Senior Guidance

Memory Care Facilities in Massachusetts

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Senior living in Massachusetts is in very high demand. The most populous state in the New England branch of the United States, Massachusetts memory care facilities are highly sought after because of the wide range of services and highly esteemed healthcare that is notorious with the region. In a small area based on land mass, Massachusetts is very dense with a population nearing 7 million people.

Memory Care in Massachusetts - Cheapest & Most Expensive Places

Living in Massachusetts for memory care is not very affordable. Massachusetts dementia care homes have nearly identical average monthly medians to nearby Connecticut, as the two states rank second and third respectively for most expensive states in the nation for memory care. Only New Jersey has higher Alzheimer’s care costs.

The Top 5 Most Affordable Cities for Memory Care in Massachusetts based on Monthly Median Average:

  1. Boston, MA - $5,275         
  2. Hyannis, MA - $5,290
  3. Brighton, MA - $5,405
  4. Revere, MA - $5,425
  5. Agawam, MA - $5,520

The Top 5 Most Expensive Cities for Dementia Care in Massachusetts:

  1. Weston, MA - $7,105
  2. Lincoln, MA - $7,045
  3. Wayland, MA - $7,000
  4. Concord, MA - $6,970
  5. Westwood, MA - $6,925

The Top 5 Most Affordable Counties in Massachusetts for Memory Care based on Monthly Averages:

  1. Suffolk County - $5,540
  2. Hampden County - $5,725
  3. Barnstable County - $5,885
  4. Bristol County - $5,930
  5. Worcester County - $6,000

The Top 5 Most Expensive Counties in Massachusetts for Alzheimer’s Care:

  1. Middlesex County - $6,762
  2. Norfolk County - $6,627
  3. Essex County - $6,198
  4. Plymouth County - $6,130
  5. Worcester - $6,000

Massachusetts Dementia & Alzheimer’s Care - Services

Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are cruel diseases that rob the individual of many functions and daily habits they are used to doing on their own. And, because Alzheimer’s and dementia contribute to extreme disorientation and confusion, getting around this world with it is very difficult.

It is why a safe and caring community like what a dementia care home can provide is increasing in demand, especially in well-respected places like Massachusetts for healthcare. Massachusetts memory care communities feature some of the finest services and luxurious rooms in the nation, though you will pay substantially for the extra amenities.

Along with providing very cozy and private personal rooms with extended bathrooms, the food service is usually fantastic in Massachusetts Alzheimer’s care facilities. Daily servings are traditionally loaded with nutritional value, as eating healthy meals goes a long way in healthy brain activity. For seniors that can no longer provide meals for themselves and are straining the day-to-day activities of loved ones that have to provide meals as well as chores and housekeeping around their old home, an MA dementia care facility can substitute as an adequate replacement.

If you are interested in the very best treatment for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, check with Massachusetts memory care homes to see what options and services they can provide for a loved one.

The top-notch Alzheimer’s care homes will be happy to meet with you, schedule a personal tour, review treatment options, expand on services offered, and help answer any questions or concerns you may have about the center.

Massachusetts Memory Care Regulations

In Massachusetts, memory care is provided in specifically designated assisted living facilities. These facilities are required to follow regulations laid out by the state.

Here is a quick summary of the regulations applied to memory care received in state of Massachusetts.


Memory care facilities are licensed as assisted living residences in Massachusetts. These facilities are certified by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA). Before certification is given, a facility must be inspected and found to be in compliance with all regulations. Once certified, facilities are reinspected every 2 years, including looking at service plans and resident agreements (with resident consent) to ensure full compliance.

Inspectors from the EOEA may enter a facility at any time for an unannounced inspection.

General Regulations

All assisted living residences must make specific disclosures to all potential residents. These disclosures must be publicly available and should be provided specifically to all residents before they apply for residence at the facility.

Disclosures must include details about the facility and its operations, including:

  • Number of units and type of accommodations in the units
  • Staffing levels and policies
  • Admission, retention, and discharge criteria and procedures
  • Resident assessment processes
  • Costs of basic services provided by the facility and outside services available to be arranged
  • Payment policies
  • Limitations on services that can be provided, including administration of medication policies
  • Costs residents are responsible for if public subsidy programs are applied
  • Complaint resolution processes, including information for state Ombudsman

Disclosures should also mention the philosophy of care at the facility, the mission of the residence, and the types of special care they can offer residents, including memory care services.

