Georgia is more than just the home of one of the southeast’s largest and busiest city centers. This state boasts mountainous national parks, miles of clean, rural coastline, and historical elements of antebellum charm not often seen in the South. Combine all of that with Georgia’s many tax advantages for people over 60, and it’s clear that this state is a beautiful and affordable option for retirees.

Directory of Assisted Living Facilities in Georgia

Careful research is a necessity in finding the right facility for yourself or a loved one. To save you time and simplify your research process, we have compiled a directory of assisted living facilities in the state of Georgia. Below you will find 678 of Georgia’s facilities listed with their pertinent details, such as amenities, Medicaid acceptance status, and care provided.

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Paying for Assisted Living in Georgia

According to the 2018 Genworth Cost of Care survey, Georgia has the cheapest average assisted living costs in the southeastern region, and costs there undercut the national average by $900 per month. Nearby Alabama has comparable costs, but in Florida and South Carolina, consumers are likely to pay about $400 more per month, with still greater costs in other bordering states.

 

Assisted living costs in any state will vary depending on which city you decide to settle in. Georgia’s highest population cities of Macon and Atlanta represent the most expensive places for assisted living in the state, though both areas have average ALF costs of at least $500 less than the national average. If the state’s most populous cities are excluded from the calculation, average ALF costs in the remaining counties total only $2,520.

 

The type and extent of care that is needed will also significantly affect long-term care expenses. Georgia’s average cost for assisted living is over $700 less than median costs of memory care and home health services. Only adult day healthcare and independent living are likely to be less costly, while expenses for nursing home care will be at least double that of assisted living.

Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Georgia

ABD Medicaid Coverage

Georgia’s Medicaid coverage for the Aged, Blind, and Disabled can cover personal care services provided by assisted living facilities or home health aides. Recipients of ABD coverage must be assessed by a physician as eligible for a nursing home level of care, and services can only be covered under a particular set of circumstances. If an assisted living resident has a specific health condition and a physician has assigned a plan of care with the aim of ultimately healing that condition, then ABD Medicaid may cover the basic care services associated with the healing process.

Who is Eligible?

How to Apply

For application assistance, interested parties can contact their local Area Agency on Aging to be connected with a GeorgiaCares Medicaid counselor. Consult the directory in this guide to find an AAA office serving your county. Applications can be submitted to any DFCS office by mail, fax, or in person. For more information on eligibility or what is offered under the ABD program, view the ABD Medicaid fact sheet.

The CCSP Waiver

Georgia’s Department of Community Health partners with the state’s Area Agencies on Aging to administer the Community Care Services waiver program. This waiver is for nursing home-eligible Medicaid recipients who do not need 24-hour care, and wish to continue receiving their benefits in their own home or community setting, such as an assisted living facility.

The CCSP waiver offers coverage of home- and community-based services, including the following:

  • Adult day healthcare
  • Alternative living services
  • Emergency response services
  • Home-delivered meals/services
  • Caregiver respite
  • Personal care services for assistance with activities of daily living

Who is Eligible?

People who are assessed by a physician as being eligible for a nursing home level of care and who also meet Medicaid eligibility requirements may qualify for the CCSP waiver. State funding for the program is subject to budgetary limitations and enrollment is limited accordingly. Preference is given to applicants with the greatest medical and/or financial need.

How to Apply

To initiate a physician’s diagnosis of your nursing home eligibility, contact your local Area Agency on Aging by consulting the directory included in this guide. For more information on what is offered under this waiver, view the CCSP Fact Sheet online.

The SOURCE Waiver

The Source Options Using Resources in a Community Environment waiver is an evidence-based approach to care delivery that has been shown to improve health outcomes for the very frail elderly. The program allows Medicaid and SSI reimbursement for enrolled individuals to support a less fragmented, more cohesive approach to their healthcare by bringing primary care physicians together with home- and community-based service coordinators. Medicaid- or SSI-eligible people who qualify for this waiver may receive their Medicaid benefits in a community setting such as an assisted living facility.

