Senior Guidance

Memory Care Facilities in Illinois

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Illinois memory care is one of the most popular destinations in the Midwest for a variety of reasons. Part of it is due to the quality healthcare and other services located in the major metropolitan area of Chicago. On the other hand, the more rural settings outside of Chicago provide fairly quick access to the aforementioned healthcare in the big city while having more of a traditional, midwestern living environment.

Memory Care in Illinois - Cheapest & Most Expensive Places

Illinois is far and away the most expensive place to live in the Midwest for senior care, including Alzheimer’s and dementia care. The average median price is increased primarily by some more expensive places in Chicago, but as you will find in the lists (below) there are also some costly suburbs and other cities throughout the rest of the state.

The Top 5 Most Affordable Cities for Memory Care in Illinois based on Monthly Pricing

  1. Charleston, IL - $4,205
  2. Harrisburg, IL - $4,390
  3. Mattoon, IL - $4,460
  4. Kankakee, IL - $4.565
  5. Urbana, IL - $4,610

The Top 5 Most Expensive Cities for Dementia Care in Illinois

  1. Barrington, IL - $6,110
  2. Deer Park, IL - $6,110
  3. Highland Park, IL - $6,105         
  4. South Barrington, IL - $6,105         
  5. Lake Zurich, IL - $6,065

The Top 5 Most Affordable Counties in Illinois for Memory Care based on Monthly Average Median

  1. Coles County - $4,340
  2. Saline County - $4,395
  3. Christian County - $4,660
  4. Logan County - $4,670
  5. Williamson County - $4,695

The Top 5 Most Expensive Counties in Illinois when it comes to Alzheimer’s care

  1. Lake County - $6,050
  2. Kendall County - $6,020
  3. DuPage County - $5,850
  4. McHenry County - $5,725
  5. Will County - $5,690

Illinois Dementia & Alzheimer’s Care - Services

Illinois memory care communities provide a good mixture of standard services with added amenities. Standard services include daily meal servings, housekeeping, assistance with day-to-day activities, regularly scheduled programming and other events.

Also, in some dementia care units, other amenities like a beauty salon or barber shop may be offered. Some even feature a massage service. Cable TV may also be provided in the private room along with in a general day-use setting. Private seating for a meal with family and friends is usually accommodated at no extra fee.

Though most will avoid the outdoors during the long winters in Chicago and other parts of Illinois, outdoor seating areas and community gardens often highlight outdoor activities during the summer. A guided and secure pathway can also provide means for simple exercise as residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia can work on walking and keeping balance with caregivers.

Moving to a new community, particularly a larger building with many other residents can be overwhelming for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s. As a result, some of the best dementia care homes in Illinois keep enrollment to a minimum. Some memory care communities in Illinois are limited to a small size, so the ratio between dementia trained staff and residents is smaller, and thus residents are inclined to feel more comfortable and friendlier. Staff makes it a point to get to know residents on a first name basis, and always treats them with dignity and respect.

Illinois Memory Care Regulations

Memory care is a form of assisted living in Illinois. While there are varying levels of assisted living referenced in law, memory care is usually encompassed under regular assisted living, rather than residential communities or shared housing.

Here is a summary of the regulations that apply to memory care facilities in Illinois.


The Illinois Division of Assisted Living is the governmental body responsible for licensing all assisted living facilities, including memory care facilities. All facilities are inspected before a license is granted, with annual license renewal and reinspection needed to maintain licensed status.

Under Illinois state rules, assisted living facilities have to abide by certain regulations, with memory care facilities requiring some extra procedures to be in place above and beyond normal regulations. Here is a summary of the rules in place to govern assisted living, including specific memory care conditions.

