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Guide to Senior Living in Maine

Located in the northeastern corner of the United States and bordered by New Hampshire, Canada, and the Atlantic ocean, Maine is a small, sparsely populated coastal state that’s home to 1,344,212 full-time residents. About 500,000 live in and around Portland, the largest city in the state, while the rest of the population is dispersed throughout small cities, towns, and rural areas. Approximately 20.6% or 1 in 5 residents in Maine are aged 65 or older, which is higher than the national average of 16%.

As a relatively small state, seniors find fewer senior living facilities here than in larger states such as New York and Pennsylvania, and the costs of care reflect that. For instance, the average monthly cost of assisted living in Maine is over $1,000 higher per month than the U.S. average of $5,169. Seniors who need help navigating their long-term care options will be happy to hear that there are a number of agencies, services and programs available in Maine. This guide outlines the cost of care in Maine and neighboring states, provides links to financial resources for seniors and answers many of the common questions seniors and their families have about assisted living.

Covid-19 Rules and Restrictions for Maine Senior Living Facilities

The following rules and guidelines were obtained from Maine Department of Health and Human Services: the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, as well as other state-level government sites. Among others, these rules apply to assisted living and other congregate living settings.

This data has been most recently updated on 7/9/20, 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 outdoors ( 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 
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?YNo
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, but they are discouraged from doing so
Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?Yes (see regulations
Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?Yes
Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?No
Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?No or limited

Safety Measures for Staff & Contractors 

Are staff members and contractors being screened for elevated temperatures?No
Are staff members and contractors being tested for Coronavirus?Yes, if there is an outbreak in the facility
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, if there is an outbreak in the facility

Paying for Senior Living in Maine

Seniors who require care have a variety of options in Maine. At $2,513 per month, adult day care is the lowest-priced option, while nursing home care is the most expensive at $10,038 per month for a semiprivate room. In-home services from a homemaker or home health aide cost an average of $5,117 per month in addition to ongoing living costs such as utility payments, food and rent. Assisted living, which includes room and board, costs an average of $5,169 per month.

$5169

Assisted Living

$5117

In-Home Care

$5117

Home Health Care

$2513

Adult Day Care

$10038

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Maine

According to Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of assisted living in Maine is $5,169 per month. By comparison, the national average is $4,051 per month. Prices are much higher in neighboring New Hampshire at $7,021 per month, while the monthly average cost in nearby Vermont is $5,338. Further south, the average monthly assisted living cost in Massachusetts is $5,640 per month and $5,199 in Rhode Island.

$5169

Maine

$4051

United States

$7021

New Hampshire

$5338

Vermont

$5640

Massachusetts

$5199

Rhode Island

The Cost of In-Home Care in Maine

Maine seniors will find in-home care to be rather affordable for the area, despite average monthly costs being $827 above the national average. Prices for assistance with activities of daily living in one’s home in Maine are lower than those in nearly all surrounding states. Costs of care in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts range from $69 to $126 more than in Maine. New York is the one exception; its average cost is $350 less than Maine at $4,767 per month.

$5117

Maine

$4290

United States

$5243

New Hampshire

$5196

Vermont

$5186

Massachusetts

$4767

New York

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Maine

Nursing home care fees in Maine are $2,525 higher than the U.S. average of $7,513, but fall on the lower end of the cost spectrum compared to states in the area. Average prices for nursing home care in Maine fall below fees in Vermont by $684 per month, and are much lower than Massachusetts and Vermont, whose average monthly costs are $12,472 and $11,613, respectively. Maine seniors looking for cheaper nursing home care prices will find them in New Hampshire, with an average monthly cost of $9,581.

$10038

Maine

$7513

United States

$9581

New Hampshire

$10722

Vermont

$12473

Massachusetts

$11613

New York

Financial Assistance for Senior Living in Maine

MaineCare Waiver for Elderly and Adults with Physical Disabilities

MaineCare, Maine’s Medicaid program, helps qualified seniors avoid or delay nursing home placement by funding senior living services delivered through approved care providers. While this program doesn’t cover room-and-board costs, it does fund a range of personal care services commonly provided in senior living settings, such as housecleaning, meal preparation, attendant care, assistive technologies and home health services.

To qualify for enrollment in this MaineCare waiver, adults must be aged 65 or older, have a monthly income of $2,349 or less and own no more than $10,000 worth of countable assets. If a married couple applies together, individual income limits are in effect, and a joint asset limit of $15,000 applies.

