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Understanding the Costs of In-Home Dementia Care

Written by Kevin Ryan
 about the author
9 minute readLast updated July 12, 2023
Reviewed by Denise LettauAttorney Denise Lettau has over 15 years of experience in the wealth management industry.

The costs of dementia care can vary greatly. Because symptoms typically intensify over time, care costs are likely to increase as dementia progresses. And just as each individual living with dementia is unique, so are their needs. Some are able to live at home with the support of family while a memory care community may be a better care option for others. Understanding your parent’s needs and the factors that affect the costs of dementia care can be helpful as you plan for the future.

Key Takeaways

  1. The cost of dementia care varies based on a senior’s needs and care setting. The median cost of home care is $27 per hour whereas the median cost of a memory care community is nearly $5,800 per month.
  2. Planning ahead will help your family navigate the unexpected. This will also allow your parent to participate in the process.
  3. Health and long-term care costs are higher for people with dementia. Seniors living with dementia paid over $10,000 out of pocket compared to $2,500 for those without dementia.
  4. The physical and mental health of dementia caregivers is often impacted. As a result, it’s important for family caregivers to prioritize self-care.

Planning for the costs of dementia care

Planning ahead allows your parent to participate in the process as much as possible. Talk to your parent about their symptoms and offer your support. Collaborate to establish care goals, research the different types of care available, and create a tentative plan.
Ken Takeya understands the importance of planning. He has been caring for his wife, Charlotte, who has dementia, at their home in Kailua, Hawaii for 19 years.
“You should have an overall plan of what you’re going to do, called a care plan, and the cost factor should be incorporated into the care plan,” says Takeya. “It’s critical that people understand what the cost factors are.”

The cost of dementia care in different settings

Caring for a parent living with dementia often forces families to create a care plan that is flexible and can be adapted to their loved one’s changing needs. Cost can also play a role when choosing a care setting.

Costs of in-home dementia care

The median cost of hiring a professional caregiver in your parent’s home is $27 per hour.[01]. During the early stages of dementia, symptoms may be minimal, and individuals are often able to function with little support. Eventually, your parent may begin to struggle with normal activities of daily living (ADLs) such as eating, bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom.
Family caregivers can address many of these daily care needs, but it may become increasingly time consuming and physically and emotionally demanding. In-home care offers added assistance and supervision that may provide benefits for your parent and you as their primary caregiver.
Keep in mind that the cost of hiring a caregiver is often paid for out of pocket by families. Your parent will still be responsible for rent or costs associated with owning a home.

Costs of memory care communities

Memory care communities cost an average of $5,924 each month.[02] These communities provide services that are specific to the needs of residents living with memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
When a senior with dementia is no longer able to safely live at home, many families consider memory care communities to support their loved one’s needs. Memory care communities offer round-the-clock supervision in a safe environment and may be a good option for families who don’t live close to one another.
While nearly $6,000 each month seems steep, keep in mind that costs typically include rent and several amenities such as meal services, social programming, and staff with specialized dementia care training.

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In-home dementia care options and costs

Caring for a loved one at home often becomes more challenging in the middle and late stages of dementia. Adult children caring for their parent at home may struggle to provide the supervision and hands-on care their loved one needs, even with the support of other family members and friends. However, there are in-home care options that can help family caregivers spread the work around and possibly ease some of the emotional stress of caregiving.

Personal care

Hiring a home health aide for 40 hours per week will cost approximately $4,680 per month. Many adult children continue to work while caring for their parent. Having a full-time caregiver to provide support can help prevent caregiver burnout and offer peace of mind.
Families often hire a home health aide (HHA) or personal care aide to provide nonmedical care services. This may include companion care and assistance with activities of daily living.
Takeya pays about $43,000 per year for in-home care. It’s his highest caregiving cost, but it allows him to take a break from caring for Charlotte and pursue his own interests.
“I bring a caregiver in for five hours, six days a week,” he explains. “It gives me time to do something else.”

Home health care

Home health care is medical care provided at home by a licensed medical professional such as a nurse, occupational therapist, or physical therapist. This type of temporary care is prescribed by a doctor for individuals who require skilled nursing care or rehabilitative therapies while recovering from an illness or injury.
Home health care may also include the services of a personal care aide or certified nursing assistant to help with ADLs and light housekeeping.
Medically necessary home health care is typically covered by Medicare and Medicaid, but private health insurance coverage of these services varies.

Adult day care

The median cost of adult day services is $78 per day.[01] However, some programs may offer a sliding scale fee structure based on a senior’s income. In many states, Medicaid will pay for adult day care for qualified seniors.
Adult day care centers are often community-based settings that provide a safe, engaging, and social environment for seniors outside of their homes. These services can complement other home-based care and may be another source of respite for caregivers who work during the day. Also, it may help reduce the risk of caregiver burnout by providing regular breaks from caregiving.
Some adult day programs are purely social while others specialize in dementia care. Another type of adult day center, called adult day health care, provides health care services and therapies overseen by medical staff. Centers are typically open eight to 10 hours daily during weekdays and they provide meals and transportation services to and from the center.

