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

Last Updated: November 13, 2022

 

Assisted living residences in Wyoming offer room and board with personal and health care to people who are elderly or have medical issues. These homes can offer limited nursing care. Regulations also say that the services provided in Wyoming assisted living must include:

– Help to obtain medical, dental, and optometric care

– Group activities

– Help with personal care

– Help getting dressed

– Help with mobility

– 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 an entire residence. All memory care communities have a secured area and special training for staff that makes them appropriate for people with dementia.

There are approximately 25 memory care residences in Wyoming. There are also over 100 board and care homes, which offer the same services as assisted living. This can include 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.

 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.

 

How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Wyoming?

The average cost of assisted living with memory care in Wyoming is $5,043 per month. That is on point with the national cost of memory care which averages $5,448 monthly. In Cheyenne, memory care costs about $6,699 per month. Cheyenne is the most expensive place for memory care in the state. In Casper, memory care will run $5,853 per month. The least expensive place for memory care in Wyoming is outside its cities, in rural areas where costs are about $4,491 per month. However, the number of residences in rural areas is limited.

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

Even though 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 $4,638 and $4,233 respectively. If you live in eastern Wyoming, consider looking for more affordable memory care in South Dakota, where costs average about $4,049 per month.

 

Wyoming Assisted Living Laws & Regulations

 COVID-19 Measures (updated Nov. 2022)
The additional measures left due to Covid are:
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

A registered nurse who works for the residence assesses any new resident within a week of moving in. This must be updated annually. The assessment covers the functional ability to perform activities of daily living like eating and bathing, as well as health needs and medications. Medical history and nutritional needs must also be part of this assessment. This is used to develop an individualized care plan so the residence can best support your loved one. In memory care, new residents with dementia must be given the Mini-Mental State Exam, and score between 10 and 20. This is a standard for people in the middle and late stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia. 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 and 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. This means you need to ask for a list of charges (including optional charges) in writing and file this document as a defense against unexpected fees in the future.

And while it is possible to move into memory care on short notice in Wyoming, this is usually not a good idea. Finding the right residence is a process that should take weeks or months of investigating options, taking tours, and asking questions of residents and staff before making a final decision. The person with dementia will also be able to provide more input the sooner you begin looking. Ideally, you would start the search before a move becomes necessary.

 

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 no 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 will be comfortable within the spaces.

 

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 the personal needs of residents

– Lead recreational activities

Memory care staff, in a Level 2 assisted living residence for people with dementia, need training in:

– Philosophy and approaches to caring for people with dementia

– Helping with activities of daily living

– 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 are required on dementia-related issues.

 

Evictions & Discharges

Generally, an assisted living community in Wyoming cannot house 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 specific policies about evictions, and it’s very important to know what those are. Ask questions like: 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, does this home follow the same guideline? 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. Get the answers in writing, because unfair evictions are a major problem in assisted living nationwide. If your loved one has received an eviction notice and you need to know the next steps, click here.

 

Financial Assistance for Residential Alzheimer’s Memory Care

Community Choices Home & Community Based Services Medicaid 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. This program can also be called the Assisted Living and Long-Term Care Waiver. 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 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 $2,742 per month in 2023. 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)

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 and 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 is one veterans’ home in Wyoming. It 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’ home options crossing state lines, and many of those offer memory care. These are facilities that provides long-term residential care for veterans. In addition to nursing home care and assisted living, memory care is provided in a certified Alzheimer’s unit. 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, Colorado has five homes statewide. Additionally, Utah and Nebraska have four facilities and Montana has three. More info.

 

Other Options

1) Eldercare 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.