Guide to Senior Living in Georgia
Georgia is part of the warm southern Sun Belt, with dense urban centers and wide-open rural countryside. Mild winters and moderate rainfall help make Georgia one of the more popular states for seniors aged 65 and over. Of Georgia’s 10.6 million citizens, nearly 14% are seniors, according to the U.S. Census. As one of the original 13 colonies, Georgia has a rich history and several major historical and cultural attractions for seniors to enjoy. Several Civil War battlefields in the northern part of the state have become national historic sites, and several more national forests and wetlands in the southern counties offer superb hunting, fishing and camping for active seniors.
Georgia has over 680 senior living communities that offer seniors a safe and comfortable place to live while getting the help they need. This guide is intended to provide an overview of the costs of care in these senior living communities as well as information about assistance programs and free and low-cost resources to help Georgia seniors cover the costs of senior living.
The Cost of Senior Living in Georgia
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.
There are four main types of residential care for seniors who need long-term care. Assisted living communities are residential facilities that offer housing and help with daily living. Memory care addresses the needs of seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia-related illnesses. Nursing homes deliver the most comprehensive care, including round-the-clock nursing. Independent living communities are for seniors who can still live on their own without assistance but prefer to live in a community with other seniors.
The cost of these residential facilities varies by care type, according to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. Assisted living is around $3,535, while memory care adds about 25% to that cost making those monthly fees around $4,419. A semiprivate room in a nursing home has a median cost of $7,011, while independent living is the least expensive at $2,298.
Nursing Home Care
The Cost of Assisted Living in Georgia
Regional assisted living costs vary and provide seniors with plenty of options. Georgia residents pay $3,535 per month, which is more than the national average of $4,500. South Carolina communities are slightly more expensive at $3,612 and Florida and Tennessee residents pay around $4,000 and $4,150. Alabama has the lowest cost of surrounding states with an average monthly rate of $3,503.
The United States
The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Georgia
Nursing homes are the most expensive long-term care option at $7,011 for a semiprivate room in Georgia. Tennessee residents pay $7,148 per month and seniors who choose to live in South Carolina nursing homes pay around $7,285. Alabama has the lowest cost of neighboring states at $6,676 while Florida residents pay $8,654. The national average is $7,908.
The United States
Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Senior Living in Georgia?
Medicaid is a popular form of payment for long-term care in Georgia, however, the coverage is limited. Nursing homes, which provide comprehensive medical care, are covered by Medicaid, while assisted living and memory care are only partially covered. Residing in an independent living community isn’t medically necessary, so this type of residential facility isn’t covered by Georgia Medicaid.
|Medicaid Covered Level||Type of Medicaid Coverage||Entitlement? *|
|Assisted Living||Partial||Medicaid Waivers||Yes|
|Memory Care||Partial||Medicaid Waivers||Yes|
|Nursing Home Care||Full||Medicaid||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 Georgia
While Medicaid doesn’t cover room and board in an assisted living facility, it can cover some home and community-based services through two separate waiver programs.
Community Care Services Program (CCSP)
The CCSP is a home and community-based waiver that provides seniors with health and support services to seniors at home or in residential care as an alternative to a nursing home. This waiver covers emergency response systems, home-delivered meals, therapy, skilled nursing and personal support services like housekeeping, grooming, shopping and respite care.
To be eligible seniors must be at least 65 years of age or have a disability, require a nursing home level of care, be eligible for state Medicaid and prefer to receive services in the community or at home. Seniors may apply for the CCSP by contacting the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) at (866) 552-4464.
Services Options Using Resources in a Community Environment (SOURCE)
SOURCE is a waiver program that offers case management with primary care physicians, home health, personal care, meals and emergency response systems. Eligible seniors should be at least 65 years or older and eligible for SSI. To apply, applicants should contact a local office of the Georgia Aging and Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) at (888) 572-0112.