When a resident is being admitted into a memory care facility, they will be provided with a resident agreement that must be signed and agreed by both parties. This agreement outlines the costs the resident will pay, and the services covered under that cost. It also gives outer limits to the services provided, details the payment plan residents will be participating in, and lays out the rights of the resident at a facility. This agreement will give specific details about where the resident will be staying, including the unit number of their room.

Assisted living residences are required to provide a minimum level of service to residents to assist in daily living. As residents are being admitted, they will be assessed to determine their unique needs and a plan will be made to show how the facility will meet their individual needs. Service plans will include:

  • Results of an initial assessment, including any conditions the resident is diagnosed with
  • Medication regimens the resident is on, and if they need assistance managing medication
  • Allergies and dietary needs
  • Level of assistance needed during an emergency
  • Psychological medical history
  • Personal care needs

Service plans are updated periodically, at least once every 6 months, to ensure residents are receiving a level of care matching their needs. If there are any significant changes to their condition, the service plan must be updated immediately.

Memory care facilities must also provide the state authority with a statement on the services they offer to care for residents with memory impairments. This statement will include the operating plan that explains how the facility will provide care to residents, the activities offered to residents, and services the facility is able to provide on a daily basis.

Facility Regulations

Memory care facilities are not required to provide separate apartments and may instead provide individual residential units that can be single or double occupancy.  Newly constructed units should have:

  • Lockable doors
  • At least 1 private full bathroom

Older facilities may have a private half bath with a sink and toilet for every residential unit. There should be at least 1 bathing facility per every 3 residents. Regardless of when they were constructed, residential units should all have:

  • Kitchens with enough space to prepare and store food, plus a fridge, sink, and cooking appliance

If a facility accepts Medicaid waivers for residents, residents should be provided with separate apartments that offer a bedroom, living room, private bathroom, and kitchen area.

In memory care units, a written emergency plan must be prepared that provides details about the design of resident units, the physical environment in the facility, and any safety features in the facility. Common areas in memory care sections must be secured in some way to prevent wandering and limit resident egress.

Staffing Regulations

There are no minimum staffing ratios required by law in assisted living residences. Instead, these facilities are required to maintain an appropriate level of staff to care for residents at all times, both day and night. Facilities should always be adequately prepared to handle an emergency situation with any resident.

Memory care facilities cannot have fewer than 2 staff members on duty at any time. These should be qualified and experienced direct care staff members. These limits apply overnight as well as during the day. When on duty overnight, staff should remain awake and alert at all times.

Staffing policies should be written down and reevaluated at least once every quarter to determine if staffing levels are still appropriate for the needs of residents.

All memory care facilities must have:

  • A manager who heads up the administration of the facility
  • A service coordinator for overseeing resident service plans
  • Personal care staff for direct care interactions with residents

Direct care staff must be CNAs, certified home health aides, personal care homemakers, or licensed nurses. If they are none of the above, they will have to undergo a 54-hour training course to work in direct care of residents.

All staff have to go through training before they’re allowed to work at a memory care facility. This training includes 7 hours of general orientation as well as 10 hours of continuous education for all staff on an annual basis, plus an additional 4 hours of memory care training. Direct care staff must be trained in first aid. Memory care staff who will encounter residents must also have an additional 7 hours of training on care for residents with memory impairments.

Massachusetts Medicaid Memory Care Programs

The Medicaid program in Massachusetts is known as MassHealth. Although the program will not cover the costs of assisted living by default, there are Medicaid waivers available that can be applied to some of the costs of memory care. The main exception is room and board, which cannot be paid for by MassHealth.

Frail Elder Home & Community-Based Services Waiver

As part of an effort to keep seniors aged 60 and above aging in place for longer, the Frail Elder Home & Community-Based Services waiver can be applied to cover care services provided to a person either at home or in an assisted living residence. This waiver can be used for personal care, memory care services including dementia or Alzheimer’s care, housekeeping, transportation services, and more.

Senior Care Options

This healthcare plan is a joint effort by Medicare and Medicaid. Through the Senior Care Options plan, recipients can receive all types of medical care that would normally be provided by Medicare, including personal care and normal medical care services.

