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Wyoming Residential Alzheimer’s Care (Memory Care): Rules, Costs & Financial Help

Last Updated: May 07, 2021

 

Assisted living residences in Wyoming offer room and board with personal and health care to people who are usually older or have medical issues. These homes can offer limited, but not full-time, nursing care. State regulations also say that the services provided in Wyoming assisted living must include:

– Help obtaining medical, dental, and optometric care
– Group activities
– Help with personal care
– Help dressing
– Help with mobility, as long as it’s infrequent
– 24-hour supervision

Assisted living for people with dementia is often called “memory care.” Wyoming regulations say that assisted living with memory care must be qualified as “Level 2” by the state’s Department of Health. These homes are often a wing of a larger assisted living community, or the entire residence might be memory care. All memory care communities have a secured area and special training for staff that make them appropriate for people with dementia (see Staff below).

There are 25 memory care residences in Wyoming. There are also 101 board and care homes, which offer the same services as assisted living, sometimes including memory care, for 12 or fewer residents in a more house-like environment. For help finding memory care of any size to meet your family’s needs and budget, click here.

 COVID-19 Vaccines in Wyoming Memory Care
Residents and staff in Wyoming assisted living homes are part of the state’s Phase 1a group for immunization against the coronavirus. This means they were among the first to receive shots. If you have a loved one in memory care in Wyoming, they should have received vaccinations by now.

 

How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Wyoming?

The average cost of assisted living with memory care in Wyoming is $4,914 per month, which is roughly $58,968 annually. Assisted living, without the additional services required for memory care, costs people in Wyoming about $1,000 less per month.

In Cheyenne, memory care costs about $5,417 per month and $65,004 per year. Cheyenne is the most expensive place for memory care in the state. The least expensive place for memory care in Wyoming is outside its cities, in rural areas where costs are about $4,592 per month and $55,104 annually. However, the number of residences in rural areas is limited.

The national average for memory care is about $5,000 per month, so Wyoming is on the more affordable side compared to other states. Still, it may be possible for residents of western Wyoming to find more affordable memory care in Idaho and Utah, where monthly costs are even less expensive at $4,341 and $4,018 respectively. If you live in eastern Wyoming, consider looking for more affordable memory care in South Dakota, where costs average about $4,305 per month.

  In Wyoming, free assistance is available to help families locate a memory care home to meet their needs and budgets. Get help here.

 

Wyoming Assisted Living Laws & Regulations

Admissions Process & Requirements

A registered nurse who works for the residence must perform an assessment of any new resident within a week of moving in, and then again annually. The assessment must cover the functional ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) like eating and bathing, as well as health needs and medications. Medical history and nutritional needs must also be part of this assessment, which is used to develop a service plan between the residence and resident. More specifically for people in memory care, new residents with dementia must be given the Mini-Mental State Exam, and score between 10 and 20 (which is pretty standard for people in middle and late stages of Alzheimer’s or a related disease). This is not the same as a diagnosis of dementia, and a diagnosis from a doctor is not required to live in memory care in Wyoming.

The cost of assessing and developing a personal care plan might be included with the base rate, or the residence could charge a one-time “community fee.” Community fees cover move-in costs like preparing a room and creating the care plan. They usually run between $1,500 and $2,500.

Unlike many other states, Wyoming does not require assisted living homes to disclose all costs to potential residents, so ask for a list of charges (including optional charges) in writing and file this document as defense against unexpected fees in the future.

 COVID-19 Rules for New Admissions in Wyoming Memory Care
New admissions may need to quarantine for 14 days before joining other residents in Wyoming memory care, depending on the county’s coronavirus positivity rate and other factors. Check with specific homes for their policy during the pandemic. Click here for county-by-county statistics.

 

Facility / Residence

Private resident units (or bedrooms) must be at least 120 square feet, or 160 square feet for two people. No more than two people may share a room in Wyoming assisted living. There must be at least one toilet for every two residents and one shower or bath for every 10 residents.

There are not rules in Wyoming regulations that require dementia-friendly architectural designs for memory care units. Features that have been shown to benefit residents with dementia include a secure outdoor area, hallways that run circular so they don’t dead-end, clear sightlines, and bright paint colors and lighting. When you take tours of potential homes, think about whether your loved one with dementia will be comfortable within the spaces.

