Massachusetts is known for its colorful cultural vitality and quality healthcare. The state is home to beaches, mountain towns, and vibrant urban cities. The elderly population has grown rapidly across the state. One out of every four residents of Barnstable, located on Cape Cod, is an older adult. The recent non-profit Money Management program run by volunteers to help seniors with their finances demonstrates the friendly and caring attitudes the elderly receive in Massachusetts.
Directory of Assisted Living Facilities in Massachusetts
Every long-term care facility in Massachusetts has different policies regarding applicants, financial assistance, nursing services, and costs. It’s important to research those aspects as well as the amenities offered by each facility when looking for an assisted living facility for you or your loved one. The directory below lists information on 256 assisted living facilities in the state of Massachusetts.
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Paying For Assisted Living in Massachusetts
The Cost of Assisted Living in Massachusetts
The monthly median cost of an assisted living facility is $5,495, which is significantly higher than the national average of $4,000. According to Genworth’s 2018 Cost of Care Survey, the monthly cost of assisted living in Massachusetts is the highest amongst its neighboring states.
The average monthly cost of assisted living in Massachusetts ranges from $4,200 to $6,450, varying across the state. While Pittsfield has the most affordable assisted living facilities, some areas of the state cost more than the state’s monthly median.
The average monthly cost of long-term care options that provide a higher level of care, such as memory care and skilled nursing, is more expensive than assisted living. Independent living is the cheapest senior housing option followed by homemaker services.
Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Massachusetts
MassHealth, the Medicaid program in Massachusetts offered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, does not finance assisted living. Most of the assisted living residents in the state pay privately. However, MassHealth has certain programs that finance a part of assisted living services for MassHealth members who have limited resources.
Group Adult Foster Care
MassHealth offers the Group Adult Foster Care program (GAFC) to facilitate long-term care services for seniors who have limited finances. The program is one of the Senior Care Options managed by the state’s Executive Office of Elder Affairs. The Group Adult Foster Care program reimburses GAFC-certified assisted living facilities for personal care services provided to MassHealth residents.
Group Adult Foster Care pays only for the personal care services a resident receives at an approved assisted living residence. The housing cost like the apartment, room, or board rent must be paid by the resident. Not all assisted living facilities are certified by the Group Adult Foster Care programs nor do all assisted living facilities accept MassHealth payments.
Who Is Eligible
Applicants for the Group Adult Foster Care program must be 65 years or older and must be residents of Massachusetts. The maximum monthly income for a single applicant is $1,012 with countable assets up to $2,000. The maximum monthly income for a joint application by a married couple should be $1,372 or countable assets up to $3,000.
Applicants eligible for this program must require help with medication management, administration, and at least one activity of daily living. Individuals who are intellectually disabled, are diagnosed with chronic diseases, or are inpatients of a rehabilitation center do not qualify.
How To Apply
Applicants can fill the Application For Health Coverage for Seniors and People Needing Long-Term-Care Services and mail it to the MassHealth Enrollment Center or fax it to (617) 887-8799.
Supplemental Security Income
In addition to the federal Supplemental Security Income program managed by the Social Security Administration, the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance provides the State Supplemental Program – a cash benefit program for low-income seniors and disabled individuals. Both supplemental programs offer financial aid commonly referred to as SSI-G for assisted living.
Beneficiaries of the Group Adult Foster Care program who are eligible for the federal and state Supplemental Security Income program usually use the SSI-G to pay for assisted living housing expenses.
Who is Eligible
To qualify for the State Supplemental Program, individuals should be eligible to receive the federal Supplemental Security Income payments, be a part of the Group Adult Foster Care, and live in a state-certified assisted living facility. The monthly income limit is $1,195, and the asset limit is $2,000.
How To Apply
Individuals must first apply for Supplemental Security Income by contacting the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or visiting the Social Security Administration website. To apply for the State Supplemental Program, individuals can call the SSP Assistance Line at 1-877-863-1128.
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 Massachusetts
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman in Massachusetts is operated by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs. An ombudsman acts as an advocate for residents of long-term care facilities including assisted living residences. An ombudsman:
- Resolves issues between the residents and the assisted living facility
- Educates the residents about their rights
- Educates the facility and the staff about long-term care policies and regulations
- Helps seniors choose the right type of long-term care facility
- Ensures quality care is provided by the assisted living facility
- Visits the facility on a regular basis to check for any violations
- Inquires and acts against violations of residents’ rights or state’s regulations
The Assisted Living Ombudsman can be reached at:
Phone: (617) 727-7750
Toll-free: (800) 243-4636
Area Agencies on Aging
Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) were established to serve the elderly population with information at a local level. Area Agencies on Aging provide information on the senior benefit programs offered by the state or the county the individual resides in, housing, meal plans, counseling, respite care, mobility assistance programs, and supplemental services.