Group Adult Foster Care

Through MassHealth, those in need can enroll for a bed in a facility supported by the Group Adult Foster Care program. This program is an entitlement program, so there are no waitlists. The only limit is the availability of beds in participating memory care facilities. Room and board are not covered by this program, but residents may find some assistance in paying for these costs through the Social Security Administration’s SSI-G program.

Eligibility for Medicaid in Massachusetts

All individuals applying for Medicaid in Massachusetts for a waiver program should be at least 65 years of age, in need nursing home levels of care, and be a legal resident in Massachusetts. They must also meet state income limits, which in 2023 are as follows:

  • Individuals should earn no more than $2,742 per month with no more than $2,000 in countable assets
  • Married couples must each meet the individual income standards separately, with a combined total of no more than $3,000 in countable assets between both applicants
  • Married individuals applying for Medicaid waivers on their own must meet individual income standards and asset limits, but their spouse who is not applying can have assets of up to $148,620

Admissions Requirements for Memory Care in Massachusetts

Assisted living residences are not able to admit residents who will need constant care from skilled nurses. They must be able to direct their care to some extent and must be at least partially mobile without needing full assistance with all daily living activities.

The only exceptions to this rule are when residents:

  • Receive specialized care from a third party while staying in an assisted living residence
  • Care lasts no longer than 90 days in a row, or care is periodic in nature

Assisted living staff must not be trained in care and expected to provide continuous service to the resident. Specialized care, including hospice care and skilled nursing care, must be provided by a qualified outside service when it’s required.

How to Pay for Massachusetts Memory Care

Memory care is a necessary service for many, but it can be expensive. The longer a resident stays in a facility, the harder it is to continue paying for it. If your loved one will be moving into memory care and you’re wondering how you’ll pay for it, here are a few options available in Massachusetts.

Medicaid Waiver Programs

MassHealth offers a few different waiver programs to help with the costs of assisted living and memory care in Massachusetts. These waivers include the Group Adult Foster Care program, Frail Elder Home & Community Based Services waiver, and the Senior Care Options program.

More information on these programs can be found above.

VA Benefits

For those who have been part of the US military, VA benefits may be helpful in covering many of the costs of memory care programs. While the VA will not pay for room and board at an assisted living facility, they will cover other costs related to personal care, transportation, healthcare, and more.

Reverse Mortgage

If your loved one owns their own home but must relocate into an assisted living facility for memory care services, their home can be placed under a reverse mortgage deal. This is an arrangement where the bank will slowly buy equity in a home that’s owned by an elderly person, usually someone above the age of 65. Monthly payments will be made to the recipient in exchange for a portion of home equity as long as the home still has equity left in their possession.

Common Questions About Memory Care in Massachusetts

1. What is memory care?

Memory care is a specialized type of senior living that provides support and assistance to individuals with memory-related disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia. These programs offer a safe and structured environment with trained staff to cater to the unique needs of residents.

2. How do memory care communities in Massachusetts differ from regular assisted living?

Memory care communities in Massachusetts are designed specifically for individuals with memory impairments, offering specialized care, security measures, and activities that promote cognitive stimulation and emotional well-being. Regular assisted living may not have the same level of expertise and tailored services for memory-related disorders.

3. What services are typically offered in memory care communities in Massachusetts?

Memory care communities in Massachusetts provide assistance with activities of daily living, medication management, and engaging memory-enhancing activities. They also offer a secure environment to prevent wandering, trained staff to handle behavioral challenges, and personalized care plans that address the unique needs of each resident.

4. How can I choose the right memory care community in Massachusetts for my loved one?

Choosing the right memory care community in Massachusetts involves visiting different communities, assessing their staff training and qualifications, reviewing their safety measures, inquiring about activities tailored to memory care, and talking to current residents and their families to get insights into the quality of care and services provided.

5. What is the cost of memory care in Massachusetts?

The cost of memory care in Massachusetts varies based on factors such as location, level of care needed, and amenities offered. On average, monthly costs can range from $5,000 to $9,000 or more. Cities like Boston, Cambridge, and Worcester may have higher costs compared to smaller towns like Amherst and Falmouth.

6. Are there financial assistance options for memory care in Massachusetts?

Yes, Massachusetts offers programs like the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver that may provide financial assistance for eligible individuals seeking memory care services. Veterans may also qualify for benefits through the VA Aid and Attendance program. Researching available financial support is recommended.

