Elderly who decide to make Iowa their home will find the state to be reasonably tax-friendly. Those with a social security income do not have to pay state taxes. Additionally, any public and private pension income are only partially taxed and prescription drugs are exempt from sales tax.

Directory of Assisted Living Facilities in Iowa

When beginning the hunt to locate a quality assisted living facility in Iowa, it’s essential to think about the services they provide and what programs are available to help pay for those care services. The registry below can aid you in your search by providing details and information on more than 150 facilities in the state of Iowa.

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Paying For Assisted Living in Iowa

The Cost of Assisted Living in Iowa

The monthly median cost of assisted living in Iowa is $3,847, which is cheaper than the national average of $4,000. According to Genworth’s 2018 Cost of Care Survey, assisted living in Iowa is also less expensive than the median in all but three neighboring states, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

While the cost of Assisted Living is fairly consistent throughout the state, Sioux City is the one exception coming in at $797 below the state average. The Philadelphia Area is the most expensive region in the state at $175 above the national average of $4,000.

While nursing home care is relatively cheap in Iowa when compared to the rest of the nation, it’s still considerably more expensive than assisted living. Other than independent living, which doesn’t provide assistance with activities of daily living, assisted living communities are the cheapest solution for long-term care in the state.

Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Iowa

Iowa Elderly Waiver Program

Medicaid does not cover assisted living in Iowa, however, they offer waiver programs, referred to as Home and Community Based Services (HCBS). Not all facilities in Iowa accept the waivers, so keep this in mind as you search for an assisted living facility for you or your elderly loved one.

The Elderly Waiver covers nursing and skilled levels of care based on a resident’s needs. An interdisciplinary team (IDT) consisting of the resident, case manager, Managed Care Organization, community-based case manager, service providers, and other persons the resident chooses will determine what services are appropriate. During this time, a service plan will be developed. Service plans may include attendant care from an assisted living provider or anyone else the resident chooses, nursing care, nutritional counseling, or other tasks.

Since this waiver isn’t an entitlement program, even if you do qualify, you may not be accepted if the enrollment cap is reached. Instead, you will likely be placed on a waiting list. If you are eligible and accepted into the program, there are also service cost limits:

  • Nursing level of care services cannot exceed $1,339 per month.
  • Skilled level of care services cannot exceed $2,765 per month.

Who Is Eligible?

Residents interested in applying for the Elderly Waiver need to qualify for Medicaid as well as meet certain income, asset limits, and functionality requirements. If you’re 65 years of age or older, the qualifications for Medicaid include:

  • You must need nursing or skilled level of care, which is determined annually by the Iowa Medicaid Enterprise and Medical Services Unit.
  • You must be a legal U.S. citizen (or a person with legal entry) who lives in Iowa.
  • The monthly income for a single resident must not exceed $2,250 (in 2018), and assets must be $2,000 or less.
  • The monthly income for married residents must not exceed $4,500 (in 2018), and assets must be $3,000 or less.

How to Apply

To get more details about eligibility requirements and to start an application, contact your local Department of Human Services (DHS) office. You may also call (800) 338-8366 or (515) 256-4606 (Des Moines Area) and let them know you’d like to apply for the Elderly Waiver.

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 Iowa

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

The federal Older Americans Act requires all states to have an Ombudsman Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. In Iowa, the Ombudsman Program focuses on ensuring the elderly receive proper care. Their services include:

  • Educating elderly residents, their families, long-term care facility staff, and the community about residents’ rights
  • Advocating for residents’ rights as well as their need to receive proper care and treatment in long-term care facilities
  • Investigating and resolving complaints about legal issues, discharge concerns, elderly abuse, or other matters against facilities
  • Encouraging Iowa citizens to get involved with the Ombudsman Program by offering volunteer opportunities

To contact the Iowa Ombudsman Program, call (515) 281-3592.

Area Agencies 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.

Iowa has many Area Agencies on Aging that offer comprehensive information on various kinds of programs and community supports for seniors.

