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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.

The Cost of Senior Living in Maine

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.

Senior living in Maine can take several forms. Seniors can reside in independent living communities, where they’re free to pursue their interests and hobbies without assistance with activities of daily living or skilled nursing care. Seniors who require help with a minimum of two or three ADLs may find assisted living a good option, while seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia-related issues may be better off in memory care units in assisted living facilities. These units feature 24/7 supervision, special therapies and activities and staff trained to help residents with memory care problems. Nursing home facilities offer a place for older Mainers who require assistance with many ADLs and skilled nursing care.

Using figures from the Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2021 to calculate costs, independent living in Maine averages $3,812 a month. Assisted living costs about $5,865 a month, while memory care, with its added features, averages $7,331 per month. Nursing care in a semiprivate room has a high cost, averaging $10,494 a month.


Independent living


Assisted living


Memory care


Nursing care (semiprivate room)

The Cost of Assisted Living in Maine

Maine, which sits in the northeast corner of the country, has a cost of assisted living that ranks roughly in the middle of these costs in the region. The Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2021 puts Maine’s cost of assisted living at $5,865 per month. That’s $1,365 a month more expensive than the national average of $4,500. New York has the lowest regional cost of $4,580 a month, while Vermont averages $5,250. Maine’s neighboring state of New Hampshire costs $6,053 a month. Massachusetts has the highest monthly prices in the region, where assisted living costs $6,500.




The United States


New York




New Hampshire



The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Maine

The country’s northeastern corner has some of the country’s highest nursing care costs. Maine, which averages $10,494 a month, has the lowest regional price. However, it’s  approximately $2,500 a month more expensive than the national average of $7,908. New Hampshire costs $10,950 a month, while neighboring Vermont averages $10,585. Massachusetts, the Baystate, is roughly $2,100 a month more expensive than Maine at $12,623. New York has the highest cost for nursing care in the region at $12,775 a month.




The United States


New York




New Hampshire



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

MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program, covers some assisted living costs for seniors who meet income and asset guidelines. Maine offers this coverage through its Residential/Assisted Living Program.

Residents with memory care issues can receive financial assistance through the Maine Elderly and Adults with Physical Disabilities Waiver, which is also available through MaineCare.

MaineCare also covers the cost of a nursing care facility for seniors who need a nursing home level of care and meet eligibility and financial guidelines.

Independent living isn’t covered by any Medicaid assistance because seniors living in an independent living community don’t need help with any ADLs or skilled nursing care.

Medicaid Coverage LevelType of Medicaid CoverageEntitlement?* 
Assisted LivingPartialMaineCareNo
Independent LivingNoneN/AN/A
Memory CarePartialMaineCare WaiverNo
Nursing Home CareFullMaineCareYes

*Note: Entitlement programs mean that everyone who qualifies will receive coverage and be accepted into the programs. If the program is not “entitlement,” participant caps could be in place, and there may be a waiting list.

Medicaid Coverage of Assisted Living and Memory Care in Maine

Medicaid, called MaineCare in Maine, provides coverage for many ADLs and other personal care issues for assisted living residents in the state. Meanwhile, the Maine Elderly and Adults with Physical Disabilities Waiver offers financial assistance for seniors with memory care issues living in special assisted living facilities.

Residential/Assisted Living Program

MaineCare’s Residential/Assisted Living Program covers eligible seniors who meet medical and financial requirements. Qualified seniors need a lower level of care than is necessary for a nursing care facility. The program covers some costs for seniors expected to be in an assisted living facility for longer than 30 days. There are a limited number of MaineCare beds in the state, and wait times can be as long as 2 years.

Some of the services provided by this program include:

  • Assistance with ADLs
  • Assistive technology
  • Attendant services
  • Health support
  • Case management and care coordination
  • Medication assistance
  • Personal care
  • Physical, speech and occupational therapies
  •  Transportation to medical appointments

To be eligible for the assisted living program, residents need to be:

  • At least 65 or blind or disabled
  • Meet financial and medical guidelines

When they apply for this MaineCare program, seniors must follow a three-step process:

  1. Fill out the Long-Term Care Application and check off the residential care facility box.
  2. Take a functional assessment to determine medical health through Maine’s Accessing Services Agency.
  3. If necessary, undergo a face-to-face assessment.

