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Guide to Senior Living in Missouri

Missouri is home to more than 6 million residents and has a relatively large senior community that makes up nearly 17% of its population. The number of adults aged 60 and over is projected to increase to 26% of the state’s population by 2030, and the population of those aged 85 and over is estimated to grow by 51,000 between 2015 and 2030. To accommodate these seniors, the state has over 1,100 long-term care facilities, including about 370 residential care facilities and 270 assisted living facilities. Together, these facilities house more than 80,000 seniors, providing numerous options for those seeking long-term care.

Compared to the national average, Missouri has a modest cost of living, which may make it an economical option for seniors seeking affordable senior living. For instance, most seniors in Missouri pay about $2,881 per month for assisted living, compared to the national monthly average of $4,051—a savings of over $1,000 per month.

This guide provides an overview of the costs of senior care in Missouri, as well as the local programs and resources that are in place to support seniors who need financial assistance.

Covid-19 Rules and Restrictions for Missouri Senior Living Facilities

The following rules and guidelines were obtained from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website, as well as other state-level government sites. Among others, these rules apply to nursing homes, long-term care facilities, retirement homes, and assisted living homes.

This data has been most recently updated on 7/13/20, 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?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 (varies by facility)
Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?NA
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
Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?No
Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?Yes, with social distancing
Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?Yes

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 Missouri

Senior care types include assisted living, in-home care services, adult day health care and nursing home care. Adult day health care is the most affordable option, averaging $1,777 per month, but living costs such as housing and food aren’t included, which may affect overall affordability. In-home care services cost about $4,195 per month, and a semiprivate room in a nursing home facility costs $5,061 per month.


Assisted Living


In-Home Care


Home Health Care


Adult Day Care


Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Missouri

According to Genworth Financial’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey, seniors in Missouri pay an average monthly fee of $2,881 for assisted living services, making it the most affordable state in the nation for this level of care. This is about 34% lower than the national average of $4,051. Missouri’s assisted living costs are also affordable compared to its bordering states.




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The Cost of In-Home Care in Missouri

Missouri seniors who find daily tasks more and more difficult to do as they get older may seek to employ in-home caregivers. The monthly cost in Missouri for these services is $4,195, slightly lower than the United States average of $4,290. Compared to nearby states Iowa and Illinois, Missourians will keep more money in their pocket. The average for in-home care in these two states is higher at $4,767 and $4,481, respectively. States with lower monthly prices are Kansas, $4,004, and Arkansas, $3,623. 




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The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Missouri

Seniors who need more care than their families can provide, may require the services of nursing home staff who provide ongoing medical care and continual supervision. The cost of this type of care in Missouri is well below the national average and four surrounding states, making The Show-Me State an affordable location for nursing home care. On average, seniors here pay $5,061 per month for care whereas seniors in other parts of the country pay an average of $7,513 per month. 




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Financial Assistance for Senior Living in Missouri

Supplemental Nursing Care

The Supplemental Nursing Care program is available to residents in licensed residential care facilities and assisted living facilities. This program provides a monthly cash payment to residents to help cover the cost of their care. The amount paid to residents depends on where they reside. As of 2020, residential care facility residents are eligible for up to $156 per month, and senior living facility residents may receive up to $292 per month. In addition to this payment, program participants receive a $50 personal needs allowance.

To be eligible for the SNC program, residents must meet the eligibility requirements for MO HealthNet. They must be at least 65 years old and be U.S. citizens or eligible qualified nonresidents, and they must be permanent residents of Missouri. They may have up to $2,000 in countable assets and have a net income of no more than $834 per month. Additionally, they must be certified by the state’s Department of Social Services to get a grant that is specific for the level of care that they need.

Contact: For more information, eligible seniors should call 1-855-373-4634. To apply, seniors should print, fill out and mail an application to the address provided.

Optional State Supplement

Low-income seniors who receive Supplemental Security Income and reside in a residential or nursing facility also qualify to receive the state’s additional benefit. This cash benefit is paid in addition to the federal payment and can be used toward the cost of care. The amount of the state supplement varies based on where the recipient lives. Residents of Level I residential care facilities receive $156 per month, residents of Level II facilities receive $292, and those in intermediate care or skilled nursing homes receive $390.

