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

Last Updated: February 23, 2024


In Mississippi, communities that house people with dementia in memory care units are called “personal care homes”. They are divided into two categories of facilities:

– Residential living who may not house a patient that is non-ambulatory, meaning they cannot evacuate on their own in an emergency.

– Assisted living who may admit non-ambulatory residents who have advanced dementia as long as their medical evaluation supports that the home can care for them.

All assisted and residential living homes provide room and board, meals, laundry, housekeeping services and assistance with activities of daily living like eating and dressing.

Memory care in Mississippi is regulated by the state’s Department of Health. There are about 30 personal care homes licensed to admit residents with dementia in the state. There are also many other options in nearby states. For free help finding the right memory care for your family’s needs and budget regardless of state, click here.


How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Mississippi?

The average cost of memory care per month in Mississippi is $4,572 in 2024. The state’s most expensive city for memory care is Jackson costing $5,685 monthly. Outside its major cities, the least expensive memory care is found in rural areas of the state averaging $3,379 per month.

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

The 2024 national average for memory care is $5,884 per month. Mississippi’s costs are below that along with some of its neighbors. West of the delta, Arkansas is one of the country’s least expensive places for memory care averaging $4,929 per month. Louisiana costs $4,889 per month. And to the east, Alabama averages $4,572 for memory care. Tuscaloosa, for example, is only an hour from eastern Mississippi and costs $4,134 per month for memory care. This means that while there are fewer memory care communities in Mississippi, affordable options may still be available if you’re willing to cross the state’s borders.

Mississippi’s Memory Care / Assisted Living Costs (updated Feb. 2024)
Region / City Daily Cost Monthly Cost
Statewide $150 $4,572
Jackson $187 $5,685
Gulfport $163 $4,969
Hattiesburg $178 $5,406


Mississippi Assisted Living Laws & Regulations

 Covid-19 Measures (updated Sept. 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

Before moving in, every resident in Mississippi memory care must be assessed medically to determine whether the fit is appropriate. Facilities may not admit someone whose needs cannot be met there. Medical evaluations must be updated annually.

These assessments are usually performed by a medical professional who works for the residence. The cost may be included in the base rate, or the residence may charge a community fee that covers the assessment and other up-front details like deep cleaning the new resident’s room. Community fees usually run between $1,500 and $2,500. When interviewing potential memory care homes to move into, ask exactly what the assessment process is.

Admissions agreements must be provided to every resident, and include the following information:

– A breakdown of all charges and the period they are covering
– Services that might result in additional costs
– Refund policy
– Promise to make timely notifications of any changes in status

Someone with the following issues may not be admitted to an assisted living home in Mississippi:

– Is non-ambulatory, or cannot move without assistance
– Requires physical restraints
– Threatens safety of themselves or others
– Requires feeding tubes or IV fluids

A person does not need to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia in order to be admitted into memory care in Mississippi. Dementia is difficult to diagnose, with symptoms that vary depending on the individual. It’s important to match your loved one with the home that best fits with their unique needs, not a specific disease.

It is possible to move into assisted living in Mississippi on short notice, but this is not a good idea. Finding the right memory care community for your loved one is important, 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 the process.


Facility / Residence

All living units must be at least 80 square feet. Every floor needs a bathroom for both genders, with a bathtub or shower for every 12 residents and a toilet and sink for every six residents. Any residence housing people with dementia must have security controls on all entrances and exits (in case of wandering) and a secure outdoor exercise pathway. Other design elements that are dementia-friendly but not required in Mississippi are soft paint colors on the walls, easily navigated areas, and hallways that run circular so your loved one can walk without encountering a dead end.


Staff & Training

Regulations say that two staff plus a nurse must be on duty at all times. Three hours of nursing care is required to be available to every resident per 24 hours. Also, a licensed social worker, professional counselor, or therapist must be available at least eight hours every month to provide services to residents with dementia and their families. Orientation for new employees must be dementia-specific. In-service training must be held at least quarterly. Staffing ratios are as follows:

– Between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., there must be one direct-care staffer for every 15 or fewer residents.
– Between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., there must be one direct-care staffer for every 25 or fewer residents.


Evictions & Discharges

A resident in assisted living may be evicted if they develop any of the following issues:

– Become non-ambulatory
– Require physical restraints
– Become dangerous to themselves or others
– Need nasopharyngeal and/or tracheotomy suctioning
– Need intravenous fluids, medicine or feeding
– Need an indwelling urinary catheter
– Need sterile wound care
– Need treatment for a decubitus ulcer or exfoliative dermatitis

It is possible that the family, residence, and a licensed medical professional agree that the community is able to handle it, and an exception can be made.

