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Guide to Senior Living in Mississippi

Mississippi, located in the Deep South, is the first home of William Faulkner, James Earl Jones and Oprah. Arguably the first place in the world where the Blues were played, Mississippi is still awash with local music and culture that seniors can experience at local clubs, Civil War historic sites and several riverboat casinos. Active seniors can get out and enjoy the balmy summers at scores of local golf courses, Gulf Coast beaches and woodland trails that are ideal for low-impact hiking and camping. Almost 16% of Mississippi’s 2.9 million residents are seniors aged 65 and over, with 84 licensed senior living facilities dotted around the state to care for them.

Senior care in Mississippi is affordable; costs are below the United States average for all care types, according to Genworth Financial’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey. For instance, assisted living at $3,524 is well below the $4,051 a month seniors pay nationwide, on average, and even somewhat below the average cost in several nearby states.

This guide is written for seniors in Mississippi who are looking for safe and comfortable assisted living. It outlines likely monthly costs for senior care in the state, and it offers information about helpful resources seniors can access to help pay for many of the expenses associated with assisted living.

Paying for Senior Living in Mississippi

Assisted living costs in Mississippi are similar to the cost of other forms of senior care, but substantially less expensive than some options. In-home care, for example, costs $3,432 a month in Mississippi. Home health services come very close to assisted living in cost, at $3,527 a month for average homes. Adult day care and nursing home care are the price outliers in Mississippi, with averages of $1,398 and $6,844 a month, respectively.

$3524

Assisted Living

$3432

In-Home Care

$3527

Home Health Care

$1398

Adult Day Care

$6844

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Mississippi

Assisted living in Mississippi costs an average of $3,524 a month. This is $527 a month less than the national average cost of $4,051 a month. Other states in the Deep South are similarly affordable, with assisted living in Louisiana averaging $3,650 a month and similar services in Arkansas averaging $3,175. Assisted living in Tennessee is several hundred dollars a month more than in Mississippi, at $3,900 a month, while assisted living in Alabama is somewhat less expensive, at $3,250.

$3524

Mississippi

$4051

United States

$3900

Tennessee

$3650

Louisiana

$3175

Arkansas

$3250

Alabama

The Cost of In-Home Care in Mississippi

In-home care is an extremely affordable option in The Magnolia State with monthly fees of just $3,432. This sits well below the national average of $4,290, as well as the cost of similar care in Arkansas, $3,623, and Tennessee, $3,813. Mississippi’s in-home care rates are comparable to Alabama’s rate of $3,394 and Over $200 more expensive than Louisiana’s rate of $3,218.  

$3432

Mississippi

$4290

United States

$3218

Louisiana

$3623

Arkansas

$3813

Tennessee

$3394

Alabama

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Mississippi

The cost of nursing home care in the state of Mississippi comes to a reasonable $6,844 a month compared to the national average of $7,513. Seniors can find even better rates if they are willing to move to the neighboring states of Louisiana, $5,435; Arkansas,  $5,505; Tennessee, $6,836; or Alabama, $6,388. While the in-home care savings are only $8 a month in Tennessee, seniors can expect to save over $1,000 a month by moving to Arkansas or Louisiana. 

$6844

Mississippi

$7513

United States

$5435

Louisiana

$5505

Arkansas

$6836

Tennessee

$6388

Alabama

Financial Assistance for Senior Living in Mississippi

Assisted Living Waiver

Mississippi’s Assisted Living Waiver program pays many of the costs seniors face when moving into a residential care program. This waiver is available for seniors who meet the income and asset limitations set by the Social Security Administration for recipients of Medicaid and SSI. Seniors who need assisted living care can qualify for a waiver if they have a documented medical need that justifies placement in a nursing care home but are willing to waive that placement and opt into assisted living instead. Covered services include case manager assistance and personal care. Other benefits of the Assisted Living Waiver include:

  • Homemaker assistance
  • Attendant help with activities of daily living
  • Medication management and oversight
  • Physical and occupational therapy services
  • Intermittent services from a visiting registered nurse
  • Attendant call system installation
  • Help with booking and paying for non-emergency medical transportation for medical and personal trips within a limited radius

Contact: Applications for Assisted Living Waivers can be requested by calling (800) 421-2408. Application packets may be submitted to the Mississippi Department of Medicaid in Jackson.