 COVID-19 Rules for Visitations in Wyoming Memory Care
Wyoming assisted living homes can schedule visits indoors or outdoors, though there may be restrictions if a resident or staff member has had contact with someone who is coronavirus-positive. Visitors will still be screened for symptoms, and asked to wear a mask throughout their visit. Contact a home as early as possible before visiting to see if there are further guidelines.

 

Staff & Training

All staff, including a manager responsible for overall operations, must complete a criminal background check. One registered nurse must be awake and on duty at all times. There are no staffing ratios, but staff must be adequate to:

– Maintain order, safety and cleanliness
– Prepare and serve meals
– Assist with personal needs of residents
– Lead recreational activities

Staff in a Level 2 assisted living residence for people with dementia (memory care) need to receive documented training in the following:
– Philosophy and approaches to caring for people with dementia
– Helping with activities of daily living (ADLs)
– Techniques for managing challenging behaviors including wandering and delusions
– Therapeutic approaches to support high-level functioning
– Promoting dignity, independence, privacy, and choice
– Resident safety
– Recognizing side effects and reactions to medications
– Dealing with incontinence

For people who work directly with residents with dementia, at least 12 hours annually is required on specifically dementia-related issues, including those listed above.

 

Evictions & Discharges

Very generally, an assisted living community in Wyoming cannot be home to a resident whose needs cannot be met there. That means if a person in memory care develops issues the residence is unequipped to handle, then that person would need to be evicted or discharged. An example would be if residence staff is unable to help someone who is nonambulatory, then someone who loses the ability to walk would need to move out. Continuous nursing care cannot be administered in a memory care home in Wyoming, so someone who becomes dependent on 24-hour nursing would need to be transferred to a hospital or nursing home.

Residences in Wyoming will have their own specific policies about evictions, and it’s very important to know what those are because unfair evictions are a major problem in assisted living nationwide. Does late payment of bills or aggression or verbal abuse get a person evicted? You need to ask before signing a contract. How much advance notice does someone get before they have to move out? (The standard is 30 days.) What is the process for appealing an eviction? Make sure you ask all these questions about how and why a person in memory care can be evicted, and get the answers in writing.

 

Financial Assistance for Residential Alzheimer’s Memory Care

Community Choices Home & Community Based Services Medicaid Waiver

Also called the Assisted Living and Long-Term Care Waiver, this program under Wyoming Medicaid provides services for people who may need some nursing-home-level care but do not want to move into a more expensive nursing home. Medicaid programs including this one cannot pay for room-and-board costs, but expenses for care may be covered. These include assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) like eating and bathing, as well as medication management, non-medical transportation service, skilled nursing care, and more. Recipients must be Medicaid-eligible, including monthly income under $2,382 per month in 2021. For more information, click here. To apply, contact the Division of Healthcare Financing Long-Term Care Unit at 255-203-2936. Applications are usually approved or denied within 45 days.

 

Veterans Affairs (VA)

Due to higher rates of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), veterans are statistically more likely to develop dementia. Relevant in all states including Wyoming 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 income improvement 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 enhanced monthly benefit amount. The latest (2021) maximum amount a veteran can receive through A&A is $27,540 per year, and surviving spouses can receive $14,928. Learn more here.

 Did You Know? As few as one out of seven veterans eligible for Aid & Attendance money have applied to receive it.

A single veterans’ home in Wyoming is located in Buffalo, in the north-central part of the state, south of Sheridan. The home offers assisted living care and nursing care, and might be suitable for veterans in the early stages of dementia. State residents living near other state borders may find more state veterans’ homes options crossing state lines, and many of those offer memory care. 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. Availability of rooms in veterans’ homes can be limited and wait-lists can exist. One should inquire directly with the home. For contacts and more information, click here.

 

Other Options

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.

 Did You Know? Wyoming is in the Top 5 of states anticipating an increase in the number of people over 65, which will mean more Alzheimer’s disease as well. By 2030, roughly 140,000 people there will be senior citizens, or about 20% of the state’s population. About 12% of people over 65 in Wyoming have Alzheimer’s, so the state expects a large increase in the need for dementia services.