Talk to a local advisor for free

Guide to Senior Living in Kentucky

The southeastern state of Kentucky has a population of over 4.4 million residents, about 16% of whom are aged 65 and over. Over the next decade, the state’s senior community is projected to exceed 20% of the total population. To accommodate these seniors, Kentucky licenses over 130 senior living facilities. On average, seniors pay $3,497 per month for assisted living, which is 15% lower than the national monthly average of $4,051. This, combined with the state’s relatively low cost of living, may appeal to seniors who are seeking affordable care.

This guide provides an overview of the cost of senior living throughout the state and details about how assisted living compares in cost to other types of senior care. It also outlines the state and local agencies that can connect seniors with information and financial resources to help them cover the cost of their care.

The Cost of Senior Living in Kentucky

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.

Kentucky seniors have a range of care options to choose from, depending on their needs and budgets. Assisted living facilities provide privacy and independence with personal care services. Independent living facilities are for older adults who don’t need personal care but want a maintenance-free lifestyle and are generally cheaper than assisted living. Memory care is a type of assisted living that accommodates the needs of those with dementia and is costlier than assisted living. Nursing homes provide the highest level of care outside of a hospital setting and are for those who need around-the-clock skilled nursing and personal care services. 

According to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, Kentucky’s long-term care costs are relatively affordable. Independent living is the cheapest care option at $2,241 per month. Assisted living fees are about $1,200 higher at $3,448, and memory care facilities charge $4,310. Nursing homes charge $7,178 for semiprivate rooms. 


Assisted Living


Independent Living


Memory Care


Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Kentucky 

Assisted living rates in Kentucky come in at $3,448 per month, which is about $1,000 lower than the national average rate of $4,500, and its care costs are lower than those in surrounding states. In Tennessee, older adults pay $4,105 for care, and in West Virginia, facilities charge $4,160. In Indiana and Illinois, respective care costs average $4,283 and $4,488. Virginians pay higher rates of $5,250 per month for this level of care.




The United States










West Virginia

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Kentucky  

In Kentucky, nursing homes charge approximately $7,178 per month for semiprivate accommodations compared to the national median of $7,908. Older adults seeking more affordable care may consider facilities in Illinois, where rates are about $900 lower than in Kentucky at $6,266. In Tennessee, rates are comparable to Kentucky’s average at $7,148, and in Indiana, care costs are a little higher at $7,270. In Virginia and West Virginia, rates exceed the national average at $8,213 and $11,619, respectively. 




The United States










West Virginia

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

Kentucky Medicaid provides health care coverage for low-income individuals throughout the commonwealth. This program pays for expenses, such as doctor’s office visits, hospitalization and prescription medications. It also has coverage for long-term care, helping older adults afford some services Medicare doesn’t pay for.  

Kentucky Medicaid doesn’t pay for assisted living or memory care services, either directly or through any waiver programs. However, it does pay for nursing home care for those who qualify, enabling older adults to get the skilled nursing services they need despite financial limitations.  

As is the case in most states, Kentucky’s Medicaid program doesn’t cover independent living. This senior care option doesn’t include medical monitoring or services and therefore isn’t covered by most health insurance plans.  

Medicaid Coverage Level Type of Medicaid Coverage Entitlement? *  
Assisted Living None N/A N/A 
Independent Living None N/A N/A 
Memory Care None N/A N/A 
Nursing Home Care Full Medicaid  Yes 

*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 for Nursing Home Care in Kentucky 

Kentucky Medicaid provides comprehensive coverage for seniors living in nursing homes. It has a daily reimbursement rate that pays for services, such as: 

  • Room and board 
  • Dietary services 
  • Nutritional supplements 
  • Social services 
  • Recreational activities 
  • Laundry services 
  • Durable medical equipment and prosthetic devices 
  • Prescription drugs 
  • Facility-provided personal care items 

Other medically necessary services, including oxygen and oxygen-related equipment, lab work, x-rays and physical or occupational therapy, are covered but billed separately from the daily allowance.  

For nursing home care to be covered, individuals must obtain care from facilities participating in the Kentucky Medicaid program. In some cases, the regulations facilities follow differ slightly for residents who pay using Medicaid, so program participants must be placed in Medicaid-certified beds. Individuals must meet eligibility requirements pertaining to their financial and functional needs. 

Eligibility for Medicaid in Kentucky 

To be eligible for Nursing Home Medicaid, applicants can have an annual income of up to $30,276 and up to $2,000 in countable assets. These income and asset limits also apply to each spouse if a married couple is applying for Medicaid coverage for nursing home care. If only one spouse is applying, only their income counts. They may retain up to $2,000 in countable assets, and their spouse may keep up to 50% of joint assets up to $137,400. Nursing home residents on Medicaid must pay all of their income toward care, except for a $40 personal allowance, out-of-pocket Medicare costs and in some cases, a spousal income allowance.

