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

Last Updated: November 13, 2022

 

New Jersey regulations define assisted living residences as facilities that provide room and board with personal and healthcare services for people with special needs. All assisted living must have dining and stimulating activities for residents, as well as nursing services for residents who need nursing-home-level care.

Assisted living for people with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia is often called memory care. These communities are required to have written policies and procedures that take into account the specific needs of people with dementia. Additionally, staff must have specialized training and the facility must provide caregivers a list of activities that specifically benefit residents with dementia. (More in Laws & Regulations below.)

People who require specialized long-term care, like ventilators or people with severe behavior management problems, cannot be admitted. An assisted living residence may not admit someone whose needs are greater than the services provided.

Assisted living residences are regulated under the New Jersey Department of Health’s Division of Health Facilities Evaluation and Licensing. There are approximately 200 memory care homes in New Jersey. The size of these homes varies, from large apartment-complex-style communities to smaller home-like residences with fewer than 12 people. For free help finding memory care to meet your family’s needs and budget, click here.

 Did You Know? New Jersey is in the Top 5 states for residents over 65 with Alzheimer’s disease. About 14% of seniors in the state have Alzheimer’s, and the number of people with the disease is expected to grow from 190,000 in 2020 to 210,000 in 2025.

 

How Much Does Memory Care Cost in New Jersey?

The average cost of memory care per month in New Jersey is $7,877. This is more than most neighboring states, and higher than the national average of about $5,000.

The most expensive place for memory care is Trenton, which costs $9,865 per month. The least expensive is Ocean City, for $7,030 per month. Generally, memory care in the south of the state is more affordable than in the north.

 In New Jersey, free assistance is available to help families locate a memory care home that meets their needs and budgets. Get help here.

It is possible for people in New Jersey to find less expensive memory care in surrounding states. Western New Jersey residents should consider looking in Pennsylvania, where Philadelphia’s average memory care monthly cost is about $6,883 per month. For northern New Jersey residents, New York City averages about $6,957 per month for memory care, but costs can vary widely and it is worth investigating options there. To the south, Delaware’s state average is about $7,251. Regardless of state, patients with dementia and their families can receive free assistance finding memory care homes.

New Jersey Memory Care / Assisted Living Costs (updated July 2022)
Region / City Daily Cost Monthly Cost
Statewide $259 $7,877
Atlantic City $231 $7,030
Ocean City $298 $9,055
Trenton $324 $9,865
Vineland $254 $7,730

 

New Jersey Assisted Living Laws & Regulations

 COVID-19 Related Measures (updated July 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

Two assessments are required for admission into a residential care facility. The first needs to be done after admission and is a general assessment to determine specific medical needs while the second is a more comprehensive evaluation by a registered nurse. The assessments are required within 14 days of admission. A service plan is created documenting the new resident’s medical and personal needs. The individualized plan will detail medications, ability to perform activities of daily living (like eating and bathing), as well as personal issues like tastes and favorite activities. The assessments are conducted by medical professionals who work for the residence, and the cost can be included in the basic rate or the residence may charge a community fee. Community fees cover up-front move-in expenses like assessments, deep cleaning and painting a new resident’s room. Community fees are one-time usually run between $1,500 and $3,500.

All new residents are given in writing a statement of resident’s rights and the home’s policies on Medicaid (for more on Medicaid, see below).

An official diagnosis of dementia is usually not required to move into memory care, because Alzheimer’s and related dementias are difficult to diagnose as symptoms vary and change. New Jersey regulations allow a home to establish its own admissions rules, however, so it’s possible a diagnosis is part of moving in. Someone who requires specialized full-time care such as respirators or ventilators cannot live in New Jersey memory care homes.

 

Facility / Residence

Bedrooms in New Jersey assisted living must have at least 150 square feet of floor space for one resident, and 230 square feet of space in a room for two residents. Two is the maximum number of people allowed per bedroom. Every living unit needs to have a bathroom with a sink, toilet, and shower and bath. Additional bathrooms with toilets must be provided elsewhere. Smoke detectors are required in all bedrooms, living rooms, and common areas, with an automatic fire suppression system throughout the building.

