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

Last Updated: November 13, 2022


Assisted living communities in Kentucky provide a home for people who cannot live independently and need support services. They offer:

– Help with activities of daily living, like eating and bathing, and instrumental activities of daily living like money management and housekeeping

– Three meals and a snack daily

– Daily scheduled social activities

– Assistance with self-administering medication

Dementia-specific assisted living is often called memory care or Alzheimer’s care. These residences require additional training for staff and programs with different activities that are specifically for people with Alzheimer’s or another related disease like vascular, frontotemporal, or Lewy body dementia. A list of the features and resources that make the residence appropriate for people with dementia must be provided to anyone interested.

There are approximately 75 assisted living homes with memory care in Kentucky. There are also about 36 board and care homes, which are smaller home-like communities that offer the same services as regular assisted living, including memory care in some cases. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Human Services, Department for Aging and Independent Living, oversees assisted living in the state. For free help finding memory care to meet your family’s needs and budget, click here.

 Did You Know? About 11% of people over 65 in Kentucky have Alzheimer’s disease, one of the lowest rates in the country. That’s still about 75,000 people, with the number of Kentuckians with Alzheimer’s expected to increase to about 86,000 by 2025.


How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Kentucky?

The average cost of memory care per month in Kentucky is $4,159. The Bluegrass State’s most expensive place for memory care is Lexington, where memory care costs $5,521 per month. The least expensive city for memory care is Owensboro, in the western coal field, for $3,754 monthly. The largest city in Kentucky is Louisville, where memory care costs $4,233 per month.

 In Kentucky, free assistance is available to help families locate a memory care home to meet their needs and budgets. Get help here

Kentucky’s memory care costs are below the national average, but it still may be possible to find more affordable long-term care in nearby states. For example, while Tennessee’s overall costs are higher, running $4,969 monthly, the northern Tennessee city Clarksville costs $3,902 per month compared to the southern Kentucky city of Bowling Green $4,233. If you live in Kentucky and are looking for affordable memory care, consider going across the state border.

Other Kentucky cities and their average memory care costs:

Kentucky Memory Care / Assisted Living Costs (updated Aug. 2022)
Region / City Daily Cost Monthly Cost
Statewide $137 $4,159
Louisville $139 $4,233
Lexington $182 $5,521
Bowling Green $139 $4,233
Owensboro $123 $3,754


Kentucky Assisted Living Laws & Regulations

 Covid 19-Related Measures (updated Aug. 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 be admitted to an assisted living residence in Kentucky, patients must be ambulatory. This means that they must be able to get from room to room by themselves, unless they have some kind of temporary condition. A resident may not be admitted who poses a danger to themselves or others. A diagnosis of dementia is not required to move into Kentucky memory care. Dementias are difficult to diagnose, and symptoms vary widely.

An assessment is required for all memory care residents before they move in, and then needs to be updated yearly. The assessment determines the resident’s physical and mental abilities, and exactly which activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living they need help with. A personalized service plan that lists these details and medical needs must be created within 21 days of moving in. There is no standardized form for this assessment and formulation of a care plan, but it’s important that a facility be certain it can meet someone’s particular needs, especially in memory care where residents require more acute care. These assessments are conducted at the residence by a healthcare professional. The cost of being assessed may be included with the base rate agreed to in the contract, or it might be covered by a community fee that covers up-front expenses including other things like painting and deep-cleaning your loved one’s new living unit. Since there is not a standard statewide policy for this, be clear on what the procedure is and what the costs are before signing a contract. Unlike in many other states, Kentucky regulations do not require a disclosure of costs, including additional costs, to potential residents. Be sure you specifically ask for a full accounting of all possible charges to avoid surprises with billing.

It is possible to move into assisted living in Kentucky on short notice, but this is not a good idea. Finding the right memory care community for your loved one is so important that you should investigate as many potential homes as possible before making a decision. Additionally, your loved one will have more input into the decision the earlier you start looking.


Facility / Residence

Rooms for residents in assisted living must be at least 200 square feet for one or two people. The maximum number of people allowed in one room is two, if roommates have agreed to live together. Every bedroom has a private bathroom with a tub or shower. All building codes must be followed, with annual inspections by fire marshals and health inspectors.

Kentucky regulations do not expressly require building designs for memory care homes to be dementia-friendly. People with dementia have an easier time living in areas where the hallways run circular so there are no dead ends, and the spaces are easy to navigate. Secure outdoor areas have also been shown to be beneficial. Make sure you inspect any home you are considering, with an eye on whether or not your loved one will be comfortable in the space.


Staff & Training

There are no staffing ratios in Kentucky, except there must be adequate staff to meet the needs of every resident. There must be at least one awake staff person 24 hours per day. Managers must be at least 21 years old, have passed a background check, and be able to demonstrate managerial and administrative abilities. All employees, including managers, must complete orientation upon hiring, and continuing education annually. Memory care must provide all residents (or potential residents) with a specific list that details the kinds of training, the number of hours of training, the schedule for training, and which members of staff complete the training to care for people with problems particular to dementia.


Evictions & Discharges

Kentucky assisted living homes, including those with memory care, must assist someone who has been evicted with finding a new place to live. Regulations say that if your loved one receives a notice to move out, the residence must have a plan for finding a new facility before the move-out date. A 30-day notice is standard when receiving a discharge.

There is not a set list of reasons someone can be evicted from memory care in Kentucky, except “clients must not be a danger to themselves or others.” Every residence should have its own eviction policy, so be sure to ask for this in writing before agreeing to a move-in contract. Having the eviction policy in writing can work like protection against an unexpected or unfair eviction notice. For more on what to do if your loved one is asked to leave memory care, click here. There are several steps you can take, and moving out may not actually be required.


Financial Assistance for Residential Alzheimer’s Memory Care

HCBS Medicaid Waivers Program

Kentucky’s Home and Community Based Services Medicaid Waiver is for people who may need nursing-home care but wish to remain in their houses or assisted living communities. The services covered do not include room and board. Instead, they offer assistance with activities of daily living, case management, and transportation. Recipients must be financially qualified for Medicaid, including monthly income under $2,742 in 2023. More information is available on the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Human Services website. To apply, contact your local health and human services office through this website. Read about Kentucky Medicaid eligibility requirements or take a Medicaid eligibility test.


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

There are four veterans’ homes in Kentucky, which are residential care facilities that provide long-term care for veterans. They are:

– Joseph Ballard Western Kentucky Veterans Center in Hanson, off I-69. They have a 30 bed memory care unit.

– Thomson Hood Veterans Center in Wilmore, 30 minutes south of Lexington. They have a 45 bed memory care unit.

– Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center in Hazard, by the Eastern coal fields. They have a 30 bed memory care unit.

– Carl M. Brashear Radcliff Veterans Center in Radcliff, south of Louisville and Fort Knox. They have a 30 bed memory care unit.

In addition to nursing home care, assisted living and memory care are also provided. Neighboring states have 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, Tennessee has four veterans’ homes statewide and some are located relatively close to their shared border. Additionally, Ohio has three facilities statewide. 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.