Primary care physicians in this program become central figures in an enrollee’s customized care plan, ensuring the following benefits:

  • Reduced instances of avoidable medical emergencies
  • Integration of primary care, specialty care, and home-based care
  • Stabilization of health and lifestyle factors that affect quality of life
  • Fewer problems caused by Medicaid gaps
  • Reduced need for long-term institutional placement

This waiver is intended for frail and medically needy people, so it reimburses for fewer independent living assistance services than Georgia’s CCSP waiver, mentioned above. For more information, view the SOURCE fact sheet.

Who is Eligible?

People who are eligible for Medicaid and/or Supplemental Security Insurance may apply for SOURCE if they are assessed as eligible for a nursing home level of care. The SOURCE program is multi-tiered to provide a more individualized plan of care for all recipients, so eligibility requirements can vary. Enrollment in this program is capped, which means that enrollment may involve being added to a waitlist for services. The program currently serves 19,000 Georgians.

How to Apply

Applications may be initiated with your local Area Agency on Aging, which can be found by consulting the directory in this guide. Completed applications may be mailed to The Georgia Department of Community Health, Aging and Special Populations Unit located at 2 Peachtree Street NW, 37th Floor, Atlanta GA 30303. Mailed applications should be marked “Attention SOURCE specialist.” For additional information, call (404) 463-6570 or (404) 653-8365.

PACE

The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly is a nationally implemented Medicare/Medicaid program. The goal of PACE is to provide community-based services and complete coverage of all medical care for especially frail seniors who are facing institutionalization. Enrollment in PACE is limited, and applicants to the program are likely to see their name added to a waitlist for services. Only residents of select counties in a PACE provider’s local area can be served, and most providers can only support between 150 and 300 active participants. Georgia hosts eight PACE providers, each of them offering a limited suite of services and coverage.

Who is Eligible?

  • People 55 years of age and older
  • Those who are nursing home-eligible
  • Residents of a PACE service area
  • People who can live safely in their community with the help of PACE

Medicaid eligibility is not a prerequisite of PACE coverage. Anyone who meets the above qualifications may apply for services, though people who are not Medicaid-eligible are charged a fee for service that is lower than the average cost of nursing home care in Georgia.

How to Apply

To begin the application process and add your name to a PACE waitlist, contact your local Area Agency on Aging by consulting the directory included in this guide. For more information about the mission of PACE and what it can offer, visit Medicare.gov. For a complete list of PACE providers and service areas in Georgia, visit NPIDB.org.

More Ways to Finance Assisted Living

Some additional ways to finance assisted living costs include:

  • Veterans Benefits
  • Life Insurance Policy
  • Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Reverse Mortgage

Free Assisted Living Resources in Georgia

Non-Medicaid Home and Community Based Services

The goal of Home- and Community-Based Services is to allow people 60 and older who are nursing home-eligible to avoid institutionalization, instead living in community settings as safely and independently as possible. In most states, Home- and Community-Based Services are offered by the state government through a Medicaid waiver. However, Georgia implements its non-Medicaid HCBS program through regional Area Agencies on Aging, which are government-funded agencies that offer services and supports on a local level.

Home- and Community-Based Services are not an entitlement in Georgia, which means that space in this program is limited. Enrolling in the program is likely to result in one’s name being added to a waitlist, and preference is given to individuals who are considered more medically and/or financially needy. To learn more about services offered by the HCBS program, visit Aging.Georgia.gov.

The state of Georgia hosts 12 Area Agencies on Aging, with each location serving surrounding counties. Every Area Agency on Aging offers its own list of Home- and Community-Based Services, and the types of services offered as well as the extent of aid are independently determined by each AAA office location. To find contact information for your local AAA office, consult the directory in this guide.

