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Guide to Senior Living in Idaho

Idaho is a large and sparsely populated state in the Pacific Northwest. Huge tracts of open wilderness in the mountainous northern part of the state are open to hunting and fishing, with steep discounts on license fees for the active seniors who enjoy outdoor sports. Social Security income is not taxed in Idaho, though other forms of retirement income may be taxed on the state level. Almost 16% of Idaho’s 1.8 million people are aged 65 and over, which is a 14% increase from 2010. There are 144 senior living communities dotted around the state that serve the needs of this growing senior population.

The cost of senior care in Idaho is mostly affordable with both assisted living and in-home care costs coming in at below the United States average, according to the Genworth 2019 Cost of Care Survey. This guide is written to help seniors learn about the cost of senior care in Idaho, the rules and regulations governing senior living communities and free and low-cost resources that can help cover the cost.

Covid-19 Rules and Restrictions for Idaho Senior Living Facilities

The following rules and guidelines were obtained from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare website, as well as other state-level government sites. Among others, these rules apply to nursing homes, residential assisted living facilities (RALFs), and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/IIDs).

This data has been most recently updated on 7/19/20, 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?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?No (may vary by facility)
Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?NA
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?Yes (may vary by facility)
Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?Yes
Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?Yes,  if certain conditions are met 
Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?Yes, if certain conditions are met

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

Paying for Senior Living in Idaho

Assisted living can be an affordable choice for seniors in Idaho. The $3,728 average monthly cost is well below the $7,924 median cost of a semiprivate room in a nursing home. Assisted living is also less expensive than both in-home care and home health services, which average $4,195 and $4,290 per month, respectively. Only adult day care, which averages $2,275 a month, offers a less expensive senior care option.

$3728

Assisted Living

$4195

In-Home Care

$4290

Home Health Care

$2275

Adult Day Care

$7924

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Idaho

Assisted living in Idaho costs an average of $3,728 a month. This is a few hundred dollars less than the $4,051 seniors pay on average nationwide. Assisted living in states close to Idaho tends to be more expensive. Washington seniors, for example, pay an average monthly cost of $5,500 for assisted living, while similar services in Oregon cost $4,499. Wyoming and Montana are closer to Idaho in cost, though both are still more expensive at $3,780 and $3,820 per month, respectively.

$3728

Idaho

$4051

United States

$5500

Washington

$4499

Oregon

$3820

Montana

$3780

Wyoming

The Cost of In-Home Care in Idaho

Seniors interested in employing an in-home care company in Idaho are in luck. At $4,195, Idaho’s average monthly in-home care costs are below the national average of $4,290, and the average costs reported in the nearby states. In-home care in Idaho costs $381 less than in Montana and $1,525 less than in Washington. Idaho boasts the lowest average care costs in the northwest. 

$4195

Idaho

$4290

United States

$5720

Washington

$5148

Oregon

$4576

Montana

$5339

Wyoming

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Idaho

Compared to its bordering states, Idaho is in the middle of the price range for nursing home care costs at $7,924 per month. Idaho’s nursing home care prices are $411 higher than the national average of $7,513 and higher than Montana and Wyoming, which report rates of $7,459 and $7,346 per month, respectively. Idaho does, however, average lower rates than Washington ($9,112) and Oregon ($9,551).

$7924

Idaho

$7513

United States

$9112

Washington

$9551

Oregon

$7459

Montana

$7346

Wyoming

Financial Assistance for Senior Living in Idaho

Idaho Aged and Disabled Medicaid Waiver

Seniors in Idaho who qualify for Medicaid coverage may be eligible for the state’s Aged and Disabled Waiver. This program helps seniors with chronic medical needs, the visually impaired and adults with permanent disabilities. The waiver covers the cost of care and support services provided in a senior living facility, but does not pay room and board fees.

The Idaho Aged and Disabled Waiver is open to individuals who are currently enrolled in a Medicaid Plus managed care plan. Seniors who receive SSI/SSDI are automatically eligible to apply for the waiver. Other applicants must meet the income and asset guidelines for Idaho Medicaid and have a disability that prevents them performing at least two activities of daily living without assistance.

Contact: Call 1-877-456-1233 for information about the Aged and Disabled waiver, or to apply for Medicaid and other state programs. Seniors can download an application online, or request an application through the admissions desk of a participating senior living facility.

