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Guide to Senior Living in Virginia

Virginia, a southeastern coastal state, hugs the Chesapeake Bay to the east and the Appalachian Mountains to the west. One of the 13 original colonies, Virginia is home to around 8.5 million people, approximately 15% of whom are aged 65 and older. This senior population is expected to double between 2010 and 2030, with around 20% of the population over age 65 by 2030. This means that a significant number of seniors currently need and will continue to need assisted living care.

According to Genworth Financial’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey, assisted living in Virginia costs an average of $4,800 per month. This is around $750 higher than the national average of $4,051. However, there are several resources available to help Virginia seniors with assisted living expenses.

This guide serves as an overview of the costs of assisted living care in Virginia and financial resources that may help pay for care, as well as assisted living facility policies.

Paying for Senior Living in Virginia

Assisted living facilities are a great option for seniors living in Virginia, but they are not the only avenue for senior care. Those who want more affordable options may consider adult day care or in-home health services. However, those with more serious health issues may require nursing home care. 

$4800

Assisted Living

$4195

In-Home Care

$4382

Home Health Care

$1603

Adult Day Care

$7350

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Virginia

According to Genworth Financial’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey, seniors in Virginia can expect to pay around $4,800 per month for assisted living. This is higher than the national average of $4,051. It is also more expensive than all surrounding states, including Kentucky, West Virginia, and North Carolina.

$4800

Virginia

$4051

United States

$4300

Maryland

$4000

North Carolina

$3900

Tennessee

$3750

West Virginia

$3497

Kentucky

Cost of In-Home Care in Virginia

Compared to the United States’ average and that of four surrounding states, the cost of in-home care in The Old Dominion state is close to the median with its monthly rate of $4,195. That’s lower than the national average by $95 per month and Maryland by $286 per month. The cost of supportive in-home services like housekeeping and shopping in Virginia is a bit higher than in three nearby states though. On average, home care providers in West Virginia charge $3,432 monthly and those in both North Carolina and Kentucky ask for $3,813. 

$4195

Virginia

$4290

United States

$4481

Maryland

$3432

West Virginia

$3813

North Carolina

$3813

Kentucky

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Virginia

Nursing home care can be very costly due to the extent of specialized services required on a continual basis. Virginians will likely love that nursing home care costs in their state are below the U.S. average of $7,513. At $7,350 per month, Virginia’s seniors pay on average $163 a month less than their peers in other states. They save even more money when compared to those in Maryland ($9,673) and West Virginia ($10, 707). Budget conscious seniors can find even lower fees in North Carolina and Kentucky. 

$7350

Virginia

$7513

United States

$9673

Maryland

$10707

West Virginia

$7057

North Carolina

$6905

Kentucky

Financial Assistance for Senior Living in Virginia

Virginia Medicaid

Medicaid is a nationwide resource intended for low-income seniors who require medical care. While options and coverage can vary from one state to the next, Virginia has several waiver programs that can benefit seniors. The Commonwealth Coordinated Care Plus Medicaid Waiver, also called (CCC+) is a Medicaid waiver specifically intended to help seniors and individuals with disabilities remain within the community, as opposed to moving to a nursing home. Services covered by this waiver include assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). This waiver is available to seniors aged 65 and older and those who have a qualifying disability and require a nursing home level of care. There is no waiting list for CCC+ waiver programs. Over 20,000 seniors in Virginia take advantage of this waiver.

Medicaid in Virginia is available for single seniors who earn less than $16,971 on an annual basis, or $22,930 for married seniors, and have less than $2,000 in countable assets. All seniors eligible for Medicaid can apply for the CCC+ waiver.

Contact: The Department of Medical Assistance Services in Virginia can be contacted by phone at 1-804-786-7933, by mail at 600 East Broad Street, Suite 1300, Richmond, VA 23219 and via the website contact form.

VA Aid and Attendance Benefit

For those in Virginia who served in the military, the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit program can offer assistance paying for assisted living resources. These benefits are available in addition to the monthly pension. To qualify for the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit, seniors must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Require assistance with standard ADLs, such as dressing, eating and bathing
  • Have a disability that results in remaining bedridden, outside of any treatments prescribed by a doctor
  • A current patient in a nursing home due to health complications
  • Corrected eyesight with an acuity of 5/200 or worse or a concentric field equal or less than five degrees.

The benefit amount changes on an annual basis due to inflation. As of 2020, the payment benefit pays out a maximum of $1,788 per month for an eligible veteran, $1,149 for a spouse and $2,120 for couples.

Contact: Seniors interested in this benefit can contact the Virginia Department of Veterans Services at 1-804-786-0286 or mail VA Form 21-2680 to a local VA office.

Senior Living Laws and Regulations in Virginia

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.

Assisted living programs provide valuable care for seniors that extends into many areas, such as minor medical assistance and medication management. To ensure residents are as safe as possible, the Department of Social Services has implemented extensive rules and regulations pertaining to operating an assisted living facility.

Admissions and Scope of Care

Due to the division between nursing homes and assisted living communities, seniors seeking admission in an assisted living facility must have staff certify that:

  • A treatment plan has been written and submitted
  • A primary care physician has determined that assisted living offers an appropriate level of care
  • A mental health screening has indicated that assisted living is appropriate
  • A designed contact person is available in case of emergencies and incapacity

In Virginia, assisted living communities are restricted to activities within the approved scope of care, including prescribed amounts of nonmedical assistance. This includes offering a clean and safe living environment, emergency assistance for injuries and falls, meal services and regular help with activities of daily living. True medical care is extremely limited in assisted living facilities.

