Assisted living residences (ALR) in West Virginia provide room and board with personal assistance and supervision to people who are limited by mental or physical impairment. ALRs may be licensed by the Department of Health and Human Resources to admit people with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia into what’s often called “memory care” if they meet certain standards, including special training for staff. ALRs may not provide full-time nursing care, but they will help residents with activities of daily living (ADLs) like eating and bathing.
The average cost of assisted living with memory care in West Virginia is $4,906 per month, which breaks down to about $161 per day and $58,872 annually. Regulations require residences to provide potential residents with a list of all costs. Assisted living, without the additional services required for memory care, costs West Virginians about $3,749 per month and $44,988 annually. In Charleston memory care costs about $5,305 per month and $63,660 per year. The most expensive place for memory care in West Virginia is Weirton, where costs are about $5,903 per month and $70,836 annually. The least expensive memory care is in Beckley, for about $4,268 per month and $51,216 annually.
Even though WV is not among the most expensive states for assisted living / memory care, proportionally, it can feel expensive. Fortunately, there is financial assistance options available to residents. More on this below.
Within 60 days before moving in, or within five days after, every resident in West Virginia assisted living, including memory care, must have a health assessment conducted by a healthcare professional. The assessment must evaluate a person’s functional, dietary, health care, and social needs.
Upon admission, the contract between the residence and resident must include the following:
– 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
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.
An administrator with state-approved education and experience must be hired at every assisted living residence to be responsible for operations. In every ALR, there must always be sufficient staff on duty to provide for the service needs of every resident, and someone with first aid and CPR training must be awake and on duty 24 hours per day. Administrators must receive at least eight hours of training annually. Regular staff must have an orientation upon hiring that covers the following issues:
– 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 training must include:
– Resident rights
– 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.
This Medicaid program provides funds to help people with activities of daily living (ADLs). Medicaid money cannot go toward room and board in assisted living, but the program assesses an individual’s needs to determine how the money can be spent. Recipients can have up to 210 hours of help per month with ADLs including dressing, eating, and personal hygiene. To qualify, you must be Medicaid-eligible, including monthly income under $783 (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.
Veterans are statistically more likely to develop dementia. Relevant in all states including West Virginia is the VA’s Aid & Attendance pension program for veterans and surviving spouses, which is money added to veterans’ and survivors’ basic pensions. Applicants must be at least 65 years old (or disabled) and require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) like eating, bathing, and mobility. The cash assistance from these pensions can be used as the recipient wishes, meaning it can go toward the cost of memory care. In addition, the cost of residential care can be deducted from income, effectively reducing the amount of calculable income used to determine the benefit amount. The latest (2020) maximum amount a veteran can receive through A&A is $27,194 per year, and surviving spouses can receive $14,761. Learn more here.
There are also two veterans’ homes in West Virginia located in Barboursville and Clarksburg. In addition to nursing home care, assisted living and memory care may be provided. Payment is made directly from the VA to the facility. State veterans’ homes are typically reserved for veterans whose need for care stems at least 70 percent from their service. Some veterans’ homes have limited availability and wait-lists may exists. Check with each veterans’ home independently to inquire.
Other ways to help pay for memory care include tax credits and deductions like the Credit for the Elderly and the Disabled, or the Child and Dependent Care Credit (if you claim your elderly loved one as a dependent). Remember also that medical and dental expenses can be deducted, and that might include some assisted living costs.
A reverse mortgage may be a good option for a married person moving into memory care, if their spouse continues to live in the home. Should the spouse move, the reverse mortgage would become due.
Elder care loans are for families to cover costs of moving into memory care, if you need a little help at first but can afford costs after the initial payments. For example, if one is waiting for a VA pension to be approved or waiting to sell a home.