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Guide to Senior Living in Mississippi

Mississippi, located in the Deep South, is the first home of William Faulkner, James Earl Jones and Oprah. Arguably the first place in the world where the Blues were played, Mississippi is still awash with local music and culture that seniors can experience at local clubs, Civil War historic sites and several riverboat casinos. Active seniors can get out and enjoy the balmy summers at scores of local golf courses, Gulf Coast beaches and woodland trails that are ideal for low-impact hiking and camping. Almost 16% of Mississippi’s 2.9 million residents are seniors aged 65 and over, with 84 licensed senior living facilities dotted around the state to care for them.

Senior care in Mississippi is affordable; costs are below the United States average for all care types, according to Genworth Financial’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey. For instance, assisted living at $3,524 is well below the $4,051 a month seniors pay nationwide, on average, and even somewhat below the average cost in several nearby states.

This guide is written for seniors in Mississippi who are looking for safe and comfortable assisted living. It outlines likely monthly costs for senior care in the state, and it offers information about helpful resources seniors can access to help pay for many of the expenses associated with assisted living.

The Cost of Senior Living in Mississippi

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.

Mississippi seniors have several options for long-term care, and the best choice depends on personal needs and preferences. Assisted living communities provide older adults with personal care services in a residential setting. They provide medical help but not as much assistance as nursing homes. Sometimes, memory care is offered in assisted living communities, which delivers programs specifically designed for those with cognitive impairments. Nursing home care is the most comprehensive. These facilities provide skilled nursing and round-the-clock medical monitoring. Independent care facilities let residents maintain their independence without worrying about home upkeep.

According to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, assisted living in Mississippi costs about $3,500 per month, while memory care adds 25% to this cost, or $4,375 per month. Nursing home care is approximately $7,118, and an independent living community costs around $2,275.


Assisted Living


Independent Living


Memory Care


Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Mississippi

Assisted living communities in Mississippi cost about $3,500 per month, which is $1,000 more than the national average. Surrounding states all have more expensive monthly averages, with Alabama having the closest cost at $3,503. Arkansas and Louisiana communities cost around $3,760 and $3,748, while Tennessee has the highest monthly median at $4,105.




The United States









The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Mississippi

Nursing home costs are usually around twice the cost of assisted living. In Mississippi, a semiprivate room costs approximately $7,118 per month. The national average is $790 more at $7,908 per month. Tennessee has one of the highest costs at $7,148 per month, while Louisiana has one of the lowest rates at $5,759. Alabama and Arkansas residents pay $6,676 and $6,083, respectively.




The United States









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

Mississippi Medicaid is a federal-state health insurance program that provides financial assistance to low-income seniors in senior care. Medicaid pays for doctor-ordered nursing home care, but it doesn’t directly cover treatment in other long-term care facilities.

In assisted living and memory care, Mississippi Medicaid’s three separate waiver programs can provide financial assistance to older adults in senior care. These waivers include the Assisted Living Waiver, the Independent Living Waiver and the Elderly and Disabled Waiver. Regular Medicaid is an entitlement program; however, the Medicaid waivers have enrollment limits. Once these limits are met, the waivers have a waiting list.

Independent living facilities allow seniors to live stress-free in a community specifically for older adults. These communities help seniors maintain their independence, but they typically don’t offer help with activities of daily living or personal care, so Medicaid doesn’t cover them.

 Medicaid Coverage LevelType of Medicaid CoverageEntitlement? *
Assisted LivingPartial WaiverYes
Independent Living NoneN/AN/A
Memory CarePartial WaiverYes
Nursing Home Care FullMedicaidYes

*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 of Assisted Living & Memory Care in Mississippi

Assisted living is a residential care option for seniors that offers varying degrees of assistance depending on individual needs. Memory care is often provided in assisted living communities. There are three waiver programs to help cover these types of long-term care.

Assisted Living Waiver

The AL Waiver is a home and community-based waiver that pays for personal care in assisted living communities. It pays for services like activities of daily living, case management, homemaker services, medication administration, intermittent skilled nursing, transportation and a medical call system.