Medicaid’s Coverage of Nursing Home Care in Georgia
Georgia Medicaid covers the full cost of a nursing home when it’s been deemed medically necessary by a physician. Seniors must show they have a physical or mental impairment that requires a nursing home level of care. This requires a Pre-Admission Screening and Resident Review (PASRR) screening.
Eligibility for Medicaid in Georgia
The 2022 income limit for seniors applying for Georgia Medicaid must not exceed $30,276 per person or $60,552 per couple when both individuals apply. Asset limits are $2,000 each or $3,000 for couples. In a two-person home with only one person applying, the remaining spouse may be entitled to a Minimum Monthly Needs Allowance (MMMNA) under the spousal impoverishment rule which leaves the individual with enough money and assets to live on.
2022 Georgia Medicaid Income Limits
|Yearly Income Limits||Asset Limits|
|Two-Person Household(Only one applicant)||$30,276||$2,000 for applicant$137,500 for non-applicant|
|Two-Person Household(Two applicants)||$60,552||$3,000|
Additional eligibility requirements:
- Aged 65 and older
- U.S. citizen or qualified alien
- Valid social security number
- Resident of Georgia
- Require nursing home care
Applying for Medicaid in Georgia
You can apply for Georgia Medicaid online through the Georgia Gateway or apply over the phone by calling (877) 423-4746. Individuals may also apply in-person at any local Department of Family and Children’s Services office or download the appropriate form and mail it to the local DFCS’s office.
Before You Apply
Before applying, gather the information needed to prove eligibility.
- Copy of birth certificate or other proof of identity, citizenship or immigration status
- Government-issued ID
- Social security number
- Paycheck, payroll records or W2s for the last four weeks
- Award letters from Social Security, veterans’ administration, retirement, pensions, unemployment, alimony and other sources of income
- Current insurance policy information
- Bank statements
- Most recent tax return
- Information about assets
How to Get Help
Georgia Medicaid assistance is available to seniors who need help applying for benefits, understanding coverage basics and filing appeals during the application process. These organizations can also provide information on additional financial assistance.
|Resource||Contact||What You Should Know|
|Department of Family and Children Services||(877) 423-4746||The Department of Family and Children Services is the main starting point for individuals applying for Medicaid in Georgia. Seniors can contact the organization number for help during the application process, then make changes to an application and to ask general questions about coverage.|
|Benefits.gov||(877) 696-6775||Benefits.gov offers basic information about government benefit programs. These programs are searchable by state and type. The site provides eligibility information about Medicaid, how to apply and contact information.|
|Georgia Legal Aid||(404) 524-5811||Georgia Legal Aid provides low-income seniors with access to legal assistance in areas like guardianship, wills, consumer issues and elder abuse. Legal Aid also provides information about Medicaid and Medicare and even helps in instances of insurance fraud.|
Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Senior Living in Georgia?
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.
Georgia seniors have access to several organizations that can assist with the Medicare application process. These organizations may also check to see if a senior is eligible for other assistance in paying for long-term care.
|GeorgiaCares||(866) 552-4464||GeorgiaCares provides Medicare counselors who can assist with the application process. This program operates as the State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) which is administered throughout the Division of Aging Services. SHIP counselors can go over medical billing, Medicare plan benefits, Explanation of Benefits and help seniors decide whether or not supplemental insurance is needed.|
|Medicare.gov||(800) 663-4227||Medicare.gov is the main federal website for applying for and getting information on Medicare. Individuals may call the program directly to speak with trained counselors who can explain the different program options and help seniors understand which type is best suited for their needs.|
|AARP||(888) 687-2277||AARP provides trained counselors who can answer insurance-related questions and provide details about Medicare. The website also offers a database of information that may be of interest to seniors on a wide variety of topics.|
Are There Other Financial Assistance Options for Senior Living in Georgia?
