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

Last Updated: November 13, 2022


Assisted living homes in Oregon for people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, are called Endorsed Memory Care Communities. These communities offer more specialized care than assisted living and residential care facilities, in care units that are apart from other residents who do not have dementia. The state requirements say that these communities must offer:

– Person-directed care
– Resident protection
– Staff training specifically for dementia
– Physical design and environmental requirements that are dementia friendly

All assisted living and residential care homes in Oregon, including memory care, must assist residents with activities of daily living like eating and bathing, and meet whatever health and social needs residents require to thrive. Other requirements that all care facilities must offer are:

– Three nutritious meals daily, plus snacks, from menus made with input from residents
– Social and recreational activities daily
– Help with medications
– Household services (like laundry)

The Oregon Department of Human Services oversees assisted living communities in the state. There are approximately 250 memory care communities in the state. There are also about 75 board and care homes, which offer the same services as assisted living (sometimes including memory care) in a smaller more home-like setting, usually for fewer than 12 people. For free help finding memory care to meet your family’s needs and budget, click here.

 Did You Know? Out of all 50 states, Oregon has one of the lowest percentages of people over 65 with Alzheimer’s disease. Only about 10% of seniors in the state have the disease.


How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Oregon?

The average cost of memory care per month in Oregon is $6,110. Oregon is one of the more expensive states for memory care. The national average for monthly costs is $5,448. The state’s most expensive place for memory care is Eugene, where memory care costs $6,810 per month. The most affordable place is Corvallis, for average costs of $5,411 per month. In the Portland area, including Hillsboro and Gresham, memory care costs $6,037 per month.

 Did You Know? In Oregon, free assistance is available to help families locate a memory care home to meet their needs and budgets. Get help here.

Since Oregon’s memory care costs are above the national average, it may be possible to find more affordable long-term care in neighboring states. For example, while California’s overall costs are a bit higher, running $6,368 monthly, but relatively close to their border the city of Redding costs $5,374 per month. To the north, just over the border in Washington, the city of Walla Walla memory care costs are $3,901 per month.

Other cities in Oregon and their memory care costs:

Oregon Memory Care / Assisted Living Costs (updated Aug. 2022)
Region / City Daily Cost Monthly Cost
Statewide $201 $6,110
Portland $198 $6,037
Salem $219 $6,662
Eugene $224 $6,810
Bend $192 $5,853
Medford $185 $5,632
Corvallis $178 $5,411


Oregon 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

Assisted living homes in Oregon (including those with memory care) are required to provide a disclosure form to anyone who asks. The disclosure must include the following:

– Policies including possession of firearms and ammunition

– Payment details including basic rental rate and what that includes, cost of all additional services, billing method, due dates, deposit, and which fees are non-refundable

– Method for evaluating residents’ needs

– Policies for changes to costs

– Refund conditions

– Description of the total scope of services (what staff can provide)

– Philosophy on healthcare and help with activities of daily living

– Statement of residents’ rights and responsibilities

– Medication policies including administration and pharmacy choice

– Details including actions and circumstances that will result in an eviction

– Staffing plan

– Notice that the Department of Human Services may examine residents’ records when evaluating the residence


There are also four requirements particularly for people moving into memory care:

– Philosophy of care and services for people with dementia

– Admission, discharge, and transfer criteria

– Staff training topics and amount, and names of trainers

– Number of direct-care staff assigned to the memory care unit during every shift


An evaluation of a resident’s needs must be made before move-in, and then quarterly (four times a year) thereafter. The evaluation must include:

– Resident’s specific routines and preferences

– Physical health condition

– Communication ability

– Ability to perform activities of daily living

– Ability to perform instrumental activities of daily living

– Skin condition

– Nutrition needs

– Weight

– Medical treatments required

– Nursing needs

– Risk indicators


The residence is responsible for these evaluations, which are used to make a personalized service plan that details how exactly a person will be cared for. A medical professional working for the home performs the assessment. If the cost of assessing isn’t included in the base rate, then there may be a one-time move-in fee, called a community fee, that covers up-front expenses including the assessment and also things like deep cleaning and painting a new resident’s room. Community fees usually run between $1,500 and $2,500.

Someone with the following issues may not be admitted into (or may be evicted from) memory care in Oregon:

– Care needs exceeding the residence’s abilities

– Behavior that interferes with the rights, health, and/or safety of others

– Complex or unstable medical condition that the home cannot properly address

– Unable to evacuate during an emergency

– Poses a danger to self or others

– Commits a crime

– Fails to pay

There is not a rule requiring that a person be diagnosed with dementia in order to move into memory care in Oregon. Many people with Alzheimer’s or a related disease are never officially diagnosed because symptoms can vary widely and the process involves expensive tests like PET brain scans.