Contact a staff worker at your local Area Agency on Aging to start an application. You can also download an application beforehand from MaineCare/Department of Health and Human Services.

Maine Elderly and Adults With Physical Disabilities Waiver

MaineCare provides this waiver to assist seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia who live in residential facilities. The waiver helps with the costs of personal care and related services, such as financial management, care coordination, emergency alert systems, assistive technology and transportation. If a senior cannot live safely at home or in the community, these services can be provided in a licensed residential care facility.

Disabled adults and seniors in Maine are eligible for the Elderly and Adults with Physical Disabilities Waiver. They must be at least 65 and require a nursing home level of care. They must also meet income and asset limits.

Qualification for the waiver is a two-step process. Seniors must apply for MaineCare before requesting a functional assessment from the Maine Assessing Services Agency. You can schedule an evaluation by calling (833) 525-5784. The Maine Office of Aging and Disability Services can help in completing the process.

Medicaid Coverage of Nursing Home Care in Maine

MaineCare covers nursing home care costs for all seniors in the state who require a nursing home level of care and meet financial guidelines. This includes room and board, needed medications and meals. All nursing homes in Maine accept MaineCare, which covers roughly two-thirds of nursing home residents in Maine.

Eligibility for Medicaid in Maine

Assisted living under MaineCare has different financial and asset limits than memory care or nursing care.

Residents using MaineCare for help with ADLs in an assisted living facility can have a yearly income of up to 100% of the federal poverty limit, which is $13,590 in 2022. If both people in a two-person household apply for assistance with ADLs, their income limit is $18,312.

Nursing home coverage and Medicaid waivers have income limits of $2,523 a month for an individual or $30,276 a year. If both spouses are applying, that figure rises to $60,552.

Regardless of the form of senior living, single applicants can have up to $10,000 in assets.

The asset limit in a two-person household for assisted living is $15,000 for the non-applicant. When both individuals are applying for assisted living MaineCare, the asset limit is $15,000 overall.    

When only one person is applying for memory or nursing home care in a two-person household, the non-applicant can have assets up to  $137,400. When both people in a two-person household apply for memory care/nursing care, the asset limit is $15,000, or $10,000 per person if they live in separate rooms.

2022 Maine Medicaid Income Limits

  Income Limits*Asset Limits 
Single Person Assisted LivingMemory care/nursing home $13,590$30,276 $10,000
Two-Person Household (Only one applicant) Assisted livingMemory care/nursing home $13,590 for applicant$30,276 for applicant $10,000 for applicant
$15,000 for non-applicant$10,000 for applicant
$137,400 for non-applicant 
Two-Person Household (Two applicants)   Assisted livingMemory care/nursing home   $18,312$30,276 per spouse     $15,000$15,000, or $10,000 each if separate bedrooms

*per year

Additionally, eligible seniors must be:

  • Aged at least 65 or blind or disabled
  • A U.S. citizen, a permanent resident or a legal alien
  • A resident of Maine

Applying for Medicaid in Maine

You can download an application for MaineCare at You can also call (207) 624-4168.

Before You Apply

When you apply for MaineCare coverage, you need to prepare certain documents and information, including:

  • The total of your household income and where you earned it (except income from SSI or Social Security)
  • Copy of health insurance card, including Medicare, if you have one
  • You and your spouse’s life insurance policies
  • Documentation of the value of nonresidential property such as all-wheel vehicles or boats
  • Annuity contracts
  • Prepaid burial contracts
  • Any trust agreement in which you are a benefactor
  • Documentation of liquid assets such as bank accounts or any investments

How to Get Help

Applying for Medicaid can be difficult, but this is especially the case in Maine. MaineCare can be a complicated system to navigate. Fortunately, several resources are available for seniors, family members or caregivers who need more information.

