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. The services that must be provided in Wyoming assisted living 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 have a secured area and special training for staff that make them appropriate for people with dementia (see Staff below).
The average cost of assisted living with memory care in Wyoming is $4,946 per month, which breaks down to about $162 per day and $59,352 annually. 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 charges in the future. Assisted living, without the additional services required for memory care, costs people in Wyoming about $3,780 per month and $45,360 annually.
In Cheyenne memory care costs about $5,943 per month and $71,316 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 $4,308 per month and $51,696 annually. However, the number of residences in rural areas is limited.
Residence staff or a registered nurse must perform an assessment of any new resident within a week of moving in, and then again annually. The assessment must cover functional ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) like eating and bathing, 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).
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.
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.
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 $2,349 per month in 2020. 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 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 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 is a single veterans’ home in Wyoming located in Buffalo. In addition to nursing home care, assisted living and memory care may be provided. State residents living near other state borders may find more state veterans’ homes options crossing state lines. 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.
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.