Assisted Living in Georgia
Bankrate named Georgia as one of the top retirement destinations in the country due to the number of active adult communities, housing costs and income tax perks for seniors. As well as a low cost of living, the state’s assisted living costs are lower than the national average and one of the lowest in the region. Medicaid and Medicare can help cover some costs for seniors who need assistance paying for residential care.
This guide covers the cost of assisted living throughout the state and compares this to the cost in nearby states as well as the costs of other types of care. There’s also information on Medicaid and Medicare and a list of resources to address senior needs.
How Much Does Assisted Living Cost in in Georgia?
Seniors choosing an assisted living community in Georgia can expect an average cost of $3,535 per month according to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. This is around $965 less than the national average. To the south of Georgia, Florida residents pay around $4,000 a month, while to the north in South Carolina and Tennessee, the cost is around $3,612 and $4,105, respectively. Alabama is the only neighboring state with a lower cost at $3,503 per month.
The United States
The Cost of Assisted Living in Georgia’s Top Cities
The cost of assisted living varies throughout the state. In the far northwestern corner in Rome, assisted living costs around $4,293 per month. In the state capital of Atlanta, the average is $3,845. In northeast Georgia in Gainesville, assisted living is higher than the state average at $3,893, while Augusta and Valdosta residents pay around $3,606 and $3,179 per month. At the Alabama border, Columbus has one of the highest costs at $4,223.
The Cost of Assisted Living vs. Other Types of Care
The state long-term care costs vary depending on individual needs. Aside from assisted living at $3,535, nursing homes are residential care facilities that provide the most comprehensive level of care outside a hospital. A semiprivate room in Georgia is around $7,011 per month. Seniors who prefer to age in their own homes for as long as possible may choose homemaker services for $4,290 per month, which includes help with housekeeping, grooming, bathing, medication management, yard work, transportation and meals. A home health aide, which costs around $4,385, can provide all the services of a homemaker with the addition of skilled nursing and other medical care. Adult day health care is the least expensive option at $1,300 per month. This is useful for families who need help with their loved ones while they work.
Home Health Aide
Adult Day Health Care
Assisted Living Facility
Nursing Home (semiprivate room)
Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Assisted Living in Georgia?
In Georgia, Medicaid doesn’t directly cover the cost of assisted living. Instead, the state provides several waivers that help cover the costs of skilled nursing and some personal services for seniors with these types of needs. These waivers have an enrollment cap, meaning even seniors who are eligible may not immediately receive assistance. Instead, they may be placed on a waiting list.
Medicaid will cover the cost of memory care patients in an assisted living community based on their functional need.
Medicaid’s Coverage of Assisted Living in Georgia
Georgia’s two Medicaid waivers operate under the Elderly and Disabled Waiver Program. These include the Community Care Service Program (CCSP) and the Service Options Using Resources in a Community Environment (SOURCE). Both waivers serve the frail elderly and disabled seniors who otherwise would require nursing home care but choose to receive their care in an assisted living community or at home due to costs.
Waiver Programs for Assisted Living in Georgia
Community Care Services Program (CCSP)
The CCSP helps pay for home and community-based services in long-term care. Eligible seniors must meet the same income limits and functional care requirements as nursing home patients covered by Medicaid.
Services covered by the waiver include:
- Personal care, such as bathing, dressing, feeding and toileting
- Meal prep
- Wound care
- Skilled nursing
- Medication management
- Respite care
Service Options Using Resources in a Community Environment (SOURCE)
SOURCE recipients must be eligible for Medicaid and meet the requirements for a nursing home level of care. The waiver allows seniors to receive care at home or in an alternative residential care facility. The waiver covers personal support services, assisted living services, extended home health, meals, emergency response systems, 24-hour medical access to a case manager and physician’s visits.
To apply for either waiver, seniors may contact the Georgia Department of Community Health or any local Department of Family and Children’s Services.
Eligibility for Medicaid in Georgia
Medicaid recipients in Georgia must meet stringent income and asset limits. These limits are based on a percentage of the Federal Poverty Level. The individual income limit from all sources is $30,276 per year and assets totaling no more than $2,000. In a two-person household with only one applicant applying, the same income and asset limit applies., except the non-applicant has an asset limit of $137,400 and may receive a Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance based on the spousal impoverishment rule. This rule is designed to prevent financial instability in the spouse who remains at home. In a two-person household where both individuals apply, the income limit is $60,552 or $30,276 each and an asset limit of $3,000.
