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Guide to Senior Living in Maryland

The state of Maryland is home to approximately 6 million residents, around 15% of whom are over the age of 65. As the large baby boomer generation continues to age, this figure is forecasted to grow; by 2023, experts expect 23% of the state population to be 60 or older, a rise of 26% since 2012.

As a relatively affordable state in the Mid-Atlantic region, especially in comparison to its costly neighbors in the Northeast, seniors in Maryland can expect to pay $4,300 per month for assisted living care. This is $250 higher than the national average of $4,051. For seniors who cannot afford this expense, other resources are available for those in need. This guide explores the cost of senior living care, possible financial support for low-income seniors and local programs that can offer assistance.

Covid-19 Rules and Restrictions for Maryland Senior Living Facilities

The following rules and guidelines were obtained from the Maryland Department of Health website, as well as other state-level government sites. Among others, these rules apply to assisted living and continuing care retirement communities.

This data has been most recently updated on 7/14/20, 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, usually 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?N/A
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,  in phase 2 or higher
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, but they are discouraged from doing so
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 in phase 2 or higher
Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?Yes, with social distancing in most cases 
Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?Yes, with social distancing in most cases 

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 Maryland

Assisted living facilities can be a great option for seniors who need support to carry on activities of daily living. However, it isn’t the only available option for Maryland’s aging population. Adult day care, for example, is the most affordable option, while nursing home care is significantly more expensive. This is what seniors in Maryland can expect to pay for alternate forms of senior care.


In-Home Care


Assisted Living


Home Health Care


Adult Day Care


Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Maryland

According to Genworth Financial’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey, seniors in Maryland can expect an average monthly cost for assisted living of around $4,300. This is higher than the national average of $4,051, but not significantly. Maryland is more expensive than some of its neighbors, such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia, but more affordable than others, including New Jersey and Delaware.




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New Jersey




West Virginia

The Cost of In-Home Care in Maryland

Seniors living in Maryland will find fairly consistent prices for in-home care throughout the northeast. Costs in Maryland are on the greater end of the spectrum at $4,481, with greater prices than all of its nearby states except for New Jersey, which has an average care cost of $4,767. Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well as the national average, all report prices of $95 – $286 less than Maryland, while in-home care fees in West Virginia are much lower at $1,049.




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New Jersey




West Virginia



The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Maryland

Nursing home costs are on the steeper side in Maryland, but are by no means the highest found in the surrounding area. At $9,673, nursing home fees in Maryland are $2,160 higher than the national average, yet still lower than the majority of Maryland’s surrounding states. New Jersey and West Virginia each have average monthly prices of $10,646 and $10,707, respectively, while Pennsylvania has an average cost of $9,733. Virginia is the only nearby state that boasts average costs lower than Maryland, having a rate of $7,350.




United States


New Jersey




West Virginia



Financial Assistance for Senior Living in Maryland

Maryland Medicaid Assistance

Maryland’s Medicaid Assistance program can be a great option for seniors with limited income who require help in paying for senior living. Medicaid is available to all seniors who meet the financial thresholds. To qualify, seniors need an annual income below $16,934 for one person or $22,108 for two people. In an effort to support seniors, Maryland offers several specialized programs that can help pay for care.

The Community First Choice program offers services for the elderly in their own homes or senior living facilities that pertain to activities of daily living, like eating, dressing and bathing. This program allows for the caregiver of one’s choice, including a family member for seniors who prefer to remain in their homes.

In addition to the CFC program, Maryland offers a number of Home and Community-Based Services waivers for those who qualify. They include:

  • Community Options Waiver: A waiver that allows applicants who are eligible for nursing home care to receive support in their own homes or in a senior living facility. Meal delivery, home modifications and personal care services are all covered.
  • Community Pathways Waiver: This waiver offers support for seniors with chronic intellectual or developmental disabilities. The care can be self-directed through a family member and can also cover adult day health care and respite care.
  • Medical Day Care Services Waiver: The Medical Day Care Services Waiver program provides access to daytime supervision and care for those who are eligible for nursing home placement. It covers personal care, nursing services and social activities.
  • Increased Community Services Waiver: This waiver program exists for the benefit of seniors and physically disabled individuals who currently live in a nursing home but wish to instead live in their own homes or local senior living facilities.

Contact: Maryland seniors can reach out to Medicaid Assistance online at, through a local Department of Social Services office or by calling 1-855-642-8572.

VA Aid and Attendance Benefit

The VA Aid and Attendance Benefit program provides financial support for approved veterans through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. These benefits don’t replace the normal monthly benefit amount but instead are in addition to any money already received. Eligibility requires meeting at least one of the following conditions:

  • Required aid of a caretaker to perform standard activities of daily living, including bathing, feeding, dressing, moving and medication management
  • A diagnosed disability that has resulted in the need to stay bedridden outside of any form of convalescent treatment
  • Living as a current patient in a nursing home due to physical or mental health challenges
  • Eyesight at a corrected acuity of 5/200 or below in one or both eyes or concentric correction limited to 5 degrees or less of the visual field

The VA Aid and Attendance Benefit offers support up to $1,788 per month for individual veterans, $1,149 for a veteran’s surviving spouse or $2,120 for spouses in need of assistance.

Contact: To apply for the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit, veterans can fill out VA Form 21-260 available on the benefits website, at a local Pension Management Center or at a regional VA office. Seniors already living in a nursing home also need to file VA Form 21-0779.

Senior Living Laws and Regulations in Maryland

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 Maryland seniors safe, the state imposes numerous rules and regulations on senior living programs. These policies are designed to provide the best possible care for senior living residents, from medication management to memory care support.