2022 Kentucky Medicaid Income Limits  

Income Limits* Asset Limits 
Single Person $30,276 $2,000 
Two-Person Household (Only one applicant)  $30,276 (for applicant) $2,000 (for applicant) $137,400 (for non-applicant) 
Two-Person Household (Two applicants)  $30,276 per applicant $4,000 

*per year 

In addition to financial criteria, Kentucky residents must meet other qualifications to obtain Medicaid coverage. To be eligible, applicants must be: 

  • U.S. citizens or legal residents 
  • Permanent residents of Kentucky 
  • At least 65 years old 
  • Assessed as requiring a nursing home level of care 

Applying for Medicaid in Kentucky 

To apply for Medicaid, seniors can submit an online application through Benefind, Kentucky’s benefits portal. They may also apply in person at their local Department for Community Based Services office.  

Before You Apply 

Before submitting an application for Kentucky Medicaid, it’s important that individuals are able to provide documents that support their eligibility for services. Key information applicants should have on hand include: 

  • Proof of date of birth 
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency 
  • Proof of all earned and unearned income 
  • Proof of assets 
  • Proof of residence 
  • Medicare card and documentation for any other health insurance coverage 

How to Get Help 

There are several resources available to seniors applying for Medicaid in Kentucky. The following table highlights helplines and departments older adults can turn to for help with submitting applications, understanding their benefits and finding qualifying care providers.  

 Contact What You Should Know 
American Council on Aging Contact Form The American Council on Aging provides contact information for Medicaid planners who work with seniors to help them meet Medicaid’s eligibility requirements. It also publishes current information on Medicaid’s income and asset limits, as well as waiver programs that may cover services to help seniors avoid nursing home placement.  
Partner Portal Provider Directory Online Only The Partner Portal Provider Directory is an up-to-date searchable directory that lists Medicaid-registered health care providers throughout the state. 
Medicaid Member Services (800) 635-2570 The Medicaid Member Services helpline is staffed with agents who help older adults navigate the Medicaid application process, understand their benefits and cost-sharing obligations and switch to the managed care plan that fits their care needs. The helpline can also help older adults appeal denied coverage.

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

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.

Older adults in Kentucky can get free assistance with navigating Medicare through several statewide agencies and programs. These resources provide comprehensive information on Medicare’s benefits for medical services and long-term care, as well as private alternatives to the federal program. 

ResourceContact What You Should Know (800) 633-4227 is the federal website that provides comprehensive information on Medicare, including its coverage for long-term care, hospital stays and medical care. The website outlines the most common types of Medicare Advantage Plans and the Medigap plans sold in the state. It also has information on enrollment periods and what policyholders should do if their coverage is canceled.  
State Health Insurance Assistance Program (877) 293-7447 (option #2) The State Health Insurance Assistance Program has trained volunteers who provide free Medicare options counseling. Through this program, seniors can get help with questions and concerns regarding their Medicare coverage and determining whether a Medigap or Medicare Advantage Plan is right for their needs. It can also help older adults find out whether they’re eligible for the Medicare Savings Program, which uses Medicaid to cover Original Medicare’s deductibles, premiums and copays. The program also helps older adults understand medical and long-term care bills and resolve billing errors. 
Kentucky Legal Aid (800) 782-1924 Kentucky Legal Aid has licensed legal professionals who provide one-on-one assistance with applying for Medicare and handling issues, such as denied claims or canceled policies. The agency also has SHIP counselors who provide free health insurance options counseling for Medicare-eligible individuals.  
Medicare Savings Program (502) 564-6890 The Medicare Savings Program provides partial financial assistance for income-qualifying Medicare beneficiaries. This program uses Kentucky’s Medicaid program to cover Medicare’s premiums, deductibles, copays and coinsurance for those who meet financial qualifications but are not eligible for full Medicaid benefits. 

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

Depending on your unique situation, there may be other financial assistance options to partially or fully cover the cost of senior living in Kentucky. 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 Kentucky

Finding long-term care options in Kentucky is easier with the support of statewide agencies and programs that work one-on-one with seniors, helping them evaluate their current and future care needs and find the best solution for their budgets and lifestyle. The following table outlines senior resources in Kentucky. 

