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Guide to Senior Living in Kansas

Kansas is home to approximately 463,000 adults aged 65 and over, according to the U.S. Census. The percentage of seniors in the state is just shy of the United States’ average of 16%. The state’s overall population has increased only 2% over the past nine years, compared to a national rate of 6.3%, with most of the growth in urban counties. However, students at Wichita State University have projected a dramatic 47% change in the number of seniors aged 65 and older over the next 20 years.

Care options for seniors vary in cost, especially in comparison to the national averages, according to the Genworth Financial’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey. For instance,  the cost of assisted living in Kansas is higher than the national average but nursing home care is significantly lower. The state attempts to meet the needs of its senior residents with government-regulated senior living facilities and waiver aid through its Medicaid program.

This guide provides an overview of those regulations, along with information about how to apply for a state-sponsored waiver. It also provides information about resources to help with money matters, health care needs and caregiver support, as well as the answers to some commonly asked questions about assisted living.

The Cost of Senior Living in Kansas

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.

Depending on their care needs, finances and preferences, seniors in Kansas have several types of long-term care to choose from. According to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, costs of long-term care in Kansas are typically similar to national average figures.

For active seniors who don’t have health or personal care needs, independent living provides a low-maintenance way of life with free time to enjoy leisure activities. Those who need regular assistance with day-to-day activities may be better suited to assisted living. Often offered in assisted living facilities, memory care provides specialized programming to support individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive issues. A nursing home is ideal for seniors who require frequent skilled nursing care and 24/7 monitoring.

Designed for seniors who don’t need daily support, independent living is the most affordable long-term care option in Kansas, costing an average of $2,977 per month. Prices increase to $4,580 for assisted living. Memory care costs are higher due to increased staff training requirements and stricter regulations. In Kansas, memory care costs around $5,725 per month. Providing the highest levels of care, nursing homes in Kansas charge $6,296 per month for a semiprivate room.


Assisted Living


Independent Living


Memory Care


Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Kansas

At $4,580 per month, assisted living in Kansas costs similar to the national median of $4,500. Seniors in Colorado generally pay a little more for assisted living, with an average monthly rate of $4,750. Costing around $4,076, monthly fees are lower in Nebraska. Median prices drop further in Oklahoma and Missouri, where average fees are $3,855 and $3,000, respectively.  




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The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Kansas

Costing $6,296 on average per month, nursing home care in Kansas is more than $1,600 cheaper than the U.S. average of $7,908. Seniors in Colorado pay around $8,567 per month. This is almost $2,300 more than their peers in Kansas. At $7,483 per month, costs are also higher in Nebraska. Missouri and Oklahoma have lower rates for nursing home care, with median prices of $5,262 and $5,475, respectively.    




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Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Senior Living in Kansas?

Long-term care can be pricey. Fortunately, several programs help Kansas seniors afford their care costs. Many older adults use Medicaid to pay for at least partial costs. Medicaid can help people cover the difference between what their budget allows and the full cost of care.  

Kansas Medicaid, called KanCare, directly covers nursing home costs. While traditional Medicaid doesn’t cover assisted living or memory care, seniors may be eligible for assistance under the Frail Elderly (FE) waiver program or the Physical Disability (PD) waiver program.

As with most states, KanCare doesn’t provide any assistance for independent living.

Medicaid Coverage LevelType of Medicaid CoverageEntitlement?* 
Assisted LivingPartialMedicaid WaiversYes
Independent LivingNoneN/AN/A
Memory CarePartialMedicaid WaiversYes
Nursing Home CareFullMedicaidYes

*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 Kansas

The state Medicaid program may pay for assisted living and memory care for qualifying Kansans. However, it doesn’t cover services directly; older adults can apply for a waiver program designed to prevent or delay nursing home admission.

Frail Elderly Waiver  

One of KanCare’s Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) programs, the Frail Elderly waiver program covers direct services for qualifying seniors as set out in their individual care plan. Services are customized to meet beneficiary need but may include:

  • Assistance with personal care and day-to-day activities
  • Medication reminders
  • Nursing overview
  • Personal alarm system
  • Assistive technology
  • Financial management
  • Wellness monitoring
  • Housekeeping and laundry

The waiver doesn’t cover room and board.

The program uses a managed care model, with services provided by three Managed Care Organizations (MCOs): Aetna, Sunflower and United Healthcare.

