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Guide to Senior Living in West Virginia

West Virginia is a mountainous and heavily forested state in the rolling Appalachian mountain range. Home to a number of scenic mountain valleys, the state has just under 2 million residents, almost 20% of whom are seniors aged 65 and over. West Virginia was admitted to the Union in 1863, after Virginia’s western counties broke away from the South. Today, the state has several historical sites related to its unusual founding, as well as to the history of labor that followed the Civil War.

West Virginia’s overall cost of living is nearly 22% lower than the national average, which helps seniors pay many of the costs associated with elder care. Seniors in West Virginia pay less than the national average for assisted living and in-home care but nursing home care costs are significantly higher, according to the Genworth 2019 Cost of Care Survey. This guide is written for seniors in West Virginia, as well as their loved ones, to help plan for the likely costs of care and to be aware of available resources in the state.

The Cost of Senior Living in West Virginia

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 West Virginia have several housing options from which to choose. Active older West Virginians can reside in independent living communities, where they can pursue their interests and hobbies. When a senior needs assistance with two or three activities of daily living, such as grooming, bathing or dressing, an assisted living facility could be their best option.

Older West Virginians who need memory care can find it in special units of assisted living facilities. These units provide 24/7 supervision, special therapies and activities, and staff trained to help patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia-related diseases. For a senior who requires constant assistance with ADLs and skilled nursing care, a room in a nursing care facility offers the best care.

Based on figures compiled for the Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2021, West Virginians pay, on average, $2,704 monthly to reside in an independent living community. Assisted living in West Virginia costs $4,160 a month, while memory care, with its additional costs for special features, averages $5,200 a month. A senior who needs a semiprivate room in a nursing home facility pays approximately $11,619 a month.


Independent living


Assisted living


Memory care


Nursing home care (semiprivate room)

The Cost of Assisted Living in West Virginia

West Virginia’s cost of assisted living falls roughly in the middle of the pack of neighboring states. According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2021, the cost of assisted living in West Virginia is $4,160 per month. That’s $340 a month less expensive than the national monthly average of $4,500. Virginia costs $5,250 a month. Ohio is several hundred dollars more expensive than West Virginia, averaging $4,635. An assisted living facility in Pennsylvania costs $4,100, while Kentucky has the lowest price of neighboring states, averaging $3,448 a month.


West Virginia


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The Cost of Nursing Home Care in West Virginia

West Virginia has one of the higher prices for a semiprivate room in a nursing care facility in the region. The state averages $11,619 a month. That’s approximately $3,700 a month more expensive than the national average of $7,908. Pennsylvania averages $10,403 per month. Virginia costs $8,213 a month, while Ohio is $7,300 a month. Once again, Kentucky has the lowest prices of the neighboring states, averaging $7,178 a month.


West Virginia


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Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Senior Living in West Virginia?

The Department of Health and Human Resources licenses two kinds of assisted living facilities in West Virginia: assisted living residences and residential care communities. West Virginia also licenses Adult Family Care Homes, which provide adult foster care. Medicare offers one Medicaid waiver, the Personal Care Waiver, which provides financial support for seniors in these facilities.

Medicaid also covers the costs of seniors who require a nursing home level of care and meet financial and eligibility guidelines.

Older West Virginians who reside in independent living communities are not eligible for Medicaid funding because they don’t need help with ADLs or require skilled nursing care.

Medicaid Coverage LevelType of Medicaid CoverageEntitlement?* 
Assisted LivingYesMedicaid WaiverNo
Independent LivingNoneN/AN/A
Memory CareYesMedicaid WaiverNo
Nursing Home CareFullMedicaid Yes

*Note: Entitlement programs mean that everyone who qualifies will receive coverage and be accepted into the programs. If the program is not “entitlement,” participant caps could be in place, and there may be a waiting list.  

Medicaid’s Coverage of Assisted Living and Memory Care in West Virginia

The state’s Personal Care Waiver doesn’t pay for room and board or medical costs when applied to an assisted living facility. It can be used by seniors to help pay for assistance with ADLs.

Personal Care Waiver

Applicants must undergo the Personal Care Medical Necessity Evaluation Request by a medical professional. To qualify for the Personal Care Waiver, a senior must need help with a minimum of three ADLs. This assistance can occur in a member’s home, workplace or residential assisted living facility. The applicant must have a West Virginia Medicaid card and meet the eligibility requirements of the medical evaluation.

