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Guide to Senior Living in Oregon

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 17.6% of Oregon’s 4.2 million residents were 65 and older in 2019. The percentage of older Oregonians is expected to grow to 21.7% by 2029, increasing the demand for senior living and other services provided to seniors. Oregon offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation, access to a variety of cultural attractions and lower tax rates for retirees than some other states, making it a great place for older adults to live.

Because Oregon has a higher cost of living than many states, seniors can expect to pay a little more for care. For instance, in 2019, the cost of assisted living in Oregon averaged $4,499 per month, which is almost $450 above the national average of $4,051. This guide provides an overview of the costs associated with each type of care, a look at how costs vary from one region to another and information on programs that may help defray the costs of care for Oregon seniors.

Covid-19 Rules and Restrictions for Oregon Senior Living Facilities

The following rules and guidelines were obtained from the Oregon Department of Human Services website, as well as other state-level government sites. Among others, these rules apply to nursing facilities, residential care facilities, assisted living facilities (including those with memory care).

This data has been most recently updated on 7/19/20, 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?No
Can I visit my relative in person for end-of-life compassion care?Yes ( conditions apply) 
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?No
Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?Yes, the state requires this 
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?Yes
Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?No
Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?No

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 Oregon

Seniors who are mostly independent but need some help with daily tasks and light medical care may choose to age at home and employ the services of an in-home health care agency; however, those who are willing to move may find there are increased social benefits to living in an assisted living community. Those who cannot live on their own and require a high-level of skilled nursing care 24/7 will need nursing home care. The cost of all of these care types in Oregon exceeds the national average from about $500 – $2,000 per month.


Assisted Living


Homemaker Services


Home Health Care


Adult Day Care


Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Oregon

Genworth Financial’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey revealed that seniors in Oregon can expect to pay an average of $4,499 per month for assisted living care, which is above the national average of $4,051 per month. Average costs vary greatly in surrounding states, however. Costs are much higher in Washington and about the same in California, but seniors in Idaho and Nevada pay less for care.




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The Cost of In-Home Care in Oregon

Most in-home care companies in Oregon offer help with activities of daily living in a senior’s home for an average rate of $5,148 per month. While it is above the national average of  $4,290, Oregon’s price point  falls in the middle of its four neighboring states. Washington and California are more expensive at $5,720 and $5,335, respectively, while Idaho ($4,195) and Nevada ($4,290) are less expensive. Due to its position in the middle, Oregon is a feasible option for seniors in need of nursing home care. 




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The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Oregon

Nursing home care in Oregon is expensive with monthly costs of $9,551 that are significantly higher than the national average of $7,513. Oregon’s rates are more costly than all neighboring states as well. Monthly costs in Washington are the closest with a price tag of $9,112, while the biggest gap is with Nevada, where the monthly rate is $7,604. Falling in the middle of the two are Idaho and California where nursing home care goes for $7,924 and $8,760, respectively. Due to Oregon’s elevated cost, seniors on a tight budget may want to look elsewhere for this type of care. 




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Financial Assistance for Senior Living in Oregon

Oregon Health Plan

Oregon Health Plan is the Medicaid program available to Oregon residents. Through a service option known as the Program for All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE), Oregon seniors may qualify for help paying their senior living expenses. Seniors who qualify for this service option work with an interdisciplinary team made up of doctors, nurses, social workers and other professionals to determine what services are needed.

In addition to covering senior living, PACE may cover transportation services, physical or occupational therapy, nutritional counseling and medical supplies. To qualify for PACE, seniors must be at least 55 years old and assessed at service priority level 1-13, which means they have some type of impairment that affects their ability to complete activities of daily living without assistance. Applicants must also be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid (or willing to pay out of pocket), reside in a PACE service area and agree to receive services exclusively from the PACE organization.

Contact: Oregon has one PACE plan in Portland, Providence ElderPlace. Prospective enrollees can call (503) 215-6556 for more information.

Senior Living Laws and Regulations in Oregon

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.

In Oregon, the Department of Human Services is responsible for granting licenses to senior living facilities operating within the state. DHS also conducts inspections to ensure each facility is in compliance with all relevant regulations. To protect the health and safety of seniors living in Oregon’s senior living facilities, each facility must meet minimum requirements regarding staffing levels, employee training and administrator qualifications.

Staffing Requirements

The Department of Human Services doesn’t require senior living facilities in Oregon to have a specific number of staff members on duty during each shift. Instead, facilities are required to have a sufficient number of “qualified awake” direct-care staff on duty to meet the scheduled and unscheduled needs of residents. If a facility employs staff members to perform housekeeping services, laundry services or other services that don’t qualify as direct care, direct-care staffing levels must be increased to ensure the well-being of residents. If DHS receives a complaint or has a concern about the safety of residents, it may require the facility to start meeting a specific staffing standard.

DHS also has special requirements for facilities that house residents in more than one building when the buildings aren’t connected to each other. In this case, the facility must have at least one qualified, awake direct-care staff member on duty in each building at all times.

Training Requirements

Every facility must provide a pre-service orientation session before employees have unsupervised contact with residents. The orientation must include training on residents’ rights, infection control, emergency procedures, fire safety and requirements for reporting abuse and neglect. Employees hired to prepare and serve food must obtain a food handler’s certificate before performing their duties. During the orientation period, all staff members must receive written job descriptions outlining their duties.

Direct-care staff must fulfill additional orientation requirements. For example, all employees who provide direct care must complete a training program on working with residents who have dementia, including identifying and managing pain, preventing wandering, providing food/fluids and using a person-centered approach to care. Within 30 days of hire, all direct-care staff must demonstrate their knowledge regarding how to assist residents with activities of daily living, identification of changes in residents’ physical and mental functioning, food safety, changes associated with aging, and conditions that require further assessment, observation, treatment or reporting.

