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Memory Care Facilities in Montana

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The “Big Sky Country” is one of the largest states in the nation in terms of square miles, yet one of the least populated. For seniors, this kind of living scenario is ideal where traffic is limited and the towns get quiet at nights. Combined with some terrific beauty, dementia care homes in Montana have a stellar reputation.

Memory Care in Montana - Cheapest & Most Expensive Places

Montana is an affordable place to live for Alzheimer’s care homes as the state ranks within the Top 15 of least expensive in the United States. Montana memory care facilities are affordable yet one of the drawbacks is despite all the land mass the selection of dementia care homes in Montana is not quite as broad as some of the surrounding states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The Top 6 Most Affordable Cities for Memory Care in Montana based on Monthly Median Average:

  1. St Ignatius, MT - $4,150         
  2. Polson, MT - $4,300
  3. Missoula, MT - $4,310
  4. Columbia Falls, MT - $4,605
  5. Billings, MT - $4,775         
  6. Bozeman, MT - $4,840

The Top 5 Most Affordable Counties in Montana for Alzheimer’s Care based on Monthly Median Pricing:

  1. Lake County - $4,270
  2. Missoula County - $4,310
  3. Flathead County - $4,595
  4. Yellowstone County - $4,770
  5. Gallatin County - $4,845

Montana Dementia & Alzheimer’s Care - Services

Montana memory care communities provide a rich balance of quality rooms with ample recreational activities and leisure events. The rooms are fitted with a bed and other furnishings, while others may allow you to bring in small furniture (such as a dresser or desk) into the room. The bathrooms are oversized to accommodate handicap access and new residents are encouraged to bring in small belongings from home to personalize the room.

A regular schedule that is planned and organized by dementia trained caregivers keeps a loved one interacting and busy for a good portion of the day. Along with meals that are generally served at the same time each day, various activities are also sprinkled in to provide brain stimulation and light physical fitness. The mentality is that having a well-planned day and routine can contribute to better sleeping habits at night, especially for new residents transitioning into the facility.

Along with the indoor amenities, the top Alzheimer’s care homes in Montana also encourage residents to get outside during the warmer months and enjoy the fresh air. Many provide well maintained outdoor grounds with private patio seating areas as well as gardens and bird watching opportunities.

The day use area usually includes a flat screen TV along with various leisure activities like playing cards, board games, puzzles, and other arts and crafts. A few select units may even be pet-friendly for an additional charge, however, the breed restriction policies are usually fairly strict.

The buildings are generally very secure with 24/7 monitoring and checkups of residents to make sure they are doing well and haven’t slipped or fallen. The staff also handles all medication management and can make sure the correct dosages and meds are being administering at the correct times.

Montana Memory Care Regulations

Memory care is provided at assisted living facilities in Montana. These are licensed facilities which provide services to seniors or disabled individuals in a controlled, safe environment.

Licensing

All assisted living facilities in Montana are licensed and regulated by the Department of Public Health and Human Services. There are 3 different categories of licensing: A, B, and C. All 3 categories must be licensed at the same standards as category A facilities, with categories B and C being additional licensing standards. All facilities can be memory care facilities, but they have different levels of requirements for the care they can provide to residents, and consequently who they can admit.

All facilities are inspected every 1-3 years, depending on the terms of their licensing.

General Regulations

While category A and B facilities do not need to provide public disclosures, category C facilities are required to make disclosures publicly available to anyone looking at enrolling in the facility. This disclosure must include:

  • The philosophy of care at a facility
  • Admission, transfer, and discharge criteria
  • Resident assessment and care plan processes 
  • Staffing policies and staff training
  • Physical design of the facility that supports memory care
  • Resident activities available
  • Family inclusion in care
  • Basic care costs plus additional costs for extra services beyond the basics

Assisted living facilities in all categories must sign resident agreements with new residents and/or their legal guardians. These agreements contain the details of costs agreed by both parties, as well as discharge criteria for residents, availability of care providers, and resident’s rights and responsibilities.

Residents entering into assisted living facilities will also be assessed to determine their needs and the level of service they require from the facility staff. All assessments include understanding the status of:

  • Cognitive health and requirements
  • Daily living assistance needs
  • Behavioral patterns
  • Physical and mental health
  • Nutritional status, including weight
  • Dependence on restraints or assistive devices

Facilities must develop this plan with the resident before admission. Within 60 days of a resident being admitted, the plan should be reassessed to ensure it’s fulfilling the needs of the resident while they’re at the facility.