Senior Living Service Plans

All seniors in assisted living require a service plan that relates to their individual needs while living in the facility. Plans are created by facility staff members, with the input of family members, caregivers and the resident’s doctors. These plans are divided into four general categories, such as activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, ambulation and hygiene and grooming.

For the purpose of residence in an assisted living facility, activities of daily living include bathing, toileting, dressing, transferring and eating. Instrumental activities of daily living include housekeeping, preparing meals, money management and doing laundry. Ambulation refers to whether a resident needs assistance moving around, such as with a walker or wheelchair. Hygiene and grooming includes shampooing hair, shaving, trimming fingernails and toenails and skin care. Some care plans may also address transportation, shopping and correspondence.

Service plans must be updated at least once a year.

Staffing and Training Requirements

In Virginia, at least two staff members must be on-site and awake at all times when residents are present during daytime hours. This staffing level is suitable for 20 or fewer residents; an additional staff member must be present for every 10 additional residents. During night hours, two care team members must be on duty for facilities with less than 22 residents, three with under 32 residents, four care members with less than 40 residents and at least four care members for facilities with over four residents, with another team member for every 10 additional residents. An appropriate number of staff members must be available when accompanying residents on trips outside of the community.

Training is required for all staff members. Administrators in assisted living care communities must undergo at least six hours of training in memory impairment, and staff members must complete at least four.

Background checks are standard for employees in an assisted living facility. Those with felony records and whose who have been convicted of domestic violence and sex crimes are not permitted to be hired.

Medication Management

Staff members at assisted living facilities in Virginia can help residents with medication management in a limited fashion. This includes supporting self-administered medication, such as reminding residents to take their medication, helping with the application of topical medication, offering OTC medication permitted by a resident’s doctor and emergency medication use, such as the use of a rescue inhaler. Residents may also be able to request help crushing up pills and mixing them with food or drink if requested or permitted.

Virginia Senior Living Free Resources

Virginia Agencies

Virginia Office for Aging Services

The Virginia Office for Aging Services offers state-specific information to seniors about agencies that can assist with aging support services, Medicare and Medicaid enrollment, access to transportation, low-cost food and housing and living arrangements. The Office for Aging Services also offers a section on community living and caregiving, ranging from family caregiver support to community-based services.

All seniors, their family members and their caretakers can utilize the free resources provided by the Virginia Office for Aging Services.

Contact: Virginia residents can contact the Office for Aging Services at 1-804-662-9333 or toll-free at 1-800-552-3402.

Area Agencies on Aging

Area Agencies on Aging provide access to regional resources across the state. Virginia is divided into 25 service areas, with AAAs covering the vast majority of cities and counties in the area. These organizations can connect seniors with local financial assistance programs that can make the cost of care more affordable.

Veterans Affairs Offices in Virginia

For Veterans living in Virginia, the Office of Veterans Affairs can be an excellent way to access additional information about affordable care. Any eligible veteran can contact the Office of Veterans Affairs to learn more about military pensions and to apply for benefits.

VETERANS AFFAIRS OFFICESADDRESSPHONE NUMBER
Norfolk Vet Center1711 Church Street, Suites A&BNorfolk, VA 23504(757) 623-7584(877) 927-8387
Richmond Vet Center4902 Fitzhugh AvenueRichmond, VA 23230(804) 353-8958
Roanoke Vet Center350 Albemarle Ave., SWRoanoke, VA 24016(540) 342-9726(877) 927-8387
Virginia Beach Vet Center324 Southport Circle, Suite 102Virginia Beach, VA 23452(757) 248-3665
Virginia Department of Veterans Services101 North 14th Street, 17th FloorRichmond, VA 23219(804) 786-0286

Social Security Offices in Virginia

Social Security income can be very valuable for seniors in retirement and contributes greatly to the cost of care for many people. Seniors with questions about benefits or applying for Social Security Disability can contact any of the offices located throughout Virginia.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in Virginia?

The cost of assisted living in Virginia averages $4,800 per month, which is approximately $750 more than the national average of $4,051. Virginia is more expensive on average than the surrounding states, including Kentucky, West Virginia and North Carolina.

Are there financial assistance programs for assisted living in Virginia?

Yes. Financial assistance programs are available to seniors living in Virginia. This includes the state Medicaid program and the Commonwealth Coordinated Care Plus (CCC+) Medicaid Waiver. Military veterans living in Virginia can also take advantage of the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit to supplement the cost of care.

What are Activities of Daily Living?

Activities of daily living (ADLs) refer to tasks required to live a normal life on a daily basis. This includes getting out of bed, using the bathroom, getting dressed, eating and doing laundry. Assisted living facilities primarily provide support with activities of daily living.

What is the difference between assisted living and nursing homes?

The caliber of medical care is the primary difference between assisted living facilities and nursing homes. In assisted living facilities, care is usually limited to support with activities of daily living, medication management and basic first aid. More serious medical problems are more appropriate for a nursing home, in which 24-hour medical care is available.

Who should consider assisted living?

Assisted living should be considered by seniors who could comfortably live at home with the support of a caregiver to help with ADLs but would prefer to live in a community. An assisted living facility allows seniors to live with some semblance of independence while still getting the support necessary.

The Top Cities for Senior Living in Virginia

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

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