Montana is home to small towns and wide prairies, as well as lakes, deserts, and mountains. The land is known for its rugged beauty, and many people own vacation homes and cabins in the backcountry wilderness. Seniors who enjoy outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing find the state an excellent place to retire.
Directory of Assisted Living Facilities in Montana
When choosing an assisted living facility for yourself or your loved one, thorough research of any potential residence is critical. Our comprehensive directory of assisted living facilities in the state of Montana is one of the best ways to start that process. Find information about size, amenities, location, prices, regulations, health insurance, services, and more using the tool below.
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Paying For Assisted Living in Montana
The Cost of Assisted Living in Montana
The monthly median cost of assisted living in Montana is $3,919, around the same as the national average of $4,000. According to Genworth’s 2018 Cost of Care Survey, assisted living in Montana is more expensive than neighboring areas, except for Wyoming.
Average costs vary slightly in different areas of the state. The average monthly cost in the Missoula region is relatively high compared to the rest of the state. Other areas are closer to or less than the state median cost for assisted living.
The state median cost of assisted living is less than half the cost of nursing home care. In-home care is also more expensive than assisted living, but memory care is around the same monthly cost.
Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Montana
The Montana Big Sky Medicaid Waiver
Medicaid does not directly pay rental fees for residents of assisted living facilities in Montana. However, the Big-Sky waiver is available on a waitlist for eligible seniors to pay for the costs of services received while living in an assisted living facility. The Big-Sky waiver pays for services received from the facility, or from an approved third party, such as:
- Homemaker and personal care assistance
- Dieticians, physical therapists, and other specialized medical personnel
- Medical supplies and other consumer goods
- Non-medical and medical transportation
- Residential services like security, chore assistance, and activities
Once applying for the program, a person will have an in-person assessment completed within 60 days. The results of that assessment determine an applicant’s place on the waiting list and what supportive services (like home modifications, or a private nurse) the program will provide in the meantime if he or she must spend down their resources in order to be accepted into the waiver program. Applicants of this program must already be enrolled in Medicaid or Social Security, but not already on a different waiver program.
Who is eligible
People that want to use the Big Sky waiver must be at least 65 or be disabled, have been found to have a need for nursing home level care and have a monthly income of no more than for a $771 single person in 2019 or $1,542 for couples. Applicants may have some assets, like a house (valued $585,000-$878,000) and a vehicle, but no more than $2,000 in other resources, or $3,000 for a couple.
How to apply
If you are interested in the Big Sky waiver, reach out to your dedicated Medicaid or SSI case manager. If you have not yet applied for Medicaid or SSI, call or visit your local Area Agency on Aging to apply for the waiver and other programs.
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 Montana
Communal and Home Delivered Meals
Montana offers many food assistance programs for residents aged 60 or older. There are community meal sites throughout the state, as well as home-delivered meals through the Meals on Wheels program and a nutritional consultant for those in need of dietary guidance. For very low-income seniors (130% of federal poverty levels), a 30-pound food box is available once a month. Call your local area agency on aging at (800) 551-3191 to see what services you or your loved ones qualify for.
The Montana Telecommunications Access Program (MTAP)
Low-income residents of Montana may qualify for assistive equipment or services if they are hearing, speech, or mobility disabled. Applicants income can be no greater than 250% of federal poverty guidelines ($2,529/monthly income for 1 person).
State Health and Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP)
In Montana, a group of volunteers manage the SHIP program that helps elders and their families navigate the waters of health insurance and aging. They provide advocacy and free information, advice, and referrals for topics like Medicare, Medigap, long-term care insurance, and finding the right assisted living facilities. Call 1-800-551-3191 to find your nearest SHIP advisor.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
The Montana Long-Term Care Ombudsman program is staffed by over 30 certified volunteer ombudsman statewide. They help with:
- Complaints and issues regarding long-term care
- Educating elders, families, and communities on best aging practices and options
- Advocating for resident’s rights and best care practices
Call 1-800-332-2272 to speak with your local LTCO.