For facilities licensed as category B or C facilities, the service plan must also include assessment from a licensed health care professional to determine how the facility can care for the medical needs of the resident. It must be reviewed as the resident’s condition changes.

Category C facilities must also go through a certification process with each resident to assess more specific medical needs they may have, including assessment of memory, self-care abilities, problem solving capabilities, judgment, changes in mood or behaviors, patterns of behavior, tendency to wander, and dietary requirements.

Residents in assisted living facilities in Montana have the right to work with third-party service providers while they reside in a facility. These services should not interfere with the regular operations at the assisted living facility and should not impact the health and wellbeing of other residents.

Residents in category A facilities should be able to self-administer medications with minimal assistance from staff, while residents in category B or C facilities can have medications administered for them by licensed healthcare staff or other authorized persons. Medication needs must be detailed in service plans for every resident.

Facility Regulations

Residents are not required to be provided with independent apartments. Facilities licensed before 2004 may house up 4 residents per unit, while facilities licensed after 2004 may house up to 2 residents per unit. Memory care units serving those with severe cognitive impairments may not house more than 2 people per room.

All residents should be able to access a toilet without moving through another resident’s room or a common room such as a kitchen, dining room, or living space. There must be at least 1 toilet per 4 residents and 1 bathing facility per 12 residents.

While kitchen space can be provided to residents, they are not required. All kitchen spaces in resident rooms must have removable appliances that can be removed if the resident cannot have unrestricted access to their use.

Category C memory care facilities must provide a secure space for memory care residents that is distinct from other residents who are not receiving memory care. This distinct space must include a dining area, common rooms, and activity areas specifically for memory care residents.

Staffing Regulations

There are no specific ratios that memory care facilities in Montana are required to follow. However, all facilities must follow specific requirements, and facilities with higher licensing levels must follow more strict requirements.

All facilities should have a staff member on duty at all times, 24 hours a day. In category C facilities, overnight staff members should be awake and on duty. Regardless of the licensing category, assisted living facilities must maintain a high enough level of staff to care for resident needs at all times, both scheduled and unscheduled needs that are reasonably foreseeable.

Memory care facilities must employ a qualified administrator. When the administrator is not on-site, another person at the facility must be designated as the facility overseer. If the facility is designated as offering CPR, at least one employee certified to provide CPR must be on-site 24/7. Facilities licensed as category B assisted living must either employ or contract with a registered nurse in order to healthcare services to residents.

All employees at a memory care facility must receive sufficient orientation training relevant to their position. Direct care staff must receive training that prepares them for the care residents need, including basic first aid training. Direct care staff at a Category C memory care unit should also receive training specific to caring for those with memory impairments.

Administrators at memory care facilities should have at least 16 hours of continuous education annually, 8 of which should be focused on memory care specifically.

Montana Medicaid Memory Care Programs

Montana’s Medicaid program does not directly cover the costs of memory care in an assisted living facility. However, through a waiver program, residents of Montana may be able to get some assistance paying for medical costs associated with memory care.

Big Sky Waiver

The Big Sky waiver program is intended to help people remain out of institutionalized care, such as a nursing home, for as long as possible. It can be applied towards care received at an assisted living facility, including transportation, medical care, and personal care, but cannot be applied toward the cost of room and board.

Eligibility for Medicaid in Montana

To be eligible for waiver programs run by Medicaid, an individual must be a Montana resident who is either 65 years of age or above, or disabled if aged below 65. They must be in need of nursing home levels of care.

In addition to these requirements, applicants must fall into low-income brackets as specified by the state Medicaid program. Income limits are as follows:

  • Individuals cannot earn more than $914 per month and may possess no more than $2,000 in countable assets
  • Married spouses applying together for Medicaid must both meet the individual standards separately. Income and assets are not counted together.
  • Married people who are applying without their spouse must meet individual income limits, but their non-applicant spouse cannot possess more than $148,620 in assets

Admissions Requirements for Memory Care in Montana

Memory care facilities cannot admit anyone that they are unable to care for in their existing facilities. For category A facilities, this means they may not admit any residents who:

  • Have stage 3 or 4 bedsores
  • Require continual care from skilled nurses
  • Must be chemically or physically restrained
  • Present an immediate danger to themselves or others
  • Require assistance with 4 or more daily living activities
  • Cannot participate in their own self-care by communicating their needs or making basic decisions about their care
  • Require skilled medical care for longer than 30 days straight, or for more than 120 days in a one-year period

Category B facilities may take on residents who need more care on a daily basis. All potential residents must have a written order from a healthcare practitioner stating that they are eligible for admission. These facilities may accept residents all that a category A facility accepts, as well as those who:

  • Need assistance in 4 or more daily care activities
  • Require skilled care for more than 30 days, or a total of more than 120 days in a one-year period, if services are arranged by either the facility or the resident

Category C facilities may take on residents who require a much higher level of care, including those with severe cognitive impairments who cannot communicate their needs or make decisions about their care. Residents can be at risk of wandering, but cannot be required to be restrained chemically or physically restrained. Residents also may not be admitted if they present an immediate risk to themselves or others.

Tips on Choosing the Right Memory Care Facility for Your Loved One

Choosing a memory care facility is difficult, even under the best of circumstances. If you’re lost on where to start, here are a few tips to help you choose a memory care facility for your loved one in Montana.

1. Observe the current residents at the facility

One of the most telling signs of how good a memory care facility is will be how the current residents there look. When you go for a tour of a facility, take a look at the current residents and see if they look clean, well dressed, and relaxed. These are all signs that the residents are being well cared for and treated with respect.

2. Think about what your loved one needs and likes

Since the chosen memory care unit will be your loved one’s new home, you need to look at how well the facility suits not only their needs but also their personal preferences. Is the living space comfortable? Will your loved one adapt well to the physical environment at the facility? Do they offer activities your loved one will enjoy and benefit from? Look at the facility from all angles to see if the facility is a good fit for them personally.

3. Check staffing ratios, especially overnight

Montana regulations do state that there should always be someone awake and on duty at a memory care facility, but the best facilities will have a high ratio of staff to residents. Look for a ratio of around 1 staff member per every 8 residents during the day and 1 staff member for every 10-12 residents overnight.

4. Look for a homelike environment

Memory care is a step under nursing home care for a reason. It’s meant to be a way for your loved one to live with more autonomy than they would at a nursing home, but in a place where they’re safe and cared for. An environment that feels friendly and homelike will help your loved one adapt more easily.

Common Questions About Memory Care in Montana

1. What is memory care, and how does it work in Montana?

Memory care in Montana is a specialized form of long-term care designed for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. It provides a secure and supportive environment with trained staff who offer personalized care and activities to support cognitive function. Examples of cities with memory care facilities include Billings, Missoula, and Helena.

2. What is the average cost of memory care in Montana?

The cost of memory care in Montana varies but is generally higher than standard assisted living due to the specialized care provided. On average, it can range from $4,000 to $7,000 per month. Costs may be influenced by location, with urban areas like Billings, Missoula, and Great Falls typically having higher prices.

3. Are there financial assistance options for memory care in Montana?

Montana offers financial assistance programs like the Montana Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) program that can help eligible individuals cover the costs of memory care. Additionally, veterans may qualify for VA Aid and Attendance benefits for memory care expenses statewide.

4. What are the admission criteria for memory care facilities in Montana?

Admission criteria for memory care facilities in Montana typically involve a comprehensive assessment of the individual's cognitive and physical condition. Facilities aim to ensure that they can provide the appropriate level of care. Requirements may vary, but a diagnosis of Alzheimer's or related dementia is often necessary for admission statewide.

5. What specialized services are offered in memory care communities in Montana?

Memory care communities in Montana offer specialized services tailored to the unique needs of residents with dementia. These services include memory-enhancing activities, secure environments, medication management, and assistance with daily living tasks. The staff is trained to handle the challenges associated with memory loss. Examples of cities with memory care facilities include Kalispell, Bozeman, and Great Falls.

6. How do memory care facilities in Montana differ from standard assisted living?

Memory care facilities in Montana differ from standard assisted living by providing specialized care for individuals with dementia. They have secured environments, staff with dementia-specific training, and tailored activities to support cognitive function. Standard assisted living is more suitable for seniors who do not have significant memory-related challenges statewide.

