What is the Specialized Dementia Care Program

The Specialized Dementia Care Program is for a person with dementia who can no longer live at home and needs state-funding (Medicaid) to help pay for long-term care services in a facility.  Learn more about alternatives if the person is not eligible for Medicaid.

Offered through the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), a person with dementia receives a package of specialized dementia care services while living at an Assisted Living Facility.  Learn more about what an Assisted Living Facility is.

The goal of the program is to help a person with dementia maintain the highest possible quality of life and physical health while living with the losses typical of dementia. 

What Services Are Offered

The package of specialized dementia care services include (in part):

  • Care, supervision, and activities tailored to the specific needs, interests, abilities, and preferences of the person. 
  • Coordination with the person’s family to ensure the person's routines and preferences are honored.
  • Dementia-specific training for staff. 
  • Awake staff twenty-four hours a day.
  • A safe outdoor environment with walking paths and access to a secure outdoor area.
  • Intermittent nursing services, help with medications, personal care, and other support services.

Read the state rules that define what services must be offered.

Program Eligibility

A person with dementia must meet all three of the following criteria to be eligible for this program.  The person must be:

  1. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another irreversible dementia such as vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, Pick’s disease, or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
  2. Receiving or eligible for state assistance (Medicaid).
  3. Assessed by a DSHS assigned case manager and found to have the need for specialized dementia care.

Space must also be available in an Assisted Living Facility that contracts with DSHS to provide this package of specialized dementia services.  Due to limited funding, DSHS contracts with a small number of Assisted Living Facilities throughout the state to offer this program.

Taking the Next Step