Memory Care facilities in the area that take Medicaid

Dearest Berkeley parents,

I am reaching out specifically to parents who are knowledgeable about Assisted Living/Memory Care facilities in the area.

My mother has recently received a dementia diagnosis and has limited savings that will cover about 2-3 years of Memory Care in a facility. She will need to apply for Medicaid after her savings are depleted in order to continue to receive care until end of life.

What memory care facilities within a 50 mile radius of Berkeley take Medicaid? (For some reason, this simple information is difficult to ascertain.)

Does anyone have first-hand experience with their parents being cared for in a facility that accepts Medicaid for payment? If so, please share your experiences and names of homes.

Thank you!

-Berkeley parent and member of the sandwich generation

Parent Replies

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Hi Erin,

I sympathize with you and the thousands of others who are or will soon be in your situation. We are unfortunately not equipped in our country to care for people who need it. Medi-Cal does not pay for memory care or assisted living, in general, unless you are able to get onto and then off of a multi-year waiting list for the Assisted Living Waiver. Here's a link to some info. I think the best thing to do is to consult an elder care attorney; they can sometimes help with figuring out a plan. (she is excellent)

My understanding is that once a person only has Medi-Cal (state of California’s version of Medicaid), that only covers a custodial bed in a skilled nursing home (SNF). Medi-Cal basically pays for the room and the facility becomes the person’s long-term home. It is challenging to secure one of these beds because the SNFs don’t have many of them, patients don’t turn over often and they are in such high demand. My thought is that after securing a memory care facility now, you will have to work on finding a custodial bed at a SNF down the road when the funds are depleted. 

Look into the PACE program.  It's a comprehensive, Medical funded program with wrap around services. There are assisted living and memory care places that will take private pay patients and then transition to the PACE program once the patient has expended their own resources.  Sometimes it's easier to get into a facility that way--that's what we're doing with my parents.  They have a combination of social security and pensions, and the money from the sale of their house.  Once the house money is gone, PACE will pick up the tab for their care. Really, PACE is a great program.