GeorgiaCares

GeorgiaCares is the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), a Medicare/Medicaid funded benefits counseling program available in all states. The goal of GeorgiaCares is to provide the aid of certified counselors to help consumers understand their Medicaid and Medicare benefits. Over the phone or in person, counselors can help Georgia citizens select their health plans, handle claims, resolve billing issues, and more.

GeorgiaCares is located at 2 Peachtree Street NW, 33rd Floor in Atlanta, Georgia 30303, but there are field offices integrated with the state’s 12 Area Agencies on Aging. To contact a GeorgiaCares location, consult the table in this guide to find an Area Agency on Aging near you. The main office can be reached by calling (866) 552-4464 and selecting the 4th menu option. All Medicare- or Medicaid-eligible U.S. citizens are entitled to services offered by SHIP programs.

Veterans’ Affairs

For veterans and their families, the VA can be a major source of support in the retirement years. Veterans’ Affairs has an extensive counseling and social services network in every state to support veterans at any stage of life, and an important part of that network for Georgia seniors is the VA’s Regional Benefits Office. This office can provide guidance to assist retired veterans with their military pensions, additional pension benefits, VA loans, and other financial concerns.

To visit the VA’s Atlanta Regional Office, you can find them at 1700 Clairmont Road

Decatur, GA 30033. For more information, call the office at (800) 827-1000 or contact MyVA311 by calling (844) 698-2311.

Georgia’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

The long-term care ombudsman program is active in every American state with the goal of protecting the right to thrive for people in long-term care programs. Ombudsmen are volunteers organized by central offices located throughout the state, and their job is to visit with residents of long-term care facilities, such as assisted living facilities, to field any complaints and ensure that residents receive the quality of care agreed upon in their residency contracts.

To find direct email addresses to reach an ombudsman as well as other points of contact for the program, visit GeorgiaOmbudsman.org. Find an ombudsman in your local area in the following directory.

LegacyLink, Inc.

Counties Served: Banks, Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Dade, Dawson, Fannin, Floyd, Forsyth, Franklin, Gilmer, Gordon, Habersham, Hall, Haralson, Hart, Lumpkin, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, Walker, White, Whitfield

4080 Mundy Mill Road

Oakwood, GA  30566

(770) 538-2685

Ombudsman Office Address Phone Number
Community Council on Aging

Counties Served: Barrow, Burke, Clarke, Columbia, Elbert, Glascock, Greene, Gwinnett, Hancock, Jackson, Jefferson, Jenkins, Lincoln, Madison, McDuffie, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Richmond, Screven, Taliaferro, Walton, Warren, Washington, Wilkes

135 Hoyt Street

Athens, GA  30601

(706) 549-4850
Coastal Connected Care, Inc.

Counties Served: Appling, Baldwin, Bibb, Bleckley, Bryan, Bulloch, Candler, Chatham, Crawford, Dodge, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Houston, Jasper, Jeff Davis, Johnson, Jones, Laurens, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Monroe, Montgomery, Peach, Pulaski, Putnam, Tattnall, Telfair, Toombs, Treutlen, Twiggs, Wayne, Wheeler, Wilcox, Wilkinson

239 NE Park Avenue, Suite C-1

Baxley, GA 31513

(912) 367-4866
Capitol Ombudsman Program

Counties Served: Fulton, Douglas, Cobb

225 Cameron Road

McDonough, Georgia 30253

(404) 627-1057
Communities Aligned for Deeply Rooted Elderhood

Counties Served: Butts, Carroll, Clayton, Coweta, DeKalb, Fayette, Harris, Heard, Henry, Lamar, Meriwether, Newton, Pike, Rockdale, Spalding, Talbot, Troup, Upson

1743 Hardin Avenue

College Park GA 30337

(678) 378-2934
SOWEGA Council on Aging

Counties Served: Atkinson, Bacon, Baker, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Calhoun, Camden, Charlton, Chattahoochee, Clay, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crisp, Decatur, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Echols, Grady, Glynn, Irwin, Lanier, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marion, Miller, Mitchell, Muscogee, Pierce, Quitman, Randolph, Schley, Seminole, Stewart, Sumter, Taylor, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Turner, Ware, Webster, Worth

335 W. Society Ave.

Albany, Ga. 31701

(229) 432-1124

Area Agencies on Aging

Georgia’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection serves as the state’s Area Agency on Aging. The AAA program consists of a national network of information centers tasked with providing program development and access to aging supports in all 50 states. The goal of the Area Agencies on Aging is to reduce confusion and facilitate access to care on the local level, and local AAA offices function as a single point of contact for all long-term care questions and needs.