2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Georgia
|Annual Income Limits||Asset Limits|
|Two-Person Household(Only One Person Applying)||$30,276||$2,000 for applicant$137,400 for non-applicant|
|Two-Person Household(Both People Applying)||$60,552 or $30,276 per applicant||$3,000|
Additional eligibility requirements include:
- Must be 65 or older, legally blind or disabled
- Must live in Georgia
- Must require nursing home care
Applying for Medicaid in Georgia
To apply for Medicaid, seniors may visit the Georgia Gateway, which can also help determine eligibility, or call the customer contact center at (877) 423-4746. Individuals may apply in person at any Division of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS).
Before You Apply:
Before you apply for Medicaid be sure to gather all the documentation needed to prove eligibility.
Information You Will Need:
- Birth certificate
- Proof of citizenship or qualified alien status
- Valid Social Security number
- Proof of GA residency
- Proof of income for the past 60 days
- Award letter from Social Security, veteran’s benefits, retirement awards
- Copies of pensions and annuities
- Bank statements for the past 60 days
- Proof of ownership of property
- Copies of insurance policies
Where to Go to Get Help
Georgia provides several free resources to help seniors apply for Medicaid. These services can also answer questions about other benefit programs that may provide additional help paying for assisted living.
|Benefits.gov||(877) 423-4746||Benefits.gov is a federal website that provides brief information on all state benefits. Those applying for Medicaid can get information on eligibility, where to apply and contact information for assistance.|
|Georgia Legal Aid||(404) 657-9915||Georgia Legal Aid provides information on Medicaid and answers questions concerning benefits and potential fraud. The site is maintained by the Atlanta Legal Aid Society and the Georgia Legal Services Program.|
|Georgia Division of Family and Children’s Services||(404) 657-3433||The GA DFCS department provides trained counselors who can assist in the Medicaid application process and can offer updates on application progress. Local offices can also assist in making changes to benefit accounts and can explain claims information.|
Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Assisted Living in Georgia?
Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living in Georgia. Unlike nursing homes, assisted living facilities are not considered to be “clinical settings’ and so are not eligible for Medicare coverage. That being said, you can still use Medicare to cover the cost of approved medications, doctor visits, medical equipment, etc.
For more information about what Medicare visit medicare.gov.
Are There Other Financial Assistance Options for Assisted Living in Georgia?
|How to Apply||How It Works|
|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 and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Georgia
Georgia seniors can find useful information to address their quality of life and specific needs through the following services. These free services address all aspects of life as an older adult in all stages of long-term care.
|Division of Aging Services||(404) 657-5258||The Georgia Division of Aging Services is a division of the Georgia Department of Human Services. The agency supports the aging population, including at-risk adults, those with disabilities and caregivers through programs and services, including nutrition and wellness, elder rights, Medicare counseling and senior employment.|
|Georgia Long-Term Care Ombudsman||(866) 552-4464||The Georgia Long-Term Care Ombudsman works to improve the quality of life of seniors in long-term care facilities. Ombudsmen are trained to investigate and resolve complaints and concerns of elder adults, and they perform inspections of long-term care facilities to ensure they maintain the standards set by government agencies.|
|Georgia Council on Aging||(404) 657-5343||The Georgia Council on Aging serves as an advocate for the aging population in Georgia to help improve their quality of life. The council provides educational opportunities about concerns affecting the elderly and makes recommendations concerning available programs.|
|Legacy Link||(855) 266-4283||Legacy Link is a program provided by the Georgia Department of Human Services for seniors in northeast Georgia. This nonprofit provides access to information and referrals. Legacy Link offers a variety of community services, including wellness programs, walking clubs, exercise classes, day trips, tours, transportation and meals.|
|Georgia Department of Veterans Services||(404) 656-2300||The Georgia Department of Veterans Services helps seniors who’ve served in the military sign up to receive programs, services and benefits. These benefits include healthcare, counseling, loan assistance, education and help locating long-term care facilities. The Aid and Attendance benefit for veterans helps pay for home and community-based services in long-term care.|
COVID-19 Rules for Assisted Living in Georgia
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)|
Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Georgia
Assisted living communities in Georgia are regulated by the Georgia Healthcare Facility Regulation. The agency oversees and administers the laws and regulations regarding staffing, room and board, personal care and health and safety. It regularly inspects long-term care facilities to ensure they maintain the standards for licensure.