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Area Agency on Aging Address Phone Number
Aging Resources of Central Iowa 5835 Grand Avenue Ste. 106
Des Moines, IA 50312
(515) 255-1310 or
(800) 747-5352
Connections Area Agency on Aging 300 West Broadway Ste. 240
Council Bluffs, IA 51503
(712) 328-2540 or
(800) 432-9209
Elderbridge Agency on Aging 22 North Georgia Ste. 216
Mason City, IA 50401-3435
(641) 424-0678 or
(800) 243-0678
Milestone Area Agency on Aging 623 Pennsylvania Ave.
Ottumwa, IA 52501
(641) 682-2270 or
(855) 410-6222
Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging 2101 Kimball Ave. Ste. 320
Waterloo, IA 50702
(319) 874-6840 or
(800) 779-8707
The Heritage Area Agency on Aging 6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52406
(319) 398-5559 or
(800) 332-5934

Veterans Affairs

Veterans and their spouses can get assistance from their local VA offices with transportation, financing, and various other services. Visit or contact a center near you for guidance on the best support options and eligibility for you or your elderly loved one.

VA Office Address Phone Number
Adair County 180 Public Square
Greenfield, Iowa 50849
(641) 743-2656
Adams County 500 Ninth Street
Corning, IA 50841
(641) 322-4455
Allamakee County 110 Allamakee St.
Waukon, Iowa 52172
(563) 568-2451
Appanoose County 19999 St. Joseph Drive
Centerville, IA 52544
(641) 856-6597
Audubon County 318 Leroy St. #4
Audubon, IA 50025
(712) 563-3508
Benton County 303 1st Avenue
Vinton, IA 52349
(319) 472-3150
Black Hawk County 1407 Independence Avenue 1st Floor
Waterloo, IA 50703
(319) 291-2512
Boone County 201 State St.
Boone, IA 50036
(515) 433-4904 or
(800) 753-2136 (ext. 234)
Bremer County 203 1st Ave NE
Waverly, IA 50677
(319) 352-4209
Buchanan County 210 5th Ave NE
Independence, IA 50644
(319) 334-7450
Buena Vista County 1709 E Richland St.
Storm Lake, IA 50588
(712) 749-2562 or
(866) 844-8150
Butler County 428 Sixth St.
Allison, IA 50602
(319) 267-9967
Calhoun County 515 Court St.
Rockwell City, IA 50579
(712) 297-8632 (ext. 227)
Carroll County 608 North Court St., Ste. A
Carroll, IA 51401
(712) 792-4845
Cass County 5 West 7th St.
Atlantic, IA 50022
(712) 243-6662
Cedar County 400 Cedar St.
Tipton, IA 52772
(563) 886-2170
Cerro Gordo County 220 North Washington Ave.
Mason City, IA 50401
(641) 421-3085
Cherokee County 520 W. Main St.
Cherokee, IA 51012
(712) 225-6319
Chickasaw County 910 East Main St.
New Hampton, IA 50659
(641) 394-3232
Clarke County 100 Main St.
Osceola, IA 50213
(641) 342-2933
Clay County 337 Tenth St., SW
Spencer IA 51301
(712) 262-5547
Clayton County 600 NE Gunder Road Suite 6
Elkader, IA 52043
(563) 245-1865
Clinton County 1900 N 3rd St.
Clinton IA 52733
(563) 242-1151
Crawford County 1202 Broadway
Dension, IA 51442
(712) 263-2720
Dallas County 902 Court St.
