Guide to Senior Living in Arizona
In 2016, Arizona was the second most popular location in the nation for seniors aged 60 and over to move to in retirement. The state offers seniors sunny weather, a low tax rate and good health care options. It’s estimated that one in four people living in Arizona are aged 60 and older, and 17.5% are aged 65 and above. The Governor’s Office on Aging coordinates state agencies’ plans to provide programs and policies that support Arizona’s senior population. There are also a growing number of senior living facilities offering senior living options to older Arizonans.
Even though Arizona’s overall cost of living is slightly higher than the national average, there are large variances from city to city, and some regions have costs that are higher than the U.S. average. Likewise, the cost of senior care fluctuates, depending on care type. For example, the cost of assisted living is lower than the nationwide median, but the cost of in-home care is higher. This guide includes information about senior living costs throughout the state, as well as financial resources available to seniors and local programs and agencies that can offer support.
The Cost of Senior Living in Arizona
Note: There currently isn’t authoritative data on the average cost of Independent Living Facilities nationwide, so instead, we use the cost of Assisted Living to estimate it. Since the cost of Independent Living is typically 30-40% lower than the cost of Assisted Living, the numbers below were calculated by subtracting 35% from the cost of Assisted Living.
Note: Memory care is typically provided in communities licensed as assisted living facilities, and in general, costs 20-30% more than standard assisted living services. No authoritative cost data is available for this type of care, so we estimated memory care rates by adding 25% to assisted living fees in the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey.
Seniors living in Arizona have several choices when it comes to their long-term care arrangements. Those who are simply looking to move to a smaller, more senior-friendly community where support is always close by may find independent living a practical and affordable option. These communities cost $2,600 per month based on data from the Genworth Financial Cost of Care Survey for 2021.
Assisted living facilities that provide personal care, medication reminders and help with the activities of daily living are also quite affordable. Rates in Arizona are $500 cheaper than the national average. Seniors who require more help in the form of memory care or skilled nursing can expect to pay extra for that level of care. Memory care communities charge $5,000 per month, and nursing homes typically charge $6,540.
Nursing Home Care
The Cost of Assisted Living in Arizona
Arizona’s assisted living fees are $500 lower than the national average of $4,500 and compare favorably with most neighboring states. Seniors in Utah pay 12.5% less than those in Arizona, but those in New Mexico pay $498 more, and California is one of the most expensive nearby states with average fees of $5,250.
The United States
The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Arizona
Nursing home facilities in Arizona are some of the most affordable in the region with average fees of just $6,540 per month for a semiprivate room. This is far lower than the national average of $7,908. Most neighboring states also compare well to the national average. Seniors in New Mexico pay $7,604 per month for a semiprivate room, and those in Utah pay $7,178. California’s nursing home facilities are quite costly by comparison, charging almost 50% more than those in Arizona.
The United States
Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Senior Living in Arizona?
While Arizona’s long-term care facilities are reasonably affordable compared to those in other local states, these costs can still be out of reach for some seniors. Medicaid and Medicare exist to help seniors pay for the care they need. These programs are aimed at those with the greatest care needs, so they don’t cover the cost of independent living. The Arizona Long Term Care Services program covers nursing home care, and it can also be used to cover part of the cost of assisted living or memory care. However, it won’t cover room and board for those residents.
|Medicaid Coverage Level||Type of Medicaid Coverage||Entitlement?*|
|Assisted Living||Partial||Medicaid (ALTCS)||Yes|
|Memory Care||Partial||Medicaid (ALTCS)||Yes|
|Nursing Home Care||Full||Medicaid (ALTCS)||Yes|
*Note: Entitlement programs mean that everyone who qualifies will receive coverage and be accepted into the programs. If the program is not “entitlement,” then participant caps could be in place, and there may be a waiting list.
