Mississippi’s senior population makes up 13% of the state’s population, a relatively small percentage compared to some states. Due to a lower-than-average cost of living and relatively inexpensive assisted living (its monthly average is about $500 less than the national average), the state is an affordable destination for seniors who are looking for an assisted living community.
Directory of Assisted Living Facilities in Mississippi
Finding the right assisted living facility for yourself or a friend requires a focused and often protracted effort. To simplify your research process, we have compiled a directory of relevant information on Mississippi assisted living communities. Our side-by-side data comparison regarding things like facility costs, amenities, and Medicaid acceptance status will aid you in making your best choice.
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Paying for Assisted Living in Mississippi
The Cost of Assisted Living
According to the 2018 Genworth Cost of Care survey, the average cost for a single-bedroom assisted living unit in Mississippi is $3,493 per month. This is less than the national average of $4,000, but higher than expenses in many nearby states.
Mississippi’s average rates will vary from one city to another, and in most states, this means that Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) in high-population cities are comparatively high-cost. However, ALF prices in most Mississippi cities are likely to remain close to the state mean. For instance, in the state’s second most populated city of Gulfport, assisted living costs are only $355 more than average prices in the state’s least populous areas, shown below as “Other Areas in Mississippi.”
The type of long-term care that Mississippi consumers need will be a major factor affecting their costs. Assisted living is among the cheaper forms of long-term care in the state. Mississippi ALF costs are comparable to paying for a full-time home health aide and are virtually half the cost of a private room in a nursing home.
Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Mississippi
Home- and Community-Based Service Waivers
Mississippi’s Assisted Living Waiver is specifically designed to help individuals who qualify for an institutional level of care avoid being institutionalized. Instead, it allows them to receive reimbursements in an assisted living program. Reimbursements may cover personal care services, such as assistance with activities of daily living like bathing and dressing, and can include assistance with medical maintenance tasks as well.
Waiver programs are not entitlements, which means that Medicaid funding for waiver programs is capped on a yearly basis. Most waiver programs can support between 150 to 300 recipients at a time, and waitlists for coverage can be extensive. It is advised to apply for waivers as far in advance as possible.
Who Is Eligible
People who are nursing home-eligible and qualify for SSI are automatically eligible for HCBS waivers. Non-SSI Medicaid recipients may also be eligible if they qualify medically and have an income that is less than 300% of the Federal Benefit Rate. This equates to a monthly income of $2,250 (or an annual income of $27,000), or less. Liquid assets (cash or assets that can easily be converted to cash) can amount to no more than $4,000.
How to Apply
To find out if you qualify for an HCBS waiver and to apply for assistance, visit Medicaid.MS.gov. The Mississippi Division of Medicaid can be contacted at (800) 421-2408. To find more information, consult the table in this guide to find your local Area Agency on Aging.
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 Mississippi
Mississippi’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
A Long-Term Care Ombudsman provides direct advocacy for residents of long-term care facilities, and visits with residents to ensure their continued well-being. This program is staffed largely by a team of volunteers who are coordinated by the Central Office of the Ombudsman. Mississippi has ten regional ombudsman’s offices which are administered by the Department of Human Services. Find out more by visiting the DHS Services for Seniors website, or call (800) 948-3090.
Mississippi’s branch of Veterans’ Affairs is available to assist veterans and their families with financing options for assisted living. The VA’s Regional Benefits Office is located in Jackson, where vets can find support through loans, pensions, health coverage, and more.
To contact the Regional Benefits Office, visit 1600 E. Woodrow Wilson Ave., Jackson, MS 39216, or call (800) 827-1000. To determine which department of the VA you need to get in touch with, view the full Mississippi VA contact directory at VA.gov, and to apply for benefits, visit Benefits.VA.gov.