Adel, IA 50003
(515) 993-5809
Davis County 203 South Madison St.
Bloomfield, IA 52537
(641) 664-2170
Decatur County 207 North Main St. 1st Floor
Leon, IA 50144
(641) 446-7494
Delaware County 601 Grant St.
Manchester, IA 52057
(563) 927-5116
Des Moines 910 Cottonwood, Ste. 1001
Burlington, IA 52601
(319) 752-7171
Dickinson 1802 Hill Ave Ste. 1508
Spirit Lake, IA 51360
(712) 336-0883
Dubuque 36 East 8th St.
Dubuque, IA 52001
(563) 589-7840
Emmet County 609 1st Avenue North Suite #5
Estherville, IA 51334
(712) 362-7431
Fayette County 102 South Frederick Ave #1
Oelwein IA 50662
(319) 283-3329
Floyd County 101 South Main St. #109
Charles City, IA 50616
(641) 228-1850
Franklin County 12 – 1st Ave. NW
Hampton, IA 50441
(641) 456-5670
Fremont County 414 Clay St.
Sidney, IA 51652
(712) 374-2275
Greene County 114 N. Chestnut St.
Jefferson, IA 50129
(515) 386-5673
Grundy County 706 H Ave
Grundy Center, IA 50638
(319) 825-4952
Guthrie County 200 North 5th St.
Guthrie Center, IA 50115
(641) 747-2546
Hamilton County 500 Fairmeadow Drive
Webster City, IA 50595
(515) 832-9595
Hancock County 545 State St.
Garner, IA 50438
(641) 923-4427
Hardin County 1201 14th Ave.
Eldora, IA 50627
(641) 373-0349
Harrison County 207 E 7th St.
Logan, IA 51546
(712) 644-2760
Henry County 106 N. Jackson St., Ste. 1
Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641
(319) 385-0792
Howard County 137 North Elm St.
Cresco IA 52136
(563) 547-9212
Humboldt County P.O. Box 331
Humboldt, IA 50548
(515) 604-6256
Ida County 401 Moorehead St.
Ida Grove, IA 51445
(712) 364-4176
Iowa County 970 Court Ave
Marengo, IA 52301
(319) 642-3925
Jackson County 201 West Platt St.
Maquoketa, IA 52060
(563) 652-0070
Jasper County 115 North 2nd Avenue E 1st Floor
Newton, IA 50208
(641) 792-7993
Jefferson County 51 West Briggs Avenue # 3
Fairfield, IA 52556
(641) 472-3013
Johnson County 855 South Dubuque St, Ste. 109
Iowa City, IA 52240
(319) 356-6049
Jones County 105 Broadway Place, Ste. 13
Anamosa, IA 52205
(319) 462-5311
Keokuk County 101 South Main
Sigourney, Iowa 52591
(641) 622-2761
Kossuth County 109 West State St.
Algona, IA 50511
(515) 295-9036
Lee County 701 Avenue F
Fort Madison, IA 52627
(319) 372-5853
Linn County 1240 26th Avenue Court SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
(319) 892-5160
Louisa County 503 Franklin Street Ste. 2
Wapello, IA 52653
(319) 527-6513
Lucas County 123 S. Grand St.
Chariton, IA 50049
(641) 774-4611
Lyon County 300 South 4th Avenue, Ste. 100
Rock Rapids, IA 51246
(712) 472-3405
Madison County 112 North John Wayne Dr.
Winterset, IA 50273
(515) 462-4680
Mahaska County 301 1st Avenue East
Oskaloosa, Iowa 52577
(641) 673-7727
Marion County 214 East Main St.
Knoxville Iowa 50138
(641) 828-2201
Marshall County County 1301 Veterans Blvd, Iowa Veterans Home, Heinz Hall, Room 45,

