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Guide to Senior Living in New Jersey

The senior population in New Jersey is on the rise, while general population growth is fairly stable at an estimated 1% increase compared to 2010. The senior population is expected to increase from 16.1% to 19.9% of the total population by 2030. As seniors age and retire, the need for senior living facilities is expected to grow, putting strain on existing care systems for the elderly.

The explosion in the senior population may explain, in part, the relatively high cost of senior living in New Jersey. For example, the statewide average for assisted living is $6,400 per month, which is $2,349 more than the national average. Given the high cost of  services, many seniors may struggle to meet all of their financial obligations. Those facing increasingly expensive care may benefit from a variety of programs available to help reduce out-of-pocket costs for medical and other health care services. 

This guide takes a look at the cost of senior living in the state, available financial assistance programs and local agencies and free resources that may provide help to seniors.

The Cost of Senior Living in New Jersey

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.

The 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey reveals wide variations in the fees charged by New Jersey’s senior living providers. Although multiple factors influence the differing fees, the most significant is the level of care. Seniors and their families should expect costs to generally be higher, if, for example, a facility has a greater staff-to-resident ratio. Nursing homes provide the most comprehensive care, specializing in delivering hospital-like services that primarily involve rehabilitation. Due to the many licensed and registered nurses operating around-the-clock and physicians designing individualized care plans, nursing home fees are generally in the region of $11,254 per month.

Memory care community staff are specially trained to support seniors dealing with cognitive decline. Facilities also have a minimum of one registered nurse, whose responsibility includes designing individual care plans. Consequently, the average fee is approximately $8,119 per month — a lower rate than nursing home costs. A median fee of $6,495 is indicative of assisted living’s lower staffing costs when compared to memory care. Both services offer broadly the same type of care, although assisted living staff don’t need the same specialized training. Independent living communities usually provide minimal care, so the bulk of the typical fee of $4,222 goes towards better amenities and more housing options.


Assisted Living


Independent Living


Memory Care


Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in New Jersey

Compared to the national average of $4,500, the typical senior in New Jersey pays an additional $1,995 per month for assisted living. The state’s fees are also high when compared to its nearest neighbors. In Delaware, the average is $5,995, in New York, it’s $4,580 and in Pennsylvania, $4,100.


New Jersey


The United States


New York





The Cost of Nursing Home Care in New Jersey

Although nursing home costs in New Jersey are high when compared to the national average of $7,908, they’re not the most expensive in the region. At $12,273 per month, Delaware residents pay more, but not as much as New Yorkers, who typically pay $12,775. Pennsylvania’s average fee of $10,403 is the only one below New Jersey’s $11,254.


New Jersey


The United State


New York





Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Senior Living in New Jersey?

Although New Jersey’s Medicaid program, known as NJ FamilyCare, can pay senior living costs, it’s only available to applicants who pass strict eligibility criteria and reside in approved facilities licensed by the Department of Health and Senior Services. It’s administered by Managed Care Organizations, an umbrella term that applies to different health insurance companies authorized to manage Medicaid programs in New Jersey.

Medicaid won’t cover any independent living costs but can pay all fees and expenses for nursing home residents. Seniors in assisted living facilities and memory care units can benefit from partial funding for their medical and some nonmedical treatments but not their room and board.

Medicaid Coverage LevelType of Medicaid CoverageEntitlement?*
Assisted LivingPartialMedicaid WaiversNo
Independent LivingNoneN/AN/A
Memory CarePartialMedicaid WaiversNo
Nursing Home CareFullMedicaidYes

*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 New Jersey

NJ FamilyCare has three waiver programs that can cover some or all costs for low-income seniors whose conditions don’t entitle them to Medicaid. Of the three, two apply to senior care facility residents. 

Medicaid Managed Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS)

MLTSS is for seniors in residential care facilities and those still able to live at home. For successful applicants, the waiver will cover some or all of their medical and nonmedical costs, transportation for health care purposes and prescription drugs. However, it won’t pay room and board fees. MLTSS is only available to New Jersey residents aged 65 and older who struggle to perform a minimum of three daily living activities, such as getting in and out of bed, bathing and dressing. Applicants must also satisfy the waiver’s income eligibility limits.

