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Guide to Senior Living in Louisiana

Louisiana is one of the most popular states for tourists to visit in the South. This is partly because of the cultural and entertainment attractions New Orleans offers, and partly for the hunting and fishing in Louisiana’s pristine nature areas. Over 15% of Louisiana’s 4.6 million people are seniors aged 65 and over, with 129 senior living facilities located around the state to look after their needs. Active seniors in Louisiana are able to enjoy inland saltwater fishing trips, which are hard to come by elsewhere in the United States, without a license from age 60. Seniors whose support is primarily from Social Security pay no state tax on the income, and Louisiana has the third-lowest property taxes in the country.

Seniors living in Louisiana’s senior living communities pay less than the national average for all care types. For instance, the cost of assisted living at $3,650 a month, according to the Genworth 2019 Cost of Care Survey, is $401 less a month less than the national average of $4,051. Louisiana’s cost of living is generally low, compared with other states, but senior living costs can still be a challenge to manage for many aging citizens. This guide is written to help seniors understand the likely costs of senior living, as well as to locate resources to help seniors live well in senior living in Louisiana.

Paying for Senior Living in Louisiana

Assisted living is one of the affordable choices seniors in Louisiana have available. Other types of care differ in cost by a wide margin, such as adult day care, which averages $1,625 a month. In-home care and home health services average $3,218 and $3,241 a month, respectively. Assisted living is $1,745 a month less expensive than the next level of care up, skilled nursing, which costs $5,435 a month.

$3650

Assisted Living

$3218

In-Home Care

$3241

Home Health Care

$1625

Adult Day Care

$5435

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Louisiana

Assisted living in Louisiana is generally affordable, relative to both the national average and that of nearby states. Assisted living in Texas, for example, costs $100 a month more than similar services in Louisiana. Mississippi and Florida are fairly close in price, both to each other and to Louisiana, at $3,524 and $3,500 a month for assisted living, respectively. One exceptionally low-cost state in the area is Arkansas, where assisted living costs many seniors just $3,175 a month.

$3650

Louisiana

$4051

United States

$3750

Texas

$3175

Arkansas

$3524

Mississippi

$3500

Florida

The Cost of In-Home Care in Louisiana

Louisiana offers one of the lowest prices in the nation for in-home care at a monthly rate of only $3,218. This price point is more than $1,000 less than the national average of $4,290. Additionally, this is the best rate in the area as all neighboring states are significantly more expensive. Mississippi is the closest in price at $3,432 a month while Oklahoma is the most expensive at $4,195. Falling in the middle are Arkansas and Texas with monthly fees of  $3,623 and $3,956. 

$3218

Louisiana

$4290

United States

$3956

Texas

$3623

Arkansas

$3432

Mississippi

$4195

Oklahoma

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Louisiana

For just $5,435 a month, seniors in Louisiana have access to 24/7 medical care and personal assistance. The neighboring states of Mississippi and Arkansas are both more expensive with monthly fees of $6,844 and $5,505, respectively. Seniors who require even more affordable care should look no further than Texas and Oklahoma where the same services are available for the low price of $4,867 a month. This level of help costs $7,513 a month in the United States, so Louisiana is still an affordable option. 

$5435

Louisiana

$7513

United States

$4867

Texas

$5505

Arkansas

$6844

Mississippi

$4867

Oklahoma

Financial Assistance for Senior Living in Louisiana

Community Choices Waiver

Louisiana’s Community Choices Waiver provides many of the services seniors need to remain safely in their homes or in a group residential care setting, such as an assisted living facility. On acceptance into the waiver program, each beneficiary is assisted by a case worker in developing an individual needs profile that guides residential care decision making. Services available through the waiver program include:

  • Non-emergency medical transportation to and from medical office visits
  • Transition assistance and relocation help
  • Personal care from a screened caregiver
  • Respite care
  • Assistive devices and medical supplies
  • Accessibility adaptations
  • Nutritional support

In order to qualify for a Community Choices Waiver, seniors in Louisiana must meet income limits and have no more than $3,000 in countable assets. Income limits for the program are set, as of 2019, at no more than $2,349 a month for an individual or $4,698 for a married couple from all income sources combined. Applicants must receive Medicaid services and have a medical need that could justify placement in a Level 4 nursing home. Beneficiaries must opt out of nursing home placement and into a lower level of care in a participating senior living community.

