Talk to a local advisor for free

Guide to Senior Living in Utah

As of 2019, 11.1% of Utah’s 3.21 million residents were 65 or older. The U.S. Census Bureau expects this age group to make up 17% of the state’s population by 2030, an increase of nearly 30% from 2012. Utah is attractive to seniors because it ranks second in the nation for the overall health of its older adults. The state is also home to several national parks, has health care costs that are lower than the national average and also has a higher life expectancy than the national average.

Due to the state’s moderate cost of living, the cost of senior living in Utah varies based on the type of care, but each falls within $200 – $1,100 of the national average, according to Genworth Financial’s Cost of Care Survey 2019. This guide contains information on the costs of care in Utah, information on state agencies that may be able to provide financial assistance and an overview of the regulations Utah senior living facilities must follow.

The Cost of Senior Living in Utah

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.

Seniors in Utah have many long-term care options, depending on their budgets, living preferences and care needs. Independent living is the least intensive option and is for active adults who don’t need personal care or medical monitoring. Assisted living and memory care facilities offer residential care settings for those unable to safely live alone. Nursing homes provide the highest level of care outside an inpatient hospital setting and are for those who need skilled nursing services and around-the-clock medical monitoring.  

According to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, Utah residents pay $2,275 per month for independent living, making it the most affordable long-term care option. Assisted living costs $3,500 per month, and memory care, which offers a similar setting to assisted living but meets the needs of those with dementia, costs approximately $4,375. Nursing home residents pay $7,178 for shared rooms.  


Assisted Living


Independent Living


Memory Care


Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Utah 

 Utah is one of the cheapest places in the Southwest and the nation that may benefit those with budgetary considerations. Statewide rates average $1,000 below the national median of $4,500 and $3,500 per month. Utah is an affordable alternative to Colorado, where rates exceed the nation’s average at $4,750 per month. In Wyoming, assisted living residents pay $4,169 for care, and in Arizona, fees average $4,000. Idaho and Nevada are comparatively affordable, but local costs still exceed Utah’s average at $3,838 and $3,750, respectively. 




The United States











The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Utah 

Utah residents pay $7,178 per month for nursing home care, which is several hundred dollars lower than the national rate of $7,908. In Nevada, nursing home costs are among the highest in the region at $9,216. In Colorado and Idaho, respective rates come in at $8,567 and $8,517. Wyoming and Arizona have lower care costs than Utah, with skilled nursing facilities charging $6,996 and $6,540 for care.




The United States











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

Seniors in Utah can get financial assistance for long-term care through the state’s Medicaid program. Medicaid is the payor of last resort, meaning that it pays for covered services after Medicare, Medigap and private health insurance plans have paid their portion. This program is an entitlement that covers everyone who’s eligible.  

In Utah, nursing home services are covered under the Nursing Home Medicaid program. To qualify for this coverage, individuals must meet financial and medical criteria, and they must live in a Medicaid-registered nursing home.  

Assisted living and memory care are also covered by Medicaid, but to get this coverage, individuals must be enrolled in the appropriate waiver program. Similar to Nursing Home Medicaid, financial and medical criteria apply. However, those who are eligible aren’t guaranteed immediate coverage and may instead be placed on a wait list.  

Independent living doesn’t provide medically necessary services or help with daily living activities and therefore isn’t covered by health insurance plans, including Medicaid. Seniors obtaining this level of care have other options for paying for services, including long-term care insurance, reverse mortgage loans and annuities.  

Medicaid Coverage Level Type of Medicaid Coverage Entitlement?*  
Assisted Living Partial Medicaid Waiver No 
Independent Living None N/A N/A 
Memory Care Partial Medicaid Waiver No 
Nursing Home Care Full Medicaid  Yes 

*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 Utah 

Medicaid coverage for assisted living and memory care services isn’t available under the regular program. Instead, eligible seniors must enroll in a waiver program to obtain this coverage. 

New Choices Waiver 

The New Choices Waiver pays for care for older adults who qualify for nursing home level care but want to live in a residential community setting. This waiver has comprehensive coverage for long-term care expenses, including these services: 

  • Assisted living and memory care 
  • Attendant care 
  • Chore services 
  • Emergency response systems 
  • Medication assistance 
  • Respite services 
  • Specialized medical equipment 
  • Non-emergency medical transportation 
  • Homemaker services 
  • Financial management services 

Eligible applicants are those who are aged 65 and over, U.S. citizens or legal residents, permanent residents of Utah and in need of nursing home level care but can remain in the community with waiver services. They must also meet financial criteria. 