Costs of home modifications

Home modifications range from $3,000 to $15,000, depending on the work being done.[03] Modifying your parent’s home may help them live more independently and safely but modifications can become more complex and expensive as your parent’s dementia progresses. For this reason, it’s best to evaluate and start modifications before they are needed.
Modifications can make it easier and safer for both you and professional caregivers to provide assistance. For example, an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant toilet can make assisting a parent with transfers safer, but installation can cost $150 to $400.
But modifications don’t always have to be expensive or complicated. They can be as simple as eliminating trip hazards and arranging furniture in a way that allows your parent to navigate their house more easily. Depending on your comfort level with common tools, minor improvements like installing grab bars in bathrooms can be inexpensive, starting at around $25. In the kitchen, $20 stove knob locks can help prevent cooking fires.
Occupational therapists and physical therapists who specialize in home safety assessments can provide personalized recommendations for products and home modifications for a loved one with dementia. This service, in addition to certain durable medical equipment, may be covered by Medicare when it’s ordered by a doctor.[04]

Health care costs for dementia

Health care costs for a senior living with dementia will depend on their overall health, location, and health insurance coverage. Medicare beneficiaries with dementia paid an average of $10,241 out of pocket on health care and long-term care expenses in 2022. Average out-of-pocket spending for beneficiaries without dementia was much lower, totaling only $2,518.[05]
Most types of insurance, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance plans, cover a significant portion of an eligible dementia patient’s medical expenses. This may include doctor appointments, prescriptions, hospital stays, limited home health care services, durable medical equipment, and more. Despite this financial assistance, it’s important to anticipate high out-of-pocket medical expenses associated with the dementia care of a parent.
Takeya pays about $5,500 yearly for Charlotte’s Medicare premiums and doctor’s bills, and about $400 per year for her medications.

Costs of elder care products and supplies

It can be easy to overlook the costs of personal care items, but they add up over time. Senior-friendly hygiene products can make caregiving easier, but common supplies like no-rinse shampoos, adult-size bathing wipes, and disposable mouth swabs can be pricy.
“We spend almost five grand a year on supplies,” Takeya says.
Some families may spend less, but Takeya finds certain products helpful and worth the extra cost. For example, because Charlotte is incontinent, she wears adult disposable briefs.
“I prefer Depend [brand], because it’s a pull-up, and it’s easier to work with,” he explains.
Your parent’s needs will likely change over time, but these are common items used for dementia care:
  • Sanitary wipes: $13 for 3 packages of 75
  • Adult disposable briefs (Depend): $27 per package of 30
  • Disposable under pads to protect mattress/furniture (Chux): $22.74 per package of 18
  • Disposable gloves: $10 per package of 100
  • Food and beverage thickener for patients with dysphagia (DysphagiAide): $33.25 per 400-serving jar
Since incontinence is common in the middle and later stages of dementia, additional household cleaning supplies are another cost to consider.

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Consider the financial and personal costs of being a dementia caregiver

A parent living with dementia may have some resources to help pay for care, but their family frequently covers 70% of the care costs. That equals nearly $225,000 over the course of the disease when combining a family’s informal care with out-of-pocket contributions.[06]
In addition to financial stresses, the physical and mental health of dementia caregivers are often impacted. On average, family caregivers provided 22.3 hours of care per week in 2020.[07] This significant time commitment can have a negative impact on a caregiver’s career, income, and relationships. Research has shown that a dementia caregiver’s quality of life often declines over time.[08]
As a caregiver, making time to take care of yourself will also benefit your parent. The following tips may be a good place to start.
  • See a doctor regularly
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes per day
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Participate in hobbies, social interactions, and other things you enjoy outside of caregiving [09]
Takeya built and maintains an aquaponics garden as a form of self-care. “It’s something to do and it keeps me occupied,” he says. He also formed a caregiver support group where he shares his experiences and the knowledge he’s gained caring for Charlotte.

Support finding dementia care for your parent

Understanding the cost of in-home dementia care and how to budget for it is complicated. Each senior living with dementia is unique, and their needs will evolve as their condition progresses. If you need help exploring in-home care or other senior living options for your parent living with dementia, our Senior Care Advisors can help. They can offer localized information on home care agencies and memory care communities that fit your family’s budget.


  1. Genworth. (2021). Cost of Care Survey.

  2. A Place for Mom. (2022). Proprietary data for senior living costs.

  3. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Durable medical equipment (DME) coverage.

  4. Alzheimer’s Association. (2023). 2023 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures.

  5. Jutkowitz E., Kane R.L.,  Gaugler J.E., MacLehose R.F., Dowd B., Kuntz K.M. (2017, August 17). Societal and family lifetime cost of dementia: Implications for policy. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

  6. National Alliance on Caregiving and AARP. (2020, November). Caregiving in the U.S. 2020.

  7. Garzón-Maldonado F.J., Gutiérrez-Bedmar M., García-Casares N., Pérez-Errázquin F., Gallardo-Tur A., Martínez-Valle Torres M.D. (2017, October). Neurología.

  8. Alzheimer’s Association. (2023). Be a Healthy Caregiver.

Meet the Author
Kevin Ryan

Kevin Ryan is a copywriter at OurParents. He has written about Medicaid and Medicare, and focuses on creating content for caregivers. Previously, Kevin worked as a freelance writer, a special education teacher, and a counselor for adults with developmental disabilities. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Edited byKristin Carroll
Reviewed byDenise Lettau

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