Area Agencies on Aging
The Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) is a national support organization that partners with health departments in all 50 states. AAA offices provide a single point of contact offering long-term care information and program development to Mississippi seniors, including free transportation and the In-Home Care Services and Homemaker Program. The state currently has ten offices representing all counties. For further information, visit the national AAA website at n4a.org, or find the office that serves your county by consulting the directory below.
|Area Agency on AGing||Address||Phone Number|
Central MS Area Agency on Aging
P.O. Box 4935
Jackson, MS 39296
East Central Area Agency on Aging
P.O. Box 499
Newton, MS 39345
Golden Triangle Area Agency on Aging
P.O. Box 828
Starkville, MS 39760
North Central Area Agency on Aging
711 B South Applegate
Winona, MS 38967
North Delta Area Agency on Aging
P.O. Box 1488
Batesville, MS 38601
Northeast MS Area Agency on Aging
P.O. Box 600
Booneville, MS 38829
South Delta Area Agency on Aging
P.O. Box 1776
Greenville, MS 38702
Southern MS Area Agency on Aging
9229 Highway 49
Gulfport, MS 39503
Southwest MS Area Agency on Aging
100 South Wall Street
Natchez, MS 39120
Three Rivers Area Agency on Aging
P.O. Box 690
Pontotoc, MS 38663
Social Security Offices
Mississippi’s Social Security offices are another great resource for seniors in need of assistance. Many Social Security-related activities, such as applying for benefits, finding out what benefits you qualify for, or getting a new Social Security card can be completed by visiting SSA.gov. Consumers can also find in-person assistance to better understand their funding options by visiting their local Social Security office. Below is an alphabetically sorted directory of offices in Mississippi.
|Social Security Office||Address||Phone Number|
Brookhaven Social Security Office
1392 Johnny Johnson Drive
Brookhaven, MS 39601
Clarksdale Social Security Office
236 Sharkey Avenue, Room 226
Clarksdale, MS 38614
Corinth Social Security Office
1050 S. Harper Road
Corinth, MS 38834
Forest Social Security Office
558 Deerfield Drive
Forest, MS 39074
Grenada Social Security Office
2383 Sunset Drive
Grenada, MS 38901
Gulfport Social Security Office
9394 Three Rivers Road
Gulfport, MS 39503
Hattiesburg Social Security Office
1911 Broadway Drive
Hattiesburg, MS 39402
Kosciusko Social Security Office
80 Veteran Memorial Drive
Kosciusko, MS 39090
Laurel Social Security Office
3210 Hw. 15 N.
Laurel, MS 39440
McComb Social Security Office
116 Business Center Drive
McComb, MS 39648
Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Mississippi
The Department of Human Services oversees licensure and regulation of Mississippi’s assisted living programs. There are two types of assisted living programs in the state, Residential Living and Assisted Living, with Residential Living Facilities being more equipped to accommodate people with diminished mental capacity. Most regulations in this section govern both facility types, with a few exceptions.
Assisted Living Service Plans
Incoming assisted living residents must receive an examination by a licensed physician within 30 days of their move-in date. After the examination is complete, a meeting will take place between assisted living staff and prospective residents. A written service plan is prepared to address the resident’s medical conditions, medications, and special needs.
Prospective tenants who receive behavioral care must also have behavioral goals and strategies addressed in their service plan, which must then be reviewed by a physician or behavioral healthcare provider. A residential agreement is also drawn up at this time which documents that residents have been informed of their rights and all expenses at the facility.
Assisted Living Admission Requirements
Assisted living facilities can only accept residents whose needs they are staffed and licensed to fulfill, and yearly examinations must be performed to ensure continued fitness for an assisted living program.
Prospective residents may not qualify for admittance if they require the use of physical restraints, pose a serious threat to themselves or others, or require certain services which the facility cannot provide. Some medical maintenance tasks can disqualify a person from residence, such the need for regular sterile wound care or use of an indwelling urinary catheter.
Assisted Living Scope of Care
Mississippi licenses two types of assisted living communities. They are Assisted Living Facilities and Residential Living Facilities, each providing different levels of care. Residential Care Facilities offer specialized medical care and housing for residents with dementia, while Assisted Living Facilities are better equipped to provide leisure activities to their residents, promoting healthy living and encouraging social interaction in a home-like environment. Home health agencies are permitted to provide services to residents who wish to receive more extensive personal care.