Facility / Residence

Regulations in Oregon differentiate between assisted living and residential care facilities, both of which may have a separate wing for memory care. Assisted living facilities provide apartment-style living, with a kitchen and bathroom, and these units must be at least 160 square feet (220 square feet if newly constructed). Residential care facilities have bedrooms built around a centrally located bathroom, and the bedrooms must be at least 80 square feet excluding closets and bathrooms. No more than two people may live in one room.

The physical design of a building must be beneficial for people with dementia. This means clear sight lines and a layout that’s easy to navigate, soft paint colors, bright lighting, and secure outdoor spaces. Hallways that run circular to avoid dead ends have been shown to allow for wandering without a person becoming agitated. Special locks or security are also necessary to prevent a wandering resident from getting outside.


Staff & Training

There is no staff-to-resident ratio requirement in Oregon memory care. However, there must be adequate staff to meet the needs of every resident at all times. Every residence must establish a system (defined in writing) to decide how many caregivers and staff are working at a time.

An administrator must be on-site 40 hours per week, and is responsible for making sure staffing is adequate for the health needs of the residents. Administrators must be at least 21 years old and have relevant experience and education. Administrators must also attend a state-approved training program for at least 40 hours before beginning the job. All administrators must have 20 hours of additional training annually, and administrators in memory care must have 10 additional hours of dementia-specific training.

All regular staffers must complete orientation before they can start work, including education on residents’ rights, community-based care, abuse and reporting requirements, standard precautions for infection control, and fire safety and evacuation procedures.

Specific dementia-care training must include:

– Education in the dementia disease process, including behavioral symptoms in early, middle, and late stages
– Techniques for understanding and managing symptoms
– Strategies for encouraging socialization and providing meaningful activities
– Addressing pain
– Providing proper nutrition
– Preventing wandering


Evictions & Discharges

A resident must be given 30 days notice before getting evicted. That requirement can be waived if there is an urgent situation involving health and safety. Before an eviction, the memory care community must try to resolve the issue or otherwise demonstrate that the discharge is a last resort. A resident can be asked to leave if:

– Care needs can no longer be met at the memory care community, normally due to a change in medical condition
– There is dangerous behavior
– Unable to evacuate in an emergency
– There is drug use or other criminal activity
– Non-payment of bills occur

Memory care communities in Oregon may have their own guidelines on what can get a person evicted. It’s very important to ask exactly how and why a person can be evicted before agreeing to a move-in contract, because unfair evictions can be a major problem in assisted living. Get the answers in writing. If you’ve received an eviction notice in an Oregon assisted living home and need to know next steps, click here.


Financial Assistance for Residential Alzheimer’s Memory Care

K Plan / Community First Choice Program

Also called the K Option, or the Community First Choice option, this program is meant to provide financial help to people who may need nursing-home level care but wish to remain in their house or assisted living community (including in memory care). Benefits include money to cover medical devices and assistive technology, help with activities of daily living, and behavioral support. To be eligible, your loved one must qualify for Oregon’s Medicaid program. For more information, visit the state’s website. Apply through your local Seniors and People with Physical Disabilities office.

 Both programs are both Medicaid programs. Take an Oregon Medicaid eligibility test or read about Medicaid eligibility requirements specific to one’s marital and housing situation.


Aged and Physically Disabled Medicaid Waiver

The Aged and Physically Disabled waiver provides financial help for people who need nursing-home-level care but want to live in their own home or assisted living community (including memory care). The benefits are slightly different from the K Plan above, and recipients can be enrolled in both programs. Benefits include money to move out of a nursing home into assisted living, case management, and welfare assistance. Applicants must be eligible for Oregon Medicaid. To apply, contact your local Aging and Disability Resource Center.


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 two veterans’ homes in Oregon. They are residential care facilities that provide long-term care for veterans. They are:

– The Oregon Veterans Home located in Dalles. It is along the Columbia River and the state’s northern border. They currently have a 25 bed Alzheimer’s Unit.

– The Edward C. Allworth Oregon Veterans’ Home located in Lebanon. It is less than an hour south of Salem.

In addition to nursing home care and assisted living, memory care is 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, California has eight veterans’ homes statewide and one is located relatively close to their shared border. Additionally, Washington has four facilities statewide with one close to its border. 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.