Veterans Affairs Aid and Attendance Benefit

Idaho veterans and their qualifying spouses may be eligible for extra help with senior living expenses through the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Aid and Attendance program provides support for seniors and adults with disabilities who already receive a veterans’ pension, and who need caregiver assistance with activities of daily living, cannot easily leave their beds or have limited eyesight. Benefits are paid in addition to a regular pension amount.

In 2020, beneficiaries can get a monthly cash stipend of up to $1,788 for veterans, $1,149 for surviving spouses or $2,120 for qualifying married couples.

Contact: Call 1-800-952-5626 to inquire about applications for the Aid and Attendance benefit. Senior veterans can also apply through the nearest VA office.

Senior Living Laws and Regulations in Idaho

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 Idaho Department of Health and Welfare regulates senior living communities in the state. The department handles the licensing of facilities, regulates the level of care that may be provided by each type of senior community and conducts inspections to ensure compliance with state rules.

Admission Requirements

Idaho’s Residential Care and Assisted Living Act does not set specific requirements for admissions to senior living facilities. The law does require that no facility admit a resident unless it is able to meet all of that resident’s medical and care needs. These needs must be identified with a preadmission health screening by a licensed physician to assess prospective residents’ mental and physical health, and develop a detailed plan of care for each resident.

Senior living facilities in Idaho are required to provide new residents, or their designated decision makers, with a copy of resident rights and responsibilities. Required documents include a written price estimate that itemizes likely costs and includes Medicare coverage, if applicable. The Department of Health and Welfare provides a standard form for these disclosures, which must be kept in the residents’ file.

Memory Care Regulation

Senior living communities with a special care license are allowed to admit residents who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, provided the facility is able to meet the resident’s specific needs as established by the preadmission medical screening. Special care units may be separate structures on the senior living facility’s property, or they can be designated hallways or floors inside of the facility’s main building. Special care units must be secured with window and door locks to prevent wandering and other disruptive behavior, and have enough staff on duty 24 hours a day to maintain an adequate level of supervision for all residents.

Medication Management

Seniors in Idaho’s senior living facilities may keep and self-administer over the counter vitamin supplements and medications, provided they are safely able to do so. Prescription medications must be kept in secure storage on the property and dispensed in accordance with each resident’s care plan. Controlled medications must be kept in and dispensed from a premeasured and sealed package by certified medication aides or nursing staff. Medications administered via an IV line may not be administered by noncertified caregivers, although hospice patients may have such a line placed by a visiting nurse.

Staffing Requirements

Senior living facilities in Idaho must have an administrator who is at least 21 years old and licensed by the Bureau of Occupational Licensing. A single administrator may act as manager for more than one residential care facility only with approval of a plan of operation submitted to the state.

Administrators and staff at senior living facilities in Idaho must receive a generally accepted level of training prior to the onset of hands-on work with residents, though state law does not prescribe specific coursework or hours in training. Idaho does not impose a requirement for annual retraining or recertification, although administrators must be continuously licensed for as long as they are employed. All employees who have personal contact with residents must pass through an orientation that goes over basics of resident care, relevant state laws and the policies and procedures of the facility doing the hiring.

State law does not impose a minimum staff ratio for senior living facilities, although there is a general requirement that all such facilities maintain adequate staff to cover all resident needs. This includes sufficient staff numbers to quickly evacuate the entire facility in the event of a fire or other emergency.

Idaho Senior Living Free Resources

Idaho Agencies

Idaho Medicaid

Idaho Medicaid provides basic health insurance for seniors, adults with disabilities and low-income residents. Covered services include preventive care, diagnostic tests, basic medical procedures and some prescription drug coverage. Seniors are potentially eligible for Idaho Medicaid’s Enhanced coverage, which covers basic services and some long-term supports. The Medicare-Medicaid Coordinated Plan is also open to eligible seniors. This managed care option includes support from a care coordinator who can help beneficiaries find additional resources to cover the costs of senior living.

Contact: Call 1-877-456-1233 to apply for Idaho Medicaid by phone. Seniors can also apply online or by mail through Idaho’s Department of Human Services.

Area Agencies on Aging in Idaho

Idaho’s Commission on Aging administers six Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) that serve specific areas of the state. Idaho seniors aged 60 and over can get assistance from their local AAA office with finding resources and aid programs that may help pay some of the costs of senior living.