Medicaid’s Coverage of Assisted Living & Memory Care in Arizona
The branch of Medicaid that covers seniors in Arizona is known as the Arizona Long Term Care Services program. This is an entitlement program that covers a variety of services for low-income seniors who are assessed as having a medical need. The ALTCS covers the cost of personal care services, transportation, homemaker services, meals and some medication reminders or assistive therapies. It does not cover the cost of room and board at assisted living or memory care facilities because these charges are non-medical in nature. Seniors can apply for the program by calling the ALTCS helpline at (888) 621-6880 or by visiting their nearest ALTCS office.
Medicaid’s Coverage of Nursing Home Care in Arizona
ALTCS covers nursing home care for seniors who are medically eligible. The program covers all of the costs of care in a nursing home, including room and board. There are income and asset limitations for the program. However, seniors whose income exceeds the current limits may still be able to access support from ALTCS if they arrange for excess income to be paid into a Miller trust. Seniors who are unsure whether they qualify for support may find it beneficial to speak to a Medicaid planning professional.
Eligibility for Medicaid in Arizona
Arizona’s Medicaid program has income and asset limitations that differ depending on whether the applicant is applying by themselves or as part of a couple. The current limits are $30,276 in income for the applicant or $30,276 per spouse if both members of the couple are applying. Applicants can have $2,000 in assets each. If only one member of a couple is applying, there’s an asset protection system that allows the nonapplicant spouse to have up to $137,400 in assets.
2022 Arizona Medicaid Income Limits
|Income Limits*||Asset Limits|
(Only one applicant)
|$30,276 for applicant||$2,000 for applicant|
$137,400 asset protection for spouse
|$60,552 per couple|
($30,276 per spouse)
($2,000 per spouse)
In addition to the financial requirements, seniors must meet some other eligibility criteria before claiming Medicaid, including citizenship/residency requirements and passing a needs assessment:
- U.S. citizenship
- Residency in Arizona
- Aged 65 or over, blind or disabled
- Be assessed as needing a nursing home level of care
Applying for Medicaid in Arizona
Seniors can apply for Medicaid by visiting their nearest ALTCS office. Application assistance is also available via a telephone helpline at (888) 621-6880. There’s not currently an online application system for seniors who are applying for help with long-term care services.
Before You Apply
To make the application process go more smoothly, seniors may wish to gather some important documentation before visiting the ALTCS office. This includes proof of age, residency and income. Useful documents include:
- Passport/birth certificate
- Driver’s license
- Bank statements
- Proof of income (e.g. SSI or VA benefits)
- Proof of assets, including stocks, pensions and property deeds
- Evidence of any medical conditions or disabilities
How to Get Help
Seniors can contact the following organizations for more information about the Medicaid application process and eligibility requirements. They provide useful information, answer common questions and offer contact information for those who have more detailed queries.
|Contact||What You Should Know|
|Benefits.gov||(800) 333-4636||The Benefits.gov website provides a detailed list of the benefits available in each state. The Arizona Medicaid page covers income limits and eligibility requirements for this state program. It also lists useful contacts to help seniors complete the application process.|
|Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System||(888) 621-6880||The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System is the government website for Medicaid. It handles applications for general Medicaid, excluding long-term care, and also offers information about eligibility criteria, the application process and participating providers.|
|Arizona Department of Economic Security||(855) 432-7587||The Arizona Department of Economic Security website features a vast database of advice about benefits and programs to help those on a low income. This includes information about Medicaid and the ALTCS. The site offers access to application forms, a list of helplines and useful contacts and information about other support people may be eligible for.|
Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Senior Living in Arizona?
Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living, independent living, or memory care. Unlike nursing homes, these care types are not considered to be “clinical settings” and so are not eligible for Medicare coverage. That being said, those who live in these communities can still use Medicare to cover the cost of approved medications, doctor visits, medical equipment, etc.
When it comes to nursing home care, it gets much more complicated. Medicare does provide limited coverage for a qualified stay in a nursing home,but there are strict rules and requirements of which you should be aware. This benefit is available to seniors who have been hospitalized for at least three days, excluding the date of discharge.