 Contact What You Should Know 
Kentucky 2-1-1 2-1-1 Kentucky 2-1-1 is operated by United Way and provides free information and referrals for community-based programs and supports, which may help seniors maintain their independence. Through this program, seniors may be able to arrange home-delivered meals, low-cost housekeeping and chore services, home modifications and transportation services. They can also obtain contact information for options counselors who can help them obtain public benefits, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  
AARP Kentucky (866) 295-7275 AARP Kentucky provides resources and current information on issues relevant to those aged 50 and over in the state. It has a membership program individuals can join for access to exclusive discounts, local events and classes. Members also receive newsletters and subscriptions to AARP The Magazine.  
Area Agencies on Aging and Independent Living (502) 564-6930 Area Agencies on Aging and Independent Living are independent, nonprofit agencies that provide services to those aged 60 and over. Kentucky has 15 agencies, each with designated service areas. Through their local AAAIL, seniors can arrange for in-home services, such as home-delivered meals, home health care, transportation and case management, which may help them avoid nursing home or assisted living placement. Agencies also have specialists who help older adults obtain public benefits screenings, financial counseling and legal assistance. 
Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (502) 564-9206 The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs administers veteran’s benefits, such as health insurance, medical services, tax credits and financial assistance programs. It has offices in counties throughout the commonwealth, where veterans and their dependents get one-on-one help with identifying and applying for the benefits they qualify for. The department also operates four veterans’ homes, where qualifying individuals obtain free or affordable long-term care services. 
Community Action Kentucky (502) 875-5863 Community Action Kentucky operates local Community Action agencies throughout the commonwealth. These offices serve qualifying individuals through a range of supportive services that may help older adults age in place or access the services they need. Through their local office, seniors can arrange services, such as volunteer-based transportation, home-delivered and congregate meals, friendly phone calls and options counseling. Some agencies house RSVP, a nationwide program that provides exclusive in-person and remote volunteer opportunities for those aged 55 and over.  
Alzheimer’s Association Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana Chapter (800) 272-3900 The Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association serves seniors in counties throughout Kentucky. It operates support groups and early-stage engagement programs out of its three Kentucky offices, and it has online message boards and informational resources. The chapter also has Care Consultants who help families navigate all aspects of dementia at no charge. Seniors in the northern region of Kentucky obtain these services through the Greater Cincinnati chapter
Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (502) 574-1530 Seniors in Louisville can serve their community through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. Participants choose the capacity they serve in, and volunteer opportunities may include leading classes in senior centers, coaching children’s sports in local parks, organizing clothing and goods in thrift stores and promoting financial literacy for low-income individuals and families.  

COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Kentucky 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? Not Available*

*NOTE: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.

Senior Living Laws and Regulations in Kentucky

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.

To keep residents in senior living facilities safe and to enhance their quality of life, the state requires that senior living facilities be certified on an annual basis by the Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living. To receive certification, facilities have to abide by these rules and regulations.

Scope of Care

Services that must be provided in senior living facilities include assistance with the activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living, scheduled daily social activities and assistance with self-administrated medication. Facilities also must offer help with household activities like housekeeping, laundry, chores, shopping and transportation. Residents may arrange for additional services beyond what the facility provides through a third party.

Memory Care Regulation

Memory care services are offered in senior living facilities. Facilities must provide a description of the training their staff members receive, including the topics the training covers, how many hours of training are required, the training schedule and which staff members must receive dementia-related training.

Care Plan Requirements

Before a resident signs a lease and moves into an senior living facility, the facility must complete a functional needs assessment to verify that the facility can meet the resident’s needs. This assessment must be updated on an annual basis to ensure that the facility is meeting the resident’s ongoing needs.

Medication Management Requirements

Senior living facilities in Kentucky may help with self-administered medications. This includes reminding residents to take their medications, reading the medication’s label, opening the medication’s packaging, storing the medication and ensuring that the resident has taken it. Staff members aren’t permitted to handle the medication itself or administer it.

Staffing Requirements

Senior living communities are required to have a designated manager who oversees day-to-day operations and monitors caregivers. The state doesn’t have minimum staffing ratios but expects facilities to ensure that enough caregivers are on site at any given time to handle residents’ scheduled and unscheduled needs.

Caregiver Screening Requirements

Senior living facilities are required to perform criminal background checks on all prospective employees. Anyone who has been convicted of a felony related to theft, a sexual crime, abusing or selling illegal drugs, or abusing, neglecting or exploiting an adult is ineligible for employment.

Caregiver Training Requirements

Caregivers must receive orientation within 90 days of their hire date, and annual training on topics like residents’ rights and adult first aid is required.

Medicaid Coverage

The state doesn’t cover senior living services under Kentucky Medicaid or any of its waiver programs.

Abuse and Neglect Reporting

Kentucky is a mandatory reporting state, meaning that anyone who suspects or observes elder abuse is legally required to report it. Calls can be made anonymously to the 24-hour hotline at (877) 597-2331.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in Kentucky?

On average, assisted living costs $3,497 per month in Kentucky. Owensboro is the most affordable city in the state for assisted living, and the Lexington area is the most expensive.

Does Kentucky Medicaid pay for assisted living?

In Kentucky, all assisted living facilities are considered private entities, making them ineligible for public funding. Currently, assisted living services in the state aren’t covered by Medicaid or any of its waiver programs.

Does Medicare pay for assisted living?

Original Medicare doesn’t pay for assisted living, including personal care assistance and room and board. However, some Medicare Advantage plans may pay for supportive services received in an assisted living facility.

What types of services are available in Assisted Living?

Some services provided in assisted living facilities include assistance with the activities of daily living, including dressing and bathing, housekeeping and laundry services, and transportation.

What is the difference between assisted living and independent living?

Assisted living is well-suited to seniors who are unable to safely live alone but don’t require skilled nursing care. These facilities promote residents’ independence but provide help with tasks such as scheduling doctor’s appointments, cleaning and meal preparation. Independent living focuses on offering convenience and supporting an active lifestyle. It doesn’t provide personal care services or nursing support.

Learn More About Senior Living in Tennessee

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

The Top Cities for Senior Living in Kentucky

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

Send this page to a friend or loved one
Your Name
Your Email Address
Send To
Multiple email addresses should be separated by comma or semi-colon.
Send me a copy of this message
We will never share your personal information. Privacy Policy