To be eligible for the state supplement, applicants must be at least 65 years old or blind or disabled. They must reside in a senior living facility that isn’t a Medicaid facility, and they must meet income and asset guidelines.

Contact: To apply for benefits, seniors should call 800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment. Some seniors qualify to file online.

Veterans Aid and Attendance

Missouri seniors who receive VA pensions and are housebound or require services from a caregiver may be eligible for an additional monthly benefit through the federal Veteran’s Aid and Attendance program. This payment is issued monthly and can be used toward senior living costs.

To be eligible for this program, veterans must meet at least one of these conditions:

  • Need assistance with activities of daily living like bathing and dressing
  • Reside in a nursing home because of a physical or mental disability
  • Be bedridden due to a disability
  • Be housebound due to a disability
  • Have eyesight that is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in one or both eyes or a concentric contraction of the field of vision to 5 degrees or less

Contact: For more information about the Aid and Attendance program, seniors should contact their local Veterans Assistance office.

Senior Living Laws and Regulations in Missouri

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 ensure that residents receive quality care and have access to necessary supports and services, Missouri enforces rules and regulations for senior living facilities.

Scope of Care

Senior living facilities in Missouri provide around-the-clock supervision and scheduled and unscheduled care with daily living activities such as bathing and toileting. They also offer recreational activities. Facilities must offer three meals daily. If they accommodate physician-prescribed specialty diets, then their meal plans must be reviewed by a physician, registered nurse, nutritionist or dietician every quarter. Facilities also must assist with storing, distributing and administering medications.

Service Plan Requirements

Before admitting a new resident, the senior living facility must complete screening to ensure that the prospective resident is eligible. Within five days of admission, an authorized staff member and a physician must conduct a physical exam to document the new resident’s medical status and write special orders regarding needed care. An individualized care plan must be developed that addresses the resident’s needs, goals and expectations.

Medication Management Requirements

Residents in senior living facilities may self-administer prescription and over-the-counter medications with the approval of a licensed health provider. Every other month, a physician, pharmacist or registered nurse must review the resident’s medication regimen. Staff who administer medications must be, at minimum, certified as Level I medication aide or certified medication technicians unless they are an RN, physician or pharmacist. Insulin can only be administered by a licensed nurse or physician or a certified medication technician or medication aide who has completed the state-approved course for insulin administration.

Staffing Requirements

Senior living facilities must employ a licensed administrator to oversee day-to-day operations and supervise staff. They must also employ a licensed nurse and a large enough direct care staff to cover scheduled and unscheduled needs. A Level I medication aide or certified medication technician must be available to provide medication administration. In addition to this, residential care facilities must be under the supervision of a physician who monitors treatments and medications prescribed by other health care professionals. Facilities must maintain a staff-to-resident ratio of 1:15 during the day and evening and 1:20 at night.

Caregiver Screening Requirements

Before allowing any full-time, part-time or temporary employees to have direct contact with residents, senior living facilities must conduct a criminal background check. If the employee’s background check indicates a criminal conviction, they aren’t permitted to have direct contact with facility residents.

Caregiver Training Requirements

All caregivers in residential care homes and senior living facilities must receive at least one hour of training on fire safety and job responsibilities, including information on preserving residents’ dignity, recognizing and reporting abuse or neglect, and working with residents with mental health issues. Caregivers in senior living facilities must also receive:

  • At least two hours of training on transfer assistance
  • Person-centered care and techniques for enhancing residents’ control over their environment
  • 24 hours of training on assessing cognitive ability
  • Service planning and interview skills

Medicaid Coverage

In Missouri, nursing home-level care in senior living facilities may be paid for by the state through MO HealthNet, the state’s Medicaid program.

Abuse and Neglect Reporting

Senior living facilities must report suspected or observed abuse, neglect or exploitation to the Missouri ombudsman program.

