top

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

Last Updated: November 13, 2022

 

In West Virginia, assisted living residences provide room and board with personal assistance and supervision to people who have mental or physical impairments. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia are admitted into what’s called memory care. These wings or separate facilities must meet certain standards, including special training for staff on how to help and communicate with someone who has dementia. Assisted living residences may not provide full-time nursing care, but they will help residents with activities of daily living like eating and bathing. Nutritious meals, a secure environment, and activities that encourage health and socialization are standard at all memory care homes.

While full-time nursing care cannot be provided in memory care, short term nursing care is allowed. If someone in West Virginia needs treatment that is not provided within the residence, they may work with the residence to find a third-party who can come in and deliver the needed care.

Assisted living residences are licensed by the Department of Health and Human Resources. There are approximately 25 memory care homes in West Virginia, ranging in size from apartment-complex style options to smaller house-like residences. These have 12 or fewer people and are called board and care homes. Free help is available finding memory care of any size to meet your family’s needs and budget, click here.

 Did You Know? West Virginia has about 19% of its residents over 65. The number of senior citizens statewide with Alzheimer’s is expected to increase from 39,000 reported in 2020 to an estimated 44,000 in 2025.

 

How Much Does Memory Care Cost in West Virginia?

The average cost of assisted living with memory care in West Virginia is $5,043 per month. West Virginia is one of the more affordable states for memory care and below the monthly national average of $5,448. The most expensive place for memory care in West Virginia is Morgantown where memory care costs $6,883 per month. The least expensive memory care in the state is in Wheeling, for $4,454 per month.

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

It may be possible for West Virginians to find more affordable memory care in surrounding states. Most of the states that share a border have higher overall average costs. To the east, Maryland costs $5,926 and Virginia runs $6,368 monthly. In Pennsylvania, memory care costs average $4,969 per month. Pittsburgh, only about an hour away from many northern West Virginia towns, costs even less at $3,938 per month for memory care. Kentucky, to the west, is also less expensive, costing $4,159 per month. The bottom line is that West Virginians will be able to find more options and possibly save on memory care if they are willing to travel outside the state.

Other West Virginia cities’ memory care costs:

West Virginia Memory Care / Assisted Living Costs (updated Oct. 2022)
Region / City Daily Cost Monthly Cost
Statewide $166 $5,043
Morgantown $226 $6,883
Parkersburg $217 $6,589
Wheeling $146 $4,454
Weirton $151 $4,601
Charleston $189 $5,742

 

West Virginia Assisted Living Laws & Regulations

 COVID-19 Measures (updated Oct. 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

Every resident in assisted living in West Virginia, including memory care, must have a health assessment completed. It can be done anywhere from 60 days prior to entry to 5 days after moving in. Usually, someone who works for the residence will do this assessment and the cost of assessing may be included in the base rate or part of a community fee charged when your loved one moves in. Community fees cover up-front costs like the assessment and preparing a new resident’s room. This fee will usually run between $1,500 and $2,500.

The assessment evaluates a patient’s functional, dietary, health care, and social needs. This information is used to create an individualized care plan that gives staff important information about your loved one’s unique needs and preferences so they are best supported.

Upon admission, the contract between the residence and your loved one includes:

– The type of resident population the residence is able to serve (in memory care this would be people with dementia)
– The nursing care services the residence can provide
– All costs
– Refund policy
– A promise not to charge for costs that are not disclosed upon admission
– Reasons a person can be evicted
– How to file a complaint
– Medication policies
– Policies for managing residents’ money
– Whether the residence has liability coverage

Someone does not need an official diagnosis of Alzheimer’s (or related disease including frontotemporal, vascular, and Lewy body dementias) before moving into dementia care in West Virginia.

While you may be able to move into assisted living in West Virginia 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

Bedrooms in assisted living residences must be at least 80 square feet for one person. Newly built residences must have bedrooms that are at least 100 square feet. Double-occupancy rooms must be at least 90 square feet per person. There must be at least one toilet for every six residents, and one bath or shower for every 10 residents.

West Virginia regulations do not mandate that memory care homes must be built with dementia-friendly design features. Those special features would include clear lines of sight, circular hallways so wandering residents will not encounter dead ends, secure outdoor areas, and bright lighting and paint colors have all been shown to benefit people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. You’ll want to keep an eye out for these features as you tour potential homes, thinking about whether your loved one will be comfortable within the spaces.

 

Staff & Training

At every assisted living residence in West Virginia, there needs to be an administrator who is in charge of the facility and is qualified via state-approved education and experience. In every residence, there must always be enough staff on duty to provide for the needs of every resident, along with someone who has first aid and CPR training. Additionally, a staffer must be awake and on duty 24 hours per day. Administrators must complete a minimum of eight hours of training annually.

Regular staff must have an orientation upon hiring that covers the following:

– Emergency procedures and disaster plans
– Residence policies and procedures
– Abuse prevention and reporting requirements
– Ombudsmen and how to file a complaint
– Caring based on individual needs and service plans
– Activities for groups and individuals

Annual continuing education must include:

– Resident rights
– Confidentiality
– Abuse prevention and reporting
– Resident activities
– Infection control
– Fire safety and evacuation plans

In memory care, staff must complete at least 15 hours of training prior to working hands-on with residents, with 15 hours more before they can be hands-on without supervision. In addition to the annual training listed above, they must have two hours annually on specifically dementia-related issues.

 

Evictions & Discharges

West Virginia assisted living residences must give 30 days notice before discharging someone except in emergency situations. While there are not many statewide rules, it is stated that if a facility can no longer care for a patient because their health has changed and their medical needs can no longer be met, they must be evicted. Each individual residence has their own rules as to the eviction process and what would cause it. Questions like: Can someone be evicted for late payment of bills, or for verbal abuse? What is the process of appealing an eviction, and does the residence help find more appropriate housing? The answer to these details are important because unfair evictions are a major problem in assisted living. Before agreeing to a move-in contract, make sure you know all the possible reasons a person can be kicked out, and what the steps are. Get these details in writing, so you’re protected. If your loved one in memory care receives an eviction notice and you need to know next steps, click here.

 

Financial Assistance for Residential Alzheimer’s Memory Care

Medicaid Personal Care

This Medicaid program provides funds to help people with activities of daily living. Medicaid money cannot go toward room and board in assisted living but the program does assess an individual’s needs to determine how the money can be spent. Recipients can have up to 210 hours of help per month with activities of daily living including dressing, eating, and personal hygiene. To qualify, you must be Medicaid-eligible, including monthly income under $841 (though there are options to work around income and other requirements if necessary). For more information, click here. To apply, contact your local Area Agency on Aging.

 

Home and Community Based Services Waiver

Among the programs included under the umbrella of this Medicaid waiver are the Aged & Disabled Waiver and the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Waiver. They can help cover the costs of many services and equipment needed by people with dementia, including help with activities of daily living and transportation to appointments. The intention of the waivers are to help people, even those with dementia living in memory care, live as independently as possible and/or avoid being transferred into more expensive nursing-home care. Recipients fall within the state Medicaid eligibility guidelines, but state health officials may be able to help those who don’t qualify. For contacts to apply and more information, 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 two veterans’ homes in West Virginia. The first is located in Barboursville, in the western part of the state, about 45 minutes to the west of Charleston. The second is in Clarksburg, in the northern central part of the state, about 40 minutes south of Morgantown. 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, Pennsylvania has six veterans’ homes statewide. Additionally, Kentucky has four facilities, Ohio has three and Virginia 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.