Marshalltown, IA 50158

(641) 754-6335
Mills County 602 S Locust St.
Glenwood, IA 51534
(712) 527-5621
Mitchell County 212 South 5th St.
Osage, IA 50461
(641) 832-2920
Monona County 610 Iowa Avenue 3rd Floor
Onawa, IA 51040
(712) 433-3710
Monroe County 1801 South B St.
Albia, IA 52531
(641) 932-5622
Montgomery County 105 East Coolbaugh St.
Red Oak, IA 51566
(712) 623-3180
Muscatine County 315 Iowa Ave. Ste. 1
Muscatine, Iowa 52761
(563) 262-4162
O’Brien County 155 South Hayes Ave
Primghar, IA 51245
(712) 957-0031
Osceola County 300 7th St.
Sibley, IA 51249
(712) 754-2514
Page County 615 NW Road
Shenandoah, IA 51601
(712) 246-4254 or
(712) 215-9030
Palo Alto County 1010 Broadway
Emmetsburg, IA
(712) 852-2066
Plymouth County 215 4th AVE SE
Le Mars, IA 51031
(712) 546-7090
Pocahontas County 23 3rd Ave NE
Pocahontas, IA 50574
(712) 335-3270
Polk County 2309 Euclid Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50310
(5115) 286-3670
Pottawattamie County 623 6th Avenue
Council Bluffs, IA 51501
(712) 328-5797
Poweshiek County 200 4th Avenue West (Lower Level)
Grinnell, IA 50112
(641) 236-5722
Ringgold County 109 West Madison
Mount Ayr, IA 50854
(641) 464-2397
Sac County 100 NW State St. Box 5
Sac City, IA 50583
(712) 662-4552
Scott County 600 West 4th St.
Davenport, Iowa 52801
(563) 326-8723
Shelby County 612 Court St.
Harlan, IA 51537
(712) 755-3907
Sioux County P.O. Box 233
Orange City, IA 51041
(712) 737-2999
Story County 126 S. Kellogg Avenue Ste. 001
Ames, IA 50010
(515) 956-2626
Tama County 219 West High St.
Toledo, IA 52342
(641) 484-3160
Taylor County 305 Main St.
Bedford, IA 50833
(712) 523-2766
Union County 300 North Pine Street Suite #180 (Lower Level)
Creston, Iowa 50801
(641) 782-1723
Van Buren County 406 Dodge St.
Keosauqua, IA 52565
(319) 293-3793
Wapello County 114 E. Main St.
Ottumwa, IA 52501
(641) 683-2654
Warren County 105 West 1st Ave.
Indianola, IA 50125
(515) 961-1045
Washington County 2175 Lexington Blvd.
Washington, IA 52353
(319) 653-7768
Wayne County 100 N. Lafayette Courthouse – Room #103
Corydon, IA 5006
(641) 223-2121
Webster County 723 1st Ave S
Fort Dodge, IA 50501
(515) 573-1479
Winnebago County 216 South 4th St.
Forest City, IA 50436
(641) 585-5736
Winneshiek County 201 W. Main St.
Decorah, IA 52101
(563) 382-5786
Woodbury County 1211 Tri View Ave
Sioux City, IA 51103
(712) 279-6605 or 6606
Worth County 99B 9th ST. N
Northwood, IA 50459
641-324-0480
Wright County 120 1st Ave NW Ste. 3
Clarion, IA 50525
(515) 602-6208

Social Security Offices

By reaching out or visiting a Social Security office, you or your elderly loved one can gain a better understanding of social security benefits as well as other types of assistance that can help with assisted living costs.

Social Security Office Address Phone Number
Ames Office 2615 University Blvd.
Ames IA 50010
(866) 899-1928
Burlington Office 3920 Division St.
Burlington IA 52601
(800) 772-1213
Carroll Office 818 North Bella Vista Dr.
Carroll IA 51401
(866) 572-8381
Cedar Rapids Office 3165 Williams Blvd Sw
Cedar Rapids IA 52404
(866) 495-0088
Davenport Office 4319 North Brady St.
Davenport IA 52806
(855) 420-8556
Council Bluffs Office 20 Arena Way Ste. 1
Council Bluffs IA 51501
(866) 331-9094
Creston Office 906 East Taylor St.
Creston IA 50801
(866) 613-2827
Des Moines Office 455 Sw 5th St. Ste. F
Des Moines IA 50309
(800) 772-1213
Dubuque Office 1635 Associates Dr.
Dubuque IA 52002
(877) 405-3650
Fort Dodge Office 2315 2nd Ave North
Fort Dodge IA 50501
(866) 839-6193
Coralville Office 1100 6th St.
Coralville IA 52241
(866) 964-2039
Marshalltown Office 2502 South 2nd St.
Marshalltown IA 50158
(877) 819-2595
Mason City Office 625 Village Grn Dr. Sw
Mason City IA 50401
(866) 365-6708
Ottumwa Office 2429 Northgate St.
Ottumwa IA 52501
(866) 964-7394
Sioux City Office 3555 Southern Hills Dr.
Sioux City IA 51106
(866) 338-2859
Spencer Office 1610 12th Ave Sw
Spencer IA 51301
(866) 273-6050
Waterloo Office 3121 Greyhound Dr.
Waterloo IA 50701
(888) 456-9554

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Iowa

Assisted Living Occupancy Agreement

When accepted into an assisted living facility, a written occupancy agreement is required. Make sure the agreement includes:

  • All of the facilities’ fees, charges, and rates for rent and services
  • The services the resident will receive and a description of those services
  • Any third party payments they will accept from the resident (e.g. Medicaid)
  • Their policy on what they do if the resident’s financial assistance runs out
  • How long the occupancy agreement is in effect and instructions on how it can be terminated
  • Procedures for involuntary transfer in regards to the resident’s health or for other reasons
  • How the resident can file an appeal or grievance if the need to do so arises
  • The assisted living facilities rules in regards to billing and payment, as well as their refund policy

