In addition to the Kentucky Derby and world-famous fried chicken, Kentucky is home to over 4.4 million residents, approximately 16 percent of whom are age 65 and over. Senior residents of the Bluegrass State enjoy tax-free social security income and numerous options for long-term care, including 159 assisted living facilities.
Paying For Assisted Living in Kentucky
The Cost of Assisted Living in Kentucky
The monthly median monthly cost of an assisted living facility (ALF) in Kentucky is $3,520, which is less expensive than the national average of $4,000. According to Genworth’s 2018 Cost of Care Survey, assisted living in Kentucky is also less expensive than the median in all of its neighboring states except Missouri.
In different areas within Kentucky, monthly costs vary significantly. The average monthly cost in Owensboro is thousands of dollars less than in the Lexington area. The state median cost of assisted living reflects these wide variations between different regions of the state.
Assisted living is one of the less pricey options for long-term care in Kentucky. Independent living is less expensive, but it doesn’t offer the same level of care that one would find in an ALF. Among comparable care options, assisted living is slightly less expensive than in-home care and significantly cheaper than nursing home care.
Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Kentucky
Kentucky currently does not provide any financial assistance for assisted living. It’s definitely important to keep this in mind as you search for an ALF for yourself or a loved one, as you’ll need to finance the majority of the cost from your personal funds.
Kentucky Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver
If you’re looking into other long-term care options, you may be able to use the Medicaid Home and Community Based (HCB) Waiver to help finance your care. The waiver helps seniors who require a nursing facility level of care remain in their home or community rather than being placed in nursing care. While the HCB Waiver currently does not cover assisted living, it can be used to help pay for other long-term care services like adult day care, respite care, and in-home attendant care.
Who Is Eligible?
Eligible applicants must be at least 65 years of age, require a nursing home level of care, and meet the income requirements for Medicaid.
How to Apply
You can apply for this waiver and other public benefits online by visiting the state’s Benefind portal.
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 Kentucky
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
The Kentucky Long-Term Care Ombudsman serves as an advocate for residents of long-term care facilities, and it protects the well-being of these residents. Some duties of the ombudsman include:
- Identifying, investigating, and resolving complaints made by or for residents of the facilities
- Educating residents about available services
- Representing residents’ interests for legislative matters
- Educating the public on issues affecting seniors and long-term care facilities
- Working to improve conditions in long-term care facilities and residents’ quality of life
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.
There are over a dozen Area Agencies on Aging throughout Kentucky that offer comprehensive information on various kinds of programs and community supports for seniors.
|Area Agency on Aging||Address||Phone Number|
Barren River AAA
177 Graham AvenueBowling Green, KY 42101
Big Sandy AAA
110 Resource CourtPrestonsburg, Kentucky 41653
699 Perimeter DriveLexington, KY 40517
Buffalo Trace AAA
201 Government St., Suite 300PO Box 460Maysville, KY 41056
Cumberland Valley AAA
P.O. Box 1740, 342 Old Whitley Road London, Kentucky 40743-1740
32 FIVCO CourtGrayson, KY 41143
110 Lake Park DriveMorehead, KY 40351
Green River AAA
300 GRADD WayOwensboro, Kentucky 42302
Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency (KIPDA) AAA
11520 Commonwealth DriveLouisville, Kentucky 40299
Kentucky River AAA
941 North Main StreetHazard, KY 41701
Lake Cumberland AAA
PO Box 15702384 Lakeway DriveRussell Springs, Kentucky 42642
Lincoln Trail AAA
613 College Street RoadP.O. Box 604Elizabethtown, KY 42702
Northern Kentucky AAA
22 Spiral DriveFlorence, KY 41042
300 Hammond DriveHopkinsville, Kentucky 42240
1002 Medical DrivePO Box 588Mayfield, Kentucky 42066
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides veterans and their families with useful services, including medical care. There are two Vet Centers in Kentucky where veterans and their family members can go to learn more about available services and benefits, and how to access them.
|VA Office||Address||Phone Number|
1500 Leestown RoadSuite 104Lexington, KY 40511
1347 South Third StreetLouisville, KY 40208
Social Security Offices
There are numerous Social Security offices in Kentucky. Visiting an office is a great way to learn more about available benefits and find out which ones you may be eligible for, including assistance that may be able to help you or your loved one pay for assisted living.
|Social Security Office||Address||Phone Number|
1405 Greenup AvenueAshland, KY 41101
2724 Chandler DriveBowling Green, KY 42104
101 Hiestand Farm RdCampbellsville, KY 42718
159 Future DrCorbin, KY 40701
103 Belinda BlvdDanville, KY 40422
591 Westport RoadElizabethtown, KY 42701
7 Youell StreetFlorence, KY 41042
140 Flynn AveFrankfort, KY 40601
189 Village CenterHarlan, KY 40831
122 Reynolds LaneHazard, KY 41701
2000 North ElmHenderson, KY 42420
1650 Marie DriveHopkinsville, KY 42240
850 Hwy 15 NJackson, KY 41339
2241 Buena Vista Rd.Lexington, KY 40505
10503 Timberwood CirLouisville, KY 40223
601 W BroadwayLouisville, KY 40202
4431 Hanson RdMadisonville, KY 42431
1526 Cuba RoadMayfield, KY 42066
509 Marketplace DrMaysville, KY 41056
10 Tech Park DriveMiddlesboro, KY 40965
4532 Lucky Strike LoopOwensboro, KY 42303
125 Brett ChasePaducah, KY 42003
333 Hambley BlvdPikeville, KY 41501
1897 Ky Rt 321Prestonsburg, KY 41653
1060 Gibson Bay DriveRichmond, KY 40475
3975 S Highway 27Somerset, KY 42501
Aging and Disability Resource Center
In addition to maintaining several Area Agencies on Aging, Kentucky also has an Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC). Like AAAs, the ADRC can help seniors (and people with disabilities) access services and benefits. The ADRC is a good place to start if you feel overwhelmed and are unsure how to access needed benefits, or need help identifying your local AAA or other appropriate office or services.