Admissions Requirements and Scope of Care

Senior living facilities are supportive care opportunities that help seniors with activities of daily living to promote an independent lifestyle for as long as possible. However, they don’t offer the same level of medical care as a nursing home. As such, admission is limited only to those who don’t require:

  • Treatment of severe skin ulcers
  • Ventilator support
  • Significant nursing care
  • Ongoing medical maintenance beyond prescription management
  • Ongoing care for chronic conditions
  • Care for communicable diseases
  • Strict behavioral monitoring

The scope of care provided in a senior living facility depends on facility licensing. Level One programs have the least intensive care, while Level Three programs are the most in-depth. Only Level Two and Three facilities are eligible providers under the state Medicaid waiver program.

Service Plan Requirements

Service plans effectively map out the kind of care a resident needs in a senior living capacity, including the costs of required care. The service plan covers all aspects of living, including overall health, social needs, personal habits, behaviors and any risk factors. All senior living facilities must perform an evaluation of residents every six months, but this can be accelerated if there’s a distinct and sudden change in a patient’s condition or if nonroutine hospitalization takes place. Service plans can be adjusted to take into account variations in cognitive and behavioral needs as well as medical requirements.

Medication Management

It’s very common for those in senior living programs to require prescription medication to manage acute and chronic conditions. All licensed senior living facilities must provide support for self-administered medication, including help with reminders and opening packaging. Residents with nine or more regular medications, both prescription and OTC, must have their prescription regimens evaluated by a pharmacist every six months.

Only those caretakers who have completed a Board of Nursing program can administer medications.

Staffing Requirements

There are no minimum staffing ratios for senior living facilities in Maryland, but specific roles must be maintained as required by licensing. All senior living facilities must employ:

  • A manager for daily operations and an alternate manager at times when the primary manager is not available
  • A registered nurse to provide overnight nursing care
  • Awake overnight staff, unless a physician or nurse has determined that this is unnecessary
  • A medication technician who has completed the required Board of Nursing program
  • Staff members who can provide direct and personal care to residents

Managers are required to complete 20 hours of training every two years. All staff members must receive onboarding and continuing education in subjects like food safety, first aid, emergency planning, resident rights, infection control and the resident assessment process.

Staff members working in a memory care capacity must take a state-approved training course on mental illness and cognitive impairment within the first 90 days of hiring. A delegating nurse must determine competence in these areas before a new memory care staff member can provide any personal care services.

Background Checks

senior living facilities are required to report criminal background checks for owners, applicants, managers, alternate managers and all other staff members to the state in order to receive or maintain a valid license.

Maryland Senior Living Free Resources

Maryland Agencies

Maryland Department of Aging

The Maryland Department of Aging is a local government agency that provides resources and benefits for seniors throughout the state. This includes a wide range of services, from Medicare counseling and support to health and wellness support programs. The department operates the Maryland Commission on Aging, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program and senior legal assistance. The Department of Aging can also connect seniors with local agencies and organizations if needed.

The Maryland Department of Aging is a free resource for seniors, their families and their caretakers.

Contact: Seniors can contact the Maryland Department of Aging at (410) 767-1100 or 1-800-243-3425.

Area Agencies on Aging in Maryland

Area Agencies on Aging are senior-focused agencies that operate throughout the state of Maryland. Unlike statewide agencies that provide more generalized information, AAAs work in smaller geographical areas to offer access to resources and organizations specific to a city or county. AAAs are free to use for all residents in the metro area and can connect seniors to everything from financial assistance programs to Medicare counseling.

Veterans Affairs Offices in Maryland

Veterans Affairs Offices are the primary point of contact for veterans and their families in Maryland and across the country. For seniors considering applying for financial assistance under the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit, contact with a local VA office can be a great way to access additional information.

Social Security Offices in Maryland

Social Security offers a valuable financial safety net for seniors who are no longer employed. For many seniors, Social Security is a primary source of funding for senior living expenses. Seniors who wish to speak to representatives at local Social Security offices in Maryland can visit one of the many locations available around the state.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in Maryland?

In Maryland, assisted living costs an average of $4,300 a month — about $250 more than the national average. However, pricing varies throughout the state, with the California and Lexington Park neighborhoods costing an average of $6,263 monthly while the Cumberland area averages just $3,750.

Are there financial assistance programs for assisted living in Maryland?

Yes, financial assistance programs are available for assisted living in Maryland. Numerous Medicaid waiver programs, including the Community First Choice program and Home and Community Based Services waivers. For those who served in the military, additional benefits may be available through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

What are Activities of Daily Living?

Activities of Daily Living, also called ADLs, are basic tasks required for normal life. This includes things like eating, dressing, bathing, using the bathroom and performing housework tasks. Assisted living facilities primarily provide residents with assistance with ADLs.

What is the difference between assisted living and a nursing home?

The primary difference between assisted living programs and nursing homes relates to the level of medical care available. Assisted living programs can offer limited first aid and medication management but don’t provide any sort of comprehensive treatment. Patients who require around-the-clock nursing care or more intensive medical interventions to treat serious conditions are best suited for a nursing home facility.

Who should consider assisted living?

Assisted living is best for seniors who are still able to maintain a semblance of independence but require some care to handle normal day-to-day tasks. Seniors who use a home health aide are usually good candidates for assisted living, as the services offered by licensed senior living facilities are on par with in-home care. Those with significant chronic health problems may be better suited for a nursing home versus an assisted living facility.

The Top Cities for Senior Living in Maryland

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

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