Eligible seniors can receive up to 210 hours of assistance a month, which can include help with the following:

  • Dressing
  • Feeding
  • Medication reminders
  • Housekeeping
  • Personal hygiene
  • Nutrition

Medicaid’s Coverage of Nursing Home Care in West Virginia

In West Virginia, for seniors who meet the financial and eligibility guidelines, Medicaid is a primary source of financial aid. About two-thirds of West Virginians residing in a nursing care facility use Medicaid to pay their costs.

SSI-related Medicaid pays for nursing home care for the aged, blind or disabled. It also provides funding to help with costs that aren’t covered by private health insurance or Medicare. Seniors eligible for the program but who still have income must contribute toward the cost of their care.

Eligibility for Medicaid in West Virginia

Seniors who wish to apply for Medicaid funding can earn up to 300% of the SSI financial limit. That works out to $30,276 a year or $2,573 a month for a single person. In a two-person household, with both people applying, the income limit is $60,572 a year or $5,046 a month.

Asset limitations also apply to Medicaid funding. For a single person using Medicaid coverage for nursing home care, Medicaid limits assets to $2,000. In a two-person household where only one person is applying for Medicaid, the non applicant may have assets up to $137,400. If both persons apply for Medicaid, they may have joint assets of $3,000.

2022 West Virginia Medicaid Income Limits 

 Income limits*Asset limits
Single Applicant$30,276$2,000
Two-Person Household(Only one applicant)$60,572$2,000 for applicant$137,400 for non-applicant
Two-Person Household
(Two applicants)

*per year

Seniors applying for Medicaid also need to meet other requirements:

  • They must be aged at least 65.
  • They must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents or illegal aliens.
  • They must reside in West Virginia.
  • They must require a nursing home level of care.

Applying for Medicaid in West Virginia

If you want to learn more about Medicaid in West Virginia or apply for assistance, you can visit West Virginia Medicaid. You can check your eligibility by visiting the WVpath site, which contains information for people applying for Medicaid and current Medicaid users. Contact your local Bureau for Children and Families for help in applying or call (800) 318-2596.

Before You Apply

When you apply for Medicaid in West Virginia, you need to have the following information:

  • Social Security number
  • Proof of your residence in West Virginia
  • Evidence of your citizenship, permanent residence or legal alien status
  • Information on members of your household, including their birthdates, their Social Security numbers,  their citizenships, your relationship to them, their ethnicities, the highest level of education they attained and whether they intend to reside in West Virginia.
  • Assets of you and your household members, including bank accounts, cash on hand, trust funds or IRAs, business equipment and recreational vehicles
  • Proof of income, including employment, military pensions, retirement and Social Security
  • Employment history of each household member

How to Get Help

West Virginia has several sources where you can learn more about Medicaid, determine eligibility and get application assistance. These resources also help you understand financial and asset limits and how they may apply to you and your situation.

 ContactWhat You Should Know
Bureau for Children and Families(304) 558-0628A division of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services, the Bureau can provide you with up-to-date information about Medicaid for long-term care, including how you can apply and the current financial guidelines.
West Virginia Office of Insurance Commissioner(888) 879-9842Although West Virginia no longer operates a Consumer Assistance Program, the Office of the Insurance Commissioner can answer any of your health care questions about West Virginia, including how to apply for Medicaid.
West Virginia Medicaid Program(877) 716-1212The program, operated by the West Virginia Bureau of Medical Services, can answer many of your questions about Medicaid. Its website explains how and where to apply for Medicaid.

Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Senior Living in West Virginia?

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 West Virginia

As you approach 65 and prepare to join Medicare, you, a family member or a caregiver can have many important questions about this federal benefit. Medicare has numerous health care options from which to choose, and several resources and sites in West Virginia can help you with your decision.