Area Agency on Aging Address Phone Number
Atlanta Regional AAA

Counties Served: Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Rockdale

229 Peachtree Street, NE, Suite 100

Atlanta , GA 30303

(404) 463-3100
Central Savannah River AAA

Counties Served: Burke, Richmond, Columbia, Screven, Glascock, Taliaferro, Hancock, Warren, Jefferson, Washington, Jenkins, Wilkes, Lincoln, McDuffie

3626 Walton Way Ext. Suite 300

Augusta, GA 30909

(706) 210-2000
Coastal Georgia AAA

Counties Served: Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, McIntosh

1181 Coastal Drive, SW

Darien, GA 31305

(912) 437-0852
Legacy Link AAA

Counties Served: Banks, Stephens, Dawson, Towns, Forsyth, Union, Franklin, White, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Lumpkin, Rabun

4080 Mundy Mill Road

Oakwood, GA 30566

(770) 538-2650
Heart of Georgia Altamaha AAA

Counties Served: Appling, Montgomery, Bleckley, Tattnall, Candler, Telfair, Dodge, Toombs, Emanuel, Treutlen, Evans, Wayne, Jeff Davis, Wheeler, Johnson, Wilcox, Laurens

331 West Parker Street

Baxley, GA 31513

(912) 367-3648
Middle Georgia AAA

Counties Served: Baldwin, Peach, Bibb, Pulaski, Crawford, Putnam, Houston, Twiggs, Jones, Wilkinson, Monroe

175 Emery Highway, Suite C

Macon, GA 31217

(478) 751-6466
Northeast Georgia AAA

Counties Served: Barrow, Newton, Clarke, Oconee, Elbert, Oglethorpe, Greene, Walton, Jackson, Jasper, Madison, Morgan

305 Research Drive

Athens, GA 30610

(706) 369-5650
Northwest Georgia AAA

Counties Served: Bartow, Murray, Catoosa, Paulding, Chattooga, Pickens, Dade, Polk, Fannin, Walker, Floyd, Whitfield, Gilmer, Gordon, Harralson

1 Jackson Hill Dr.

Rome, GA 30161

(800) 759-2963
River Valley Regional Commission & AAA

Counties Served: Chattahoochee, Quitman, Clay, Randolph, Crisp, Schley, Dooley, Stewart, Harris, Sumter, Macon, Talbot, Marion, Taylor, Muscogee, Webster

710 Front Ave. Suite A

P.O. Box 1908

Columbus, GA 31901

(706) 256-2910
Southern Georgia AAA

Counties Served: Atkinson, Cook, Bacon, Echols, Ben Hill, Irwin, Berrien, Lanier, Brantley, Lowndes, Brooks, Pierce, Charlton, Tift, Clinch, Turner, Coffee, Ware

1725 South Georgia Parkway, W

Waycross, GA 31503

(912) 285-6097
Sowega AAA

Counties Served: Baker, Lee, Calhoun, Miller, Colquitt, Mitchell, Decatur, Seminole, Dougherty, Terrell, Early, Thomas, Grady, Worth

335 West Society Avenue

Albany, GA 31701

(229) 432-1124
Three Rivers AAA

Counties Served: Butts, Pike, Carroll, Spalding, Coweta, Troup, Heard, Upson, Lamar, Meriwether

P.O. Box 1600

Franklin, GA 30217

(678) 552-2838

Social Security Offices

Many Social Security related activities can be completed online, but sometimes personal assistance is necessary to help consumers understand their benefits and to simplify the process of procuring them. Georgia’s Social Security program has regional offices in many cities.

