Seniors in Alaska enjoy a unique lifestyle, but at a price. The state’s low population density, extreme climate, and isolated location all contribute to a high cost of living and much higher-than-average prices for senior long-term care. If you are looking for assisted living in Alaska for yourself or a loved one, it is important to know what your options are for facilities, financial assistance, and other senior benefits.
Directory of Assisted Living Facilities in Alaska
When looking for an assisted living facility for yourself or a loved one, it is crucial to do some research and examine all of your options prior to making a selection. Our comprehensive directory is a great place to start the process. Use the tool below to compare facility price, amenities, size, and more.
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Paying For Assisted Living in Alaska
The Cost of Assisted Living in Alaska
The monthly median cost of assisted living in Alaska is $6,300, which is much higher than the national average of $4,000. According to Genworth’s 2018 Cost of Care Survey, assisted living in Alaska is also more expensive than assisted living throughout the west coast of the United States.
In different regions of Alaska, average costs vary by several hundred dollars per month. Fairbanks is the most expensive region in the state. Assisted living communities in Anchorage are less pricey, but still much higher than the national average.
Despite its high price compared to the national average, the state median cost of assisted living is on par with the cost of most other types of long-term care in the state. It is more expensive than in-home care, but considerably cheaper than nursing home care.
Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Alaska
Alaskans Living Independently (ALI) Medicaid Waiver
Alaska Medicaid, sometimes referred to as DenaliCare, does not directly cover the cost of assisted living. The state does offer a Home and Community Based Waiver program called the Alaskans Living Independently (ALI) Medicaid Waiver, that eligible Alaskans can use to help cover the cost of long-term care, including assisted living. However, the ALI Waiver is not an entitled benefit like Medicaid itself, so even those who meet the eligibility requirements for the waiver may not be able to access it. At times there may be a waitlist for the program, though there is currently not a waitlist for the ALI Waiver.
The ALI Waiver is designed to give seniors who require a nursing home level of care freedom to choose their own care providers and settings. Recipients may use the waiver to access services like transportation, meals, environmental modifications, or assisted living so that they can remain in their communities rather than move to a nursing home.
Who is Eligible?
In order to be eligible for the ALI Waiver, applicants must be an Alaska resident, be 65 years of age or older (or be under the age of 65 but have a developmental disability), and require a nursing facility level of care. Other eligibility requirements include:
- Assets must not exceed a value of $2,000 per single individual, excluding the value of one’s home if the home has equity of less than $572,000
- Monthly income must not exceed $2,250 per single individual, or $3,375 total per married couple if both spouses are applying for the program
How to Apply
To apply, seniors should contact their local ADRC. They will be connected with a care coordinator who will guide them through the application process, conduct an evaluation of their level of care needs, and help develop a support plan for the waiver if the applicant is approved. View this brochure for contact information for the ADRC and care coordinators.
More Ways to Finance Assisted Living
Some additional ways to finance assisted living costs include:
- Veterans Benefits: Veterans can take advantage of several different pension programs to help cover the cost of assisted living. For more information, see the article on benefits.va.gov.
- Life Insurance Policies: Even if a spouse or loved one hasn’t died, certain types of life insurance policies can be used to pay for assisted living. More information is available at longtermcare.acl.gov
- Long-Term Care Insurance: Long-term care insurance is a type of insurance policy that pays for long-term care when it becomes necessary, including the cost of assisted living. For more information on the benefits and drawbacks of this financing method, visit longtermcare.acl.gov.
- Reverse Mortgages: Reverse mortgages allow seniors to access the equity from a home that they own, and these funds can be used to pay for assisted living. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers a federally insured reverse mortgage program.
Free Assisted Living Resources in Alaska
Seniors in Alaska have access to several free services and programs designed to assist state residents age 60 and over in various ways. The resources listed below are a great place to start to find out what benefits you or your loved one may be eligible for.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
The Alaska Long-Term Care Ombudsman represents the rights and interests of Alaska residents over the age of 60. Duties of the ombudsman include:
- Investigate and resolve complaints made by or on behalf of residents of long-term care facilities
- Advocate for the rights and interest of senior Alaskans
- Monitor conditions in long-term care facilities by making unannounced visits to facilities
Alaska Commission on Aging
Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) is a network of hundreds of nonprofit organizations across America that provide federally funded services to adults over 60 in their local areas.
In Alaska, the Commission on Aging (ACoA) carries out the functions typically performed by AAAs. The ACoA advocates in the interest of seniors in Alaska and provides services and programs to support the well-being of older Alaskans.
Address: 240 Main Street, Court Plaza Building, PO Box 110693, Juneau, AK 99811-0693
Phone Number: (907) 465-3250
There are several VA centers in Alaska where veterans and their families can go to learn about available benefits, including financing options for long-term senior care. The Vet Centers listed below can provide guidance and serve as a starting point for accessing the care you or your loved one needs.
|VA Office||Address||Phone Number|
4400 Business Park Boulevard Suite B-34
540 4th Avenue Suite 100
43299 Kalifonsky Beach Road Suite 4
851 East West Point Drive Suite 102
Social Security Offices
There are three Social Security offices located throughout Alaska. The offices are a great resource for seniors to learn more about available benefits in the state and which programs they may be eligible for.
|Social Security Office||Address||Phone Number|
222 W 8th Ave Room A11
101 12th Avenue Rm 138
709 W 9th St. Room 231 Po Box 21327
Aging and Disability Resource Centers
Alaska’s Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) help seniors and those with disabilities access the long-term care and services that they need, regardless of income. In addition to long-term care, ADRCs may be able to help seniors access services like transportation and in-home care. ADRC Resource Specialists can help people determine which services best meet their needs, and access said services. There are several ADRC offices located in Alaska.
|ADRC Office||Address||Phone Number|
825 L Street, Suite 203
Fairbanks Senior Center1424 Moore Street
47255 Princeton Ave, Suite 8
777 N Crusey Ave, Suite 101
3225 Hospital Drive, Suite 300
Bristol Bay Native Association – BBNA Box 310
Senior Benefits Program
The Alaska Senior Benefits Program is a state-funded initiative to provide low-to-moderate income seniors with financial assistance. Elderly residents of Alaska who meet the income requirements receive monthly cash assistance that they can use however they choose.