As the Frail Elderly waiver is a nursing home diversion program, seniors must meet nursing facility level of care requirements to qualify for aid. Seniors must have an assessment to determine functional eligibility. Applicants must also satisfy financial requirements and be at least 65 years old.

Seniors can apply for waiver services by contacting their local Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) at (855) 200-2372.

Physical Disability Waiver   

Seniors under 65 who require nursing home level of care may be eligible to receive services via the Physical Disability (PD) waiver program. A waiting list applies, with service provision dependent on the availability of funds.

Services are similar to those provided by the Frail Elderly waiver program, such as personal care assistance, medication reminders, assistive technology, financial management services and personal emergency response systems. The costs of room and meals are not included.

To qualify, individuals must:

  • Be younger than 65
  • Be classified as disabled by the Social Security Administration
  • Need nursing home level of care
  • Satisfy financial eligibility criteria
  • Require help with daily living activities

Older adults who are eligible for waiver services will be transferred to the Frail Elderly waiver when they reach 65.

To apply for the Physical Disability (PD) waiver, individuals should contact their nearest ADRC at (855) 200-2372.

Medicaid’s Coverage of Nursing Home Care in Kansas

Per KFF’s figures, KanCare covers 50% of nursing home residents in Kansas. The program covers room and board, as well as services including:

  • General and skilled nursing care
  • 24-hour monitoring
  • Rehabilitation and restorative therapies
  • Assistance with daily activities and personal care
  • Dietary supplements
  • Medical equipment and supplies
  • Transportation
  • Recreational activities

Seniors may keep $62 per month. With the exception of Medicare premiums, any remaining income must be used to pay for care. Medicaid bridges the gap to cover the full care costs. Seniors must have an assessment to determine if they require nursing home care.

Eligibility for Medicaid in Kansas

While Kansas Medicaid doesn’t have any income limits for nursing home admission or HCBS waiver services, seniors must use most of their available income to cover care costs. For those in nursing homes, any amount over $62 a month, or $744 per year, must be paid toward care. Seniors who receive waiver services may keep $2,523 per month, or $30,276 a year, with all remaining sums used to cover care services.

Asset limits apply for Medicaid in Kansas. Single applicants and those applying alone from a two-person household can have no more than $2,000 in countable resources. For couples where only one spouse applies, the non-applicant spouse has a higher limit of $137,400. Couples applying together have an asset cap of $3,000.

2022 Kansas Medicaid Income Limits 

Income Limits*Asset Limits
Single PersonNo set limit$2,000
Two-Person Household(Only one applicant) No set limit$2,000 for applicant$137,400 for non-applicant
Two-Person Household(Two applicants) No set limit$3,000

*per year

The following requirements also apply:

  • Applicants must reside in Kansas
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens, nationals, residents or qualifying noncitizens
  • Applicants must meet medical needs criteria

Applying for Medicaid in Kansas

Individuals can apply online for KanCare or call (800) 792-4884 to enroll over the phone. 

Before You Apply

Having all the necessary information on hand can make the application process smoother. Claims may be delayed or denied if full details aren’t provided. For convenience, applicants should gather:

  • Proof of identification
  • Social Security number
  • Proof of citizenship status
  • Proof of residency in Kansas
  • Current bank statements
  • Details of income
  • Details of assets
  • Health and life insurance policies
  • Prepaid burial plans or funeral services

How To Get Help

Applying for Medicaid can feel overwhelming, especially in Kansas, which has some of the nation’s strictest rules. Luckily, senior citizens have several avenues for obtaining assistance and information.  

 ContactWhat You Should Know
Kansas Assistance Network(913) 228-2951Trained advisors at Kansas Assistance Network (K.A.N.) provide free information to individuals deciding the best health coverage choices. Advisors can help seniors enroll in Medicaid, Medicare, health insurance and public assistance benefits. Individuals can connect with the organization by telephone or via the online contact form.
Aging and Disability Resource Center(855) 200-2372The Aging and Disability Resource Center is a central source of information for aging or disabled people. Call center staff can provide details of relevant supportive services and help with Medicaid applications. The center is also responsible for assessing functional needs to determine eligibility for nursing home and HCBS assistance.  
American Council on AgingOnline FormThe American Council on Aging maintains up-to-date information about Medicaid on its website, including state-specific requirements. The organization offers free eligibility checks and helps seniors connect with affordable Medicaid planners throughout Kansas.   

Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Senior Living in Kansas?

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 CoverageMedicare Coverage DurationCoinsurance Requirement?
Assisted LivingNoneN/AN/A
Independent LivingNoneN/AN/A
Memory CareNoneN/AN/A
Nursing Home CareLimited100 Days Per Benefit PeriodYes – After 20 Days

What Nursing Home Care Services Does Medicare Cover?

Medicare covers a number of specific services, including:

  • Meals
  • A semiprivate room
  • Medications
  • 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.

Medicare Support & Resources in Kansas

Kansas seniors have several resources at their disposal for advice and assistance related to Medicare. Organizations can help people compare health plans and understand different levels of coverage. They may also be able to save people money on premiums and copays.  

ResourceContactWhat You Should Know
Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas(800) 860-5260The Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas (SHICK) program empowers individuals to make informed choices related to Medicare and health insurance. Volunteer SHICK counselors provide tailed one-on-one advice with complete confidentiality and impartiality.  
Medicare.Gov(800) 633-4227The government Medicare website is a good starting point for anyone looking for information about Medicare programs. The site covers costs and eligibility, drug coverage and Medigap, and individuals can conveniently compare care providers. Seniors can apply for Medicare online and obtain assistance through the live chat tool or by phone.   
Senior Medicare Patrol(800) 432-3535Kansas’s Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program uses a statewide network of trained volunteers to educate seniors on Medicare misuse, fraud and mistakes. Individuals may also report scams and fraud to the SMP and obtain help understanding their medical bills.

 Are There Other Financial Assistance Options for Senior Living in Kansas?

Depending on your unique situation, there may be other financial assistance options to partially or fully cover the cost of senior living in Kansas. 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 StartedWhat You Should Know
Aid and AttendanceApply online at 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 MortgagesResearch and learn about the different types at 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) InsuranceLearn about how to receive LTC insurance benefits at 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 Kansas

Provided by government and nonprofit organizations, Kansas has a range of programs, benefits and services to help older adults enjoy a good quality of life. The following resources are free, low cost or subsidized for seniors.

ResourceContactWhat You Should Know
Kansas Legal Services(888) 353-5337 Kansas Legal Services operates a free legal hotline for Kansans aged 60 and above. Seniors can obtain advice on areas of civil law, such as public benefits, insurance, housing rights, bankruptcy and estate planning. The organization also provides representation and advocacy, as well as information and forms for those who want to represent themselves in litigation.
Kansas Advocates for Better Care(785) 842-3088The nonprofit Kansas Advocates for Better Care provides education and advocacy for older adults in nursing homes and other long-term residential care facilities.  
KU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute(913) 897-8530Active adults with a love for learning can join an array of low-cost noncredit courses via KU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. In-person courses are available throughout northeastern Kansas and Greater Kansas City, and options include art, history, science and culture. There are plenty of social opportunities too.  
Alzheimer’s Association Kansas Chapters(800) 272-3900The nationwide Alzheimer’s Association has two chapters in Kansas: Heart of America and Central and Western Kansas. The website is packed with educational and supportive information for seniors and their loved ones, and individuals can call the 24-hour helpline for further advice and support. The organization also hosts local and virtual events.  
Area Agencies on Aging(785) 267-1336Kansas has 11 Area Agencies on Aging to comply with the provisions of the Older Americans Act and support the state’s aging population. Services include congregate and home-delivered meals for seniors aged 60 and above, fitness and well-being classes, caregiver support, benefits assistance and options advice.   
AARP Kansas(866) 448-3619A nationwide nonprofit, AARP has a state presence in Kansas. Seniors can join local events and virtual workshops, including scam awareness and prevention, benefits advice, safe driving courses, movie screenings, educational classes and fitness sessions. The website contains comprehensive information on a wide range of aging-related topics. AARP members receive discounts on an array of services and products.

COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Kansas Senior Living Facilities

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including and These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/8/2022, 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
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?No (Conditions Apply)
Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?No
Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?Yes (Conditions Apply)
Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community? Yes (Conditions Apply)

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 Kansas

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 Kansas state government categorizes senior living facilities and residential health care facilities under the all-inclusive adult care homes (ACHs). These homes are licensed by the Secretary of Aging and Disability Services. The secretary also regulates small boarding-style homes for the elderly with a maximum of 10 residents, but the same rules don’t apply.

