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Guide to Senior Living in Rhode Island

In 2019, Rhode Island had nearly 1.1 million residents. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 17% of those residents were aged 65 and older. By 2040, the percentage of state seniors is expected to increase to nearly 25%. Although Rhode Island doesn’t have special exemptions for retirement income, its desirable location on the Atlantic Coast makes it a great place to retire. From the grand mansions of Newport to the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, the Ocean State has plenty to offer active seniors.

Although Rhode Island is one of the least expensive New England states, it does have a high cost of living, which affects the average cost of care for seniors in the state. For instance, state seniors can expect to pay an average of $5,199 per month for assisted living, which is more than $1,000 per month higher than the national average. This guide provides an overview of the cost of senior care in Rhode Island, along with information about some of the programs available to help offset these costs.

Covid-19 Rules and Restrictions for Rhode Island Senior Living Facilities

The following rules and guidelines were obtained from the State of Rhode Island Department of Health website, as well as other state-level government sites. Among others, these rules apply to congregate settings including assisted living facilities and group homes.

This data has been most recently updated on 7/11/20, 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 (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?NA
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?NA
Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?NA
Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?Yes
Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?Yes
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, if symptomatic 
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?Optional
Are residents being tested for coronavirus?Yes, if symptomatic

Paying for Senior Living in Rhode Island

Assisted living is just one of the types of care available to seniors in Rhode Island. While many people choose to move to assisted living facilities, others need skilled nursing care or prefer to remain in their homes. This is what Rhode Island seniors can expect to pay for the different types of care available:


In-Home Care


Assisted Living


Home Health Care


Adult Day Care


Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Rhode Island

According to Genworth Financial’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey, assisted living costs an average of $5,199 per month in Rhode Island. This is well above the national average of $4,051. Due to differences in demographics, the demand for senior care and the overall cost of living, the cost of care varies dramatically in nearby states. Assisted living costs significantly more in New Hampshire, but residents of Connecticut and New York pay less than residents of Rhode Island.


Rhode Island


United States




New Hampshire




New York

The Cost of In-Home Care in Rhode Island

In-home care can be an expensive venture in many states, and Rhode Island is no exception. At $5,148, in-home care in Rhode Island costs $858 more than the national average, and $381 more than the nearby states of New York and New Jersey. Monthly costs in Rhode Island are the same as those in Massachusetts, while care prices in Connecticut are significantly lower at $4,195.


Rhode Island


United States






New York


New Jersey

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Rhode Island

Senior residents of Rhode Island will find that in-state costs of nursing home care, while greater than the U.S. average, are significantly less than the surrounding area. The average monthly cost of care in Rhode Island is $9,961, which is much cheaper than the prices found in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey. In these states, care ranges from $10,494 to a whopping $12,699 per month.


Rhode Island


United States






New York


New Jersey

Financial Assistance for Senior Living in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Medicaid

The Medicaid program is jointly funded by the federal government and the Rhode Island state government. It helps cover medical costs for seniors, people with disabilities and other individuals who have limited financial resources. Regular Medicaid doesn’t usually cover senior living costs, but Rhode Island has a special waiver program that may cover long-term care.

Rhode Island’s Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver expands services for seniors who want to remain in their communities instead of moving into nursing homes. To qualify for this program, an individual must be at least 65 years old and have no more than $28,188 in annual income as of 2020. Eligible individuals must also have no more than $4,000 worth of countable assets, which are assets that can be sold and used to pay for long-term care.

Contact: Call 1-401-462-0316, or fill out an application for Medicaid at the HealthSource RI website.


Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly help seniors stay out of nursing homes by coordinating a variety of medical and social services. PACE may pay for medical care, personal care services, transportation to medical appointments, medications and rehabilitation services. Program providers are experts in working with seniors, ensuring that participants receive advice and services tailored to their specific needs.

To qualify for PACE, an individual must be at least 55 years old and reside in a region served by a PACE program. For seniors enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid, there are no out-of-pocket costs associated with PACE participation. Seniors who don’t qualify for either program pay a monthly fee based on their income and assets.

Contact: Call 1-401-654-4176 to speak with an enrollment specialist or visit the PACE Rhode Island website to complete a short eligibility quiz.

SSI Enhanced Assisted Living Program

Seniors eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may qualify to have their assisted living costs covered by the SSI Enhanced Assisted Living Program. The program is designed for seniors who require a level of care that can be provided in an assisted living facility and who don’t need to live in a skilled nursing facility.

To qualify for the SSI Enhanced Assisted Living Program, applicants must be at least 65 years old, reside in Rhode Island and meet certain income and asset requirements. For 2020, the maximum monthly gross income is $1,212, and applicants must have no more than $2,000 worth of countable assets. Whole life insurance policies are considered countable assets; therefore, an applicant may not have a whole life policy with a face value of more than $1,500.

Contact: Call 1-401-462-4444, or visit the State of Rhode Island Department of Human Services website to download the required forms.

Senior Living Laws and Regulations in Rhode Island

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 State of Rhode Island Department of Health is responsible for regulating senior living facilities. Every facility must obtain a license from the Center for Health Facility Regulation and renew that license annually. If a facility doesn’t comply with any of the rules outlined in the Rhode Island Code of Regulations, the Department of Health has the authority to take disciplinary action.

Memory Care Regulation

Rhode Island offers a special licensing level for facilities that provide memory care to patients with dementia. To provide this type of care, a facility must obtain an F1-M1 license and increase staffing levels to ensure residents with dementia receive the level of attention they need. Each facility must also disclose, in writing, the services it provides. The disclosure must describe the facility’s philosophy and mission, explain how patients are assessed and describe the living environment. It must also include the activities available to residents, explain how families can get involved in supporting residents and provide information on how much the program costs.