The facility must give the resident or the resident’s legal representative a copy of the occupancy and all the documents and attachments. If changes are made in the agreement, the assisted living facility (ALF) is required to provide the resident or his or her representative with a written copy of the changes within 30 days before the changes, unless the following occurs:

  • The resident’s health or behavior causes him or her to become a health or safety threat to self or others.
  • An emergency or significant change in the resident’s condition results in the need for services not already in the resident’s occupancy agreement.
  • The assisted living facility is unable to provide the necessary services.

Assisted Living Admission Requirements

In order to determine if an assisted living facility in Iowa can provide the level of care you or your elderly loved one needs, he or she must receive an evaluation of their functional, cognitive, and health status.

If the resident is terminally ill, he or she is allowed to receive hospice services from a Medicaid-certified hospice program.

Assisted living facilities in Iowa are not allowed to admit a resident who:

  • Is in need of more than part-time or intermittent health-related services
  • Is bed-bound
  • Requires more than two people to assist with standing, transferring or evacuating
  • Regularly has uncontrollable incontinence
  • Is a danger to self or others
  • Has an acute stage of alcoholism, drug addiction, or uncontrolled mental illness
  • Is medically unstable or needs maximum assistance with activities of daily living

Assisted Living Scope of Care

Assisted living facilities must include the services they provide to each resident in the occupancy agreement. Services offered in Iowa include activities that support the resident’s service plan, health-related care, personal care, and assistance with instrumental activities of daily living (e.g. chores, cooking, housekeeping, shopping, and traveling in the community).

Assisted Living Medicaid Policy

As in most states, Iowa Medicaid covers the cost of nursing home care but not assisted living. They do, however, offer the Elderly Waiver, which helps Iowa seniors with the cost of home and support services provided by assisted living facilities who accept the waiver.

The Elderly Waiver does not cover the cost of room and board. Additionally, even if you or your loved one qualifies for the Elderly Waiver, receiving care is not guaranteed as there is also waiting list. As of November 2018, there are no applicants on the list, but that can change at any time.

Assisted Living Facility Requirements

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals certifies assisted living facilities in Iowa. They are also responsible for making sure the facilities follow all the rules and regulations. Some of the rules and regulations for Iowa facilities include:

  • There must always be at least one qualified employee at the facility and awake to assist and monitor residents.
  • Private units must have single-action locks on the entrance doors unless it endangers the resident’s health or safety.
  • Units are required to have bathrooms with a working toilet, sink, and other bathing facilities unless the assisted living facility houses dementia residents.

Medication Management Regulations

A resident can administer their own medication or request a qualified employee at the facility to give him or her the medicine. Only a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, advanced registered nurse practitioner, or medication aide who has received instructions from a licensed professional nurse is allowed to administer medication to residents who need an assistance.

Staffing Requirements

Assisted living facilities in Iowa must always have at least one qualified employee at the facility. All employees must be awake to assist and monitor residents.

Staff Training Requirements

Licensed professional nurses are required to complete six or more hours of assisted living or nursing class related to Iowa assisted living rules and laws.

Anyone who works in an assisted living facility in Iowa that provides care to residents with dementia must have a minimum of eight hours of education and training related to dementia. In addition, the staff is required to continue receiving at least two hours of dementia-related education each year.

Contracted staff who do not have contact with residents are exempt from the dementia-related education and training requirement.

Background Checks for Assisted Living

Prior to employment, the assisted living facility is required to request a criminal history check by the Department of Public Safety and a child and dependent adult abuse record check by the Department of Human Services. If it’s determined that the applicant has a record, the decision to hire the applicant will be left up to the Department of Human Services.

Requirements for Reporting Abuse

If you suspect an assisted living facility or any of its employees abusing your elderly loved and/or not following the rules and regulations, or if you are the one being abused or neglected, contact the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals at (877) 686-0027 or Ombudsman at (866) 236-1430.

If you or your elderly loved one is being neglected or abused physically, sexually, or through exploitation by anyone, the Dependent Adult Protective Services (APS) handles these reports. You can contact APS toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (800) 362-2178.