Memory Care Regulation

Senior living facilities that provide memory care services must give additional training to all staff regarding topics like behavior management, promoting independence and understanding and dealing with family issues.

Missouri Senior Living Free Resources

Missouri Agencies

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is a state government agency that provides a variety of services to seniors to promote their health and safety. Through this department, seniors can connect with nutrition programs, adult day health care resources, home and community-based service providers, legal help and employment opportunities. It also offers Medicare and Medicaid assistance and an ombudsman program. Anyone can contact the department for advice regarding local resources and services for seniors.

Contact: For information on services available, seniors can reach DHSS by calling (573) 751-6400.

Area Agencies of Aging in Missouri

Area Agencies on Aging are networks of public or private nonprofit organizations that address the needs of older residents at the local or regional level. Missouri has 10 AAAs, each of which provides legal services, congregate and home-delivered meals, in-home services, disease prevention, transportation services and information and assistance. Some regions offer additional programs like tax counseling and ombudsman services. AAAs are free to use and are available to those aged 60 and over.

SeniorAge Area Agency on Aging1735 S. Fort AvenueSpringfield, MO 65807(417) 852-0762(800) 497-0822
Southeast MO AAA Aging Matters1078 Wolverine Road, Suite 1Cape Girardeau, MO 63701(573) 335-3331(800) 392-8771
Care Connection for Aging Services106 W. Young StreetP.O. Box 1078Warrensburg, MO 64093(660) 747-3107(800) 748-7826
Northwest MO AAA809 N. 13th StreetP.O. Box 265Albany, MO 64402(660) 726-3800(888) 844-5626
Northeast MO AAA815 N. OsteopathyKirksville, MO 63501(660) 665-4682(800) 664-6338
Central MO AAA1121 Business Loop 70 E., Suite 2AColumbia, MO 65201(573) 443-5823(800) 369-5211
Mid-America Regional Council600 Broadway, Suite 200Kansas City, MO 64105(816) 421-4980(800) 593-7948
Mid-East MO AAA AgingAhead14535 Manchester RoadSt. Louis, MO 63011(636) 207-0847(800) 243-6060
St. Louis AAA1520 Market Street4th floor, Room 4065St. Louis, MO 63103(314) 612-5918(877) 612-5918
Region X AAA531 E. 15th StreetJoplin, MO 64804(417) 781-7562

Veterans Affairs Offices in Missouri

Eligible veterans and their family members can receive health care services and access to benefits programs through Missouri’s Veterans Service offices, which are located throughout the state. Through these offices, qualifying veterans can apply for the VA Aid and Attendance program to receive a monthly cash benefit that can be used for senior living expenses.

Social Security Offices in Missouri

Social Security is a valuable income source for seniors that can be used to cover living expenses, including services received in senior living. Missouri has several offices throughout the state where seniors can apply for Social Security benefits, SSI, extra help with Medicare prescription drug costs and special veterans benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in Missouri?

On average, Missouri seniors pay $2,881 per month for assisted living. Throughout the state’s major cities, the cost of this type of care ranges from $2,750 to $3,848 per month.

Does MO HealthNet pay for assisted living?

MO HealthNet, the state’s Medicaid program, pays for nursing home-level care in assisted living facilities. Currently, standard assisted living services aren’t covered by MO HealthNet or any waiver programs.

What are “Activities of Daily Living?”

Activities of daily living are routine activities that need to take place every day. There are six basic ADLs, including eating, bathing, dressing, continence, toileting and transferring. A person’s ability to perform ADLs is considered when determining long-term care decisions.

What types of amenities are common in Assisted Living Communities?

Amenities vary widely from one community to another and typically include community-organized on-site social activities, day trips, games, movie nights, exercise programs, live entertainment and arts and crafts classes.

Who should consider assisted living?

Assisted living is well-suited to seniors whose ability to care for themselves is declining or who have difficulty keeping up with the demands of maintaining a home. This level of care is also beneficial for seniors who have trouble managing their finances or who are experiencing depression or social isolation.

The Top Cities for Senior Living in Missouri

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

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