Applicants must also have lived in a nursing home for at least 90 days or in an assisted living or memory care facility for 365 days before applying for this program. Most of the waiver’s enrollment slots are reserved for those who reside in nursing homes. These applicants may enroll in the waiver at any time. Individuals living in residential care facilities submit applications for non-reserved slots, which must be submitted during designated application periods. These include: 

  • March 1 to March 14 
  • July 1 to July 14 
  • November 1 to November 14 

Applications aren’t available online, but individuals may request paper ones by calling the program’s customer service line at (800) 662-9651 and selecting option 6. Seniors can send their completed applications by fax to the UDOH Bureau of Long Term Services and Supports at (801) 323-1586. They can also mail them to:   

UDOH Bureau of Long Term Services & Supports  
P.O. Box 143112  
288 North 1460 West  
Salt Lake City, UT 84114 

Medicaid’s Coverage for Nursing Home Care in Utah 

Medicaid provides coverage for nursing home care under its regular program without wait lists. Prior to moving into a facility, the individual must confirm that the facility accepts Medicaid. Covered services include: 

  • Housing 
  • Meals 
  • Durable and disposable medical supplies 
  • Skilled nursing services 
  • Non-emergency medical transportation 
  • Dietary supplements 
  • Over-the-counter medical supplies 
  • Physical therapy 

To qualify for this coverage, applicants must be at least 65 years old and require nursing home level care. They must also comply with guidelines for income and assets. 

Eligibility for Medicaid in Utah 

To qualify for Medicaid to cover long-term care, applicants must meet financial eligibility criteria. Their income limits depend on the program they’re applying for. Those enrolling in the New Choices Waiver may have an annual income of up to $30,276. If they’re married, both spouses may have up to $30,276 in annual income, even if only one spouse is applying for coverage. Utah’s spousal impoverishment rule lets the applicant transfer some of their income to their spouse to bring their annual income up to $26,136.

Nursing Home Medicaid doesn’t have income limits, but seniors are required to put some of their income toward their care costs. There are several allowable deductions, including $45 per month for personal needs and enough money to pay health insurance premiums, medical bills, a spousal deduction, a $125 earned income deduction and VA Aid and Attendance benefits. All remaining income is paid to the nursing home. Both programs have countable asset limits of $2,000 per applicant and $137,400 for a non-applying spouse.  

2022 Utah Medicaid Income Limits  

Income Limit * Asset Limits 
Single Person $30,276 $2,000 
Two-Person Household (Only one applicant)  $30,276 per spouse $2,000 for applicant $137,400 for non-applicant 
Two-Person Household (Two applicants)  $30,276 per spouse $2,000 per applicant 

Along with financial criteria, applicants must meet other eligibility requirements for Medicaid. These include: 

  • Aged 65 or older 
  • Legal U.S. citizens or residents 
  • Permanent Utah residents 
  • In need of nursing home level care 

Applying for Medicaid in Utah 

There are several options for applying for Medicaid. Individuals may submit an application online through the MyCase platform. They can visit their local DWS office and get assistance with filling out and submitting a paper application. Alternately, they can download a paper application and fax it to (888) 522-9505 or mail it to: 

Department of Workforce Services  
P.O. Box 143245  
Salt Lake City, UT 84114 

After submitting an application, the department contacts you over the phone or by mail. 

Before You Apply 

Prior to applying for coverage, ensure that you have several pieces of information on hand to verify your eligibility. This includes: 

  • Social Security card 
  • Birth certificate 
  • Driver’s license or state-issued ID 
  • Proof of all income sources 
  • Proof of all assets 
  • Health insurance cards for primary coverage, including Medicare 

How to Get Help 

Utah has several resources to help older adults apply for Medicaid and get the most from their coverage. The following resources aid seniors in finding health care providers, understanding their benefits and resolving problems, such as denied claims or canceled policies.  

 Contact What You Should Know 
Medicaid Customer Service (801) 538-6155 (within Salt Lake City)  (800) 662-9651 (outside Salt Lake City) The Medicaid Customer Service helpline is staffed with representatives who answer callers’ questions about the Medicaid application process or benefits.  
Medicaid Member Feedback (801) 538-6417 (within Salt Lake City)  (877) 291-5583 (outside Salt Lake City) The Medicaid Member Feedback helpline helps older veterans understand their benefits and resolve problems with their Medicaid coverage. 
American Council on Aging Online Only  The American Council on Aging publishes up-to-date information on Utah Medicaid’s financial eligibility criteria and provides contact information for Medicaid planners.  
Hearings Unit Online Only The Hearings Unit investigates disputes regarding denied Medicaid coverage. 

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

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 provides reliable health insurance coverage for over 60 million Americans, but for those who are new to the program, understanding its benefits and coverage limits can be confusing. Fortunately, Utah seniors have several agencies and programs they can contact to get answers to questions about their coverage and private Medicare options, as well as assistance with finding prescription drug coverage and appealing denied claims or canceled policies.  