Depending on your unique situation, there may be other financial assistance options to partially or fully cover the cost of senior living in Georgia. 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 Georgia
Georgia addresses the needs of the growing senior population with a variety of programs, services and organizations. Seniors can get answers to common questions and get help with things like meals, transportation, insurance counseling and health and fitness.
|Georgia Long-Term Care Ombudsman||(866) 552-4464||The long-term care ombudsman advocates for seniors who live in long-term residential care facilities. The ombudsman can investigate complaints of abuse and other violations of rights against seniors and work to seek a resolution to problems. They also check to make sure communities are maintaining state and federal standards for long-term care.|
|GAMap2Care||(404) 657-5726||GAMap2Care is an online searchable database of programs and services for Georgia seniors. The database also allows seniors to search for long-term care facilities by city and type.|
|Georgia Council on Aging||(404) 657-5343||The GA Council on Aging helps improve the quality of life of seniors through advocacy and community involvement. The council website has an online database of educational materials to inform, advise and help seniors live their best lives.|
|Georgia Chapter Alzheimer’s Association||(800) 272-3900||The Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association helps seniors with memory issues live their best lives. The organization advocates for research, early detection and advanced treatments. The association can also assist families and their caregivers with support and educational materials.|
|Georgia Relay||(888) 297-9461||Georgia Relay provides seniors and those with disabilities reliable telephone access using video, texting and the internet. This program makes it easy for seniors in long-term care to stay in touch with family and friends.|
COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Georgia Senior Living Facilities
The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including dch.georgia.gov. These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/3/2022, 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?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|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 (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 (Conditions Apply)|
|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 (Conditions Apply)|
Senior Living Laws and Regulations in Georgia
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 and personal care homes in Georgia are licensed by the state Department of Community Health. All care homes in the state must carry a valid license from the department, which sets regulations and conducts inspections of residential care facilities. Georgia sets standards for admission requirements, medication management, staff expectations and facilities at all of these communities. Additional requirements are in place for senior living communities that offer memory care services.
Seniors who seek admission to an senior living facility in Georgia must undergo a preadmission screening within 30 days prior to moving into a licensed community. This screening must evaluate seniors for their ability to transfer with minimal assistance, ability to participate in community activities and the presence of contagious tuberculosis. Examinations must be performed by a licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. If the admission is a result of emergency placement by either the Adult Protective Services Section of the Division of Aging Services or another licensed facility, the exam may be deferred by up to 14 days.
Memory Care Regulation
Both senior living and personal care homes must provide therapeutic activities appropriate to residents’ individual needs. Therapy programs in memory care units must also be able to adapt their programs to account for residents’ unique health and mobility limitations. Specific services, which must be provided daily or weekly, include:
- Exercise for gross motor abilities, such as dancing or outdoor activities
- Self-care activities, such as grooming and personal hygiene
- Social events, such as games and music
- Mental health or sensory activities, such as picture books, memory cards and tactile therapies
Residents of senior living communities who are physically and mentally capable of self-administering medication must be allowed to control their own prescription drugs. This includes storage and consumption of medication. Residents may request assistance from staff with taking their medication, and staff are expected to help in a timely manner. Staff at senior living communities are allowed to store medications for residents, place an oral dose in the resident’s hand, apply topical medication and assist with EpiPen injections. Nonmedical staff may assist with medication only if doses have been premeasured and placed in sealed containers, such as blister packs.
Medication may be administered by a certified medication aide. Aides may administer only unit dose or multidose packages. Medications administered by facility staff include:
- Prescriptions ordered by a licensed physician
- Insulin, epinephrine and/or vitamin B-12, according to physician instructions or established county protocols
- Use of a metered-dose inhaler
- Finger-stick glucose testing in accord with existing protocols
- Commercially available enemas, when authorized by a physician
Every facility that administers medication must submit their drug regimens to a quarterly review by a licensed pharmacist. Irregularities must be reported to the senior living administration. Expired, discontinued, contaminated and degraded drugs must be removed from the facility. Pharmacists must monitor facilities for compliance with drug storage and administration guidelines and established drug protocols.