Contact: For more information, seniors and their caregivers can contact their local Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Family Independence district office.

VA Aid and Attendance Benefits and Housebound Allowance

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers two VA pension top-up programs to eligible veterans, their spouses and survivors. Benefits from these two programs, the Aid and Attendance benefits and Housebound allowance, can be used toward the cost of senior living.

To be eligible for either of these benefits, applicants must qualify for the regular VA pension.

For Aid and Attendance, applicants must also meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Be a resident of a nursing facility as a result of mental or physical deterioration
  • Be largely bedridden due to chronic illness
  • Have corrected eyesight tested at 5/200 or worse
  • Need help from another person to perform activities of daily living such as getting dressed, using the toilet or adjusting a prosthetic device
  • Have concentric contraction of the visual field tested to 5 or fewer degrees

For Housebound, applicants must be largely limited to their place of residence, which may be a senior living facility, due to a permanent disability.

Qualified applicants may receive either Aid and Attendance or Housebound. Benefits from these two programs cannot be combined.

Contact: To apply, veterans and their dependents can contact their local Bureau of Veterans’ Services Office by calling (207) 430-6035.

Senior Living Laws and Regulations in Maine

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 Main Department of Health and Human Services oversees licensing for all senior living programs in the state. In Maine, senior living services may be delivered through four types of programs: assisted living programs, independent housing with services programs, residential care facilities and private, nonmedical institutions. Below you’ll find a brief overview of state standards for senior living facilities in Maine.

Admissions Requirements

By law, senior living programs can only admit seniors who have needs that can be safely met through the services offered at a particular facility. Seniors who require the level of care normally provided in a nursing home, including specialized medical care, are ineligible for placement in a senior living facility.

Also excluded are seniors who exhibit violent or aggressive behavior that could pose a risk to themselves, the staff and other residents.

Scope of Care

There are two types of senior living programs in Maine, Type I and Type II.

All licensed senior living programs in the state must provide accommodation, housekeeping, meals and assistance with activities of daily living such as grooming, bathing and dressing. They must also provide care management and medication administration. Facilities with a Type II license also have limited nursing services delivered either by, or under the direct oversight of, a licensed professional nurse.

Medication Management

All senior living programs are required to assess residents’ ability to self-administer medications. If support with medication administration is needed, unlicensed staff may provide that support upon completion of approved in-service training. Medication assistance can include reading the prescription label, providing reminders and maintaining a medication record for individual residents.

No unlicensed staff member can administer medications that are injected except for bee sting kits and insulin when insulin and bee sting kit administration training has been provided by a registered professional nurse.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care

Senior living facilities may include a designated unit or section for residents living with memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. These units provide specialized memory care programs, services and recreational activities, and wandering prevention measures must be in place to keep residents inside the designated memory care area.

By law, memory care residents and their family members or designated representatives must receive detailed information that describes the ALF’s security measures, admission and discharge policies, group and individual programs, and the in-service training provided to memory care staff.

Staffing Requirements

Senior living programs in Maine must have at least one designated administrator. The administrator must hold a current professional license related to health care, such as a nursing license.

Staffing levels vary based on the size of facility and the level of care provided. ALFs with six or more residents must have at least one responsible adult on-site at all times, and a full-time administrator who is also on-site during regular business hours. Facilities with 10 or more residents must have at least two awake staff members on-site at all times and maintain a minimum staff-to-resident ratio of 1:12 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., and 1:18 between 3:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

Non-licensed senior living staff working in facilities with six or more residents must obtain Personal Support Specialist certification within 120 days of commencing work at an ALF. Staff who provide care to residents with dementia must complete at least eight hours of classroom training and eight hours of clinical orientation in Alzheimer’s care.

Maine Senior Living Free Resources

Maine Agencies

Department of Health and Human Services, Aging and Disability Services

The Office of Aging and Disability Services is a state government agency that coordinates state and federal programs and benefits for seniors, vulnerable adults and those living with qualifying disabilities. Any Maine resident can contact the Office to learn about aging and disability services initiatives, state-funded housing, in-home supports and community services.

Contact: Call (207) 287-9200 to connect with the Office of Aging and Disability Services.

Area Agencies on Aging in Maine

Maine’s five Area Agencies on Aging are nonprofit organizations dedicated to enhancing the dignity and independence of older adults. Seniors can contact their regional AAA for free information on local, state and federal benefit and support programs, assistance with accessing senior living facilities and unbiased advice on medical insurance and drug benefits.