|Area Agency On Aging||Address||Phone Number|
(Middlesex and Worcester Counties)
26 Crosby Dr.
25 Concord Rd.
1 City Hall Square, Room 271
(Norfolk and Plymouth Counties)
1515 Washington Street
70 School Street
152 Sylvan Street
1 Father DeValles Blvd, Unit 8
(Hampden and Hampshire Counties)
320 Riverside Drive, Suite B
49 Blackburn Center, Blackburn Industrial Park
(Hampden and Hampshire Counties)
4 Valley Mill Road
106 Bassett Lane
Elder Services of Merrimack Valley Inc. (Essex County)
360 Merrimack Street, Building #5
8 Silsbee Street
(Essex and Middlesex Counties)
300 Commercial Street, Suite 19
(Middlesex, Norfolk, and Worcester Counties)
33 Boston Post Road
(Bristol and Plymouth Counties)
1646 Purchase Street
877 South Street, St 4E
1 Merchant Street
61 Medford Street
68 Route 134
66 Industry Avenue, Suite 9
(Franklin and Worcester Counties)
330 Montague City Road, Suite 1
(Middlesex and Norfolk Counties)
307 Waverly Oaks Road, Suite 205
(Middlesex and Norfolk Counties)
360 West Boylston Street
The Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services advocates the interests of all Commonwealth’s veterans. The department helps veterans with information on different programs like healthcare and career services. Massachusetts has several Veteran Centers across the state that guide veterans looking for financing long-term care.
|Veterans’ Affairs Office||Address||Phone Number|
7 Drydock Avenue, Suite 2070
1041L Pearl St.
73 Huttleton Avenue, Unit 2
474 West Main Street
10 George Street, Gateway Center
95 Ashley Avenue, Suite A
255 Park Avenue, Suite #900
Social Security Offices
Social security offers benefits for senior citizens who want to live in long-term facilities. There are 30 social security offices across Massachusetts to provide senior citizens with information related to benefits of Supplemental Security Income and Social Security.
|Social Security Office||Address||Phone Number|
106 Pleasant St.
10 Causeway Street, Room 148
30 Christy’s Drive
10 Fawcett St., First Flr
115 Freeport St
48 Research Rd Technology Park
400 North Main Street
881 Main St, 1st Floor, Philbin Fed Bldg
One Clarks Hill, Suite 305
354 Main St Ste 2
198 Columbia Rd Ste 1
367 Main St
200 High Street 2nd Floor
259 North St Bldg B
439 S Union St Suite 208
151 Warren St Ste 300
140 Union Street
192 Commercial St
53 North 6th St Hastings Keith Fed Bld
96 Marshall Street
One Edgewater Drive Suite 102
78 Center St Federal Bldg Suite 101
1250 Hancock St Suite 210n
Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Massachusetts
Assisted Living Service Plans
Assisted living residences are required to create an individualized service plan for each resident before admission. The Executive Office of Elder Affairs states that a Service Coordinator and a nurse are responsible to develop a comprehensive service plan and review it periodically based on a current assessment and screening by the resident’s physician or an authorized medical practitioner. The service coordinator and the nurse should review the service plan within a month of the resident’s admission.
The service plan must include:
- Services that will be provided to the resident like bathing, dressing, assistance with mobility, medication management, and amenities like beauty services
- Types of units that will be allotted to the resident
- A detailed description of the resident’s medical, physical, emotional, and social needs
- The assessment findings of the medical evaluation
- The duration of all services provided and the service package
Assisted Living Admission Requirements
The Department of Elder Affairs has specified eligibility criteria for admission of individuals to assisted living facilities.
An assisted living facility is not allowed to admit individuals who:
- Need skilled nursing care services like injections of insulin or drugs that are to be routinely administered as a part of treatment or therapy unless the facility has a licensed hospice or is a certified provider of Ancillary Health Services
- Have psychological or psychosocial issues that can pose a risk to the health and safety of the resident or others
Assisted Living Scope of Care
Assisted living facilities offer a home-like, social environment for the elderly. The services include housing, meals, assistance with daily activities, help with medications, and personal care. An assisted living residence is required to provide 24-hour care. The range of assistance a resident will receive is specified in the service plan developed at the time of admission.
An assisted living residence in Massachusetts is allowed to have a Special Care Residence or a Special Care Unit to assist residents with special needs like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Huntington’s disease, or other mental issues.