General Regulations

All assisted living facilities must make public disclosures about some of their operations, procedures, and policies. Disclosures are written statements that include:

  • Care provided to residents with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other memory disorders
  • Philosophy of care for residents
  • Admission, pre-admission, and discharge policies for residents
  • Policies for assessing, planning, and implementing care for memory impaired persons
  • Staffing policies, especially ratios of staff to residents
  • Details about the facility and resident units
  • Information about activities for residents at the facility
  • Roles family members can do in care for residents
  • Facility costs, itemized

Once a resident has been accepted for admission into a memory care facility, they must be provided with a resident agreement. The purpose of this agreement is to define the specifics of the contract between the facility and the resident. Each agreement has to include:

  • Duration of the contract
  • Rates for services provided
  • Responsibilities of the resident versus the facility
  • Complaint filing and resolution process
  • Billing procedures
  • Risk management agreements
  • Contract termination conditions
  • Refund policy
  • Policies for advance notice of fee changes
  • Contact policies in case of changes to a resident’s condition

Other information can be included in the agreement if it’s relevant to the care a resident will receive. This is a binding agreement that explains how the facility and resident should interact, and who is responsible for what.

Beyond the resident agreement, there will also be a signed service agreement that lays out the level of service a resident needs as well as what the facility will be providing to them. Creating the service plan includes a negotiated risk process where the resident or their representatives agree with the facility about what level of risk they’re willing to assume in daily life and care.

Dementia patients being admitted for memory care need to undergo assessment to understand the extent of their condition, their ability to understand and direct care, and the extent of assistance needed daily.

In terms of what services assisted living facilities are allowed to offer, they can provide services related to daily living support, supervision, medication administration assistance, and other non-medical care. These are not nursing homes that provide medical assistance or skilled nursing care.

Facility Regulations

The goal for memory care facilities is to create an environment where residents can be as independent as they are able, with as little restriction of movement and activity as possible. They must provide a home-like environment for all residents.

Assisted living facilities in Illinois are required to offer single-occupancy, apartment style housing units. If a resident wishes to share a unit with a roommate, they must have the choice to do so. All individual units need to have a kitchen area that accommodates a sink and appliances. There should also be a toilet equipped with bathing facilities.

Staffing Regulations

There are no minimum staffing ratios required for memory care facilities in Illinois. However, all assisted living facilities need to have enough staff on duty at all times to care for patients in accordance with their service agreements and any unexpected, unscheduled needs. This includes having staff on-duty overnight when residents may require assistance at night.

Despite not having staff ratio requirements, there are regulations around who these facilities should employ, minimum training requirements for staff, and availability of staff. All memory care facilities should employ:

  • A full-time manager
  • Direct care staff to accommodate all residents needs
  • Licensed healthcare professional, when certain medical treatments are offered

There should be a member of staff who is CPR certified awake and on duty at all times. This staff member does not have to be employed in any specific role, as long as there is always someone with certification on-site.

In memory care facilities specifically, there needs to be a sufficient level of staff to provide at least 1.4 hours of service to every resident daily.

When hired at an assisted living facility, all staff need to go through state approved orientation and training programs. In addition to initial training, staff need to go to annual training of at least 8 hours, with managers having to complete training of at least 20 hours throughout every 2 years.

Dementia and memory care training is an additional requirement for all direct care staff during orientation, along with annual training on this topic. They must also receive on-the-job training at the facility immediately before caring for residents on their own. All direct care staff go through annual training related specifically to Alzheimer’s, dementia, and care for memory impaired residents.

Managers in the facility will also go through a minimum of 6 hours of dementia care training every year.

Illinois Medicaid Memory Care Programs

Illinois has a Medicaid program that’s referred to as Medical Assistance. The main program that can be applied toward memory care is the Supportive Living Program. While this program can’t be used to cover the costs of room and board, it can be applied to other costs associated with care.

Recipients commonly apply this benefit to necessary medical care, assistance with daily living activities, and more. Most auxiliary services for memory care will be covered by the program since they’re related to prolonging care outside of a nursing home. In order to take part in this program, you must be eligible for Medicaid and approved by the state.

Eligibility for Medicaid in Illinois

In order to take part in the Supportive Living Program, an applicant must be a legal US resident or citizen and a resident in the state of Illinois. Along with these requirements, they must be in need of nursing home level care and be aged 65 or older.

Potential applicants also need to adhere to income requirements. The income and asset caps for Medicaid in Illinois this year are as follows:

  • Individuals cannot earn income higher than $1,215 per month
  • Individuals should not have more than $17,500 in countable assets
  • If both spouses are applying for Medicaid together, they cannot earn income higher than $1,643 per month, with asset limits of $17,500
  • If one spouse is applying for Medicaid while the other isn’t, income is limited to $1,215 per month with asset limits of $17,500. The non-applicant spouse may have assets up to $120,780

Since the Supportive Living Program is not an entitlement program, meeting these eligibility requirements does not guarantee support through the program.