ResourceContactWhat You Should Know
West Virginia SHIP(304) 558-3317 or (877) 987-4463Medicare-eligible seniors in West Virginia can use the State Health Insurance Assistance Program if they have questions about Medicare or any of its parts. Trained volunteer counselors provide free, unbiased and confidential information and answers to any questions about Medicare, including Medicare Advantage Plans, Original Medicare, Medigap, Long-Term Care and Part D Prescription Drug Plans. If seniors have questions about or problems with medical bills, insurance claims or other health care issues, counselors can also assist with these concerns. They also advise seniors on plans that provide financial assistance for prescription drug coverage if the senior hasn’t already taken advantage of them.
West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services(304) 558-3317The Bureau can answer any of your questions about Medicare. It also provides Standardized Medicare Supplemental Charts that detail each kind of Medicare plan available in the state, what it costs, and who offers it.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (877) 716-1212 The West Virginia Bureau of Medical Services works in cooperation with the CMS to ensure that all Medicare programs in the state meet federal guidelines and are available to all eligible seniors or disabled adults. The CMS can also provide eligibility and application information for Medicare in West Virginia.

Are There Other Financial Assistance Options for Senior Living in West Virginia?

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

Besides the resources listed above, other free or low-cost resources exist in the state to help you with questions about Medicare and Medicaid, including benefits for senior veterans, legal aid, lower prices on prescription drugs and discounts for seniors in many stores.

 ContactWhat You Should Know
WV Department of Veterans Assistance (304) 558-3661The West Virginia Veterans Home, operated by the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance, provides assisted living and memory care for older veterans, their spouses or survivors in a 150-bed home in Barboursville. The Barboursville facility is available to all honorably discharged veterans. Senior veterans may be eligible for financial assistance from the Department if they live in regular assisted living facilities across the state.
Golden Mountaineer Card (304) 558-3317 or (888) 968-4462All West Virginians aged at least 60 can get a Golden Mountaineer card. It offers discounts and savings on hundreds of products and services provided by businesses in the state. Seniors on a budget may find the card particularly useful and can save money on many needed supplies. The Golden Mountaineers card is a joint project between the Virginia Bureau of Senior Services, the Elder Abuse Hotline, the West Virginia Aging and Disability Resource Centers and the West Virginia Tourism Department.
WVNavigate/Aging & Disability Resource Centers (866) 981-2372 WVNavigate provides links to sources where seniors can find savings on food, medical, dental or vision providers, housing and utility options, low-cost transportation, legal counsel, disability assistance, mental health care and veterans’ benefits. Operated by West Virginia ARDC offices, this all-inclusive website for seniors allows them to search for any resource they need, even unlisted ones.
West Virginia Senior Legal Aid(800) 229-5068West Virginians aged 60 and older can call on Senior Legal Aid to help them with many important civil law matters. Seniors often don’t seek legal assistance because of apprehension about the costs, but the services of Senior Legal Aid are free. The program can help seniors with essential topics like nursing home issues, advanced care directives, housing and utility concerns, estate planning, living wills and bankruptcy.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman (304) 558-3317 or (877) 987-3646Long-term care ombudsmen advocate for seniors when they make an allegation of abuse or neglect against an assisted living, adult foster care home or nursing care facility in West Virginia. They investigate these allegations and attempt to resolve the dispute between the parties. Long-term care ombudsmen carry out several other activities, including educating the larger community about the rights of seniors in long-term care facilities. They also act as impartial third parties when advising seniors on billing issues or denials of Medicare or Medicaid coverage, including prescription drug coverage, and they can help seniors reapply.

COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for West Virginia Senior Living Facilities

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including 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?Not Available*
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

*NOTE: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.

Outings and Group Activities

Are residents allowed to leave the facility for non-medical reasons?Not Available*
Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?Not Available*
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

*NOTE: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.

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 West Virginia

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.

West Virginia’s Bureau for Public Health regulates senior living facilities throughout the state. All senior living communities in West Virginia must apply to this bureau for an operating license, and all licenses must be renewed and kept current for as long as the facility operates. Licensed facilities are inspected for compliance with state regulations in the areas of new resident admissions, Alzheimer’s and memory care, medication management and staff qualifications.

Admission Requirements

Prior to admission, seniors applying to a senior living facility must undergo a comprehensive medical and mental health evaluation. During this exam, a doctor must check for signs of Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of dementia, as well as take a personal medical history and assess for ongoing medical needs. Seniors may only be admitted to a senior living community if the specific facility is capable of meeting all of the resident’s long-term health needs. Seniors may not be admitted to a senior living facility if they require ongoing IV medication or extensive medical interventions, such as stage III wound care or a chest tube. Exceptions may be made for residents under hospice care, who may remain in a facility with support from a visiting hospice nurse.