Services Offered

Senior living facilities in Kansas must offer general support services. In addition to helping with residents’ health care needs, as determined through a nursing assessment, caregivers may assist with transportation, grooming, housekeeping and social activities.

Care Plan Details

The nursing assessment and resulting care plan is a crucial component of the residents’ health care management. It must be performed by a licensed nurse and should include all personal care and nursing tasks required to support the resident during their stay. If any skilled care is needed, it should list the type of service and the name of the person or agency providing it.

Senior living facilities will also have a service agreement between the resident, family members or legal guardians and themselves. This contract outlines living arrangements, monthly fees and expected services.

Medication Administration and Management

Kansas law permits self-administration of medication by a resident if they’ve been previously assessed and approved by a licensed nurse. Otherwise, qualified staff (licensed nurses or medication aides) must manage and administer the medication. Only a licensed nurse can give injections and IV medications.

Each quarter, a resident’s medications are reviewed by a registered pharmacist. Any new medications or changes in a resident’s condition can also prompt a review.

Employee Qualifications

Senior living facilities may hire any number of staff to meet the needs of residents, from nurses to aides and therapists. Kansas requires that ACHs have, at a minimum, a licensed facility administrator, an operator and a registered nurse, who oversees any licensed practical nurses.

The administrator and operator must be over 21 years of age. The home must keep documentation on-site to prove that no employee has a history of adult abuse or any records of criminal activities. There should also be an on-site record of any required certifications or licenses.

Employee Training

All employees who provide direct care to residents must complete 40 hours of training. Employees who work in the kitchens and have little to no contact with residents need only eight hours of training.

To become a licensed administrator, applicants must have the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Administration-In-Training courses equaling 480 hours
  • Reference letters
  • Successful completion of the State Exam and the National Exam (NAB)
  • License Fee

Kansas also issues reciprocal licenses for administrators from other states.

Fifty credit hours of continuing education in residential care, administration and elective courses are required every two years to renew an administrator’s license.

Medicaid Support

Residents who qualify for income assistance can receive help from KanCare, the state’s Medicaid program, through a waiver. Seniors can apply for the Frail Elderly Waiver.

Senior Abuse and Neglect

All adult care homes in Kansas must post the phone numbers and contact information for the state’s long-term care ombudsman in plain view. Residents, family members and staff can report elder abuse at 1-877-662-8362. Complaints can also be sent by email, fax, regular mail or an online complaint form.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in Kansas?

Kansas residents pay more for assisted living than their neighbors in surrounding states. The average cost is $4,473, which is about $400 more than the national average. Nearby Missourians may pay only $2,881. Keep in mind that prices vary across the state as well, from Topeka at $3,738 to Lawrence, the highest, at $5,450.

Does KanCare, the Kansas Medicaid program, pay for assisted living?

While the state’s Medicaid plan only pays for nursing home stays, there is a waiver program available for qualified seniors that can help cover the costs of certain assisted living services. The goal of the Frail Elderly Waiver Program is to keep seniors living as independently as possible.

What are “Activities of Daily Living”?

Many state programs and assisted living care plans require an assessment of a seniors’ living skills. The Kansas government looks at the following categories to determine a person’s ability for self-care:

  • Eating and nutritional choices
  • Dressing
  • Bathing and personal hygiene
  • Mobility
  • Bathroom use

What is the difference between assisted living and nursing homes?

Nursing homes provide skilled nursing care to their residents, while assisted living facilities focus on helping seniors with activities of daily living, such as bathing and grooming. Skilled nursing care is always performed by trained professionals under the authority of a licensed doctor or dentist. It may include the administration of IV medications, injectables and medical treatments, such as wound debridement, dressing changes and catheter insertion and removal.

What types of amenities are commonly found in Assisted Living Communities?

Assisted Living Communities vary widely in what they offer. In Kansas, residents must have 24-hour access to services that help them live independently. These may include assistance with grooming, bathing, bathroom functions and medication administration. Also, communities must provide nutritious meals to their residents, and seniors should be able to select what and when they eat, within reason.Communities typically have a full calendar of social activities, offering residents field trips, organized games, exercise classes and worship services. Other beneficial amenities include an in-house hair salon, small eatery for snacks and a common room for TV viewing, puzzles and games and socializing.

Learn More About Senior Living in Kansas

For more information about specific types of senior living in Kansas read our Guide to Assisted Living and Independent Living.

The Top Cities for Senior Living in Kansas

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

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