Memory care facilities must follow several additional requirements. For example, the facility must have at least one registered nurse on duty at all times who has experience providing care to seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Menus for residents of the memory care unit must be developed by a registered dietitian. The facility must also provide a secure environment for residents, which may include secured perimeters, locked units and other security measures to prevent wandering and elopement.

Staffing Requirements

Senior living facilities must have staffing levels sufficient to help residents achieve the highest possible levels of physical, social and mental well-being. Each facility must be managed by an administrator who has been certified by the Rhode Island Department of Health. The administrator’s duties include maintaining adequate staffing levels, complying with local and state regulations, establishing the facility’s policies and overall operations.

Every facility must have a minimum of one employee on duty at all times who is at least 18 years old, designated in charge of the residence and capable of communicating effectively with firefighters and other emergency personnel. All employees must receive at least two hours of training on fire prevention, abuse and neglect reporting and other designated topics within 10 days of hire. Employees who provide personal care to residents must receive 10 hours of training within their first 30 days of employment. Topics to be covered during this training include food safety, resident safety, assistance with medications and cultural differences.

Abuse and Neglect Reporting

Employees of senior living facilities are required to report suspected abuse, mistreatment, exploitation or neglect within 24 hours of becoming aware of the issue. Reports must be made to the facility’s director and the Rhode Island long-term care ombudsman via the Alliance for Better Long-Term Care at 1-401-785-3340. Once a staff member makes such a report, the facility’s director is responsible for conducting a thorough investigation.

Rhode Island Senior Living Free Resources

Rhode Island Agencies

Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging

The Rhode Island Office of Healthy Aging connects seniors with the resources they need to stay healthy and engaged in their communities. OHA staff also represent the interests of seniors when officials are considering new laws or expenditures that could affect the availability of these resources.

For adults who are at least 55 years old, OHA’s Point service has specialists available to recommend appropriate services. OHA also has a long-term ombudsman program to help seniors address concerns related to their senior living facilities and nursing homes.

Contact: To speak with a specialist for free, call the Point at 1-401-462-4444. Seniors with general questions can call the Office of Healthy Aging at 1-401-462-3000.

LeadingAge Rhode Island

LeadingAge Rhode Island is a network of nonprofit organizations that provide services to seniors living in the state. The network includes senior living facilities, nursing homes, home health agencies and other service providers dedicated to improving the lives of seniors. The LeadingAge website provides information on the types of care available to seniors, along with links to resources, such as the Long-Term Care Coordinating Council and the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Contact: Call 1-401-490-7612.

Veterans Affairs Offices in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Office of Veterans Services provides benefits to residents who served in the military and received honorable discharges. These benefits may include medical care and monthly pension payments. Although VA benefits don’t usually cover senior living services, some seniors may qualify for the VA Aid and Attendance benefit, which supplements a veteran’s monthly pension. The additional pension amount may be used to cover senior living or other necessary services.

To qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit, a senior must require assistance with activities of daily living, be bedridden due to an illness or disability, have limited eyesight or live in a nursing home due to a loss of function caused by a disability. The senior must also qualify for the regular VA pension to receive this additional benefit.

Social Security Offices in Rhode Island

The Social Security Administration administers several programs intended to help seniors and individuals with disabilities. For example, the SSA issues monthly Social Security payments to millions of seniors, providing a fixed amount of income each month. The SSA also administers the SSI and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programs, which provide funds to help seniors and other individuals with limited financial resources.

Seniors may be able to use Social Security funds to pay for senior living services. Seniors receiving regular Social Security payments have no restrictions on how the money may be spent. The SSI and SSDI programs, however, have stringent requirements related to how much money a recipient can earn and how certain funds can be spent. Therefore, any senior receiving funds from these programs should speak with a representative from the SSA before using SSI or SSDI funds to pay for senior living.

Newport Social Security Office130 Bellevue Ave. First Floor
Newport, RI 02840
Warwick Social Security Office30 Quaker Lane, First Floor
Warwick, RI 02886
Pawtucket Social Security Office4 Pleasant St.
Pawtucket, RI 02860
Woonsocket Social Security OfficePavilion Plaza. 2168 Diamond Hill Road
Woonsocket, RI 02895
Providence Social Security OfficeOne Empire Plaza. Sixth Floor
Providence, RI 02903

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in Rhode Island?

According to Genworth Financial’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey, seniors can expect to pay an average of $5,199 per month for assisted living in Rhode Island. Costs tend to be higher in the Providence region.

Does Rhode Island Medicaid pay for assisted living?

Some seniors may qualify for a Medicaid waiver known as the Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver, which can be used to pay for assisted living and other services for seniors. Applicants must be at least 65 years old and meet certain income requirements to qualify for this waiver.

What are activities of daily living?

Activities of daily living are the basic activities people typically perform on a daily basis. They include bathing, using the toilet, getting dressed and preparing meals. Seniors who need help with these activities may qualify for assisted living or other services.

What types of amenities are commonly in assisted living communities?

Many assisted living facilities have game rooms, computer centers, private dining rooms, salon services and other amenities to make the environment more pleasant for residents.

What is the difference between assisted living and nursing homes?

The main difference between a nursing home and an assisted living facility is the extent of care provided to residents. Assisted living facilities may provide help with medication management and some activities of daily living, but they don’t provide ongoing medical care. These facilities also have a welcoming, homelike environment. In contrast, nursing homes provide medical care in a setting that looks similar to a hospital.

The Top Cities for Senior Living in Rhode Island

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

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