Admissions Requirements for Memory Care in Illinois

Residents can be admitted to memory care facilities in Illinois if they require daily care, but not if they are in need of constant, specialized medical care. No assisted living facility may admit new residents or retain existing residents who:

  • Present an immediate danger to others or themselves
  • Cannot communicate their needs for themselves or via an on-site representative
  • Need full assistance with more than 2 daily life activities
  • Have a diagnosis of a severe mental illness
  • Cannot move independently, requiring more than basic assistance in an emergency to get to safety
  • Require 5 or more visits from skilled nurses every week for a period of 3 weeks or longer, with the exception of those doing rehabilitating treatment or who are under approved hospice care

While serious medical conditions that require skilled care often make an individual ineligible for admission to assisted living, there are exceptions. If a resident is self-administering their treatment or if treatment can be administered by a qualified, licensed third-party healthcare professional, some residents can be admitted with the following needs:

  • IV therapies
  • Gastrostomy or IV feedings
  • Catheter care beyond routine maintenance of urinary catheters
  • Care for sterile wounds
  • Insulin injections, or sliding scale insulin
  • Stage 3 or 4 bedsores

It’s up to the discretion of the facility whether their staff is able to accommodate the needs of a resident. They must be able to accommodate residents at all times, which may cause some limitations on who can be accepted for admission at a particular time with specialty medical needs.

Moving Your Loved One to an Illinois Memory Care Facility

Moving to memory care is a difficult decision even under the best of circumstances. If you’re facing this situation with a loved one, it’s best to plan ahead, work for a smooth transition to a new home, and give them the time they need to fully settle in.

1. Planning Ahead

Before your loved one moves to memory care, you need to research to find the best facility for their needs. Look for a facility that you can trust to treat them with respect and dignity while allowing them to live as autonomously as possible.

After the facility has been selected and they’re approved to become residents, remind them they’ll be moving well ahead of the day of the move. Even if they’re having difficulties remembering, it’s helpful for them to be told about a big event like a move well before it happens. Allow them to be as involved in the process as you’re both comfortable with, depending on what they’re capable of doing.

2. Smoothing the Transition

It’s never easy for a loved one to adjust to living in a memory care facility. However, you can help make the transition smoother by moving their things in beforehand to personalize their new home, spending as much time together as possible, and being there to get them acquainted with the new environment.

3. Settling in

Time is the only way your loved one will get used to their new home. Be patient and understanding, especially if they’re struggling to adjust. It may take as long as 6 months or more for them to begin to feel at home, no matter how wonderful the facility may be. Be supportive and give them the time they need to get comfortable.

Common Questions About Memory Care in Illinois

What is memory care and how does it differ from other types of senior living?

Memory care is a specialized form of senior living designed for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. It provides tailored care, activities, and environments to support their unique needs. Unlike other types of senior living, memory care focuses on addressing memory-related challenges and ensuring a safe and supportive setting. In Illinois, cities like Naperville and Evanston offer memory care communities with trained staff and specialized programs.

What amenities are typically provided in memory care communities in Illinois?

Memory care communities in Illinois offer amenities such as secure environments, structured daily routines, cognitive activities, nutritious meals, and assistance with activities of daily living. Locations like Rockford and Champaign provide sensory gardens, memory-enhancing games, and personalized care plans to enhance the well-being of residents with memory impairments.

How do I know if my loved one needs memory care?

Signs that your loved one may need memory care include increasing forgetfulness, difficulty with daily tasks, confusion, wandering, mood changes, and trouble communicating. If you're in cities like Springfield or Peoria, consult healthcare professionals who can assess your loved one's needs and recommend appropriate memory care options available in Illinois.

Are there memory care communities with bilingual staff in Illinois?

Yes, Illinois has memory care communities with bilingual staff who can cater to diverse language preferences. Communities in cities like Aurora and Oak Lawn have staff members who can communicate effectively with residents who speak different languages, creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for everyone.

What specialized services do memory care communities offer for residents?

