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

Last Updated: November 28, 2022

 

In Nebraska, assisted living facilities are defined as a residence where room, board and care are provided 24 hours per day for people who need support because of age, illness, or disability. Assistance with activities of daily living like eating and bathing must also be available. Other support services include:

– Non-complex nursing care
– Transportation
– Laundry
– Housekeeping
– Money management
– Behavior therapy
– Beauty/barber services
– Religious services

Assisted living for people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is called memory care. These units must take extra measures, including making sure there is a physical environment appropriate for residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia-specific training for staff.

Assisted living facilities in Nebraska are regulated by its Health and Human Services. There are approximately 175 memory care communities in the state. For free help finding memory care to meet your needs and budget, click here.

 Did You Know? There are about 35,000 people with Alzheimer’s disease in Nebraska, and that number is expected to reach 40,000 by 2025. That follows the same, 14%, increase that is the national standard.

 

How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Nebraska?

The average cost of assisted living with memory care in Nebraska is $4,932 per month. This puts Nebraska below the national average of $5,448 per month for memory care. In Omaha, the average cost  is $5,632 per month. Memory care is most expensive in Lincoln, where it costs $5,705 per month. The most affordable place for memory care in Nebraska is in Grand Island for $3,534 per month.

 Did You Know? Families in Nebraska with a loved one with dementia can receive free assistance finding memory care homes that meet their needs and budgets.  Get help here.

To the south, Colorado and Kansas, both higher average costs for memory care than Nebraska itself. Residents in the northern and western parts of the state might find more affordable options in South Dakota, averaging $4,049 per month, and Wyoming whose memory care costs $5,043. It can be possible to find savings outside your state regardless of where you live.

Nebraska Memory Care / Assisted Living Costs (updated Sept. 2022)
Region / City Daily Cost Monthly Cost
Statewide $162 $4,932
Omaha $185 $5,632
Lincoln $188 $5,705
Grand Island $116 $3,534

 

Nebraska 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

A written service plan must be negotiated with every resident before move-in. This details medical and personal needs plus the services that will be provided. This agreement must specify how these services will be administered. It must also include all fees, and any potential charges. This agreement must be reviewed and updated as the patient’s needs change.

The process for developing this plan must be explained in writing to anyone considering moving in. An assessment by a medical professional who works for the residence will be part of this. This is part of the move-in process, so there may be an additional fee to cover the cost of the assessment as well as other up-front expenses like deep cleaning and painting the new resident’s room. This fee is usually called a community fee and runs between $1,500 to $2,500.

A person does not need an official diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, or related dementia to move into memory care in Nebraska. Anyone considering moving into assisted living is entitled to the following information in writing:

– Description of all services provided
– Description of staff and their qualifications
– Policy regarding whether residence accepts Medicaid waiver funds
– Criteria for admission and any issues that might disqualify someone from admittance
– Process for writing a resident services agreement
– Residents’ rights
– Description of all costs
– Whether or not nursing care is provided, and at what level

In special care units for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, services that are tailored to support patients with dementia must also be detailed.

While you may be able to move into assisted living in Nebraska on short notice, this is not a good idea. The process of finding the right community takes thorough investigation of many options, including asking questions of residents and staff at any home you’re considering. Your loved one will also be able to provide more input if you begin the search early, before a move is necessary.

 

Facility / Residence

In Nebraska, living units must be at least 80 square feet for one person, and 60 square feet per person if there are roommates. For new homes, the requirements are larger: 100 square feet for one person and 80 square feet per person for multiple occupants. New homes may not have more than two people in a single unit, but up to four roommates are allowed in older assisted living residences. One bath or shower must be provided for every 16 residents in older facilities, and for every eight residents in newer homes. These must all have grab bars or other assistive devices. A toilet and sink must be adjacent to every living unit, except in older residences where there must be at least one toilet for every six residents.

There are no specific requirements for outdoor spaces that are secure or other design features that benefit people with dementia. Look for these and be sure your loved one will be comfortable in the spaces before agreeing to move in. Also, a description of the physical layout and how it is appropriate must be provided to anyone considering moving in.

 

Staff & Training

There is no staff-to-resident ratio required in Nebraska. There must be sufficient staff to meet the needs of every person living there. Each residence must employ an administrator responsible for planning, organizing, and day-to-day operations. Administrators must be approved by the state. Administrators must undergo 30 hours of training that covers:

– Residential care and services
– Social services
– Financial management
– Administration
– Gerontology (the science of aging)
– Rules and regulations

Residences must have a registered nurse on-call to review medication administration policies and to train anyone who helps residents with their medications. Staff must receive orientation upon hiring that includes overviews of residents’ rights, service plans, and emergency procedures. Additionally, 12 hours of continuing education are required annually. In memory care, staff must be trained specifically to help people with dementia, including four hours of additional annual training that includes:

– Philosophy for treating people with dementia
– The stages of Alzheimer’s disease and how the illness progresses
– Techniques for assisting with activities of daily living
– Wandering
– Behavior difficulties

 

Evictions & Discharges

A Nebraska memory care community is required to give 30 days’ notice to someone being evicted. The only exception is if a person needs to leave immediately for health and/or safety reasons.

The reasons a person can be evicted, transferred, or discharged are not defined in Nebraska’s regulations. This means every residence has its own rules about why a person can be asked to leave. One fairly common reason is that their health has deteriorated to a point where the services there aren’t enough. Other reasons might include aggressive behavior or non-payment of bills. Be sure to ask for the specific reasons a person can be evicted before agreeing to a move-in contract. Get the answer in writing and keep it on file, because unfair evictions can be a problem in assisted living. If you receive an eviction notice and need to know what to do next, click here.

 

Financial Assistance for Residential Alzheimer’s Memory Care

Aged and Disabled Medicaid Waiver

This state Medicaid waiver is designed to help cover the costs of living with an illness at home or in assisted living. Medicaid does not pay for room-and-board in assisted living. Additional services may be covered, including personal care, meals, laundry, medical equipment and more. Recipients must be Medicaid-eligible, including income under $2,523 per month in 2022 for an individual (though there may be exceptions available for people deemed medically needy). Because the program is approved for a specific number of people (about 7,200 as of this writing), there may be a waiting list. For additional information, click here. To apply, contact the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-538-8802 or your local Area Agency on Aging.

 

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 Nebraska located in Kearney (in the central part of the state), Norfolk (northeast), Bellevue (outside Omaha) and Scottsbluff (western panhandle). These are facilities providing long-term residential care for veterans. In addition to nursing home care, assisted living and memory care are 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, Missouri has seven veterans’ homes statewide. Additionally, Colorado has five facilities and Kansas has two. 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.