7. Are memory care communities equipped to handle challenging behaviors associated with dementia?

Yes, memory care communities in Massachusetts are staffed with trained professionals who are experienced in handling challenging behaviors associated with dementia. These communities implement techniques such as validation therapy, sensory engagement, and structured routines to provide a supportive and calming environment for residents with cognitive challenges.

8. How can I support a loved one transitioning to a memory care community in Massachusetts?

Supporting a loved one's transition to a memory care community in Massachusetts involves open communication, visiting the community together, bringing familiar items to create a sense of familiarity, providing emotional support, and maintaining regular visits to reinforce the connection and ease the adjustment process.

9. What safety measures are in place to prevent wandering in Massachusetts memory care communities?

Massachusetts memory care communities implement safety measures to prevent wandering, such as secured entrances, monitored exits, and outdoor spaces with safe boundaries. These communities also provide engaging activities and programs to keep residents occupied and reduce the likelihood of wandering behaviors.

10. Are there specialized memory-enhancing activities offered in Massachusetts memory care communities?

Yes, Massachusetts memory care communities offer specialized activities that are designed to enhance cognitive function and stimulate memory. These activities may include reminiscence therapy, music therapy, art therapy, brain games, and sensory experiences that promote engagement and preserve cognitive abilities.

11. What role does family play in the care of residents in Massachusetts memory care communities?

Family plays a crucial role in the care of residents in Massachusetts memory care communities. Family members provide emotional support, participate in care planning, share insights about their loved one's preferences and history, and collaborate with the community's staff to ensure the best possible quality of life for the resident.

12. Can residents continue to receive medical care from their existing doctors in Massachusetts memory care communities?

Yes, residents of Massachusetts memory care communities can often continue to see their existing doctors if they are local. Some communities also have partnerships with nearby healthcare providers or offer on-site medical services to ensure residents receive the necessary medical care and attention.

13. How do Massachusetts memory care communities promote socialization among residents?

Massachusetts memory care communities promote socialization among residents by organizing group activities, outings, and events that encourage interaction and engagement. These communities also create common areas and gathering spaces where residents can connect, share experiences, and build meaningful relationships with their peers.

14. Can residents personalize their living spaces in Massachusetts memory care communities?

Yes, residents of Massachusetts memory care communities can often personalize their living spaces with familiar items, photographs, and cherished belongings. Personalizing the living environment helps create a sense of comfort and familiarity, which is especially important for individuals with memory impairments.

15. How can families stay involved in the care of their loved ones in Massachusetts memory care communities?

Families can stay involved in the care of their loved ones in Massachusetts memory care communities by attending care plan meetings, participating in family events and activities, communicating with staff about their loved one's preferences and needs, and maintaining regular visits to reinforce the bond and provide emotional support.

16. Can residents of Massachusetts memory care communities engage in outdoor activities?

Yes, Massachusetts memory care communities often provide outdoor spaces and gardens where residents can engage in safe and supervised outdoor activities. These spaces allow residents to enjoy fresh air, nature, and sunlight while participating in activities that promote physical and emotional well-being.

17. What role does nutrition play in the care of residents in Massachusetts memory care communities?

Nutrition plays a vital role in the care of residents in Massachusetts memory care communities. These communities provide well-balanced meals that cater to residents' dietary needs and preferences. Proper nutrition supports cognitive function, physical health, and overall well-being for individuals with memory-related disorders.

18. How do Massachusetts memory care communities ensure residents' safety during emergencies?

Massachusetts memory care communities have emergency preparedness plans in place to ensure residents' safety during emergencies. These plans include protocols for evacuation, communication, and medical response. Staff members are trained to handle various emergency scenarios and prioritize the well-being of residents at all times.

19. Are there memory care communities near popular Massachusetts cities like Boston, Worcester, and Springfield?

Yes, there are memory care communities located near popular Massachusetts cities like Boston, Worcester, and Springfield. These communities offer specialized memory care services while providing residents with convenient access to urban amenities, medical facilities, and cultural attractions.

20. How can I initiate a conversation with my loved one about transitioning to memory care in Massachusetts?

Initiating a conversation about transitioning to memory care in Massachusetts involves choosing a comfortable and quiet setting, expressing your concerns and intentions, using empathy and active listening, providing information about the benefits of memory care, and involving your loved one in the decision-making process as much as possible. 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.

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