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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.

Covid-19 Rules and Restrictions for Georgia Senior Living Facilities

The following rules and guidelines were obtained from the Georgia Department of Community Health and Georgia Governor’s Office website, as well as other state-level government sites. Among others, these rules apply to skilled nursing facilities, assisted living communities, and personal care homes.

This data has been most recently updated on 7/3/20, 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 (view restrictions
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?N/A
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?NA
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
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
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?In cases of local outbreaks
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

Paying for Senior Living in Georgia

The Cost of Senior Living in Georgia

Assisted living can be an affordable choice for many Georgia seniors who are mostly independent but require help with some daily tasks. The cost of assisted living in Georgia is lower than the average costs of in-home care and homemaker services, which offers similar care in the comfort of home. Adult care in Georgia costs the lowest since it’s not around-the-clock care while the most expensive care is a nursing care home where a high level of medical care is needed.

$3335

Assisted Living

$3813

In-Home Care

$3909

Home Health Care

$1435

Adult Day Care

$6684

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Georgia

Assisted living in Georgia costs seniors an average of $3,335 per month. This is well below the national average of $4,051 per month, but it can be higher than the average in several surrounding states. Alabama, for example, averages $3,250 a month for assisted living. Florida and South Carolina cost more, at $3,500 a month. Assisted living costs run to $3,900 per month in Tennessee.

$3335

Georgia

$4051

United States

$3500

South Carolina

$3500

Florida

$3250

Alabama

$3900

Tennessee

The Cost of In-Home Care in Georgia

For those who want to stay in the comfort of their homes as they progress in years, the challenges of housekeeping and running errands can become daunting. In-home care can solve these problems so seniors can remain in place as they age. The good news for Georgia elders is that in-home care in the state is $3,813 per month, $470 below the U.S. average of $4,290, $191 below Florida’s average of $4,004 and the same as two neighboring states: Tennessee and South Carolina. The only state in the area that has a lower monthly fee for the same services is Alabama at $3,394.

$3813

Georgia

$4290

United States

$3813

Tennessee

$3394

Alabama

$4004

Florida

$3813

South Carolina

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Georgia

At $6,684, nursing home care in Georgia is on the lower end of costs compared to the U.S. average of $7,513 and three states in the area. Higher costs for daily and nightly skilled medical care and supervision are found in Florida, $8,547; South Carolina, $7,123; and Tennessee, $6,836. As with other care types, seniors can find lower fees for care in Alabama. Nursing home fees in that state are $6,388, an almost $300 savings each month. 

$6684

Georgia

$7513

United States

$6836

Tennessee

$6388

Alabama

$8547

Florida

$7123

South Carolina

Financial Assistance for Senior Living in Georgia

Community Care Services Program (CCSP)

Georgia’s Community Care Services Program (CCSP) operates as part of the state’s Elderly and Disabled Waiver. This program pays many of the costs associated with senior living for seniors who qualify for Medicaid. Covered benefits include cash payments for hiring and retaining caregivers, as well as caseworker support and help with obtaining services. Additional services, which are available to seniors in residential senior living communities, include meal service, caregiver help, chore assistance and crisis intervention as needed. Beneficiaries must meet income and asset restrictions set by Georgia Medicaid and have demonstrated limitations that require caregiver assistance.

Contact: Call 1-404-656-4507 for information about Georgia’s CCSP, or visit the Georgia Department of Community Health online.

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.

Admission Requirements

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

Medication Management

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.

Staffing Requirements

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.

Georgia Senior Living Free Resources

Georgia Agencies

Georgia Medicaid

Georgia Medicaid offers free and low-cost medical insurance for seniors who meet income and asset limits. Seniors must be citizens or permanent legal residents and have a medical need for services. Beneficiaries may be eligible for an senior living waiver and outpatient services secondary to senior living needs.

Contact: Call Member Services at 1-866-211-0950 for information and enrollment.

Area Agencies on Aging in Georgia

The Georgia Department of Aging Services operates a network of Area Agencies on Aging throughout the state. These nonprofit centers offer extensive resources for seniors. Staff at an AAA office can provide referrals for placement, help signing up for programs and relevant, up-to-date information about local conditions. Seniors in Georgia can find a local AAA office online here.

Veteran Affairs Offices in Georgia

Veterans and their spouses can find help with senior living, and other benefits, through the Veterans Affairs office. Staff at VA offices offer help signing up for benefits, locating programs that can help seniors pay for the cost of senior living and other local resources that can help them live independently. Seniors who were honorably discharged from the military can get extra help through the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit. Georgia veterans can find a VA office near them with the VA’s online locator tool.

Social Security Offices in Georgia

Seniors can apply to the Social Security Administration for help finding and paying for many of the senior living services they need. Social Security provides monthly income for retirement benefits, SSI/SSDI supplements and assistance signing up for needed social programs. Seniors in Georgia can find a local Social Security office online.

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.

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.

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