 Contact What You Should Know (800) 633-4227 The federal Medicare site features information on the program’s coverage, including details regarding enrollment windows, cost-sharing responsibilities and private alternatives or supplements. It also has tools that let visitors find health and drug plans that fit their needs and locate Medicare-registered health care providers, hospitals and nursing homes in their areas.  
Medicare Cost-Sharing Programs (800) 662-9651 Medicare Cost-Sharing Programs help older adults who qualify to cover their Part A cost-sharing responsibilities through the state Medicaid program, even if the individual doesn’t qualify for Medicaid. There are three cost-sharing programs in Utah, including the Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries Program, the Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries Program and the Qualifying Individual Medicare Cost-Sharing Program. Through this resource, older adults can learn more about the programs and apply for coverage.  
Senior Health Insurance Information Program (800) 541-7735 The Utah Department of Human Services, Aging and Adult Services Division, operates the Senior Health Insurance Information Program. This program is staffed with trained staff and volunteers who provide free, confidential information, advice and assistance to older adults shopping for Medicare plans. Advisors can answer questions regarding Original Medicare and available Medicare Advantage of Medigap plans in an individual’s region. They can also help seniors understand medical and long-term care bills and dispute denied health insurance claims. 
Social Security Administration (800) 772-1213 The Social Security Administration enrolls older adults into Medicare and provides information on the program’s coverage, ways to avoid late enrollment penalties and what happens after an individual submits an application for coverage. It also highlights details on Medicare’s mandatory minimum coverage, helping seniors plan for medical and long-term care bills. 

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

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

Utah seniors have access to several agencies and programs that help them maintain a high quality of life throughout their retirement years. The following resource table highlights nonprofit agencies that provide free and low-cost services to older adults throughout the state.  

 ContactWhat You Should Know 
Utah Commission on Aging (801) 213-4156 The Utah Commission on Aging operates a statewide online resource center for seniors to help them find information on aging issues such as brain health, emergency preparedness, preventing elder abuse and legal issues. The website also provides an overview of long-term care options available in the state to help older adults make informed decisions regarding their care.  
Area Agencies on Aging (801) 538-4171 A network of 12 Area Agencies on Aging serves older adults in Utah, helping them access the services they need to avoid nursing home or assisted living placement or to supplement amenities they receive in long-term care. Programs vary slightly by region but include long-term care options counseling, legal and financial advice, public benefits counseling and transportation services.  
Medicare Assistance (800) 541-7735 Utah’s Medicare Assistance program provides free, impartial Medicare counseling for beneficiaries, which can help them identify ways to pay for nursing home and residential care. Advisors can help older adults understand Medicare’s coverage for nursing home care and compare private Medicare Advantage plans, some of which may have coverage for personal care services in the community. Medicare advisors can also help older adults understand medical bills and resolve billing errors and denied health insurance claims.  
Utah Legal Services (800) 662-4245 Utah Legal Services has offices throughout the state where residents obtain in-person and over-the-phone advice and assistance with civil legal issues such as assigning guardianship and powers of attorney, managing assets and drafting simple wills. Legal professionals can also help qualifying older adults apply for veterans’ and public benefits that may help cover living expenses and long-term care, including Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and Social Security Disability Insurance.  
Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs (801) 326-2372 The Department of Veterans and Military Affairs helps older veterans obtain federal and state benefits such as property and income tax breaks, Aid and Attendance, pension benefits, state park passes, discounted fishing licenses and placement into one of the state’s four veterans’ homes. The department can also help older adults access VA medical care or health insurance, which may help them reduce out-of-pocket costs.  
Long-Term Care Ombudsman (801) 538-3924 The long-term care ombudsman advocates for Utah residents in assisted living and memory care facilities and nursing homes, helping them obtain the quality and level of care they need. Individuals can contact their ombudsman for help with resolving issues with intake and discharge procedures, inadequate or excessive services and interpersonal disputes. The ombudsman can also help seniors and families research long-term care options in their communities and find ways to pay for services.  
Alzheimer’s Association Utah Chapter (800) 272-3900 The Utah Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association serves those with dementia and their family members. It has online support groups and informational resources, including a Community Resource Finder with health care providers, legal and financial advisors and community-based service providers who specialize in helping those with dementia. The chapter also has early stage engagement programs and activities throughout the year for those recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  

COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Utah 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 2/15/2022, 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
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 Utah

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 Utah, the Department of Health, Facility Licensing and Certification regulates senior living facilities. DHFLC classifies a facility as either Type I or Type II. Type I facilities serve residents that are mobile and able to take life-saving action without the assistance of another person in the event of an emergency. Residents of Type I facilities must also have stable health and require little to no assistance in the activities of daily living (ADLs). Type II facilities serve residents that need more assistance. For example, a Type II facility may admit a resident who needs total assistance with more than three ADLs.