Senior Living Laws and Regulations in Mississippi

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.

The Mississippi State Department of Health regulates senior living communities in the state, where they are known as adult foster care facilities. All such facilities in Mississippi are required to carry a current state license, which is subject to renewal, revocation and inspection by state inspectors. To maintain a license, facilities must adhere to regulations developed and published by the department. In particular, all licensed facilities in Mississippi must follow state guidelines in the areas of admitting residents, Alzheimer’s care, medication management and staff training and conduct.

Admission Requirements

Prior to admission into a senior living community in Mississippi, seniors must complete a pre-admission medical and mental health screening. The examining physician must certify that the totality of the senior’s needs can be met at the level of care the admitting facility is licensed to provide, and that no specific medical needs prevent the senior from flourishing in a non-clinical care environment. Medical screenings must be repeated annually or when a caregiver has noticed a decline in the resident’s cognition or behavior.

As part of the admission process, senior living facility administrators must work with medical providers to develop a plan of care for the individual resident. This care plan must include all of the resident’s medical needs, such as prescriptions and visits from therapy providers, and regular assessments of progress must be made to ensure the plan is being followed. A copy of this plan must be put on file and accessible to seniors’ authorized decision makers. The file is also required to include a copy of the pre-admission agreement specifying in advance what monthly charges and other likely costs seniors must pay to reside at the facility.

The state of Mississippi places limits on the amount of care an senior living facility may offer its residents. In general, residents must not be admitted to an senior living community if they:

  • Cannot walk unaided
  • Require physical restraints
  • Pose a threat to themselves or others
  • Need airway suctioning or gastric feeding
  • Need a continuous IV drip
  • Have an indwelling urinary catheter
  • Require sterile wound care
  • Require treatment of decubitus ulcers or exfoliative dermatitis

Memory Care Regulation

The Department of Health issues special licenses for facilities that treat seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Memory care units are subject to special regulations, which apply to both dedicated memory care facilities and to special care units within larger senior living communities. Prior to admission, residents of a memory care unit must have been diagnosed with some form of dementia and received an endorsement from a doctor for residential care at the specific facility providing care. Residents of a memory care unit must be supervised throughout waking hours, and sufficient staff must be available to assist with emergencies and aid evacuation. The Department of Health requires that 3 hours of skilled nursing care should be available for every 24 hours each resident is present in the facility, which usually works out to one staff member for every eight residents. Staff in the special care unit must receive a specialized training course in Alzheimer’s care and dementia management.

Medication Management

State laws limit the nature of drugs permitted in senior living facilities, and they mandate special handling for permitted prescription drugs. Schedule I drugs are not permitted on the grounds of a licensed facility. Residents of senior living facilities may have Schedule II narcotics as part of their care plan, but the medications must be stored in secure locations in sealed and pre-measured packaging. Other medications may be controlled and taken by residents, provided the resident is capable of understanding instructions and safely self-administering doses. Staff at senior living facilities may assist with the taking of certain medications. Only certified medication aides or nursing staff may administer prescription drugs to residents who cannot self-administer. All uses of prescription drugs must be logged and reported in keeping with state regulations.

Staffing Requirements

Every senior living facility in Mississippi must have at least one full-time employee who is designated as the site’s operator. This administrative position must be filled by an employee who is a high school graduate aged 21 or older. Operators must not be listed in the Mississippi Nurses Aide Abuse Registry, and background checks are required for operators who are expected to have contact with residents. During hours when the site’s operator is not on duty, a substitute operator must be on site and able to manage the facility staff. Requirements for substitute operators are the same as for primary operators.

