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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.

Covid-19 Rules and Restrictions for Arizona Senior Living Facilities

The following rules and guidelines were obtained from Arizona Department of Health Services website, as well as other state-level government sites. Among others, these rules apply to residential healthcare facilities, including assisted living and excluding nursing homes.

This data has been most recently updated on 7/2/20, but keep in mind that COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving crisis, so all of the below information can change at any time. For additional questions and up-to-date information, you can contact your loved one’s senior living facility or your local Area Agency on Aging

Visiting Loved Ones

Can I visit my relative in person if he/she wants emotional support from me?No
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?No
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

Outings and Group Activities

Are residents allowed to leave the facility for non-medical reasons?Yes, but it is strongly discouraged
Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?NA
Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?Yes
Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?No, or only with social distancing
Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?No

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 (testing availability varies)
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?Yes
Are staff members required to take residents’ temperatures?Yes
Are residents being tested for coronavirus?Yes (testing availability varies)

Paying for Senior Living in Arizona

Senior  living is one of the more popular senior living options in Arizona and throughout the United States. However, there are other choices that may make more sense for some seniors. Budgetary concerns and the types of care provided are usually the most important considerations when choosing a type of senior living. Adult day care is generally the most affordable option, but may not offer the right level of care for every senior. For comparison, here are the average costs of the various types of care available in Arizona:

$4767

In-Home Care

$3750

Senior Living

$4767

Home Health Care

$2102

Adult Day Care

$6433

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Senior Living in Arizona

Seniors in Arizona pay an average of $3,750 per month for assisted living, according to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2019. This is lower than the national average, which is $4,051 per month. The average monthly cost of assisted living in nearby states varies widely, with seniors in Utah and Nevada paying $350 less than those in Arizona. Costs in New Mexico are $350 higher than Arizona’s average, while seniors in California pay $750 more each month.

$3750

Arizona

$4051

United States

$4500

California

$3400

Nevada

$3400

Utah

$4100

New Mexico

The Cost of In-Home Care in Arizona

In-home care in Arizona costs $477 more per month than the United States average of $4,290 and that of Las Vegas and New Mexico. Neighbors California and Utah ask for higher prices per month at $5,335 and $4,576, respectively. This makes Arizona a little higher than the median costs of these six data points, showing that in-home care services are moderately priced in Arizona. 

$4767

Arizona

$4290

United States

$4290

Las Vegas

$4576

Utah

$5335

California

$4290

New Mexico

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Arizona

Nursing home care, typically the most expensive care type for seniors, is quite affordable in Arizona. Compared to the national average of $7,513 per month and that of four surrounding states, Arizona falls below the median cost. Nursing home costs in California, Las Vegas and New Mexico are about $900 – $2300 more per month than in Arizona. The state where cost of care is less is Utah. Seniors there will keep $30 more in their wallets after paying for around-the-clock specialized medical care and supervision at $6,403 monthly.

$6433

Arizona

$7513

United States

$7604

Las Vegas

$6403

Utah

$8760

California

$7330

New Mexico

Financial Assistance for Senior Living in Arizona

Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System

Medicaid in Arizona is known as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, or AHCCCS. The program provides assistance to low-income residents to help pay for health care. The division that assists elderly and disabled residents who require long-term care is called the Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS). Services can be provided in a nursing home, in the participant’s home or in a senior living facility. However, the program does not pay the cost of room and board.

To be eligible for ALTCS assistance, applicants must be aged 65 or older and meet medical and financial criteria. The monthly income limit for an individual is $2,349, and applicants cannot have more than $2,000 worth of countable assets. The limits are higher for married couples. Applicants must also require a nursing home level of care, and those who are financially eligible must meet with a nurse or social worker to determine their medical eligibility.

Contact: Seniors can call (888) 621-6880 for more information, or can visit a local ALTCS office. Application forms can be found on the ALTCS web page.

Veteran’s Aid and Attendance

The Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Program provides financial aid to qualified veterans and their spouses. The benefit can help reduce the cost of senior care, including care received in a senior living facility. The applicant must be eligible for the VA pension, which means their military service must meet certain requirements. The financial eligibility for a VA pension is based on yearly income limits, which differ depending on whether the applicant is married or has dependents. For a single applicant with no dependents, the income limit is $22,939. Applicants must also have a net worth of less than $129,094.

Medical eligibility requirements also apply for this program. At minimum, applicants must require assistance with activities of daily living. The benefit can also help people who must stay in bed due to illness, those in nursing homes and those with limited eyesight. Veterans can also apply for the benefit to assist with the cost of caring for an ill spouse.

Contact: Seniors can call the Department of Veterans Affairs on (844) 698-2311 for further information. Applications can be submitted in person at a VA Regional Office or sent to the St. Paul Pension Management Center.

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.

Admission Requirements

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.

Staffing Provisions

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.

Medication Management

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.

Arizona Senior Living Free Resources

Arizona Agencies

Arizona Department of Economic Security

The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) provides assistance to vulnerable populations to ensure that all Arizona residents are safe and economically secure. The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (LCTOP) is part of the DES. This program advocates for those in long-term care and investigates complaints against nursing homes, senior living facilities and adult foster care homes. The DES offers a range of other programs that provide information and services to Arizonan seniors, and the eligibility criteria differs between programs.

Contact: Call (602) 542-4446 for more information, or contact a local office.

Area Agencies on Aging in Arizona

Arizona’s Area Agencies on Aging work closely with the DES to provide services to older adults. In particular, AAAs provide information on programs, community assistance and long-term care options available to older adults, including senior living, and the financial assistance available.

Veterans Affairs Offices in Arizona

The Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services has a network of veterans benefits counselors throughout the state who can help veterans, their dependents and survivors identify federal and state benefits that can help pay for senior living expenses. Counselors can help assess a senior’s eligibility and assist them with applying for benefits.

Social Security Offices in Arizona

Eligible seniors can use income from Social Security retirement benefits, or the Supplemental Security Income program, to help pay for senior living. Staff at a local Social Security office can assist seniors in determining their eligibility and filing applications.

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.

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.

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