Find the Social Security office that serves your county by consulting the directory below.

Social Security Office Address Phone Number
Albany Social Security Office 31707 1522 W 3rd Ave.

Albany, GA 31707

(800) 772-1213
Athens Social Security Office 30606 1650 Prince Ave.

Athens, GA 30606

(800) 772-1213
Atlanta Social Security Office 30308 401 W Peachtree St. NW

Atlanta, GA 30308

(800) 772-1213
Atlanta Social Security Office 30331 3800 Camp Creek Pkwy.

Atlanta, GA 30331

(800) 772-1213
Augusta Social Security Office 30909 115 Robert C Daniel Jr.

Augusta, GA 30909

(800) 772-1213
Brunswick Social Security Office 31520 134 Juniper Ct.

Brunswick, GA 31520

(800) 772-1213
Columbus Social Security Office 31909 7263 North Lake Dr.

Columbus, GA 31909

(800) 772-1213
Cordele Social Security Office 31015 510 E 15th Ave.

Cordele, GA 31015

(800) 772-1213
Covington Social Security Office 30014 9180 Covington Bypass

Covington, GA 30014

(800) 772-1213
Dalton Social Security Office 30720 301 Point North Pl.

Dalton, GA 30720

(800) 772-1213
Decatur Social Security Office 30032 3554 Covington Hwy.

Decatur, GA 30032

(800) 772-1213
Dublin Social Security Office 31021 919 Hillcrest Pkwy.

Dublin, GA 31021

(800) 772-1213
Gainesville Social Security Office 30501 2565 Thompson Bridge Rd.

Gainesville, GA 30501

(800) 772-1213
Griffin Social Security Office 30223 1548 Flynt St.

Griffin, GA 30223

(800) 772-1213
Lagrange Social Security Office 30241 1300 Lafayette Pkwy.

Lagrange, GA 30241

(800) 772-1213
Macon Social Security Office 31210 3530 Riverside Dr.

Macon, GA 31210

(800) 772-1213
Marietta Social Security Office 30067 1415 Franklin Gateway

Marietta, GA 30067

(800) 772-1213
Milledgeville Social Security Office 31061 109 Cypress Corners

Milledgeville, GA 31061

(800) 772-1213
Morrow Social Security Office 30260 6670 Merchants Way

Morrow, GA 30260

(800) 772-1213
Newnan Social Security Office 30263 246 Bullsboro Dr.

Newnan, GA 30263

(800) 772-1213
Norcross Social Security Office 30093 4365 Shackleford Rd.

Norcross, GA 30093

(800) 772-1213
Rome Social Security Office 30161 480 Riverside Pkwy. NE

Rome, GA 30161

(800) 772-1213
Savannah Social Security Office 31406 430 Mall Blvd.

Savannah, GA 31406

(800) 772-1213
Statesboro Social Security Office 30461 1050 Brannen St.

Statesboro, GA 30461

(800) 772-1213
Thomasville Social Security Office 31792 1916 Smith Ave.

Thomasville, GA 31792

(800) 772-1213
Tifton Social Security Office 31794 732 2nd St. W

Tifton, GA 31794

(800) 772-1213
Toccoa Social Security Office 30577 155 Big A Rd.

Toccoa, GA 30577

(800) 772-1213
Valdosta Social Security Office 31602 3149 Perimeter Park Ln.

Valdosta, GA 31602

(800) 772-1213
Vidalia Social Security Office 30474 104 W Third St.

Vidalia, GA 30474

(800) 772-1213
Villa Rica Social Security Office 30180 908 S Carroll Rd.

Villa Rica, GA 30180

(800) 772-1213
Warner Robins Social Security Office 31088 220 Carl Vinson Pkwy.

Warner Robins, GA 31088

(800) 772-1213
Waycross Social Security Office 31501 303 Isabella St.