Eligible seniors must meet all the requirements for regular Medicaid, qualify for Supplemental Security Income or have an income no greater than 300% of the federal poverty level and must require nursing-level care. Seniors may apply through the Medicaid division at (800) 421-2408.

Independent Living Waiver

The IL Waiver pays for services for seniors who prefer to have power over who they designate their care to. It’s a home and community-based waiver for those who require nursing home care but prefer to receive treatment at home or in the community. The waiver pays for personal care attendants, home modifications, medical equipment and supplies, and orthopedic devices.

Seniors who are eligible for the waiver are those who have an orthopedic or neurological impairment, are mentally stable and have the ability to make decisions about their care. Seniors must also meet all regular Medicaid requirements. To apply, seniors should contact the Medicaid Division at (800) 421-2408.

Elderly and Disabled Waiver

The Mississippi E&D Waiver helps seniors who need nursing home care to remain in their homes or the community for as long as possible. It pays for care services such as adult day care, caregiver respite, home health care and home-delivered meals. The waiver also pays for assistance with daily routine activities like dressing, bathing, meal prep and housekeeping.

Eligibility is the same as traditional Medicaid. The individual must also be disabled as designated by Social Security. Seniors may apply through the Medicaid Division at (800) 421-2408.

Medicaid’s Coverage of Nursing Home Care in Mississippi

In Mississippi, Medicaid covers the cost of nursing home care provided the individual meets all eligibility requirements for regular Medicaid and this type of care is physician-ordered. Medicaid covers room and board, personal care and skilled nursing. Other services offered in nursing homes include speech and physical therapy, physician’s visits and medication.

Eligibility for Medicaid in Mississippi

Income eligibility levels for Mississippi Medicaid are a percentage of the federal poverty level. The total income from all sources must not exceed 300% of the FPL, which is $30,276 per person. Asset limits for a single applicant must not exceed $4,000. In a two-person household, income limits are the same, and asset limits are $4,000 for the applicant and $137,400 for the non-applicant. When both individuals apply, the asset limit is $4,000 or $8,000 per couple. Some non-applicants may qualify for a Monthly Minimum Needs Allowance under the spousal impoverishment rule that helps prevent poverty for the non-applicant.

2022 Mississippi Medicaid Income Limits

 Income Limits*Asset Limits
Single Applicant$30,276$4,000
Two-Person Household
(Only one applicant)
$30,276 per applicant$4,000 for applicant
$137,400 for non-applicant
Two-Person Household
(Two applicants)
$30,276 per applicant$8,000 for couple
$4,000 per applicant

*per year

Additional eligibility requirements include:

  • 65 years of age or older
  • Permanent resident of the United States or legal alien
  • Resident of Mississippi
  • Require nursing home care

Applying for Medicaid in Mississippi

Applicants may apply for Mississippi Medicaid through the website portal or by contacting Medicaid directly at (800) 421-2408. Applications may be downloaded and mailed to the Mississippi Division of Medicaid, 10298 Corporate Drive, Gulfport, MS 39503 or faxed to (228) 868-0121.

Before You Apply

Before applying, gather all documents needed to prove eligibility, including:

  • Copy of birth certificate or proof of citizenship
  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Copies of bank statements for the past 30 days
  • Copies of proof of income for the past 30 days
  • Copies of insurance documents
  • Details on powers of attorney, wills and guardianship
  • Award letters for retirement accounts, veterans benefits and Social Security
  • Documents to prove property ownership

How to Get Help

 Several programs provide help to seniors in Mississippi applying for Medicaid coverage. These programs also cover additional financial aid topics, including prescription assistance and supplemental insurance.

ResourceContactWhat You Should Know is a federal website that helps seniors apply for state Medicaid and other benefits services. The site provides a brief description of the program, eligibility requirements and contact information.
Mississippi Bar Association(601) 948-4471The Mississippi Bar Association provides information on Medicare and Medicaid and a variety of other programs and services offered by the state. The Bar Association helps seniors file appeals for application denials and assists with complaints of fraud. is the official federal website of the Medicaid program. It offers answers to popular questions and details about plan benefits.