7. Are there memory care options available for veterans in Montana?

Yes, Montana has memory care options available for veterans. Eligible veterans can apply for VA Aid and Attendance benefits, which can help cover the costs of memory care in Montana. These benefits are intended to support veterans who require assistance with activities of daily living statewide.

8. What safety measures are in place in memory care facilities in Montana?

Memory care facilities in Montana prioritize safety for residents with dementia. They often have secure entrances and exits to prevent wandering, surveillance systems, and trained staff who are familiar with dementia-related behaviors. Emergency response systems and 24-hour staff availability ensure residents' safety statewide.

9. Can residents personalize their living spaces in memory care communities in Montana?

Yes, residents in memory care communities in Montana can often personalize their living spaces with familiar items and decorations. Personal touches can create a sense of comfort and familiarity for individuals with dementia. Staff in facilities statewide are usually happy to assist with arranging these personalized spaces.

10. How can family members stay involved in the care of their loved ones in memory care facilities?

Family members can stay involved in the care of their loved ones in memory care facilities in Montana by participating in family meetings, communicating with the staff, and visiting regularly. Some facilities also offer support groups and educational resources to help families better understand and cope with dementia-related challenges statewide.

11. What types of activities are available for residents in memory care communities in Montana?

Memory care communities in Montana provide a range of activities to engage residents. These may include reminiscence therapy, sensory stimulation, music therapy, and art programs. Activities are designed to stimulate memory and provide enjoyment for individuals with dementia, enhancing their overall quality of life statewide.

12. Are there any memory care communities in Montana that focus on specific cultural or religious preferences?

Yes, some memory care communities in Montana cater to specific cultural or religious preferences. These communities may offer culturally relevant activities, religious services, and dietary options that align with the traditions and beliefs of residents, creating a supportive and inclusive environment for individuals with dementia statewide.

13. Do memory care facilities in Montana provide transportation services for residents?

Many memory care facilities in Montana offer transportation services to help residents get to medical appointments, outings, and other activities. This service ensures that residents have access to necessary services and can continue to engage in social and recreational opportunities statewide.

14. What is the role of the staff in memory care facilities in Montana?

The staff in memory care facilities in Montana plays a crucial role in providing care, support, and supervision for residents with dementia. They are trained to understand the unique needs and behaviors associated with memory loss and are responsible for administering medication, facilitating activities, and ensuring the safety and well-being of residents statewide.

15. Can residents in memory care communities in Montana receive visits from therapy animals?

Some memory care communities in Montana may arrange visits from therapy animals. These visits can have a positive impact on residents' emotional well-being and may help reduce anxiety and agitation associated with dementia. Check with individual facilities to inquire about their policies regarding therapy animal visits statewide.

16. Are there memory care facilities in Montana with a focus on sustainability and eco-friendly practices?

Some memory care facilities in Montana incorporate sustainability and eco-friendly practices into their operations. These facilities may have energy-efficient features, recycling programs, and green spaces, contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious approach to memory care statewide.

17. How are medical emergencies handled in memory care facilities in Montana?

Memory care facilities in Montana have protocols in place to handle medical emergencies. They typically have 24-hour staff availability and emergency response systems to ensure that residents can quickly receive medical attention when needed. Staff are trained to respond effectively to emergencies associated with dementia statewide.

18. Can residents participate in outdoor activities in memory care communities in Montana?

Many memory care communities in Montana offer outdoor areas and activities to residents. These may include secure courtyards, garden spaces, and walking paths. Outdoor activities can provide a sense of freedom and connection to nature, enhancing the overall well-being of individuals with dementia statewide.

19. How can family members stay informed about their loved one's progress in memory care facilities?

Memory care facilities in Montana often provide regular updates to family members about their loved one's progress. Family meetings, phone calls, and written reports may be used to keep families informed about care plans, behavioral changes, and any other relevant developments statewide.

20. What measures are in place to ensure a comfortable and engaging environment in memory care facilities?

Memory care facilities in Montana prioritize creating a comfortable and engaging environment for residents. They often use color-coded signage to aid wayfinding, incorporate memory-enhancing design elements, and provide sensory stimulation through activities and familiar surroundings. The goal is to promote a sense of security and well-being for individuals with dementia statewide.

SeniorGuidance.org 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 Montana:

Assisted Living in Montana Senior Apartments in Montana Nursing Homes in Montana

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