city for memory care is Lawrence, where the average cost is $6,500 monthly and $78,000 annually. The lowest average price is Topeka, for about $4,470 monthly and $53,640 per year. In Wichita, memory care costs $5,600 per month or $67,200 annually.

Kansas’s memory care costs are slightly higher than the national average, but bordering states are less expensive. Missouri, for instance, is one of the least expensive states for memory care. Kansas City, on the Missouri side of the border but very near Lawrence (average monthly cost of memory care: $6,500) and Overland Park (average monthly cost: $5,370) is much more affordable, at about $3,450 monthly and $41,400 per year. Kansas residents, therefore, might want to look in nearby states to try and save on costs for memory care. For help doing so, complete this form.

Kansas Memory Care / Assisted Living Costs (updated Nov. 2020)
Region / City Monthly Cost Annual Cost
Statewide $5,600 $64,080
Wichita $4,360 $67,200
Overland Park $5,370 $64,440
Topeka $4,470 $53,640
Lawrence $6,500 $78,000
Kansas City, MO $3,450 $41,400

 

Kansas Assisted Living Laws & Regulations

Admissions Process & Requirements

Every new resident must be screened to determine functional capacity (abilities and healthcare needs) upon admittance. These screenings, also called “assessments,” must recur at least annually. Based on the screening’s results, a personalized service plan is created with the specific personal and healthcare needs of the resident, and how those needs will be met by staff.

The assessments are usually conducted by someone who works for the residence, and the cost is often included with the regular price of living there. However, sometimes a residence will charge a “community” or “move-in” fee that covers costs of becoming a new resident, including the assessment and any other up-front considerations like deep cleaning and painting the individual living unit.

An official diagnosis of dementia is not required to move into memory care in Kansas. Dementias are difficult to diagnose, and whether a home accepts a new resident is based on symptoms and needs, rather than a specific disease.

It is possible to move into Kansas assisted living on short notice, but this is not a good idea. The process of finding a good fit for your loved one takes time, and the individual with dementia can contribute more to a decision the earlier you begin investigating options. Before admission, anyone considering moving into assisted living in Kansas should receive a statement from the specific residence with the following information:

– General services provided
– Daily or monthly charges for services
– List of state laws affecting care
– Residents’ rights
– Policies and procedures for medical care
– Policy for filing a grievance

People with any of the following conditions may not be admitted into Kansas assisted living:
– Unmanageable incontinence
– Inability to exit the building in an emergency
– Need for ongoing skilled nursing care 24 hours per day
– Dangerous to self or others
– Need for physical restraints

 Covid 19-Related Rules for Admissions
During the pandemic, Kansas officials have said that all new admissions into assisted living homes should be isolated from the rest of the population there for 14 days, even if they show no symptoms of Covid-19.

 

Facility / Residence

Assisted living apartments must be at least 200 square feet, not including bathroom and closets. Residential health care facility rooms can be smaller, but still must be at least 100 square feet. There is no rule governing how many people can live in one apartment. Every apartment must have a bathroom with toilet, sink, and shower or bath accessible for people with disabilities.

Kansas regulations also do not include requirements for dementia-friendly architectural designs. Some states require buildings to have features like circular hallways that don’t run into a dead end, or secure outdoor spaces for activities and leisure. For this reason, be sure to inspect any residence you are considering for your loved one, with an eye on whether they can be safe and comfortable within the spaces.

 Covid 19-Related Rules for Visitations
During the pandemic, all visitors should be screened for symptoms of Covid 19 before being allowed to enter. Masks should be worn and six feet of social distance maintained. Outdoor visits are safer and should be encouraged if possible. The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services has recommended “window visits” with a clear divider between visitors and their loved ones, but this is not required.

 

Staff & Training

There is no employee-to-resident staffing ratio requirement in Kansas, except to say there must always be sufficient staff on-hand to fulfill the medical needs of every resident. Administrators must be at least 21 years old and have completed a training course approved by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. All new employees must participate in an orientation. Regular in-service training on best practices in assisted living is also required. Training must also cover abuse, neglect, exploitation, and disaster and emergency preparedness. Staff members who provide direct care to residents must complete a 90-hour nurse aid course and pass a test. Staff members working with people who have dementia must be trained on behavioral symptoms and how to fulfill those residents’ distinct needs.

 Covid 19-Related Rules for Staff
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control have advised that employees at assisted living homes be screened for fever and respiratory symptoms at the beginning and end of each shift. Employees should also be trained in putting on and removing personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks and gloves, infection control, and sterilization of rooms and surfaces.

 

Evictions

Kansas regulations require an assisted living home, including those with memory care, to give a resident at least 30 days notice before a transfer or eviction. The reasons a person can be evicted include:

– Symptoms have gotten so bad that they cannot be managed at the residence
– Dangerous behavior
– Restraints have become necessary

Unlike other states, there is not a rule in Kansas that says the residence must assist in finding a new home for your loved one if an eviction becomes necessary. Fortunately, there are resources to help. For information on what to do if you receive a discharge or eviction notice, click here.

 

Financial Assistance for Residential Alzheimer’s Memory Care

KanCare HCBS Frail Elderly Waiver

The Kansas Medicaid Home and Community Based Services Frail Elderly (FE) waiver is a program designed to help cover the costs of remaining at home or in assisted living rather than moving into a more expensive nursing home. Applicants must be Medicaid-eligible, including monthly income under $2,382 in 2021, and are periodically reassessed to ensure the waiver is covering needed benefits. Room and board in assisted living cannot be paid for by Medicaid, but care services like help with ADLs, medical equipment, and wellness monitoring are among the covered options. For more information, visit the state’s website. Program participants must be eligible for Medicaid, more on Kansas Medicaid guidelines for the aged or take an eligibility test.

 

Veterans Affairs (VA)

Veterans are statistically more likely to develop dementia. Relevant in all states including Kansas 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 (2021) maximum amount a veteran can receive through A&A is $27,540 per year, and surviving spouses can receive as much as $14,928. Learn more here.

 Did You Know? As few as one out of every seven veterans who are eligible for Aid & Attendance money have applied to receive it. If you’re eligible, apply as soon as possible, because it takes an average of nine months to be approved.

There are also two veterans’ homes in Kansas, which are residential care facilities that provide long-term care for veterans. The Kansas Veterans’ Home (click here) is located in Winfield, about an hour from Wichita, and has 24 beds for veterans with Alzheimer’s or related dementia. The Kansas Soldiers’ Home (click here) is in Fort Dodge, outside Dodge City in the Southwestern part of the state, and has 26 spots for veterans with dementia. Nursing home care and regular assisted living are also provided in these veterans’ homes. 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 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 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.