Acceptance into the waiver program follows an order of need, with some applications getting priority over others. Seniors whose current living conditions are abusive or neglectful have top priority, followed by seniors diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Next on the waiting list for services are seniors living in a Louisiana Permanent Supportive Housing unit. Seniors in nursing home care whose sole source of support for services is Medicaid may also have priority. After these groups, acceptance into the program is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contact: Call Louisiana Options in Long Term Care at 1-877-456-1146 for more information about the waiver and to apply over the phone.

Senior Living Laws and Regulations in Louisiana

Note: All these rules typically apply to non-clinical senior living facilities, such as independent living, assisted living, and memory care facilities. Nursing homes and other senior living facilities with a clinical setting may have additional or slightly different requirements and regulations.

Senior living communities in Louisiana are regulated as Level 3 facilities by the state Department of Health and Hospitals, Health Standards Section. This section regulates senior care homes, sets statewide standards and conducts inspections to ensure compliance. The section sets rules for how senior living communities can admit new residents, provide Alzheimer’s care in special treatment units, manage medications for residents and hire staff members.

Admission Requirements

Seniors in Louisiana must have a doctor’s physical and mental health examination and written endorsement prior to acceptance in a senior living facility. This examination must determine that the senior’s physical needs are not greater than the level of care provided by the specific facility applied to and that no ongoing medical needs preclude admission. Doctors must coordinate with care staff to develop a unified plan of care for all new residents, and plans must be kept up to date with annual reviews. Seniors cannot be admitted to a senior living facility if they require continuous IV therapy, extensive wound care or other medical interventions that call for skilled nursing care. Exceptions are permitted for occasional treatment by a visiting nurse, as well as for hospice patients who need IV treatments for comfort care.

Memory Care Regulation

Senior living facilities may establish an Alzheimer’s special care unit (ASCU) on the premises for treating senior residents with age-related dementia. This unit must be either a wing of the facility or a separate structure on the property that can be secured to prevent wandering or harm to residents. State regulations require that ASCU staff who work directly with residents have a minimum of 8 hours of dementia-specific training within 90 days of hire and work under the supervision of the facility administrator.

Medication Management

Louisiana allows staff at all care levels, including senior living and other Level 3 facilities, to supervise the self-administration of residents’ prescription medications. Non-licensed staff members are permitted to cue or to remind residents to take medication included in their care plan. Staff members may also open containers, help pour medication or bring containers of oral medications to residents. No professional licensure is required for staff who assist residents to self-administer medications in this way, provided the staff member has training on the policies and procedures specific to medication assistance. This training must be completed at hiring and repeated annually.

Level 3 facilities are not permitted to administer medication to residents as a medical intervention. Residents who require interventions such as non-self-administered injections or other invasive treatments must transfer to a Level 4 nursing care facility, medical outpatient clinic or hospital for such treatment. All prescribed medication taken by residents must be logged and added to the resident’s care plan on file. Deviations from care plan medication regimens must be reported as soon as possible to the resident’s physician of record.

Staffing Requirements

Staff at all Level 3 facilities in Louisiana must be maintained at a level adequate for both routine care of all residents and for emergency evacuation if needed. This varies between waking and sleeping hours, though the state does not set specific staff-to-resident ratios that facilities must set as a benchmark. All facilities, as a condition of holding a valid license, must have a director, activity manager and at least one staff member who provides hands-on care. Any qualified staff member may fill more than one role, though not on the same shift.