All licensed facilities must have a full-time administrator, who may designate a house manager who can act in the absence of the facility administrator. Staff at a licensed facility are listed as proxy caregivers, and residents or their proxies must sign a waiver before nonmedical care can be given. Facilities must be staffed to an adequate level for residents’ needs. At least one administrator, manager or house manager must be on duty 24 hours a day. During waking hours, staff ratios must not exceed 1:15, and during non-waking hours they must not exceed 1:25.
Senior living staff who provide hands-on care must complete at least 24 hours of education in their first year, plus an additional 16 hours of continuing education every year thereafter. This requirement is the same regardless of the level the staff member occupies, both administrator and proxy caregiver.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does assisted living cost in Georgia?
Assisted living in Georgia costs an average of $3,335 per month. This is less than the $4,051 national average.
Does Georgia Medicaid pay for assisted living?
Medicaid in Georgia does not pay for assisted living as a covered service, although many of the other needs seniors have in assisted living may be included in the low-income health insurance program. Medicaid does offer payment service for skilled nursing care, so beneficiaries who are willing to waive placement in a residential care facility may be eligible for an Elderly and Disabled Waiver, which does help to pay for assisted living costs.
Does Medicare pay for assisted living?
Medicare does not directly cover room and board costs for seniors in assisted living facilities. Original Medicare has two components, Parts A and B, which pay for limited inpatient care and outpatient services, respectively. Some Part C plans, also called Medicare Advantage, include additional benefits not usually covered under Original Medicare. Seniors with Part C coverage may want to check with their insurance carrier to find out whether residential care services are included.
What are “activities of daily living”?
“Activities of daily living” is a term that describes the household chores and routine errands many seniors find increasingly difficult to accomplish without help. Professional caregivers and assisted living attendants help seniors perform activities of daily living, such as cooking, cleaning and personal care. Caregivers may also shop outside the home and provide routine transportation assistance as part of a senior’s daily routine.
What is the difference between assisted living and nursing homes?
Assisted living provides less medically oriented care services than a skilled nursing home. Nursing homes are generally appropriate for adults with chronic conditions that limit their mobility or ability to care for themselves. Nursing homes are also able to provide therapeutic services for a limited time for seniors recovering from injury or surgery. Assisted living is a long-term care option that resembles independent living, but with assistance performing activities of daily living.
Learn More About Senior Living in Georgia
The Top Cities for Senior Living in Georgia
Learn more about the cost of senior living in the top Georgia cities. Additionally, find reviews and information about assisted living facilities and other senior living communities across the state.