To get more information about MLTSS, seniors can visit the waiver’s dedicated webpage or email the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services. To apply, seniors can call (877) 222-3737 to speak to an advisor or visit their nearest County Area Agency on Aging/Aging and Disability Resource Connection office, where a representative of the local Managed Care Organization will help them complete their application and conduct the clinical screening part of the process.

Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)

Available to adults aged 55 and older, PACE is a waiver that blends Medicaid and Medicare to provide a comprehensive range of services. Although suitable for most seniors in need of care, it’s particularly useful for those who may need to transition between different types of residential care facilities. The waiver’s fluidity caters to changes in care services, such as paying for physicians in nursing homes, therapists in memory care units and licensed nurses in assisted living facilities. It can also cover costs for prescription drugs and transportation.

PACE is currently only available within specific zip codes, so some seniors may need to relocate to a facility within a participating area. To discover relevant locations and apply for the waiver, seniors should contact their nearest PACE agency or call the New Jersey Division of Aging Services at (800) 792-8820.

Medicaid’s Coverage of Nursing Home Care in New Jersey

Medicaid can pay all nursing home care costs, including those not available to assisted living residents, such as meals, accommodations and recreational activities. The program covers all fees for 24-hour skilled nursing, in addition to transportation for medical purposes, personal care, social work and prescription drugs.

Eligibility for Medicaid in New Jersey

To be considered for Medicaid in 2022, New Jersey applicants in single-person households must have annual incomes at or below $30,276. However, applicants can deduct a monthly allowance of $50 and their Medicare premiums from this figure. The income limit for seniors in two-person households is also $30,276, but this rises to $60,552 if both persons apply. Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries are automatically eligible for Medicaid, but those who don’t qualify for SSI may want to contact their local County Board of Social Services office, as they could still be eligible.

2022 New Jersey Medicaid Income Limits

Single Person$30,276$2,000
Two-Person Household
(Only One Applicant)
$30,276$2,000 for applicant
$137,400 for non-applicant
Two-Person Household
(Two Applicants)

*per year
**Managed Care Organizations will review the previous 5 years of the applicant’s financial history to check if assets were gifted or sold below market value in anticipation of a Medicaid claim

All applicants must agree to clinical screening, which determines their ability to perform tasks common to everyday living. Seniors who can’t manage three or more activities without help, such as using toilet facilities and walking, will have satisfied this part of their application. They must also be:

  • U.S. citizens or legal residents
  • New Jersey residents
  • 65 years old or more
  • In need of nursing home levels of care

Applying for Medicaid in New Jersey

The quickest way to apply for Medicaid in New Jersey is through the Nj FamilyCare website. Alternatively, seniors can download an application form and send a completed print copy to Nj FamilyCare, P. O. Box 8367, Trenton, NJ 08650-9802. Seniors who prefer to meet advisors face-to-face can make an appointment at their nearest County Board of Social Services office.

Before You Apply

To avoid delays, seniors should gather as much relevant information and documentation as possible. Although each senior’s documentary evidence will be unique, all will need to provide proof of:

  • Income, including for anyone living at their address and the contact details of employers
  • Social Security numbers, or, if a legal immigrant, document numbers
  • Policy numbers for all health insurances, including Medicare
  • Policy numbers for job-related insurances for anyone residing with the applicant

How To Get Help

Several organizations provide free advice and support to seniors who need help applying for Medicaid. Those listed here are government agencies and nonprofits that provide support free of charge.

ContactWhat You Should Know
American Council on AgingOnline OnlyThe American Council on Aging is an entirely online resource with detailed information for seniors doing their own research. The site also has useful tools for visitors to check their eligibility status for NJ Medicaid and a spend-down calculator that indicates how much of their assets must be spent down to boost their approval chances.
LSNJLAW(888) 576-5529LSNJAW is dedicated to helping older residents access free legal advice and support. It can’t assist in criminal cases but does help seniors draft their wills and trusts, arrange insurances linked to their long-term care plans and claim government aid and benefits previously denied. It can also help seniors become the legal guardians of vulnerable loved ones.
NJHelps.orgOnline OnlyNJHelps is an online assistance program that not only helps seniors determine if they’re eligible for Medicaid but also informs them of other programs they may qualify for. Additionally, it supports them through their applications for each program.

Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Senior Living in New Jersey?

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 New Jersey

Medicare and its associated plans can be bewildering for some seniors. Fortunately, there are several authoritative agencies within New Jersey that can help make the state health insurance less confusing and assist with applications and resolve some issues. All the agencies listed here provide their services for free.

ContactWhat You Should Know 633-4227The official government site for Medicare is a useful source of information for seniors who like to conduct their own research. The site explains in general terms who can qualify for Medicare, what the costs may be and how to apply, even if the applicant intends to continue working after 65 years of age. It also has a live chat function, enabling visitors to ask questions 24-hours a day.
State Health Insurance Assistance Program(800) 792-8820The State Health Insurance Assistance Program helps New Jersey’s seniors learn more about Medicare and how to include it in their long-term care plans. Trained advisors operate throughout the state, educating seniors on original Medicare, Medigap and Medicare Advantage. They can also discuss private health insurance but won’t try to sell plans as their purpose is to assist the senior only. 
Social SecurityOnline ApplicationIn addition to providing helpful information for people who want to know more about Medicare, the federal government’s Social Security website also provides a link for seniors who didn’t receive their Medicare cards. Additionally, there’s information and assistance for those already enrolled who want to learn how to manage their benefits. 
Senior Medicare Patrol(877) 767-4359JFS of Middlesex County is the agency authorized to administer the Senior Medicare Patrol program throughout New Jersey. Its purpose is to educate seniors about Medicare fraud and help them recognize the tactics used by scammers trying to obtain their Medicare card numbers. Senior Medicare Patrol also advocates for consumers who believe they’ve been billed in error. 

Are There Other Financial Assistance Options for Senior Living in New Jersey?

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

There are numerous government agencies and nonprofit organizations providing free services to aid New Jersey’s older residents. Those listed here can help resolve legal matters involving civil law, connect volunteers with charities that need their help and provide seniors with memory loss with information and support. There’s also specific help for U.S. military veterans and their dependents.

ContactWhat You Should Know
Veterans Affairs(888) 865-8387Veterans Affairs is a division within the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs that specializes in helping vets and their families identify and apply for the local, state and federal benefits they’re entitled to. It also operates crisis lines for veterans and members of the National Guard and can refer clients in need of medical and non-medical support to the nearest facility within the VA New Jersey Health Care System. 
Aging and Disability Resource Connection/Area Agency on Aging(877) 222-3737There is an Area Agency on Aging serving each of New Jersey’s 21 counties. They coordinate services to help seniors remain safely and comfortably at home and avoid institutional care for as long as possible. Aging and Disability Resource Connection agencies provide information and support to seniors and their caregivers, particularly regarding long-term care supports. Depending on the location, the agencies may also operate the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, which advocates for seniors in residential care communities.
AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program(888) 687-2277The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program is a free service for all seniors, although it gives priority to those on low incomes. The program’s volunteers are IRS-certified and located in multiple centers and libraries throughout New Jersey. The senior makes an appointment at their nearest center and works with the volunteer to complete their taxes. Alternatively, they can use the program’s free software and call the volunteer for assistance only when necessary.
Goodwill Home Medical Equipment(609) 812-2210Based in Camden County, Goodwill Home Medical Equipment provides gently-used and refurbished assistive technology devices to seniors throughout South Jersey. These include walkers, canes, crutches and various types of wheelchairs. Although the organization charges for devices, its fees are lower than buying new, benefiting seniors whose insurance doesn’t cover medical equipment costs.
AmeriCorps RSVP New Jersey(800) 942-2677Many counties in New Jersey operate RSVP groups sponsored by AmeriCorps. RSVP is a link between seniors who want to volunteer their time to help their communities and the nonprofits who rely on their assistance. Jobs vary wildly and may allow the volunteer to use their existing skills and experience, although most are likely to require some form of training, which the organization will provide. RSVP volunteers also get free liability and accident insurance during their working hours.
Alzheimer’s New Jersey(888) 280-6055Formerly the Greater New Jersey chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s New Jersey has over 35 years of experience supporting seniors with cognitive issues and their loved ones. It operates many programs and services at various locations throughout the state. These include face-to-face care consultations, family support groups, a helpline staffed by professionals and respite services to give caregivers much-needed time off. 

COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for New Jersey 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 2/10/2022, 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 (Conditions Apply)
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 New Jersey

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.

Rules and regulations for senior living in New Jersey apply to three categories of service providers — senior living residences, comprehensive personal care homes and senior living programs. The Department of Health and Senior Services licenses and inspects these facilities to ensure they are meeting all state-mandated requirements. Take a look below for more information about the laws and regulations that apply to senior living.

Scope of Care

In New Jersey, senior living facilities must meet minimum care requirements that include help with personal care, health care, skilled nursing care, pharmacy access, activities, recreation and transportation. While skilled nursing care must be provided, the need for on-going care at that level may mean a transfer to a nursing home. Senior living facilities also provide three meals per day, snacks and beverages.

Care Plan Requirements

At least 30 days before a resident is admitted to an assisted living facility in New Jersey, the facility must obtain an assessment from the applicant’s health care provider certifying that the facility can provide an acceptable level of care. Within 14-days of admission, the facility must develop a care plan after an assessment by the staff RN.

Medication Management Requirements

All staff can assist residents with self-administering medications, removing single doses and opening packaging, but only staff who are certified can administer medications directly. Certified staff members can also distribute medications under the direction of a pharmacist or RN, if the facility uses a unit-of-dose system.

Staff Screening Requirements

Current guidelines require senior living facilities to hire certified or licensed staff to perform direct care. Part of the licensing or certification process includes a fingerprint criminal background check.

Staff Training Requirements

Before starting work at an senior living facility, all staff members must go through an orientation that covers topics including emergency planning and evacuations, infection control, resident care, pain management, patient rights and other related topics. A personal care aide is often the staff member with the most direct contact with residents. PCAs must have 20 hours of continuing education every 2 years, while those who administer medications must have an additional 10 hours of CE. Administrators must complete 30 hours of CE every 3 years.

Medicaid Coverage

Some of the expenses related to senior living may be covered under Medicaid programs like MLTSS. It is important to note that MLTSS specifically excludes expenses related to room and board. Covered expenses may include personal care services, assistance with ADLs, meal preparation and other assistive services. 

Abuse and Neglect Reporting

If you or a loved one experience or suspect abuse has taken place at a senior living facility, report the incident to the Long Term Care Ombudsman by phone at 1-877-582-6995 or via email at [email protected].

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in New Jersey?

Assisted living costs in New Jersey average $6,400 per month. However, many areas throughout the state have much lower costs, such as Vineland, where the monthly cost of assisted living averages $4,600.

Are there financial assistance programs for assisted living in New Jersey?

New Jersey has several programs that pay some or all of the cost of assisted living for seniors who qualify. The congregate housing program may be ideal for seniors living in specific buildings, while the MLTSS program may provide funds for some of the health and wellness services offered in an assisted living facility.

What are Activities of Daily Living?

Activities of daily living include tasks like bathing, getting dressed, grooming and eating. For seniors with mobility challenges, it may include assistance transferring from a bed to a chair, or from standing to sitting.

What is the difference between assisted living and independent living?

Independent living typically refers to a community designed to be low-maintenance that may offer services like housekeeping. Seniors are generally active and capable of self-care. In assisted living, seniors may get help with some daily living activities and have access to staff 24 hours a day.

Who should consider assisted living?

Seniors who can no longer live at home safely, or require assistance with activities like cooking a meal or getting dressed, may want to consider assisted living. Those who require skilled nursing care are not good candidates for assisted living.

Learn More About Senior Living in New Jersey

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

The Top Cities for Senior Living in New Jersey

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

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