Once you’ve met the hospitalization requirement, Medicare will pay for up to 100 days in a skilled nursing facility (per benefit period). While the first 20 days are covered in full, there is a daily coinsurance rate that must be paid starting on day 21. After day 100, seniors are responsible for the entire cost.
|Medicare Coverage||Medicare Coverage Duration||Coinsurance Requirement?|
|Nursing Home Care||Limited||100 Days Per Benefit Period||Yes – After 20 Days|
What Nursing Home Care Services Does Medicare Cover?
Medicare covers a number of specific services, including:
- A semiprivate room
- Skilled nursing services
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Audiologist care
- Medical supplies
- Medical social services
- Nutritional counseling
- Ambulance transportation
What Nursing Home Care Services Aren’t Covered by Medicare?
Medicare does not cover long-term custodial care that addresses seniors’ day-to-day needs. This includes help with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing and using medical equipment.
Medicare Support & Resources in Arizona
Seniors living in Arizona who need help with Medicare can contact the following organizations for advice or information. These organizations can help seniors understand the different Medicare parts and coverage options to help them choose the right plan for their needs.
|Resource||Contact||What You Should Know|
|Arizona State Health Insurance Assistance Program||(800) 432-4040||The Arizona SHIP provides health insurance advice to seniors. Volunteer advisers answer questions and offer impartial advice on selecting Medicare plans and providers. The program combats Medicare fraud and helps seniors find the right plans for their financial circumstances and care needs.|
|Arizona Senior Medicare Patrol||(800) 432-4040||The Department of Economic Security runs the state’s Senior Medicare Patrol. Volunteer agents support seniors who are worried about Medicare fraud and scams, and they help seniors with issues relating to their Medicare accounts. Seniors are welcome to call the patrol for general advice and support with any Medicare-related billing issues.|
|Area Agencies on Aging||See Directory for Local Agency||There are eight Area Agencies on Aging in Arizona. These agencies run their own senior helplines, advice and outreach programs, transportation systems and senior centers that cater to the needs of older adults in their geographic area. Seniors can contact their local agency to learn about the specific services offered in their region or to ask for assistance with benefits and Medicare enrollment.|
Are There Other Financial Assistance Options for Senior Living in Arizona?
Depending on your unique situation, there may be other financial assistance options to partially or fully cover the cost of senior living in Arizona. Below, we cover some of the common ways that seniors can make senior living options such as assisted living or memory care more affordable.
|How to Get Started||What You Should Know|
|Aid and Attendance||Apply online at va.gov.||If you are a veteran and you receive a VA pension, you may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit. This benefit takes the form of a monthly cash allowance that you receive in addition to your standard pension. This benefit is used by veterans who need long-term care services, including care received at an assisted living facility.|
|Reverse Mortgages||Research and learn about the different types at ftc.gov.||If you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to access some of the equity in your home. Like traditional loans, reverse mortgages do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months, so seniors should carefully weigh this option alongside other financing methods.|
|Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance||Learn about how to receive LTC insurance benefits at acl.gov.||While those who currently need assisted living will typically not be eligible, if you purchased an LTC insurance policy in the past, you may be able to use it to help pay for assisted living. While most policies cover at least a portion of the cost, you still need to check the specific terms of your policy.|
Free Senior Living Resources for Seniors in Arizona
Arizona seniors have access to a range of services and benefits regardless of their income and care needs. The following table features statewide resources for older adults to help them maintain their independence and quality of life throughout retirement.