Directors of Level 3 and 4 facilities must be at least 21 years old and have one of the following qualifications:

  • A four-year degree from an accredited college or university with at least 2 years of experience in health, social services or geriatrics
  • A high school degree plus 6 years of experience in health, social services or geriatrics
  • A master’s degree in a relevant field, such as health, geriatrics or health care administration
  • Hold a current license as a nursing facility administrator

Non-management staff at senior living facilities in Louisiana must pass a background check, registry check and pre-employment health and drug screenings. Initial orientation must be completed within seven days of the start of work, and an annual 12-hour continuing education requirement must be followed for all direct care staff members.

Louisiana Senior Living Free Resources

Louisiana Agencies

Louisiana Medicaid

Louisiana administers the state-federal Medicaid program to provide basic health services for low-income residents of the state. These services include preventive care, diagnostic services and some medications. Some services provided by Medicaid are not covered by Medicare coverage, such as denture service and vision care. Beneficiaries can choose a doctor anywhere in the state who accepts Medicaid. Senior living costs are not directly paid by Medicaid, though skilled nursing care and other inpatient medical services may be. Medicaid can act as a supplemental insurance policy for seniors currently receiving Original Medicare services.

Contact: Seniors in Louisiana can apply for Medicaid in Louisiana online or by mail. They can also call 1-225-342-9500 for information and an application packet.

Area Agencies on Aging in Louisiana

Louisiana’s Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) operate a network of offices throughout the state that can help seniors find free and low-cost resources to support them during the transition to senior living. AAAs host educational events, provide referrals for medical and social care and organize community events seniors can attend free of charge. Other benefits include mobility assistance and individual therapy services. Seniors can find a local AAA office from the Governor’s Office of Elderly Affairs website.

Veterans Affairs Offices in Louisiana

Seniors in Louisiana who have served in any branch of the military may, after an honorable discharge, seek help with various senior living and care issues from the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs. VA services include financial and community support, and they are available to veterans and their spouses free of charge. Veterans can also obtain pre-admission medical services through the VA when entering senior living. Find a local SSA office online with the department’s locator tool.

Social Security Offices in Louisiana

The Social Security Administration can be a helpful resource for seniors who need help finding and signing up for benefits they may be entitled to. Social Security case workers can help seniors in Louisiana with applications for Medicare, Medicaid and nutrition assistance. SSI and SSDI applications may be picked up and submitted to SSA offices throughout the state. Seniors in Louisiana can find a local Social Security office online and call to book an appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in Louisiana?

Assisted living in Louisiana costs an average of $3,650 per month. This is $401 a month less than the $4,051 national average. It is also significantly lower than many of the other states in the South.

Does Louisiana Medicaid pay for assisted living?

Medicaid is a health insurance program intended primarily for low-income citizens who might otherwise lack coverage. Medicaid coverage in Louisiana does not directly pay for the non-medical caregiver services provided by assisted living facilities. Despite this limitation, Louisiana Medicaid does pay for many of the secondary costs of assisted living, such as prescription drugs and medical supplies.

Does Medicare pay for assisted living?

Medicare does not offer direct support for board and care in an assisted living facility. Original Medicare has a Part B, which pays for many outpatient care services, and a Part A for short-term inpatient care, which does not include long-term assisted living. Medicare Advantage plans, often called Part C, vary in their coverage limits, but non-medical services are generally not eligible for coverage.

What are “activities of daily living”?

The term “activities of daily living” refers to many of the normal chores that seniors in assisted living may need help performing. These activities include bathing, dressing and personal care, as well as meal preparation and light housework. Shopping and transportation are sometimes included in the list of activities of daily living.

What is the difference between assisted living and nursing homes?

Assisted living and nursing home care differ mainly in the degree to which they offer medical services for their residents. Nursing home care often includes medication administration and management, physical and occupational therapy and medically oriented services such as wound care. Assisted living, by contrast, resembles independent living with some personal caregiver services to help with activities of daily living.

The Top Cities for Senior Living in Louisiana

Learn more about the cost of senior living in the top Louisiana cities. Additionally, find reviews and information about assisted living facilities and other senior living communities across the state.

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