Waycross, GA 31501

(800) 772-1213
Winder Social Security Office 30680 389 East Broad St.

Winder, GA 30680

(800) 772-1213

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Georgia

Georgia’s Division of Healthcare Facility Regulation is responsible for licensing and regulating assisted living facilities in the state. Facilities must meet certain quality and logistical standards to maintain their licensure. The following are some of the most important ALF regulations for Georgia seniors to be aware of.

Assisted Living Service Plans

The service plan is an important part of the health, safety, and happiness of assisted living facility residents. It functions as an acknowledgement of residents’ medical and physical needs and care preferences, as well as an outline of how a facility can best meet those needs and plan for contingencies.

Within the first month of residency at an assisted living facility, new residents must meet with facility staff for an interview to establish their service plan. On a yearly basis, or whenever there are major changes in a resident’s life, the service plan must be updated pending a reassessment of a resident’s needs. In ALFs that house memory care units, service plans for residents of those units must be reassessed on a quarterly basis.

Additionally, A residential agreement will usually be drawn up that will present the resident with all pricing information for services at their facility and inform them of their rights and responsibilities as tenants of the community.

Assisted Living Admission Requirements

No assisted living facility can admit or retain residents who may require the use of restraints or isolation, or who require a level of care that is beyond that facility’s means of accommodation. Personal care homes and assisted living communities have differing capabilities where care is concerned.

Personal care homes can admit people who are capable of standing and walking on their own or with minimal assistance, and who can administer their own medications with minimal assistance. PCH residents cannot have active tuberculosis, and must be deemed capable of participating in lifestyle activities offered by the facility.

Assisted living communities can accommodate residents who have very limited mobility and who require the help of others to take their medicines. Prospective residents will be assessed by assisted living community administrators and nurses/physicians in the 30 days prior to admittance. If it is determined that an applicant for residency has active tuberculosis or requires round-the-clock nursing care, then residency cannot be offered. There are times when an emergency placement must be accommodated by referral from Adult Protective Services. In these cases, the physical examination for residency can be delayed by two weeks.

Assisted Living Scope of Care

The scope of care offered by Georgia assisted living facilities is divided into two categories, and facilities are designated accordingly. The two types of Georgia ALFs are assisted living communities (ALC) and personal care homes (PCH). The key differences between the two facility types are in the amount of assistance they are legally permitted to provide where medication administration and emergency evacuation are concerned.

While personal care homes can provide limited assistance to residents in self-administering their medicines, Georgia assisted living communities employ certified medication aides and consulting pharmacists to offer medication administration to residents who cannot self-administer, or who choose not to. Evacuation procedures for the two facility types differ as well. A more limited amount of physical assistance can be provided by staff at a personal care home, so residents of PCHs must be capable of a certain measure of personal mobility and must be able to understand and remember evacuation directions. Assisted living communities may provide bodily transference for less capable residents in order to get them to safety in emergencies.

Assisted Living Medicaid Policy

Georgia ALFs can be reimbursed by Medicaid for things like personal care services, which involve basic assistance with activities of daily living, and for other activities, like minor homemaking chores or non-emergency transportation. Medicaid funding is only offered to long-term care facility residents who are eligible for a nursing home level of care, and only through the use of Medicaid waivers or Aged, Blind, and Disabled (ABD) Medicaid plans. Recipients of Supplemental Security Insurance pay capped rates for room and board at assisted living facilities, with the maximum cost to the resident set in accordance with the Federal Benefit Rate, which is currently $771 for individuals and $1,157 for couples.

Assisted Living Facility Requirements

Apartment style units are not required in Georgia’s assisted living facilities. Apartment living may be offered, but private and semi-private rooms are also available, and must have at least 80 square feet of usable space per resident. Shared units in personal care homes may house up to four people, whereas assisted living communities can have up to two residents per unit. In both types of assisted living environments, at least one toilet and sink must be provided for every four residents, and for every eight residents, there must be at least one bathing area. Every floor of a facility must have accessible bathing facilities and lavatories, and all handrails, doorways, and corridors must accommodate mobility devices.