Administrator Qualifications

Before serving as the administrator of a senior living facility, an individual must complete a minimum of 40 hours of administrator training approved by Oregon’s Health Licensing Office. Administrators must also complete at least 20 hours of continuing education each year. Prior to employment as an administrator, an individual must also pass a criminal background check and tuberculin skin test.

Under the Oregon Administrative Rules, administrators must comply with minimum standards of practice and professional conduct. Administrators must be in charge of the facility at all times unless they have appointed a designee to fill the role in their absence. An administrator is also responsible for supervising all staff members and ensuring that the physical and emotional needs of residents are met.

Oregon Senior Living Free Resources

Oregon Agencies

Aging and Disability Resource Connection

Oregon’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection provides access to a variety of tools and resources designed to help seniors maintain their health and independence. Seniors can search for services by keyword or ZIP code, download a planning toolkit or connect with a local office for assistance. ADRC’s partnership with other organizations that offer training to caregivers helps protect seniors across the state.

Contact: Seniors can call 1-855-ORE-ADRC or visit the ADRC website to locate a nearby office.

Area Agencies on Aging in Oregon

Area Agencies on Aging coordinate services to help seniors remain as healthy and independent as possible. These organizations are either public agencies or private, nonprofit entities responsible for a service area that may include a single county or a large region. Services coordinated by Area Agencies on Aging include meal delivery, in-home care and anything else necessary to help seniors maintain their independence. Oregon has 17 Area Agencies on Aging to meet the needs of residents throughout the state.

Veterans Affairs Offices in Oregon

For seniors who served in the military, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers a variety of benefits, including medical care, home buying assistance and monthly pensions. Surviving spouses may qualify for some of these benefits, making it easier to afford the costs of medical care and help with daily activities. Regular VA benefits don’t cover senior living, but a pension supplement may help defray the costs of care. This supplement, known as the VA Aid and Attendance benefit, increases the amount of a veteran’s monthly pension. The extra funds can be used to pay for senior living or other types of care.

To qualify for this pension supplement, a veteran or surviving spouse must meet one of the following criteria:

  • The individual is a patient in a nursing home due to an impairment associated with a disability.
  • The individual has limited eyesight.
  • The individual must spend most of the day in bed due to an illness.
  • The individual needs assistance performing at least one activity of daily living.
Central Oregon Vet Center1645 NE Forbes Rd. Suite 105
Bend, OR 97701
(541) 749-2112
Eugene Vet Center190 East 11th Avenue
Eugene, OR 97401
(541) 465-6918
Grants Pass Vet Center211 S.E. 10th St.
Grants Pass, OR 97526
(541) 479-6912
Portland Vet Center1505 NE 122nd Ave.
Portland, OR 97230
(503) 688-5361
Salem Vet Center2645 Portland Road NE, Suite 250
Salem, OR 97301
(503) 362-9911

Social Security Offices in Oregon

The Social Security Administration administers several benefit programs for seniors and the disabled, including Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability. While the Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability programs have income and asset limits, traditional Social Security payments are available to any senior who meets the minimum age requirements and has accumulated at least 40 work credits. Seniors born in 1960 or later have a full retirement age of 67. For older seniors, full retirement age depends on the year of birth, with a range from 66 years old to 66 years and 10 months old. Seniors can choose to start receiving Social Security benefits at age 62. However, if they do, their monthly payment amount will be lower than it would have been if they had waited until full retirement age.

Traditional Social Security payments can be used to cover any expense, including senior living or in-home care. Seniors receiving SSI or Social Security Disability benefits may face restrictions on how funds are used. Seniors should seek advice from a qualified professional before making any significant financial decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in Oregon?

In Oregon, assisted living costs approximately $4,499 per month, on average. Although this is higher than the national average of $4,051, it is much lower than the average cost of assisted living in nearby Washington.

Does Oregon Medicaid pay for assisted living?

Medicaid-eligible individuals may qualify to receive services through the Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). The PACE program offers medical care, assisted living, in-home care and other services to help seniors stay healthy and independent. To qualify for this program, a senior must live in an area with a PACE plan and agree to receive services exclusively from PACE providers. For seniors who don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, self-pay is also an option for seniors interested in the PACE program.

What are activities of daily living?

Activities of daily living are the basic activities an individual performs on a day-to-day basis. These activities include eating, getting dressed, using the bathroom and bathing. Seniors who need assistance with any of these activities may qualify for Medicare or Medicaid waivers, in-home services or other programs designed to help older adults remain in their homes or their communities.

What types of services are available in assisted living?

Assisted living facilities do not provide medical care, but they do provide a variety of services designed to ensure the safety and well-being of their residents. Staff members may provide assistance with some activities of daily living, remind residents to take their medications, arrange outings for residents or help residents receive the right nutrients. Many assisted living facilities also provide laundry, housekeeping and other services to make residents more comfortable and ensure they have access to everything they need.

What is the difference between assisted living and nursing homes?

Nursing homes provide ongoing medical care in a clinical environment. Residents may stay in private or semi-private rooms and have frequent contact with staff members. In contrast, assisted living facilities don’t provide ongoing medical care. The services they provide are designed to help seniors stay safe and healthy while also maintaining their independence. Staff members provide assistance with activities of daily living and medication management, but they don’t have as much contact with residents as the staff members of a nursing home. Assisted living facilities also tend to have more welcoming environments. Residents may be able to select their own furniture and decor to help them feel at home.

The Top Cities for Senior Living in Oregon

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

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