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

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 & Resources in Indiana

Several programs provide help for seniors in Mississippi who are navigating the Medicare application process. These programs describe the different parts, including Medigap and prescription coverage.

ResourceContactWhat You Should Know
Mississippi State Insurance Assistance Program(844) 822-4622SHIP provides one-on-one insurance counseling for Medicare and Medicaid. It helps seniors make coverage changes during the enrollment period and provides information on out-of-pocket costs, supplemental insurance and senior rights during the application process.
Medicare Resources(844) 309-3504Medicare Resources is an online database that provides financial help by state. The site offers Medicare information, including details about the different parts, eligibility and contact information and information on where to apply locally. is the starting point for questions and information about Medicare. Seniors can call the toll-free number to receive answers to questions about the status of an application and to locate physicians who accept Medicare coverage. Through the website, seniors can learn about Medicare Medigap protections and get referrals to local services agencies for both home and long-term care.

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

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

Seniors in Mississippi have access to a wide variety of programs and services to improve their overall quality of life. These services address everything from transportation to health screenings to fitness.

ResourceContactWhat You Should Know
Mississippi Department of Human Services(844) 437-6282The Mississippi Department of Human Services helps seniors and disabled adults through advocacy, protection, education, programs and services. Available services include economic assistance, family caregiver support, nutritional counseling, food assistance and workforce development.
Mississippi Long-Term Care Ombudsman(601) 359-4500The long-term care ombudsman works to resolve problems reported by residents in long-term care facilities. The ombudsman advocates for the rights of seniors and their families and ensures communities are maintaining state and federal standards.
Mississippi Access to Care Network(844) 822-4622The Mississippi Access to Care Network connects seniors to long-term services and support. These services allow older adults to remain in the community as long as possible while delaying nursing home care. Resources include waiver information, insurance counseling, senior companionship and caregiver support.
Community Action of South Mississippi(228) 769-3292Community Action of South Mississippi delivers support and services to those 60 and older in the area. This includes meals, transportation and activities. A 48-hour advance notice is required for transportation services, and rides are available for everything from medical appointments to errands.
Mississippi VA(877) 203 5632The Mississippi VA administers programs and benefits for veterans and their families. These benefits include pensions, disability assistance, home loans, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation, medical care and burial benefits. The VA also operates the Aid and Attendance Housing Benefit, which provides reimbursement for home and community-based services in long-term care.

COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Mississippi 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 Mississippi

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 Mississippi State Department of Health regulates senior living communities in the state, where they are known as adult foster care facilities. All such facilities in Mississippi are required to carry a current state license, which is subject to renewal, revocation and inspection by state inspectors. To maintain a license, facilities must adhere to regulations developed and published by the department. In particular, all licensed facilities in Mississippi must follow state guidelines in the areas of admitting residents, Alzheimer’s care, medication management and staff training and conduct.

Admission Requirements

Prior to admission into a senior living community in Mississippi, seniors must complete a pre-admission medical and mental health screening. The examining physician must certify that the totality of the senior’s needs can be met at the level of care the admitting facility is licensed to provide, and that no specific medical needs prevent the senior from flourishing in a non-clinical care environment. Medical screenings must be repeated annually or when a caregiver has noticed a decline in the resident’s cognition or behavior.

As part of the admission process, senior living facility administrators must work with medical providers to develop a plan of care for the individual resident. This care plan must include all of the resident’s medical needs, such as prescriptions and visits from therapy providers, and regular assessments of progress must be made to ensure the plan is being followed. A copy of this plan must be put on file and accessible to seniors’ authorized decision makers. The file is also required to include a copy of the pre-admission agreement specifying in advance what monthly charges and other likely costs seniors must pay to reside at the facility.