In order to be eligible for the Senior Benefits Program, recipients must be age 65 or over, be a legal resident of Alaska, and have an income below the maximum limit. There are three tiers of payment amount based on recipients’ income levels. For more information on payment amounts, eligibility, and how to apply, contact the senior benefits office at (907) 352-4150 or 1-888-352-4150.
Office of Elder Fraud and Assistance
The Office of Elder Fraud and Assistance helps protect senior residents of Alaska from financial exploitation. The office investigates claims of financial exploitation of residents age 60 and over and ensures that victims receive legal assistance and representation. For more information about the Office of Elder Fraud and Assistance and how to file a report for yourself or on behalf of an elder, visit the office’s website.
Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Alaska
The Division of Health Care Services of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services oversees assisted living laws and regulations for all residential facilities in the state. Some of the regulations include:
Assisted Living Service Plans
All residents must receive an assisted living plan within 30 days of their admission to a facility. The plan is developed by the facility administrator and the resident and/or their representative, in conjunction with a physical statement from the resident’s doctor including their medical history and current medication and/or therapy regimen. It must include:
- A description of the resident’s abilities and limitations in regards to activities of daily living (ADLs), and how the facility will provide any necessary assistance with these activities
- The resident’s healthcare needs, if any, and how those needs will be met
- The resident’s preferences for roommates and living environment
The plan must be approved by the resident or the resident’s representative. They may revise the plan if necessary. If the assisted living plan includes health-related needs and services, the resident must be reevaluated every 3 months. If the plan does not state that the facility will provide health-related services to the resident, the resident must be reevaluated annually.
Assisted Living Admission Requirements
Assisted living communities in Alaska are designed to provide residents with assistance with ADLs, not skilled nursing care. Residents cannot require skilled nursing care for a period greater than 45 consecutive days.
All residents must sign a residential service contract prior to moving into a facility. The contract must detail the facility’s rates, the resident’s rights, specifically describe the accommodations and services the assisted living facility (ALF) will provide, and the policies and procedures for terminating the contract.
Assisted Living Scope of Care
ALFs in Alaska are permitted to provide services including:
- Assistance with ADLs including laundry services, cleaning, and food preparation
- Health-related services including assistance with medication administration and nursing services for up to 45 days
- Recreational and social activities
Assisted Living Medicaid Policy
Medicaid does not directly cover assisted living, but seniors can use the Alaskans Living Independently (ALI) Waiver program to help finance the cost of a long-term care facility. The ALI Waiver is an HCBS Waiver program, and is not an entitled benefit.
Assisted Living Facility Requirements
Units in assisted living facilities in Alaska are not required to be apartment-style, and may be single-occupancy or double-occupancy; there may not be more than two residents per room. Single occupancy rooms must be a minimum of 80 square feet, and double occupancy rooms must be a minimum of 140 square feet. There must be at least one toilet, sink, and bathtub or shower for every six people in the facility (including both residents and facility staff).
Medication Management Regulations
Any staff member of the facility may assist residents with medication self-administration. This includes:
- Reminding a resident to take their medication
- Opening the container or packing for a resident
- Reading the medication label to a resident
- Observing the resident take their medication
- Checking the resident’s dosage against the medication label
- Reassuring a resident that they are taking the dosage as prescribed
Licensed nurses may directly administer medication to residents. They may also delegate administration to other facility staff members, if the staff member has undergone a Board of Nursing-approved training program taught by an RN or LPN.
ALFs must employ an administrator to oversee day-to-day operations of the facility, and care providers to work directly with residents and provide residents with services that meet their needs. At least one care provider must be CPR certified and have first-aid training.
There are no state-mandated staffing ratios, but facilities must employ a sufficient number of care providers to meet the needs of residents as outlined in residents’ assisted living plans.
Staff Training Requirements
All employees must undergo an orientation of the facility’s policies and procedures within 14 days of the start of their employment. The orientation must cover emergency preparedness and procedures, fire safety, residents’ rights, medication management, and reporting requirements for elder abuse.
Each year, administrators must complete 18 hours of continuing education and care providers must complete 12 hours of continuing education.
Background Checks for Assisted Living
All potential employees of a residential care facility in Alaska must undergo a background check. No person who has been convicted of crimes such as a felony, domestic violence, or indecent exposure may be employed by a residential care facility.
Requirements for Reporting Abuse
Any instances of elder abuse, exploitation, or neglect should be reported to the Alaska Adult Protective Services. To make a report to Adult Protective Services, file a complaint online or call 1-800-478-9996 or 907-269-3666.
Any concerns about assisted living facilities not following the regulations should be reported to the long-term care ombudsman. To file a complaint with the office of the ombudsman, complete an online complaint form or call (907) 334-4480 or 1-800-730-6393.