Medication Management Regulations

Medication management practices differ between the two main types of assisted living facilities in Georgia. In personal care homes (PCH), the ability of staff to assist residents with their medications is limited. Staff of a PCH may offer assistance by helping residents to read labels, open packaging, and remember to take their medicines, though it is prohibited, in most cases, for PCH staff to determine dosage and directly administer a resident’s medication. However, insulin and epinephrine may be administered by PCH staff under supervision and under established medical protocols. Certified medication aides employed by assisted living communities (ALC) may handle and administer medicines for residents who are incapable of self-administration. ALC and memory care residents may also give their permission to proxy caregivers who are trained to handle medical maintenance tasks to administer their medicines.

Staffing Requirements

All assisted living facilities in Georgia are responsible for retaining sufficient staff to meet the needs of the population which they admit for residence. A staff-to-resident ratio must be maintained at all times, with one facility staff member on the grounds per 15 residents throughout the day, and one staff member on the grounds per 25 people in residence throughout the evenings. Facilities must hire administrators, direct care staff, and in the case of assisted living communities where medication administration is provided, certified medication aides must also be on staff.

Administrators must be on the grounds at all times, or designate a house manager to be present in their absence.

Direct care staff are responsible for providing basic assistance to residents who may need help performing activities of daily living.

Certified medication aides are individuals trained by a licensed healthcare professional to administer scheduled medications for residents who are incapable of doing so for themselves.

In assisted living communities, quarterly drug regimen reviews are conducted by licensed pharmacists to ensure the continued safety of residents. Memory care units in assisted living communities also employ licensed nurses working under the supervision of licensed physicians to oversee the administration of resident medicines and to coordinate dosing schedules. A proxy caregiver, or a staff member who is trained directly by a licensed healthcare professional to perform health maintenance tasks, may also provide medication administration in memory care if a resident gives expressed consent.

Staff Training Requirements

Employees of any assisted living environment in Georgia are required to undergo a mix of initial coursework, in-service training, and continued education. The Department of Community Health determines appropriate topics for new employee coursework and, within 60 days of hire, all staff must complete at least 24 hours of training, with dementia care employees requiring an additional eight hours of training on topics relevant to memory care populations. Direct care staff must also complete additional training in the provision of CPR and emergency first-aid, and all employees must be trained to administer basic first-aid. Continued education for direct care staff is required at a rate of 16 hours per year, with an additional eight hours per year for memory care unit staff.

Background Checks for Assisted Living

Georgia requires that anyone associated with an assisted living facility, including owners, administrators, managers and employees, must pass a federal background check before any licensure or employment can be confirmed. Fingerprint analysis is used to check a person’s identity against the databases of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Crime Information Center.

Non-managerial employees are required to undergo a background check, but are not required to submit to fingerprint analysis. Certain crimes will disqualify an individual from ownership of a licensed facility, administrative powers, or basic employment. These crimes generally include any past convictions or substantiated accusations of abuse, neglect, assault, or exploitation.

Reporting Abuse

The state of Georgia provides discrete means of reporting long-term care facilities for breach of contract and for reporting instances of suspected elder abuse.

An assisted living facility may be reported to the Division of Healthcare Facility Regulation if the establishment fails to uphold contract terms and legal requirements as stated in the residency agreement or service plan. The Division advises that ALF residents who wish to file a complaint first approach facility administrators with their concerns. If no resolution can be reached, then a complaint can be filed online. Complaints may also be initiated by calling (800) 878-6442, or by fax: (404) 657-5731.

It is required by law that any Georgia citizen who witnesses or suspects elder abuse must report it. Abuse can take many forms, such as abandonment, neglect, exploitation, and emotional or physical harm. Adult Protective Services can be reached by phone Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm. Call them at (866) 552-4464, or go online to file a report at HarmonyIS.net.