AREA AGENCY ON AGINGADDRESSPHONE NUMBER
Area I – North Idaho Area Agency on Aging2120 N. Lakewood Dr. Suite BCoeur d’Alene, ID 838141-208-667-3179 or 1-800-786-5536
Area II – North Central Idaho Area Agency on Aging124 New 6th StreetLewiston, ID 835011-208-743-5580 or 1-800-877-3206
Area III – Southwest Idaho Interim Area Agency on Aging701 S. Allen Ste. 100Meridian, ID 836421-844-689-7562 or 1-208-332-1745
Area IV – South Central Idaho Area Agency on Aging315 Falls AvePO Box 1238Twin Falls, ID 83303-12381-208-736-2122 or 1-800-574-8656
Area V – Southeast Idaho Area Agency on Aging214 E. CenterP.O. Box 6079Pocatello, ID 83205-60791-208-233-4032 or 1-800-526-8129
Area VI – Eastern Idaho Area Agency on AgingP.O. Box 51098935 Lincoln RoadIdaho Falls, ID 834051-208-522-5391 or 1-800-632-4813

Veterans Affairs Offices in Idaho

Staff at Department of Veterans Affairs locations in Idaho can assist seniors who have been honorably discharged from the military in finding available resources. Seniors and their qualifying spouses can get advice, case management support and referrals for care from VA staff, as well as aid with paying for preadmission medical screenings for senior living. The VA is also able to help seniors connect with educational and tax resources that may significantly reduce their monthly expenses.

VA CENTERADDRESSPHONE NUMBER
Idaho Division of Veterans Services351 N Collins Rd
Boise, ID 83702
(800) 827-1000
VA Boise Regional Benefit Office444 W Fort St
Boise, ID 83702
(800) 827-1000
Bannock County Veterans Services921 S 8th Ave
Pocatello, ID 83209
(208) 282-4245
Department of Veterans Affairs705 Lena St
Salmon, ID 83467
(208) 756-8515
VA North Idaho Community Based Outpatient Clinic915 Emma Ave
Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814
(208) 665-1700
Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center77 Wain Wright Dr
Walla Walla, WA 99362
(509) 525-5200
VA Caldwell Clinic4521 Thomas Jefferson St
Caldwell, ID 83605
(208) 454-4820
Idaho Falls Outreach Clinic3544 E 17th St
Ammon, ID 83406
(208) 522-2922

Social Security Offices in Idaho

Seniors can visit a local Social Security office to learn about and sign up for various income-based assistance programs. SSA staff can help seniors apply for Medicare, Medicaid, disability benefits and low-income supplements. Case managers can also assist seniors with accessing nutritional support and health screenings.

SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICEADDRESSPHONE NUMBER
Idaho Falls2196 Channing Way
Idaho Falls, ID 83404
1-866-253-0489
Boise1249 S Vinnell Way #101
Boise, ID 83709
Caldwell1118 S Kimball Ave
Caldwell, ID 83605
Coeur d’Alene7400 N Mineral Dr #100
Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815
Lewiston1617 19th Ave
Lewiston, ID 83501
Twin Falls1437 Fillmore St
Twin Falls, ID 83301
Pocatello861 Jefferson Ave
Pocatello, ID 83201

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in Idaho?

Assisted living in Idaho costs an average of $3,728 a month. This is more than $300 under the national average cost for assisted living of $4,051 a month.

Does Idaho Medicaid pay for assisted living?

Medicaid provides basic health insurance coverage for Idaho residents with limited income and assets. It does not directly pay for the board and care costs associated with assisted living, although seniors may be able to pay for many of their secondary care costs through the program. Some seniors enrolled in Medicaid may be eligible for the Aged and Disabled waiver, which can help pay for supportive services provided in assisted living communities.

Does Medicare pay for assisted living?

Original Medicare does not pay for nonmedical expenses, such as the monthly cost of assisted living. Medicare Advantage plans available through authorized private insurance companies in Idaho may cover some assisted living care costs. Not all MA plans offer these types of benefits, so seniors should verify the coverage of a specific plan before signing up.

What are activities of daily living?

The term activities of daily living refers to the routine self-care tasks seniors complete on a daily basis. Examples include bathing, dressing, grooming, eating and mobility. In Idaho, help with activities of daily living may be provided by an unlicensed personal caregiver in an assisted living community.

What is the difference between assisted living and nursing homes?

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities differ in the degree to which they provide medical care. Seniors in assisted living communities may receive help with basic medical needs, such as assistance with self-administering medication, but more elaborate medical care is typically not available. Nursing home staff are usually licensed to administer medication, provide nursing care and assist with rehabilitation and various therapies.

The Top Cities for Senior Living in Idaho

Learn more about the cost of senior living in the top Idaho cities. Additionally, find reviews and information about assisted living facilities and other senior living communities across the state.

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