The minimum required services offered at both types of assisted living communities include assistance with:
- Medication management
- Personal grooming
- Simple daily activities
- Eating and meal preparation
- Limited mobility assistance
Assisted Living Medicaid Policy
Licensed residential care settings can accept Medicaid reimbursement only for services provided to nursing home-eligible waiver or PACE enrollees. For people who are not waiver or PACE recipients, reimbursement for personal care services at assisted living and residential living facilities is not provided in the state of Mississippi. There are also no laws in this state to reduce room and board costs for Medicaid or SSI recipients.
Assisted Living Facility Requirements
Mississippi assisted care settings must meet certain logistical requirements to provide adequate space and a positive environment for residents. Although private units are not a legal requirement in this state, facilities may offer private apartments or bedrooms that can house up to four consenting tenants. At least 80 square feet of usable space must be available for each resident in a unit, and one lavatory and one bathing area must be available per every six and twelve residents, respectively. In addition to personal housing, facilities are also required to offer:
- Dining facilities that offer three meals a day
- Facilities for educational and leisure activities
- Emergency call systems
- Exercise facilities
- Housekeeping and maintenance
- Organized recreational activities
- Laundry services
- Social services and religious activities
- 24-hour security
Facilities that house dementia care units must provide secured entrances and exits to deter wandering. Secured outdoor areas must also be provided.
Medication Management Requirements
Assisted living and residential living facility staff may provide reminders and limited assistance to residents in self-administering their medicines. However, only a licensed nurse may administer medications to a resident who does not self-administer. If a resident’s medication is administered for them, decisions about the administration of the medication, including which medication is to be taken, the dosage, or the time at which the medication is to be taken will be made by a licensed nurse.
Mississippi’s assisted living programs require a certain ratio of staff to residents to be maintained at all hours. This ensures that assistance can be adequately provided night and day. From 7:00 pm to 7:00 am, at least one employee must be awake per every 25 people in residence at the facility. During the day, one staff member must be available per every 15 residents. As opposed to residential living facilities, in assisted living facilities, a licensed nurse must be on the grounds eight hours per day. In facilities that house dementia or Alzheimer’s care units, a greater number of licensed nursing staff must be available, and at least two staff members must be available during all hours.
Staff Training Requirements
All assisted living program staff members must receive training that is appropriate for the care of the specific populations in residence where they are employed. After a two-day, pre-employment training orientation, staff members are given continual in-service training on a quarterly basis. New employees must spend 2 concurrent days training with the Department of Human Services. Facility administrators are called “operators” in Mississippi, and operators must also complete a two-day mentoring program with the DHS. Re-training is not required for operators.
Background Checks for Assisted Living
All administrators and staff must attest that they are not listed on the Nurses’ Aide Abuse Registry. All new employees who provide services directly to residents must submit to fingerprinting and a criminal background check. The check will disqualify anyone from employment who has had convictions or substantiated reports of violent crimes, abuse, drug crimes, exploitation, or theft. However, the results of a background check may be received after a trial employment period has already begun, at which point an unfit employee would be terminated.
The state of Mississippi provides different means for citizens to report elder abuse or perceived rule-breaking on the part of a long-term care facility.
Before reporting a facility for rule breaking, the Department of Human Services suggests first addressing the matter directly with facility administrators. If this brings no resolution to the matter, the DHS Department of Health Facilities Licensure and Certification provides a hotline where facilities can be reported. To reach the hotline, call (800) 227-7308.
To confidentially make reports of suspected elder abuse, Mississippi’s DHS provides a hotline that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Abuse of an elder or vulnerable adult can include physical or emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment, exploitation, and theft. The DHS Vulnerable Adult Abuse Hotline can be reached at (844) 437-6282. Adult Protective Services also offers a hotline that can be reached by dialing (800) 222-8000.