Memory care communities in Illinois offer specialized services such as reminiscence therapy, cognitive exercises, music therapy, and life enrichment activities. Locations like Joliet and Elgin provide personalized care plans that focus on maintaining cognitive abilities and enhancing the quality of life for residents with memory disorders.

Are memory care communities in Illinois equipped with security features?

Yes, memory care communities in Illinois prioritize safety and often have security features like secured entrances, alarms, and monitored living areas. Locations like Peoria and Champaign ensure that residents with memory impairments can move freely within a secure environment while preventing wandering and ensuring their well-being.

How do I choose the right memory care community in Illinois?

Choosing the right memory care community in Illinois involves researching factors such as staff training, resident-to-staff ratio, safety measures, specialized programs, and the environment. Visit communities in cities like Naperville and Rockford, ask questions, and assess whether the community's philosophy aligns with the needs of your loved one with memory impairments.

Are there memory care communities that offer respite care services in Illinois?

Yes, Illinois has memory care communities that offer respite care services, allowing caregivers to take a break from their responsibilities. Locations like Evanston and Schaumburg provide short-term stays for individuals with memory impairments, ensuring they receive proper care while caregivers recharge.

How do memory care communities in Illinois promote a sense of community?

Memory care communities in Illinois promote a sense of community through group activities, memory-enhancing games, and social interactions. Locations like Bloomington and Peoria encourage residents to engage in meaningful connections, creating an environment where individuals with memory impairments can feel valued and supported.

What resources are available for families considering memory care in Illinois?

Families considering memory care in Illinois can utilize resources such as Alzheimer's Association chapters, online support groups, and local healthcare providers. Locations like Springfield and Champaign have community resources that offer information, education, and emotional support for families navigating the journey of memory care.

Do memory care communities in Illinois offer personalized care plans?

Yes, memory care communities in Illinois create personalized care plans tailored to the needs and preferences of each resident. Locations like Aurora and Peoria involve families in the care planning process to ensure that residents receive individualized attention, promoting their well-being and quality of life.

How can I afford memory care in Illinois?

Affording memory care in Illinois can be achieved through various means, including long-term care insurance, veterans' benefits, Medicaid programs, and personal savings. Locations like Naperville and Rockford have memory care communities that may offer financial assistance options to help families manage the cost of care.

Are there memory care communities in Illinois that focus on sensory stimulation?

Yes, Illinois has memory care communities that incorporate sensory stimulation techniques to enhance residents' cognitive and emotional well-being. Locations like Joliet and Elgin provide sensory rooms, aromatherapy, and soothing activities that cater to residents with sensory sensitivities or impairments.

How do memory care communities address nutrition and dietary needs?

Memory care communities in Illinois address nutrition and dietary needs by offering balanced and specialized meal plans. Locations like Oak Park and Champaign have dietitian-approved menus that focus on promoting brain health and providing appropriate textures and flavors for residents with eating challenges.

What are some memory care activities offered in Illinois?

Memory care activities offered in Illinois include art therapy, music therapy, gentle exercises, gardening, and reminiscence sessions. Locations like Rockford and Bloomington design activities that stimulate memory, foster creativity, and provide a sense of accomplishment for residents with cognitive impairments.

Are memory care communities in Illinois regulated?

Yes, memory care communities in Illinois are regulated by state licensing agencies to ensure they meet safety and care standards. Locations like Springfield and Peoria adhere to regulations that govern staffing ratios, training requirements, safety protocols, and quality of care for residents with memory impairments.

Can I visit memory care communities in Illinois before making a decision?

Absolutely, you can and should visit memory care communities in Illinois before making a decision. Locations like Naperville and Champaign welcome visits and tours to allow families to assess the environment, meet staff, and observe the activities and care provided, helping you make an informed choice.

Do memory care communities provide support for families and caregivers?

Yes, memory care communities in Illinois often offer support and resources for families and caregivers. Locations like Evanston and Oak Lawn provide educational workshops, counseling services, and support groups to help families navigate the challenges of caring for a loved one with memory impairments. provides comprehensive resources on various senior living options, including: assisted living facilities, senior living communities, nursing homes, independent living communities, continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) and all other long term senior care options, including memory care such as Alzheimer's or Dementia.

Additional senior living options in Illinois:

Assisted Living in Illinois Senior Apartments in Illinois Nursing Homes in Illinois

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