 ContactWhat You Should Know 636-0355An official site of the Maine government, CoverME provides information on MaineCare and allows you to apply for coverage via its website. Maine residents can also use the site to sign up for regular health care.
Maine Equal Justice(866) 626-7059Maine Equal Justice provides a plethora of information on MaineCare, including how to apply, financial limits, proof of citizenship and identity laws, and information on paying for medications.
Department Of Health and Human Services, Office of Family Independence(207) 287-3707The Office of Family Independence offers a complete guide to MaineCare, including services provided, how to determine eligibility and apply and tax information. If applicable, premiums can be paid online.

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

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 and Resources in Maine

Choosing the right Medicare program can be difficult for seniors and the people they rely on for advice, such as family members and caregivers. If this is your first time using Medicare, you want to know how to switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan or switch Medicare Advantage Plans, or you have any other questions, several resources in Maine can provide guidance.

Resource ContactWhat You Should Know
Maine State Health Insurance Assistance Program(800) 262-2232The Department of Health and Human Services sponsors SHIP services in Maine. SHIP counselors can provide you with free, unbiased and confidential counseling on your most important Medicare questions. Counselors can also answer questions about billing issues, insurance claims and Medicare notices. Counselors can enroll you in Medicare savings programs and teach you how to detect and report errors and abuse in Medicare. You can arrange a session with a counselor either in person or over the phone.
Senior Medicare Patrol(877) 353-3771The goal of the SMP is to teach seniors how to recognize and report Medicare abuse, errors, fraud or waste. You can learn more about the program by contacting your local Aging and Disability Resource Center.
Maine Bureau of Insurance(800) 300-5000Although Maine is no longer a participant in the federal Consumer Assistance Program grant, the state’s Bureau of Insurance can answer consumers’ questions about health care in Maine, including Medicare.

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

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

While numerous resources exist to provide information about Medicaid or Medicare to senior residents of Maine, you can also find several free or low-cost resources in the state. These resources provide information on topics such as legal issues, community resources and saving money on prescription drug plans.

 ContactWhat You Should Know
Maine Chapter, Alzheimer’s Association(207) 772-0115The Maine Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association provides seniors, caregivers and family members with information on dementia-related diseases. This includes how to recognize the signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia and where to find respite care, support groups and care consultants. The chapter also holds regular events and benefits to raise money for Alzheimer’s research.
Caregiver Respite Program(207) 287-3707The program, a service of the Office of Aging and Disability Resources, offers respite care for families caring for an individual with Alzheimer’s or any other dementia-related disease. The program is state-funded and provides individual counseling, support groups, respite care (in or out of the home), personal care, home care services and adult day care services.
Legal Services for the Elderly(800) 750-5353Legal Services for the Elderly provides counseling and resources on issues important to Maine seniors. Subjects include protecting money and property, watching out for scams, dealing with allegations of elder abuse, advanced directives, power of attorney, conservatorship and guardianship, how to apply for MaineCare and long-term care, information on Medicare, how to manage your debt, your rights as a homeowner, rental agreements and tenant rights, and how to deal with probate. This advice is available to seniors aged at least 60 and is free. If the program can’t help a senior, it will refer them to an LSE lawyer in the office closest to their hometown.
Area Agencies on Aging(877) 353-3771The five Maine Area Agencies On Aging answer questions from older Mainers, individuals with disabilities and caregivers about services available to them. The Agencies partner with local organizations to provide senior resources, and when they discover a gap, work to fill it. Your local AAA can answer your questions about in-home and community-based care, including assisted living and nursing care. The five AAA also act as Aging and Disability Resource Centers, which can answer many of your questions about long-term care and how to access publicly administered financial support for Medicaid or other state-funded programs.
Maine Rx Plus(866) 796-2463Maine Rx Plus is a prescription drug plan designed for elderly or disabled residents of Maine whose income is up to 300% of the federal poverty level, approximately $40,000. Eligible seniors can get up to 80% off the cost of generic drugs. Once a senior has paid $1,000 in out-of-pocket expenses for drugs, they receive an 80% reduction on all prescription drugs, whether brand-name or generic. All seniors with MaineCare full benefits cannot use this program; their prescriptions are cheaper with MaineCare than Maine Rx Plus.

COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Maine 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 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.

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.

Learn More About Senior Living in Maine

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

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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