|Contact||What You Should Know|
|AARP Arizona||(866) 389-5649||AARP Arizona is the local branch of this national nonprofit. It serves Arizona residents aged 50 and over by providing information about relevant issues, such as retirement planning, Medicare, Medicaid and aging-related services. The AARP website is accessible to all. Members of the organization receive an informative magazine and access to special discounts and events.|
|Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program||See Directory for Local Office||The Office of the Long Term Ombudsman serves long-term care residents and their loved ones. Seniors or concerned relatives can contact the ombudsman with complaints, questions or issues surrounding the standard of care provided at long-term care facilities. Volunteer ombudsmen investigate concerns and serve as mediators in the event of a dispute between facilities and residents.|
|Arizona Department of Veterans Services||(605) 255-3373||The Arizona Department of Veterans Services provides a wide range of resources to former military personnel, including help with benefits applications, housing and health care. Veterans and their immediate families can contact the office to request assistance with applying for Aid and Attendance payments or other financial support. The agency also provides signposting to veteran-focused services in their area.|
|Arizona Senior Citizens Law Project||(866) 637-5341||The Arizona Senior Citizens Law Project provides free legal advice to seniors in Maricopa County. The project focuses on civil legal issues, such as benefits appeals, housing disputes and family law. Cases are considered based on priority and need. Those who do not qualify for free legal aid may still qualify for reduced-fee assistance.|
|Arizona Social Security Offices||See Directory for Nearest Office||There are several Social Security offices in Arizona. These offices can assist with SSI or Social Security Disability applications and appeals. They can also provide documentation to support other claims, such as Medicaid applications and financial assistance for Medicare, and they help with general inquiries about benefit payments.|
COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Arizona Senior Living Facilities
The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including azdhs.gov. These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/2/2022, but since COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving pandemic, contact your local senior living facility or Area Agency on Aging for more specific and up-to-date information.
Visiting Loved Ones
|Can I visit my relative in person if he/she wants emotional support from me?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|Can I visit my relative in person for end-of-life compassion care?||Yes|
|Will my loved one be required to self-quarantine after I visit him or her?||No|
|Do I need to wear PPE and/or a cloth mask if I do visit my relative in person?||Yes|
|Are Hairdressers and other non-medical contractors still allowed in senior living facilities?||Not Available*|
|Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?||Yes|
|Are visitors being screened for elevated temperatures?||Yes|
|Are visitors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?||Yes|
*NOTE: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.
Outings and Group Activities
|Are residents allowed to leave the facility for non-medical reasons?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?||No (Conditions Apply)|
|Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?||No|
|Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?||Yes|
|Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?||Yes|
Safety Measures for Staff & Contractors
|Are staff members and contractors being screened for elevated temperatures?||Yes|
|Are staff members and contractors being tested for Coronavirus?||Yes|
|Are staff members and contractors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?||Yes|
Safety Measures for Residents
|Are staff members required to regularly screen residents for coronavirus symptoms?||Yes|
|Are residents relied on to screen themselves and self-report potential coronavirus symptoms?||No|
|Are staff members required to take residents’ temperatures?||Yes|
|Are residents being tested for coronavirus?||Yes|
Senior Living Laws and Regulations in Arizona
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 Arizona Division of Public Health Licensing Services, Bureau of Residential Facilities Licensing, oversees the regulation of senior living facilities in the state. Adult foster care is included in this definition, however the two main types of senior living in the state are senior living homes, which serve up to 10 residents, and senior living centers, which can provide care for 11 or more people. Facilities must abide by the state’s rules and policies to ensure they provide the best care for residents.
Scope of Service
There are three levels of care service that facilities can be licensed to provide. The first is supervisory care, which is the general supervision and monitoring of residents. Facilities can intervene in a crisis and assist with self-administration of medications. Facilities licensed to provide personal care services can offer help with activities of daily living, and coordinate or provide intermittent nursing services. The final category is directed care, which allows facilities to provide programs and services to people who can’t recognize danger, request assistance, make care decisions or express their needs.
Facilities cannot accept a resident who requires continuous medical or nursing services, or someone who exhibits behavior that’s a threat to the health and safety of themselves or other people in the facility. This includes people who need chemical or physical restraints. In addition, a facility can only accept a resident if it’s licensed for and able to provide the level of care the person needs.
Memory Care Regulation
There are no specific staffing requirements for dementia care units. Many facilities that offer dementia care have secure doors to prevent residents from wandering. If the unit is secured, it must have a safe outside area that can be accessed by residents.
There are no minimum staffing ratios in Arizona senior living facilities, but a facility must have sufficient staff available to provide the services in its license category. Senior living centers must have a caregiver or manager present and awake whenever a resident is in the facility. All staff must be trained in first aid and CPR for adults, and caregivers must have completed an approved training program.