To contact the ADRC with any questions or concerns, call (877) 925-0037.
Nutrition Program for the Elderly
Kentucky’s Nutrition Program for the Elderly assists residents age 60 and over who are unable to prepare or access nutritious meals on a regular basis. The program provides up to one meal per day, which can be home-delivered. Other services within the program include nutrition screening, education, and counseling.
To find out if you are eligible for the nutrition program and if it is available in your area, contact your local AAA.
Senior Health and Wellness Newsletter
The Senior Health and Wellness Newsletter is a free, monthly publication that focuses on senior health. The newsletter covers useful topics such as SNAP benefits, the importance of exercise, and vaccinations. You can view the newsletter online. A new edition is published on the first of every month.
Kentucky Prescription Assistance Program
The Kentucky Prescription Assistance Program (KPAP) helps residents access prescription drugs at a reduced price or free of cost. This program is intended for low-income residents living between 200 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, but it is available to seniors who find themselves in the Medicare “doughnut hole.”
To learn more about the program or find out if you’re eligible, call 1 (800) 633-8100.
Chronic Disease Self Management Program
The Chronic Disease Self Management Program was developed by researchers at Stanford University to empower people with chronic diseases like diabetes or arthritis to take control of their care management. Program participants meet for two and a half hours once a week, for six weeks. In Kentucky, there are two community health center locations where residents can take the CDSMP workshop.
To find out more, visit the program website or call (502) 564-6930.
Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Kentucky
Kentucky’s Department for Aging and Independent Living oversees and sets regulations for assisted living facilities in the state.
When searching for an assisted living facility (ALF) in Kentucky, you’ll likely come across two different options: assisted living facilities, and personal care homes. Both must be licensed and regulated by the state, but personal care homes provide a nursing home level of care, while ALFs do not. Unless you need skilled nursing care, you should focus your search on assisted living facilities.
Assisted Living Service Plans
Prior to moving into a facility, all residents must undergo a functional assessment of their ability to perform activities of daily living. The assessment must be redone at least once per year, and the accompanying information on file for each resident must be updated as needed.
Assisted Living Admission Requirements
In order to be admitted to an ALF in Kentucky, residents must be able to walk on their own or be mobile non-ambulatory, unless they’re temporarily non-mobile due to a condition for which they are receiving appropriate medical treatment. Residents also cannot be a danger to themselves or to others.
Assisted Living Scope of Care
The main service provided by assisted living facilities in Kentucky is assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, and grooming. Other services provided by ALFs include:
- Three meals and at least one snack per day
- Assistance with household activities like laundry, transportation, and housekeeping
- Assistance with self-administration of medication
- Social and recreational activities
Residents can also arrange to receive additional services from outside, third-party providers if permitted by the facility. The policies for third-party services will vary between different assisted living facilities.
Assisted Living Medicaid Policy
Medicaid and associated waiver programs cannot be used to help pay for assisted living facilities in Kentucky. If you need financial assistance, consider other options like reverse mortgages or cashing out your life insurance policy.
Assisted Living Facility Requirements
Resident units are not required to be apartment style, but they must include:
- A room with a lockable door
- A private bathroom with a shower or bathtub
- A window to the outdoors
- Emergency response provisions and a telephone jack
Most units are single-occupancy, but residents can choose to live with one other person. There is a maximum limit of two residents per unit.
Medication Management Regulations
Medication administration is not allowed, but staff members may assist residents with self-administration. Permitted actions include:
- Reminding residents to take their medication
- Opening the medication container (but not handling the actual medication or removing it from the container)
- Reading the medication label to the resident
Assisted living facilities must employ a designated manager who is at least 21 years of age, has a high school diploma or GED, and has demonstrated management experience. There are no required credentials for other types of staff members.
There are also no state-mandated staffing ratios, but there must be a sufficient number of staff members to meet the needs of residents around-the-clock. At least one staff member must be awake and on-site at all times.
Staff Training Requirements
All staff members, including managers, must undergo an orientation within 90 days of hire. They must also receive annual in-service education on topics pertaining to their duties, including:
- Residents’ rights
- First aid and CPR
- Identifying and reporting elder abuse and neglect
If the ALF provides memory care, they must have a staff training program specifically for caring for people with dementia, and the details of the training program must be public for consumers.
Background Checks for Assisted Living
Facilities must complete a criminal record check for all employees within 7 days of their first day of employment. Criminal records must be requested from the KentuckyAdministrative Offices of the Court or the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, or facilities may use Kentucky’s national background check program (KARES – Kentucky Applicant Registry and Employment Screening program).
ALFs must also check the Central Registry of the Adult Protective Services Caregiver Misconduct Registry and the Nurse Aide Abuse Registry upon an employee’s initial hire and annually. Employees must not have a record of theft, the sale or use of illegal drugs, adult abuse, neglect, or exploitation, or a sexual crime.
Requirements for Reporting Abuse
Any violations of these regulations or other complaints about facilities should be reported to the long-term care ombudsman. The office of the ombudsman investigates reports and advocates on behalf of residents to resolve issues.
Kentucky is a mandatory reporting state for elder abuse and neglect, meaning anyone who suspects incidence of these behaviors is legally required to report it. Reports should be directed to the state elder abuse hotline at 1-877-597-2331.