New Jersey does not require residences with memory care to be built with features that are specifically designed to benefit people with dementia. Examples of dementia-friendly designs include circular hallways (so someone walking avoids a dead end), clear sight lines, soft paint colors, and a secure outdoor space to spend time in the open air. This makes it important you inspect any home you’re considering with an eye on whether your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia will be comfortable within the spaces.

 

Staff & Training

An administrator must be on-site at all times in facilities with 60 or more beds, and half-time in facilities with less than 60 beds. At least two employees are required to be on duty at all times, and a registered nurse must also be available 24-hours per day.

Administrators must be at least 21 years old with a high school diploma, and must be licensed in New Jersey as an assisted living administrator. Thirty hours of training on assisted living issues is required every three years for administrators.

For staff, an orientation and education plan is required at every facility. There is annual training in:

– Providing services and assistance to residents with physical impairments
– Emergency plans and procedures
– Infection prevention and control
– Resident rights
– Abuse and neglect
– Care of residents with Alzheimer’s and related dementia

Additionally, twenty hours of training in issues related to assisted living residents is required every two years. Anyone who assists with medication administration must have an extra 10 hours of training every two years.

 

Evictions & Discharges

An assisted living residence in New Jersey must evict anyone whose health gets so bad that they require more specialized long-term care, including being put on respirators or ventilators. A resident who needs severe behavior management, for aggression or puts themselves or others in danger, can also be evicted. Patients cannot stay in a home that does not meet their medical needs. Other possible examples of eviction are:

– Patient becomes bedridden for more than 14 consecutive days

– Needs 24-hour nursing supervision

– Needs help for four or more activities of daily living (like bathing, getting dressed, eating and using the bathroom)

– Has a stage III or IV pressure sores

New Jersey does not require advance notice before a person can be evicted. This means your loved one can be evicted suddenly, and the residence does not necessarily need to help find a new home. Make sure to familiarize yourself with a memory care community’s eviction policy before moving in. Ask how a person is evicted, for what specific reasons, and get the answer in writing because unfair evictions can be a problem in assisted living. If you receive an eviction, do not just move out if you think it’s unfair. For information on what steps to take if you receive a notice of eviction from assisted living, click here for your next steps.

 

Financial Assistance for Residential Alzheimer’s Memory Care

Managed Long Term Services and Supports

New Jersey’s Medicaid Managed Long Term Services and Supports is an assistance program for people with low income. This gives enrollees of the program money from the state’s Medicaid FamilyCare program to help cover the costs of assisted living. Medicaid can only cover the cost of care services in assisted living and memory care. Medicaid cannot pay for room and board costs. Recipients who are Medicaid-eligible can choose their own providers for services including behavioral therapy and assisted living. For more, visit the state’s Managed Long Term Services and Supports page.

 NJ Medicaid eligibility rules are complex. One can take a simplified Medicaid eligibility test for NJ here.

I Choose Home Program

I Choose Home – NJ is for people with Medicaid who want to move from a nursing home into their own house or into assisted living. Also called Money Follows the Person, this program works with your loved one to come up with a care plan. Their goal is to get patients out of nursing-home care and into residences that are more suitable, which include memory care. This program claims to have transitioned more than 29,000 people out of nursing-home care and saved $35 million in the process. For more, 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 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 three veterans’ homes in New Jersey, which are residential care facilities that provide long-term care for veterans. They are in Vineland (in the southern coastal plain), in Edison (in the Piedmont region about an hour outside New York City) and in Paramus (in the northern highlands). In addition to nursing home care and assisted living, all three of these homes have Special Needs Units for veterans with dementia. Neighboring states have more 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, New York has five veterans homes statewide and several are located relatively close to their shared border. Additionally, Pennsylvania has six 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.