Administrator Requirements

Utah requires any administrator of an senior living facility to be at least 21 years old, pass a criminal background check, have knowledge of applicable regulations and be capable of providing appropriate care or directing the provision of appropriate care to residents. Each type of senior living facility has separate education, training and experience requirements for administrators. In a Type I facility, the administrator must have a minimum of an associate’s degree or two years of work experience in the health care field.

The administrator of a small Type II facility must meet one of the following requirements:

  • An associate’s degree in a health-related field;
  • At least two years of management experience in the health care industry; or
  • At least one year of work experience as a licensed health care professional.

The administrator of a large Type II facility must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Possession of a health facility administrator license issued by the State of Utah
  • A bachelor’s degree in a health-related field with management training or a minimum of one year of management experience
  • A bachelor’s degree in any field with management training or with one year of management experience and one year of experience in the health care field
  • An associate’s degree with at least four years of experience in the health care field.

Staffing Requirements

Utah requires qualified direct-care professionals to be on the premises of a senior living facility 24 hours per day. A facility must hire enough direct-care staff to meet the needs of residents as outlined in their service plans. The facility may also hire staff members to perform clerical work, housekeeping duties, maintenance and other services.

To provide direct care to residents, an employee of an senior living facility must be a certified nurse aide or at least 18 years old. Employees must also receive on-the-job training and possess any licenses or certifications required by state law.

Training Requirements

Before they have unsupervised contact with residents, employees must complete an orientation program that covers confidentiality, residents’ rights, ethics, facility policies and procedures, the facility’s emergency response plan and other relevant topics.

Additionally, every direct-care employee must receive at least 16 hours of training with a supervising nurse or another employee who has at least three months of experience at the facility. The training should be customized according to the duties outlined in the employee’s job description. Employees must also receive yearly in-service training on topics such as resident nutrition, principles of sanitation, medication management, accident prevention and first aid.

Service Plan Requirements

Staff members must assess each resident and develop an individualized service plan (ISP) that addresses the resident’s medical, social and cognitive needs. This plan must be completed within seven days of the resident’s arrival at the facility. The ISP must include what services will be provided, how the services will be provided, who will provide the services and how often the services will be provided. If a change in services occurs, the plan must be updated to document why the changes are taking place.

Medication Administration Regulations

Every resident must be assessed by a licensed health professional to determine what level of support is needed for medication administration. Residents who can self-administer medications may be permitted to keep their medications in their rooms. If safety is a concern, however, residents may be required to keep their medications in a locked compartment in the facility. For residents who self-administer their medications, staff members may provide reminders of when it’s time to take a medicine or when it’s time to refill a prescription. Staff members are also permitted to assist residents with opening their medication containers.

For residents who can’t self-administer their medications, medication may be administered by a staff member designated by a licensed health professional. If medication is administered by an unlicensed staff member, that person must be supervised by the delegating health professional and receive training in medication administration. Supervision may take place in person or over the telephone. All medications must be administered exactly as ordered by the prescriber.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Utah Medicaid pay for assisted living?

In limited circumstances, Utah Medicaid may pay for assisted living under the New Choices Waiver. Any adult who is at least 65 and receives either Supplemental Security Income or Social Security disability payments is eligible for the New Choices Waiver; however, limited slots are available. Most of the reserved slots are for residents of nursing homes and other facilities who want to move out of their institutional environments and into something more home-like. The program does have some non-reserved slots, but the number of applicants far exceeds the number of openings.

How much does assisted living cost in Utah?

In Utah, assisted living is relatively affordable, averaging just $3,400 per month. This is more than $500 per month less than the national average of $4,051.

Does Medicare pay for assisted living?

No. Medicare usually doesn’t pay for assisted living, but it may cover the cost of a temporary stay in a skilled nursing facility.

What is the difference between assisted living and independent living?

The main difference between assisted living and independent living is the level of support provided to residents. At an assisted living facility, staff members are available to help residents with their daily activities, remind them to take their medications and ensure that each resident eats nutritious meals tailored to their medical needs and personal preferences. With independent living, staff members do not provide medical care or help with daily activities. Residents may not have much contact with staff members unless they attend a group outing or have questions about amenities.

Who should consider assisted living?

Assisted living is an option for seniors who are unable or choose not to live on their own but still want to maintain their independence. Although assisted living facilities provide help with some activities of daily living, an assisted living facility in Utah may not admit an individual who is immobile or needs extensive medical care. For seniors in stable health, assisted living is a lower-cost alternative to entering a nursing home.

Learn More About Senior Living in Utah

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

The Top Cities for Senior Living in Utah

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

Send this page to a friend or loved one
Your Name
Your Email Address
Send To
Multiple email addresses should be separated by comma or semi-colon.
Send me a copy of this message
We will never share your personal information. Privacy Policy