- Acworth (7)
- Adel (1)
- Albany (8)
- Alma (1)
- Alpharetta (22)
- Americus (3)
- Appling (1)
- Arnoldsville (1)
- Athens (10)
- Atlanta (65)
- Auburn (1)
- Augusta (21)
- Austell (9)
- Bainbridge (1)
- Baldwin (1)
- Barnesville (1)
- Baxley (1)
- Bethlehem (1)
- Bishop (1)
- Blackshear (1)
- Blairsville (6)
- Blakely (1)
- Blue Ridge (1)
- Blythe (1)
- Bogart (1)
- Bowdon (1)
- Bronwood (1)
- Brunswick (12)
- Buckhead (1)
- Buford (7)
- Byromville (1)
- Cairo (4)
- Calhoun (3)
- Camilla (2)
- Canton (10)
- Carnesville (1)
- Carrollton (12)
- Cartersville (6)
- Cave Spring (2)
- Cedartown (4)
- Chatsworth (2)
- Cleveland (1)
- Cochran (2)
- Colbert (1)
- College Park (1)
- Colquitt (1)
- Columbus (30)
- Comer (1)
- Commerce (2)
- Conley (1)
- Conyers (8)
- Cordele (5)
- Covington (7)
- Crawford (1)
- Cumming (12)
- Cuthbert (1)
- Dacula (5)
- Dahlonega (2)
- Dallas (7)
- Dalton (12)
- Darien (1)
- Dawson (2)
- Dawsonville (2)
- Decatur (23)
- Doraville (1)
- Douglas (4)
- Douglasville (8)
- Dublin (9)
- Duluth (4)
- Dunwoody (5)
- Eastman (1)
- Eatonton (4)
- Edison (2)
- Elberton (5)
- Ellenwood (2)
- Ellijay (3)
- Evans (7)
- Fairburn (2)
- Fairmount (1)
- Fayetteville (6)
- Fitzgerald (3)
- Flowery Branch (5)
- Forest Park (1)
- Forsyth (6)
- Fort Gaines (1)
- Fort Oglethorpe (2)
- Franklin (1)
- Gainesville (15)
- Gibson (1)
- Gordon (1)
- Gray (1)
- Grayson (2)
- Greensboro (3)
- Greenville (1)
- Griffin (3)
- Grovetown (2)
- Hampton (4)
- Hartwell (3)
- Hawkinsville (1)
- Hazlehurst (1)
- Hephzibah (2)
- Hiawassee (2)
- Hinesville (2)
- Hiram (5)
- Hoschton (4)
- Ideal (1)
- Jackson (3)
- Jasper (1)
- Johns Creek (5)
- Jonesboro (8)
- Kennesaw (10)
- Keysville (1)
- Kingsland (1)
- La Fayette (2)
- Lagrange (5)
- Lake Park (1)
- Lakeland (1)
- Lawrenceville (18)
- Leesburg (2)
- Lexington (1)
- Lilburn (4)
- Lithia Springs (1)
- Lithonia (14)
- Loganville (11)
- Lookout Mountain (1)
- Louisville (1)
- Lyons (3)
- Mableton (5)
- Macon (44)
- Madison (2)
- Marietta (49)
- Marshallville (1)
- Martinez (3)
- Maysville (1)
- Mc Rae (2)
- Mcdonough (1)
- Midway (2)
- Milledgeville (12)
- Milton (2)
- Monroe (6)
- Montezuma (1)
- Monticello (1)
- Morrow (3)
- Moultrie (8)
- Nashville (1)
- Newnan (6)
- Norcross (7)
- Oakwood (2)
- Ocilla (2)
- Oxford (1)
- Palmetto (1)
- Peachtree City (7)
- Peachtree Corners (2)
- Pelham (2)
- Pembroke (2)
- Perry (3)
- Plains (2)
- Pooler (3)
- Powder Springs (4)
- Quitman (1)
- Reynolds (1)
- Richmond Hill (2)
- Riverdale (6)
- Rocky Face (1)
- Rome (15)
- Rossville (3)
- Roswell (16)
- Royston (3)
- Saint Marys (5)
- Saint Simons Island (3)
- Sandersville (3)
- Sandy Springs (3)
- Savannah (37)
- Scottdale (1)
- Sharpsburg (1)
- Shenandoah (2)
- Smyrna (6)
- Snellville (18)
- Soperton (2)
- Sparta (2)
- Statesboro (9)
- Statham (1)
- Stockbridge (7)
- Stone Mountain (15)
- Sugar Hill (3)
- Summerville (5)
- Suwanee (8)
- Swainsboro (3)
- Sylvania (1)
- Sylvester (1)
- Tallapoosa (1)
- Tate (1)
- Tennille (4)
- Thomaston (6)
- Thomasville (7)
- Thomson (3)
- Tifton (7)
- Tiger (2)
- Toccoa (7)
- Trenton (1)
- Tucker (4)
- Unadilla (1)
- Union City (7)
- Union Point (1)
- Valdosta (11)
- Vidalia (4)
- Vienna (2)
- Villa Rica (3)
- Warm Springs (1)
- Warner Robins (10)
- Washington (3)
- Watkinsville (1)
- Waycross (10)
- Waynesboro (5)
- West Point (2)
- Winder (4)
- Winterville (1)
- Woodstock (14)
- Wrightsville (1)