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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.

Covid-19 Rules and Restrictions for Kansas Senior Living Facilities

The following rules and guidelines were obtained from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) website, as well as other state-level government sites. Among others, these rules apply to adult care homes including assisted living, residential health care, home plus and other facilities.

This data has been most recently updated on 7/13/20, 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?NA
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 (varies 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, if the facility is in Phase 3 
Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?No
Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?Yes, unless the facility is in  Phase 3 
Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?Yes, with social distancing
Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?Yes, with social distancing

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 Kansas

Seniors in Kansas have several choices when it comes to meeting their needs for extra services. While nursing home care is over $1,000 more per month than an assisted living community, other options cost less. Homemaker and home health aide services range $300-400 less than assisted living, but the cost of keeping up a home or apartment may quickly eat up any savings.


Assisted Living


In-Home Care


Home Health Care


Adult Day Care


Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Kansas

On average, residents in Kansas pay higher assisted living rates than seniors residing in neighboring states. According to the Genworth Financial’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey, Kansas’ assisted living facilities average $4,473 per month. Only Colorado is close to that amount, and some border states are significantly lower.




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The Cost of In-Home Care in Kansas

Seniors searching for inexpensive in-home care will be pleased to find that not only is Kansas’ average cost $286 below the national average, it is also the most affordable rate in the nearby area. Kansas’ monthly average price of $4,004 is $191 less than both Oklahoma and Missouri, and it beats out Nebraska and Colorado by $667 to $953. Kansas’ in-home care prices are the most affordable in all of the surrounding area.




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The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Kansas

Nursing home care in Kansas is priced on the lower side, costing seniors $1,886 less than the national average. It is the median in care costs of its neighboring states, with Colorado and Nebraska reporting higher costs, and Oklahoma and Missouri lower ones. Compared to Colorado and Nebraska, utilizing nursing home care in Kansas can save seniors between $1,376 and $2,570, although compared to Oklahoma and Missouri, staying in Kansas can cost seniors between $566 – $760 more for the same services.




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Financial Assistance for Senior Living in Kansas

Frail Elderly Waiver

The state’s Medicaid Program (KanCare) doesn’t cover senior living costs. However, the state does administer several home and community-based waivers. The Frail Elderly (FE) HCBS Waiver aids seniors with limited incomes who are aged 65 and older and meet the testing requirements for assistance. While the waiver has no provisions for room or board, it does cover a variety of services, including medication reminders, nursing evaluations, mobility assistance and daily personal care needs.

To receive assistance, an applicant must have assets totaling less than $2,000 and income below $747 per month. Waiver recipients may receive varying levels of help, depending on their income and service needs. There is no wait-list.

Contact: Kansas seniors interested in the waiver program can request an assessment from the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) at 1-855-200-2372.

VA Aid and Attendance Benefits

Kansas seniors who served in the armed forces and receive a VA pension may be eligible for help from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Several scenarios may qualify an individual, including limited eyesight, being bedridden or needing assistance to accomplish daily living activities.

The Veterans Administration adds a set amount to a senior’s monthly pensions to help cover the expenses associated with the above situations. A doctor must examine the individual and complete an assessment that outlines the reasons assistance is required.

Contact: Apply for The Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits by completing and mailing VA Form 21-2680 to the local regional benefit office.

Senior Care Act (SCA)

In an effort to keep seniors out of nursing homes and in their own residences, including senior living apartments, Kansas administers the Senior Care Act program. This fee-for-service program requires all recipients to pay a portion of their costs. The fee is based on their ability to pay and considers assets and monthly income. Usual items covered include daily living assistance and health maintenance activities.

To qualify, seniors must be aged 60 or older and reside in Kansas. If a senior so desires, a family member may be paid for providing the necessary services. The maximum amount available for services is $1,445. Should a senior move to an senior living facility with included support services, this assistance would be terminated.

Contact: The Area Agency on Aging (AAA) administers the program along with the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. Seniors can call 1-855-200-2372 or contact their local Area Agency on Aging.

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.

Kansas Senior Living Free Resources

Kansas Agencies

Area Agencies on Aging in Kansas

The Area Agency on Aging is a national organization that has chapters in all 50 states. Local Area Agencies on Aging are divided by counties in Kansas.

The agencies provide a variety of services to residents over the age of 60, such as health insurance counseling, caregiver support, legal advocacy, meal delivery and the CARE program (Client Assessment, Referral and Evaluation). This last service is designed to help seniors find the right long-term care solutions, and it includes a complete assessment of the senior’s abilities to self-care.

Contact: Information specific to each chapter is available via their websites. Seniors can simply click on the link associated with their county.

Veterans Affairs Offices in Kansas

The Office of Veteran Affairs offers physical, mental and social assistance to seniors and disabled veterans through local chapters. The main office for regional benefits is located in Wichita, Kansas, and seniors can also search for nearby outpatient clinics and hospitals via the website.

Qualified veterans who receive pension payments can get monetary assistance from the Veteran Affairs Office to help pay for senior living expenses. A doctor’s assessment is required.

Contact: Seniors can call 1-844-698-2311 or look for the phone number for their local chapter online. Questions can also be submitted online.

Social Security Offices in Kansas

The Social Security Administration manages several offices in Kansas, mostly in the larger cities. Seniors can find their nearest office by searching online with their zip code. Although many of the organization’s services can be managed online, seniors often prefer a face-to-face meeting.

Kansas offers a state supplement to seniors who receive SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and reside in a Medicaid-approved facility. Recipients are usually Medicaid-eligible and should already be enrolled in KanCare.

Contact: Seniors can call 1-800-772-1213 for help with their online account and to request information.

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.

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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