Facilities may be licensed to provide different types of medication assistance, including medication administration, assisting or monitoring of self-administration and procuring medication. Senior living managers and caregivers can provide assistance with medication self-administration. Medication can only be administered under a physician’s order by licensed nurses or caregivers who have the appropriate training.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does assisted living cost in Arizona?
The cost of assisted living in Arizona varies depending on the region, but the average in the state is $3,750 per month. In Phoenix, the state’s largest city, seniors pay around $3,500 each month, while the cost in Tucson, the next biggest city, is $1,195 higher at $4,695 per month. Prices elsewhere range from $3,475 in Yuma, to $5,000 per month in Flagstaff.
Does Arizona Medicaid pay for assisted living?
Arizona’s Medicaid program, which is officially known as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), makes funding available for people living in long-term care through the Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS). This money is available to pay for care services, but doesn’t cover the cost of room and board.
What are activities of daily Living?
Activities of daily living, known as ADLs, are the daily tasks a person undertakes to look after themselves. They include bathing, eating, using the bathroom and moving around. The ability of a person to perform these tasks is often used to assess the level of care they need, and whether they’re eligible for different types of government assistance. Most assisted living facilities offer residents assistance with activities of daily living.
What types of amenities are commonly in assisted living communities?
There are a wide variety of amenities available at assisted living facilities that can add to the residents’ quality of life. Many facilities offer amenities that address the health and security of residents, such as physical therapy, a fitness center and emergency response pendants. There are also services that are conveniently located on site, such as a general store or barber and beauty salon. Communities with enough outdoor space often have gardens and walking trails for seniors to enjoy, while indoor common rooms may include libraries, game rooms and restaurant-style dining areas. Most communities also have a schedule of activities that provide residents with opportunities to express their creativity, exercise and socialize.
Who should consider assisted living?
Assisted living is a good option for seniors who are mostly independent but need help with some everyday activities, such as showering or getting dressed. An assisted living facility can also relieve seniors of the burden of household chores, such as meal preparation, housekeeping and laundry. Seniors with health-related issues may prefer an assisted living community where caregivers can monitor their health and ensure medication is taken correctly. Seniors who live alone can also benefit from the ready-built community, and activities that encourage socializing and an active lifestyle.
Learn More About Senior Living in Arizona
The Top Cities for Senior Living in Arizona
Learn more about the cost of senior living in the top Arizona cities. Additionally, find reviews and information about assisted living facilities and other senior living communities across the state.
- Anthem (5)
- Apache Junction (8)
- Avondale (8)
- Benson (2)
- Buckeye (1)
- Bullhead City (4)
- Camp Verde (2)
- Carefree (2)
- Casa Grande (1)
- Cave Creek (1)
- Chandler (53)
- Cottonwood (7)
- Desert Hills (1)
- Douglas (1)
- El Mirage (1)
- Flagstaff (5)
- Fountain Hills (5)
- Gilbert (26)
- Glendale (62)
- Globe (3)
- Goodyear (7)
- Green Valley (8)
- Guadalupe (2)
- Kingman (5)
- Lake Havasu City (8)
- Laveen (2)
- Litchfield Park (3)
- Marana (3)
- Mayer (1)
- Mesa (74)
- Miami (1)
- Nogales (1)
- Oro Valley (4)
- Paradise Valley (5)
- Payson (2)
- Peoria (49)
- Phoenix (203)
- Prescott (12)
- Prescott Valley (3)
- Queen Creek (6)
- Safford (1)
- Sahuarita (1)
- San Tan Valley (3)
- Scottsdale (81)
- Show Low (1)
- Sierra Vista (3)
- Snowflake (2)
- Somerton (1)
- Sun City (7)
- Sun City West (6)
- Superior (1)
- Surprise (52)
- Tempe (13)
- Tucson (105)
- Vail (1)
- Wickenburg (6)
- Willcox (1)
- Williams (1)
- Winslow (4)
- Wittmann (1)
- Youngtown (3)
- Yuma (13)