A licensed physician must perform medical evaluations prior to admission and then again annually. Residents must also be reassessed whenever a noticeable change in behavior or level of cognition is observed. Results of residents’ medical assessments must be kept on file with the facility, along with a current plan of care.

Memory Care Regulation

Senior living facilities must maintain a separate special care unit, which may be either a discrete unit or a designated wing of the facility, to house and care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. This wing must be secure with window and door locks to prevent wandering, and staff assigned to this unit must be certified in dementia care.

Medication Management

All senior living residents who are capable of self-administering medications may do so. Noncertified caregiver staff can prompt residents to take their prescribed medications, monitor consumption and assist with preparation of some medication, such as mixing pills into applesauce. Facility staff may assist residents by filling prescriptions at outside pharmacies. Drugs may not be administered by nonclinical staff, but only by certified nursing or medication aides.

No Schedule I drugs are permitted on the premises of a senior living facility in West Virginia. Schedule II and lower prescription drugs may be securely kept on the property, in sealed and measured-dose packs. Controlled substances and narcotics may only be distributed by staff members who are certified to do so and whose scope includes handling and administration of the drugs they have control over. Facilities must keep accurate logs of drug handling, storage, disposal and administration. Nonprescription and over-the-counter medications may be brought into facilities and consumed without supervision or logging provided the resident doing so is capable of safely self-administering medicine.

Staffing Requirements

Senior living facilities with four or fewer residents must have an administrator who is at least 21 years old and a high school graduate. Administrators at larger facilities must also be at least 21 years old, but must also have at least an associate degree in senior care or a related field. Nonmanagement staff at all facilities must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma.

Administrators must, in addition to other requirements, undergo at least eight hours of initial training before assuming a management role at the facility. Staff members must receive training in emergency procedures and facility policies no later than the 15th day of employment. Annual continuing education in dementia care must be documented in facility records and available for inspection by the Bureau.

All facilities must keep at least one staff member who is certified in CPR and emergency medical aid on duty at all times. Multistory facilities must have one such employee on duty for each floor. Staff ratios must be sufficient to adequately care for all residents’ needs in a timely manner and to rapidly evacuate a facility in the event of an emergency.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in West Virginia?

Assisted living in West Virginia costs an average of $3,750 a month. This is $301 a month less than the national average cost of $4,051.

Does West Virginia Medicaid pay for assisted living?

Medicaid provides basic medical insurance for eligible West Virginia residents with low incomes. Though the program doesn’t directly pay for assisted living costs, it can pick up many of the secondary costs associated with senior living. Covered services include preventive care, necessary medical treatments and some prescription drugs.

Does Medicare pay for assisted living?

Medicare doesn’t directly pay for the room-and-board costs of assisted living. Original Medicare does offer coverage under Parts A and B, which help pay for inpatient care and outpatient services, respectively. Some seniors have Part C coverage, which is provided by private insurance companies and may offer services not offered under Original Medicare. It’s best to speak with a plan representative before committing to a senior living plan.

What are “activities of daily living”?

Activities of daily living are the regular chores and daily tasks many seniors need help performing. Caregivers assist seniors with personal hygiene, getting dressed and meal preparation, as well as some housekeeping chores.

What is the difference between assisted living and nursing homes?

Assisted living and nursing home care differ in how medically intensive the care is that they offer. Nursing homes employ registered nurses and nurse’s aides to provide IV therapy, administer medication and help residents through physical and occupational therapy, often on short to medium timescales. Assisted living staff are usually caregivers who provide nonmedical assistance with chores and activities of daily living.

Assisted living and nursing home care differ in how medically intensive the care is that they offer. Nursing homes employ registered nurses and nurse’s aides to provide IV therapy, administer medication and help residents through physical and occupational therapy, often on short to medium timescales. Assisted living staff are usually caregivers who provide nonmedical assistance with chores and activities of daily living.

Learn More About Senior Living in West Virginia

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

The Top Cities for Senior Living in West Virginia

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

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