The state of Mississippi places limits on the amount of care an senior living facility may offer its residents. In general, residents must not be admitted to an senior living community if they:

  • Cannot walk unaided
  • Require physical restraints
  • Pose a threat to themselves or others
  • Need airway suctioning or gastric feeding
  • Need a continuous IV drip
  • Have an indwelling urinary catheter
  • Require sterile wound care
  • Require treatment of decubitus ulcers or exfoliative dermatitis

Memory Care Regulation

The Department of Health issues special licenses for facilities that treat seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Memory care units are subject to special regulations, which apply to both dedicated memory care facilities and to special care units within larger senior living communities. Prior to admission, residents of a memory care unit must have been diagnosed with some form of dementia and received an endorsement from a doctor for residential care at the specific facility providing care. Residents of a memory care unit must be supervised throughout waking hours, and sufficient staff must be available to assist with emergencies and aid evacuation. The Department of Health requires that 3 hours of skilled nursing care should be available for every 24 hours each resident is present in the facility, which usually works out to one staff member for every eight residents. Staff in the special care unit must receive a specialized training course in Alzheimer’s care and dementia management.

Medication Management

State laws limit the nature of drugs permitted in senior living facilities, and they mandate special handling for permitted prescription drugs. Schedule I drugs are not permitted on the grounds of a licensed facility. Residents of senior living facilities may have Schedule II narcotics as part of their care plan, but the medications must be stored in secure locations in sealed and pre-measured packaging. Other medications may be controlled and taken by residents, provided the resident is capable of understanding instructions and safely self-administering doses. Staff at senior living facilities may assist with the taking of certain medications. Only certified medication aides or nursing staff may administer prescription drugs to residents who cannot self-administer. All uses of prescription drugs must be logged and reported in keeping with state regulations.

Staffing Requirements

Every senior living facility in Mississippi must have at least one full-time employee who is designated as the site’s operator. This administrative position must be filled by an employee who is a high school graduate aged 21 or older. Operators must not be listed in the Mississippi Nurses Aide Abuse Registry, and background checks are required for operators who are expected to have contact with residents. During hours when the site’s operator is not on duty, a substitute operator must be on site and able to manage the facility staff. Requirements for substitute operators are the same as for primary operators.

Non-management staff at senior living facilities must be high school graduates aged 18 and over who also do not appear in the abuse registry. Staff must pass background checks and pass through a training course in senior care as part of the hiring process. Staff members must be awake, dressed and ready to respond to emergencies 24 hours a day. Maximum staff-to-resident ratios during waking hours are 1:15, and 1:25 during night operations.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in Mississippi?

Assisted living in Mississippi costs an average of $3,524 a month. This is significantly less than the $4,051 national average seniors pay across the country. It is also somewhat lower than the average rate in many of the states that border Mississippi.

Does Mississippi Medicaid pay for assisted living?

Medicaid in Mississippi does not pay the board and care costs of assisted living. Medicaid benefits do have provisions to help pay for prescription medications and some medical services that are secondary to assisted living, though caregiver services are not included in the general program. Seniors who receive Medicaid benefits in Mississippi may be eligible for a Home and Community Based Service waiver. Medicaid case workers can assist beneficiaries with applications and provide more information about the program.

Does Medicare pay for assisted living?

Medicare does not generally pay for the monthly expenses related to assisted living. Original Medicare does not include a long-term care option, though some Medicare Advantage plans may have a limited benefit seniors can use to pay for some assisted living services. Because Part C benefits are provided by private insurance companies, considerable variation exists among plans. It is always best to speak to a plan representative before committing to a senior living plan.

What are “activities of daily living”?

The term “activities of daily living” describes the normal daily chores some seniors need help performing to remain independent. Typical activities include personal hygiene, grooming and dressing, light housekeeping and meal preparation. Caregivers also sometimes assist seniors with transportation and shopping outside the home.

What is the difference between assisted living and nursing homes?

Assisted living is a level of senior care that allows seniors to remain as independent as possible, with some personal caregiver assistance with activities of daily living. This is a less medically intensive level of care than skilled nursing, which usually includes blood monitoring and the administration of medication. Skilled nursing also typically includes physical and occupational therapy, which assisted living does not.

Learn More About Senior Living in Mississippi

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

The Top Cities for Senior Living in Mississippi

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

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