Assisted Living Medicaid Policy
Massachusetts’s Medicaid policy, known as MassHealth, does not completely finance the long-term care an individual receives at an assisted living facility. However, a MassHealth member with less income or assets as defined by MassHealth’s policy can be eligible for certain programs that can support assisted living facilities.
The Group Adult Foster Care and the Supplemental Security Income provided by the state of Massachusetts only finances personal care services for adults who reside at an assisted living facility certified by the Department of Elder Affairs. The programs don’t support housing and other expenses.
Assisted Living Facility Requirements
The Department of Elder Affairs has listed structural requirements that make an assisted living facility eligible for Certification of an Assisted Living Residence. An assisted living residence must provide:
- Single or double units with lockable doors at the entry of each unit
- A private bathroom equipped with a lavatory, a toilet, and a bathtub or a shower stall for each unit if the assisted living residence was built after 1995
- A private half-bathroom equipped with a washstand and a toilet for each unit and one bathing facility for every three residents if the assisted living residence was built before 1995
- A kitchenette or access to a refrigerator, a sink, and a heating element for all residents unless the access is limited in the resident’s service plan
- Facilities that comply with the federal and state laws and regulations regarding the sanitary codes, the building and fire safety codes, and disability access
Medication Management Regulations
An assisted living facility must provide assistance and supervision with medications. Massachusetts allows assisted living residences to offer two types of medication management programs:
- Self-Administered Medication Management (SAMM) lets residents administer medication independently. The staff can only maintain the medication schedule, remind the residents, and assist in opening bottles or containers. The staff is restricted from directly administering medication including applying medicated creams or helping consume medicines.
- Limited Medication Administration (LMA) allows assisted living facility to provide an advanced level of assistance with medication. According to regulations, a nurse or an individual designated by the resident can assist in the direct administration of medication like creams, eye drops, and medicines.
The Department of Elder Affairs in Massachusetts has made it mandatory for assisted living residences to appoint qualified staff at each staffing level. The facility must have sufficient staff to attend to the needs of all residents at any time.
An assisted living facility should:
- Have a manager who is at least 21 years old, has a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in human services, housing, or nursing home management, and possesses experience in administration, supervision, or management
- Have a service coordinator who has a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience, is trained to develop, implement, and maintain individualized service plans, has at least two years of experience working with the elderly or the disabled, and has knowledge about aging and disability issues
- Have appropriately qualified and trained staff to perform their jobs faultlessly
- Have experienced and qualified Special Care staff available 24 hours per day to respond to emergencies if the assisted living has a Special Care Unit.
Staff Training Requirements
The Executive Office of Elder Affairs has described a training and an in-service education program that must be conducted at an assisted living residence to inform and guide its staff. The department has provided instructions to assisted living facilities to submit proof of the training programs completed by the staff every year.
Training requirements include:
- A 7-hour general orientation program should be conducted for staff who will have direct contact with the residents which include the facility’s policies, rights of residents, elder abuse, communication skills, problems of each resident, and emergency responses.
- The service coordinator and resident manager should receive an additional 2 hours on dementia care.
- A minimum of 10 hours of ongoing education and training must be conducted annually for all employees including at least 2 hours on Alzheimer’s, dementia, and common cognitive impairments. Residence managers should complete an additional 5 hours of training.
- Personal care service staff are required to complete an additional 54 hours of training before attending to residents, which include topics like self-administered medication management, mental health, nutrition, mobility, and aging conducted by a registered nurse with a valid Massachusetts license.
- Special Care staff must complete a 7-hour training program in addition to the general orientation on specialized care and needs of residents including interpreting distress manifestations and creating a therapeutic environment, and an additional 4 hours on medication management and communication skills with residents suffering dementia or other mental issues.
Background Checks for Assisted Living
Every assisted living residence is required to run a complete background check on every potential employee at every level. The Department of Elder Affairs clearly states that any individual convicted of a felony related to illegal handling or theft of a controlled substance, or declared by an administrative court as a violator of any local, state, or federal law related to safety or well-being of a resident of the facility should not be admitted as an employee.
Requirements for Reporting Abuse
The Elder Protective Services investigates cases which involve abuse of an individual aged 60 or over and who lives in a community. Elder abuse includes physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, financial exploitation, neglect by the caretaker, or self-neglect.
Elder abuse reports can be filed 24 hours a day online at www.mass.gov or by calling the Massachusetts Elder Abuse Hotline at (800) 922-2275. A case of abuse by assisted living facilities can also be reported to the Assisted Living Ombudsman at (617) 727-7750.
Any suspicion regarding the certification of an assisted living facility or its compliance with the state’s regulations must be reported to the Executive Office of Elder Affairs. The office can be reached at (617) 727-7750 or (800) 243-4636.