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

Last Updated: January 24, 2020


Assisted living communities in Kentucky must provide beds for at least five adults, as well as the following:
– Help with activities of daily living (ADLs), like eating and bathing, and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) like money management and housekeeping
– Three meals and a snack daily
– Scheduled social activities daily
– Assistance with self-administering medication

Dementia-specific assisted living (often called “memory care”) is considered special programming by the state. These residences require additional training for staff (see below), as well as programs and activities that are particularly for people with Alzheimer’s disease or another related dementia. A list of the features and resources that make the place appropriate for residents with dementia must be provided to anyone interested.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Human Services, Department for Aging and Independent Living, oversees assisted living in the state.


How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Kentucky?

The average cost of memory care per month in Kentucky is $4,587, which breaks down to about $150 per day and $55,044 annually. Unlike in many other states, Kentucky regulations do not require a disclosure of costs, including additional costs, to potential residents, so be sure you specifically ask for a full accounting of all possible charges to avoid surprises with billing. Assisted living, without the additional services required for memory care, costs Kentucky residents about $3,505 per month and $42,060 annually.

The state’s most expensive place for memory care is Lexington, where memory care costs about $5,624 per month and $67,488 annually. The cheapest city for memory care is Owensboro, for about $2,832 monthly and $33,984 annually. The largest city in Kentucky is Louisville, where memory care costs about $5,345 per month and $64,140 annually.


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


Kentucky Assisted Living Laws & Regulations

Admissions Requirements

To be admitted to an assisted living residence in Kentucky, individuals must be ambulatory or mobile non-ambulatory, meaning they must be able to get from room to room by themselves, unless afflicted with some temporary condition. A resident may not be admitted who poses a danger to self or others. A functional needs assessment is required for every resident before moving in, and then once a year afterward. There is no standardized form for this assessment, 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.



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.


Staff & Training

There are not staffing ratios in Kentucky, except to say there must at all times be adequate staff to meet the needs of every resident. At all hours, there must be at least one awake staff person. 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 have an 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.


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 cannot include room and board, but assistance with ADLs, case management, and transportation are among the benefits. Recipients must be financially qualified for Medicaid, including monthly income under $2,369. More information is available on the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Human Services website. To apply, contact your local HHS 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. Relevant in all states including Kentucky 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 (2020) maximum amount a veteran can receive through A&A is $27,194 per year, and surviving spouses can receive as much as $14,761. Learn more here.

There are also veterans’ homes in Kentucky, which 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. 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.