AREA AGENCY ON AGINGADDRESSPHONE NUMBER
Eastern Area Agency on Aging450 Essex StreetBangor, ME 04401(207) 941-2865
Southern Maine Agency on Aging136 U.S. Route OneScarborough, ME 04074(207) 396-6500
Aroostook Area Agency on Aging1B Edgemont DrivePresque Isle, ME 04769(207) 764-3396

Veterans Affairs Offices in Maine

Veterans, their spouses and survivors can contact their local Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services Office to learn about local, state and federal programs, benefits and services for vets and their dependents. These benefits include VA health care services and the VA Aid and Attendance allowance and Housebound benefits. The central Veterans’ Services office is located at Camp Keyes in Augusta, and there are seven additional field offices and itinerant locations throughout the state. A list of all locations is available on the Maine.gov website or by calling the Bureau at (207) 430-6035.

VA OFFICEADDRESSPHONE NUMBER
Togus Regional Benefit Office1 VA CenterAugusta, ME 04330(800) 827-1000
VA Maine Healthcare System Medical Center1 VA CenterAugusta, ME 04330(877) 421-8263
VA Mobile Medical Unit241 Main StreetBingham, ME 04920(877) 421-8263Extension 7490
Houlton Satellite ClinicHoulton Regional Hospital20 Hartford StreetHoulton, ME 04730(877) 421-8263Extension 7490
Fort Kent Access Point Clinic3 Mountain View DriveFort Kent, ME 04743(207) 834-1572

Social Security Offices in Maine

Low-income seniors may qualify for Supplemental Security Income, a federal program that provides a monthly income for eligible adults aged 65 and older and people living with a qualifying disability. Eight Social Security Field Offices in Maine provide in-person service and are listed on the Social Security Administration, Boston Region website. Seniors can also call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.

SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICEADDRESSPHONE NUMBER
Auburn Social Security Offices600 Turner StreetAuburn, ME 04210(866) 627-6996
Augusta Social Security Offices330 Civic Center DriveAugusta, ME 04330(800) 772-1213
Bangor Social Security Offices202 Harlow StreetBangor, ME 04401(877) 405-1448
Portland Social Security Office550 Forest AvenuePortland, ME 04101(877) 319-3076
Presque Isle Social Security Office365 Main StreetPresque Isle, ME 04769(866) 837-2719
Rockland Social Security Office231 Park StreetRockland, ME 04841(800) 772-1213
Saco Social Security Office110 Main StreetSaco, ME 04072(877) 253-4715
Waterville Social Security Office14 Colby StreetWaterville, ME 04901(800) 772-1213

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in Maine?

The statewide average cost of assisted living in Maine is $5,169 per month, although actual costs vary depending on the location, facility, accommodation and amenities. The highest assisted living costs in the state are in Portland, where the average cost is $6,600 per month, while in Bangor, assisted living costs an average of $4,753 per month.

Are there financial assistance programs for assisted living in Maine?

Yes. Seniors who have a low income and few countable assets may qualify for state and federal programs that help cover the cost of assisted living. These programs include Medicaid Home and Community Based Services and Maine’s Affordable Assisted Living Services. Eligible veterans, their spouses and survivors may also qualify for VA benefits that can be used to cover assisted living costs.

What are “Activities of Daily Living”?

Activities of Daily Living are everyday tasks that individuals need to perform in order to manage their basic physical needs. ADLs include eating, using the toilet, dressing, bathing and grooming, and getting in and out of bed. As people age, they may develop health problems that make it difficult to perform ADLs without assistance from a spouse, family member or caregiver.

What is the difference between assisted living and independent living?

Independent living facilities, often known as retirement communities, are geared toward seniors who can manage their own care needs and perform all activities of daily living without assistance. These communities offer seniors freedom from maintaining a household, access to a variety of amenities such as fitness centers, restaurant-style meals and organized recreational activities. By comparison, assisted living facilities are suitable for seniors who need some help with basic activities such as bathing, transferring in and out of a mobility device and remembering to take prescription medications. Assisted living facilities also have staff on-site 24 hours a day, while independent living facilities may not.

Who should consider assisted living?

Seniors who require some assistance, such as medication reminders, help with getting dressed and bathing, and who need to live in a barrier-free, wheelchair-accessible location may want to consider joining an assisted living community. Assisted living may also be a good option for seniors who are struggling to maintain their independence and who would benefit from having regular housekeeping, prepared meals and 24/7 access to an on-site caregiver.

The Top Cities for Senior Living in Maine

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

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