Non-management staff at senior living facilities must be high school graduates aged 18 and over who also do not appear in the abuse registry. Staff must pass background checks and pass through a training course in senior care as part of the hiring process. Staff members must be awake, dressed and ready to respond to emergencies 24 hours a day. Maximum staff-to-resident ratios during waking hours are 1:15, and 1:25 during night operations.

Mississippi Senior Living Free Resources

Mississippi Agencies

Mississippi Medicaid

Mississippi Medicaid offers free and low-cost medical insurance for seniors and the financially needy. Medicaid benefits cover basic medical services, including preventive care and pre-admission screening for senior living facilities. Other services provided under Medicaid include free or low-cost office visits, inpatient hospital care, prescription drug coverage and various benefits not provided by Medicare, such as vision and long-term care services. Adults in Mississippi are eligible for Medicaid if they are under 65 and blind or disabled, aged 65 and over or otherwise qualified for SSI or SSDI assistance.

Contact: Call (800) 421-2408 for information about Mississippi Medicaid or to ask for an application. Applications can also be submitted online, or in a local Social Security Administration office.

Area Agencies on Aging in Mississippi

Mississippi’s Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) offer help finding senior services and community events that keep local seniors connected throughout the state. AAA staff can provide referrals to programs, as well as help finding a caregiver or volunteer opportunities. Local AAAs also organize community meal service and regular social events where seniors can meet up. Seniors can locate an AAA office near them online.

Veterans Affairs Offices in Mississippi

The Mississippi Veterans Affairs Board helps qualifying veterans and their spouses find resources to help them pay for many of the costs of senior living. Local advisers help honorably discharged veterans locate health services, housing assistance and community groups that can connect beneficiaries with other veterans in the area. Seniors going into senior living communities can also go through the VA for pre-admission screening. Mississippi veterans can find a local office with the VA’s online locator tool.

Social Security Offices in Mississippi

The Social Security Administration maintains several branch offices in Mississippi. At these offices, seniors can sign up for Medicare and Medicaid, SSI/SSDI supplements, nutritional support and other benefits they may be eligible for. Staff at the SSA can also provide advice and help finding benefit programs. Seniors in Mississippi can find their local Social Security office online.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in Mississippi?

Assisted living in Mississippi costs an average of $3,524 a month. This is significantly less than the $4,051 national average seniors pay across the country. It is also somewhat lower than the average rate in many of the states that border Mississippi.

Does Mississippi Medicaid pay for assisted living?

Medicaid in Mississippi does not pay the board and care costs of assisted living. Medicaid benefits do have provisions to help pay for prescription medications and some medical services that are secondary to assisted living, though caregiver services are not included in the general program. Seniors who receive Medicaid benefits in Mississippi may be eligible for a Home and Community Based Service waiver. Medicaid case workers can assist beneficiaries with applications and provide more information about the program.

Does Medicare pay for assisted living?

Medicare does not generally pay for the monthly expenses related to assisted living. Original Medicare does not include a long-term care option, though some Medicare Advantage plans may have a limited benefit seniors can use to pay for some assisted living services. Because Part C benefits are provided by private insurance companies, considerable variation exists among plans. It is always best to speak to a plan representative before committing to a senior living plan.

What are “activities of daily living”?

The term “activities of daily living” describes the normal daily chores some seniors need help performing to remain independent. Typical activities include personal hygiene, grooming and dressing, light housekeeping and meal preparation. Caregivers also sometimes assist seniors with transportation and shopping outside the home.

What is the difference between assisted living and nursing homes?

Assisted living is a level of senior care that allows seniors to remain as independent as possible, with some personal caregiver assistance with activities of daily living. This is a less medically intensive level of care than skilled nursing, which usually includes blood monitoring and the administration of medication. Skilled nursing also typically includes physical and occupational therapy, which assisted living does not.

The Top Cities for Senior Living in Mississippi

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

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