Mississippi regulations do not specify how soon a person must leave after receiving an eviction notice. In other states, residents are typically given 30 days. For this reason, it’s important to be clear on what can get a person evicted. Knowing how that process works and getting it in writing before agreeing to move in is a vital step. Unfair evictions can be a problem in assisted living nationwide. By getting the residence’s policy in writing (with as many specific details as possible) is a good way of being prepared. If you’ve received an eviction notice, click here for guidance on next steps.


Financial Assistance for Residential Alzheimer’s Memory Care

Medicaid Assisted Living Waiver

The Assisted Living Waiver (AL) is a Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services waiver program that helps qualified individuals cover the costs of care services in a memory care facility. This is meant to promote independent living and avoid a premature move into a nursing home. While Medicaid cannot pay for room and board, the waiver can pay for additional care services that can assist with activities of daily living, as well as therapies, case management, and transportation to appointments. Additional benefits can include emergency response systems, chore service, medication management, and skilled nursing. To qualify, one must meet financial and medical requirements. In 2024 that includes income under $2,829 per month, countable assets less than $4,000, and need a nursing home level of care. The Assisted Living Waiver is not an entitlement program, meaning that there may be a waiting list because qualifying for the program does not mean one will immediately receive benefits. Medicaid eligibility requirements. For more information, click here to go to the program’s website. To apply, contact your local Area Agency on Aging. Mississippi’s Medicaid eligibility guidelines can be found here or for a fast, non-binding Medicaid eligibility test click here.

Independent Living Waiver

The Independent Living Waiver (IL) is a Medicaid program meant to help eligible individuals stay in their homes and not have to move into a nursing care facility to obtain additional support services. In the Independent Living Waiver, enrollees can only live in their own homes or that of a loved one. Benefits are based on one’s need and can include home modifications, assistance with activities of daily living, medical equipment, and transitional services. To qualify for this program there are strict financial and medical guidelines. In 2024, that includes income less than $2,829 per month, countable assets less than $4,000, and the need for a nursing home level of care. For more information, click here to go to the program’s website. To apply, contact one’s local Mississippi Division of Medicaid office by clicking here. Mississippi’s Medicaid eligibility guidelines can be found here or for a fast, non-binding Medicaid eligibility test click here.

Elderly & Disabled Waiver

The Elderly & Disabled Waiver is a Medicaid program designed to assist independent living through additional long-term care support services. Qualified individuals can live in their own home or that of a family member, but not in an assisted living or memory care community. Benefits are based upon one’s need and can include adult day care, transitional services, assistance with activities of daily living, skilled nursing, meal service, and medication management. To qualify for this Home and Community-Based Services Waiver, there are strict financial and medical requirements to be eligible for Medicaid in Mississippi. In 2024, that includes income under $2,829 per month, countable assets less than $4,000, and the need for a nursing home level of care. More information is on the program’s website by clicking here. This waiver is not an entitlement program meaning that just because you qualify for benefits you might not receive them immediately. There can be a waitlist because of an annual cap on how many enrollees can participate. To apply, contact your local Medicaid office or call the Mississippi Division of Medicaid at (800) 421-2408. Mississippi’s Medicaid eligibility guidelines can be found here or for a fast, non-binding Medicaid eligibility test click here.


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 2023 to December 2024. 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 $16,551

– Veterans with dependent spouses or children up to $21,674

– Surviving spouses without dependent children up to $11,102

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 $27,609

– Veterans with dependent spouses or children a maximum of $32,729

– Surviving spouses without dependent children a maximum of $17,743

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 $20,226

– Veterans with dependent spouses or children a maximum of $25,348

– Surviving spouses without dependent children a maximum of $13,568

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

Veterans Homes

There are four veterans’ homes in Mississippi. They are residential care facilities that provide long-term care for veterans. They are located in Collins, in lower-central Mississippi; Jackson; Kosciusko, in the upper-central part of the state; and Oxford, in the northwest. In addition to nursing home care, assisted living and memory care may be provided. Neighboring states also have veterans’ homes. Your loved one might consider looking there for more options as there are no requirements that one must live in the state. For example, Louisiana has five veterans’ homes statewide. Additionally, Alabama and Tennessee both have four facilities. 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.