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

Last Updated: November 13, 2022


Assisted living residences, including memory care homes with special units for Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, are defined as housing with support services. In Minnesota, these homes must provide sleeping units and health-related services to their residents, as well as:

– Access to an on-call registered nurse
– A system to check on every resident daily
– A means for residents to request assistance
– 24/7 emergency response
– Two meals per day
– Weekly housekeeping and laundry
– Assistance with self-administered medications
– Assistance with three or more activities of daily living including bathing, dressing, eating and grooming

Further, memory care or special care units cannot be provided by an assisted living residence unless it offers a written document to residents, and potential residents, that lists the following:

– A statement of its philosophy specifically addressing the needs of residents with dementia
– Criteria for deciding who may live in memory care
– The process for assessment and how a residents individualized service plan is created
– Staffing credentials, duties, and training
– Description of physical environment including features that address the needs of residents with dementia
– List of programs and activities
– Explanation of family involvement and availability of family support programs
– Statement that resident will be given 30-day notice prior to any fee changes

Assisted living in Minnesota is regulated by the state’s Department of Health. There are approximately 250 memory care communities in Minnesota, but only five board and care homes, which offer the same services as assisted living in a more house-like setting. For help finding memory care that meets your family’s needs and budget, click here.

 Did You Know? There are about 99,000 people with Alzheimer’s disease in Minnesota, and that number is expected to increase 21% to about 120,000 people by 2025.


How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Minnesota?

The average cost of memory care per month in Minnesota is $5,448 in 2022. Remember that a Uniform Consumer Information Guide is required to be given to any resident or prospective resident, and must include all costs and potential fees. The state’s most expensive place for memory care is Minneapolis, where memory care costs $6,257 per month. Those numbers encompass the whole of the Twin Cities, so St. Paul averages about the same, as do the surrounding suburban areas within The Metro, including Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, and Plymouth. The least expensive city for memory care is in Mankato where it will cost $3,791 per month.

 Minnesota residents are entitled to free assistance finding residences. Click here for more information.

While Minnesota’s memory care costs are the exact same as the national average of $5,448 per month, it may be possible to find more affordable assisted living in surrounding states. Western Minnesota residents could look in the Dakotas, which both average a little more than $4,000 per month for memory care. Specifically, Grand Forks, on the North Dakota border with Minnesota, only costs $2,650 per month for memory care. Sioux Falls, on the southern part of the border between South Dakota and Minnesota, costs $3,534 per month for memory care. Iowa and Wisconsin, Minnesota’s other neighbors, are both slightly more expensive, but there still may be opportunities for savings. La Crosse, Wisconsin, for example, is on the border with Minnesota and only costs about $5,153 per month for memory care.

Minnesota Memory Care / Assisted Living Costs (updated Aug. 2022)
Region / City Daily Cost Monthly Cost
Statewide $179 $5,448
Minneapolis $206 $6,257
Rochester $166 $5,043
St. Cloud $163 $4,969
Duluth $198 $6,037


Minnesota 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 Process & Requirements

A person can live in a care facility only if the residence meets that person’s specific health needs. For people with Alzheimer’s or dementia, this means there must be a special care unit with services appropriate for one’s stage of dementia. As one’s dementia worsens, it may become necessary to find more appropriate housing that can support someone advancing into the later stages of the disease.

An assessment by a registered nurse who works for the residence is required within five days of moving in. The cost of the assessment is usually covered by an assessment fee or community fee that covers all move-in costs including the assessment and readying a new resident’s living unit. Community fees are usually between $1,500 and $2,500. Monitoring and a reassessment are required within 14 days of move-in. If your loved one needs help with medication management, this requires another assessment by a registered nurse. When considering a memory care home, be sure to ask specific questions about the assessment process, to be crystal clear on what appointments need to be made and how they are paid for. Documents detailing what happens step-by-step leading up to move-in should be provided to any prospective resident.

Regulations do not require that a person be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, or a related dementia in order to be admitted into memory care in Minnesota. Dementia is difficult to diagnose and symptoms can change over time. It is important to match your loved one’s unique needs, rather than specific symptoms, to their new memory care home.


Facility / Residence

Minnesota does not define the size of bedroom units in assisted living, how many bathrooms per resident, or how many occupants may live in one bedroom, except to say compliance with state and local building codes is required.

Minnesota memory care residences must be built with design and security features that are dementia friendly. However, this is not specifically defined, but usually has features that include special locks to prevent wandering, a secure outdoor area, softer paint colors, and an easily navigated layout with hallways that run circular so residents with more advanced dementia do not encounter dead ends.


Staff & Training

There is no staff-to-resident ratio in Minnesota, though there must be enough people working to fulfill the needs of every person living there. Dementia-specific training is required for people who work in memory care. Supervisors must have eight hours of dementia-care training within 120 working hours of their employment start date, and two hours annually of additional training. Employees who work directly with residents must have eight hours of initial training and two hours of continuing education each year. Dementia-care training must include:

– An explanation of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Lewy body dementia, etc.)
– Helping with activities of daily living
– How to deal with challenging behaviors
– Best ways to communicate

The residence must provide a description of training for employees, including the frequency of training. Besides the dementia-specific training guidelines above, employees in all assisted living residences in Minnesota must receive an orientation and eight hours of in-service training annually. Managers and supervisors must have 30 hours of continuing education every two years.


Evictions & Discharges

Minnesota regulations say that a 30 days notice is required before an eviction from any assisted living or memory care. When picking a community, it’s a good idea to ask: What are the exact reasons a person can be evicted? Can your loved one be told to leave for nonpayment or aggressive behavior? The answer depends on the residence. Some states require detailed eviction rules to be provided in writing, but not Minnesota. Ask for this document before agreeing to move in, because unfair evictions are a problem in memory care. Evictions are legal, even if the person has Alzheimer’s disease, unless the residence is violating its own admissions and retention policy, so keep a copy of the policy on file. Click here for more information on what to do after receiving an eviction notice.


Financial Assistance for Residential Alzheimer’s Memory Care

Elderly Waiver Program

This program helps pay for home and community-based services for people over 65 who live at home or in assisted living. Participants can have a designated caregiver manage their healthcare, or it can be managed by the state. To receive benefits, a person must be enrolled in Medicaid, whose qualifications include monthly income under $2,742 per month in 2023. There may be exceptions for people designated as medically needy. This program is available state-wide but there may be a waiting list. Apply as soon as possible by clicking here or contacting your local county health office.


Community Access for Disability Inclusion Waiver

Designed to help people who may need nursing-home-level care to remain in their homes or assisted living communities, the Community Access for Disability Inclusion waiver is a statewide program that covers costs including nursing services and specialized medical equipment. Recipients must be certified as disabled by the Social Security Administration or a state medical review team. Income and asset limits may apply, though professional Medicaid planners can be useful in making this determination. For more information, click here. To apply, contact your local Department of Human Services agency.

 Both these are Medicaid programs. In addition to income limits, Minnesota Medicaid has other eligibility criteria. Take a fast and simple Minnestoa 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 also five veterans’ homes in Minnesota, which are residential care facilities that provide long-term care for veterans. They are located in: Minneapolis; Hastings, southeast of St. Paul; Silver Bay, on the north shore; Luverne, in the southeast corner by Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Fergus Falls, along the western state line. In addition to nursing home care, assisted living and memory care may be 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, Wisconsin has three Veterans homes statewide and some are located relatively close to their shared border. Additionally, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa all have one facility apiece. 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.