Area Agencies On Aging/Aging & Disability Resource Centers of Montana
The ADRC provides guidance and advocacy for the aging residents of Montana. Find local community aging programs, and get referrals to social services and meal programs like Meals on Wheels.
|Area Agency on Aging||Address||Phone Number|
Area I Agency on Aging – Eastern Montana
2030 N. Merrill
Area II Agency on Aging – Roundup area
1502 4th St. West
Area III Agency on Aging – Conrad
311 S Virginia St., Suite 2
Area IV Agency on Aging – Helena area
648 Jackson St.
Area V Agency on Aging/ADRC
2103 Harrison Ave.
Area VI Agency on Aging – Polson area
110 Main St., Ste. 5
Area VII Agency on Aging – Missoula area
Area VIII Agency on Aging – Great Falls
1801 Benefits Court
Area IX Agency On Aging/ADRC
40 11th St. W., Ste. 100
Area X Agency On Aging/ADRC
2 West 2nd St.
Like most states, Montana has many Veterans Affairs Offices to assist vets and their families. Look here for guidance on veterans benefits, health insurance programs, and help for caregivers in Montana.
|VA Office||Address||Phone Number|
1911 Tower St
Kalispell Division Veterans Affairs
Montana State Veterans Affairs
232 1st St W
Belgrade Vet Center
350 Airport Rd
Great Falls Vet Center
600 Central Ave # 300
Helena Vet Center
1900 Williams St
Billings Vet Center
2795 Enterprise Ave
Missoula Vet Center
910 Brooks St, Missoula
Butte Vet Center
600 Gilman Ave
3633 Veterans Dr, Bldg 167
Social Security Offices
Montana Social Security Offices provide another excellent resource for those retiring in the state. Look here for guidance on social security benefits, railroad retirement benefits, health insurance information and help paying for prescription medications. To speak with a specialist, visit ssa.gov, call (800) 772-1213 or visit your nearest social security office.
2900 4th Ave N Suite 304
10 W 15th St #1600
3701 American Way
3205 N 27th Ave
2008 23rd St S
275 Corporate Dr, Ashley Square Mall Ste D.
2201 Harrison Ave
123 5th Ave
Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Montana
Montana’s Department of Health Services enforces comprehensive regulations for assisted living communities, called Residential Care Facilities in the state. Policies cover such topics as:
- Training and background check requirements for employees of care facilities
- Services that must be provided to residents
- Resident rights and protections
- Facility and personal space requirements for bedrooms and common areas
Assisted Living Service Plans
A Resident Needs Assessment must be completed with any prospective resident prior to admission into an assisted living facility. This assessment must document:
- Resident’s current height, weight, any skin problems, and health status
- Cognitive patterns like long- and short-term memory
- Mood and behavior, such as depression or aggression
- Medication use, including over-the-counter (OTC) and antidepressants.
This assessment must be performed by an RN. Prospective residents must also complete a resident agreement, like a lease, and a resident service plan, which details the services that are to be provided to the resident. Residents that require a higher level of care may also be required to complete a resident health care plan.
Assisted Living Admission Requirements
Montana provides for several categories of admission into assisted living facilities, and Category A is for the lowest level of care, an assisted living facility. Applicants to these facilities must be sound of mind, pose no threat to other residents, and be generally healthy and capable of independence in daily life. This is verified during the admission process with the resident needs assessment.
Assisted Living Scope of Care
An important factor in these levels of care is how much a resident needs help with Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs. These activities include dressing, eating, toileting, and sitting/standing up. Assisted living facilities provide services on residents with all ADLs, but the level of care to each individual resident is how the facility is categorized. There are four categories that can apply to an assisted living facility in Montana, based on different levels of care the facilities are able to provide to their residents.
- Category A: The lowest classification of need in terms of service, Category A residents must be dependant on assistance for no more than 4 ADLs.
- Category B: Residents in this category can require assistance with more than 4 ADLs, and can be placed into more skilled care for 1 month for an incident but no more than 120 days out of the year. Category B residents must also have health care assessments that are reviewed quarterly by a professional that visits the facility.
Categories C and D and for residents with dementia who wander and those with behavioral issues that endanger other residents, respectively. Any resident may require some assistance with taking medication, such as opening the bottle and recording the time taken, but a doctor’s order is required for all medications, including OTC.
Assisted Living Medicaid Policy
The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Medicaid program does not pay for assisted living room and board in Montana. Waivers are available on a waiting list for people who need help paying for services received while in an ALF, such as physical therapy. Residents may qualify for Medicaids Montana Big Sky waiver based on age (65+) and low income. Income for the applicant can be no greater than 133% of the federal poverty level. These waivers are based on a waiting list and participants require a referral from the area’s social services agency.
Assisted Living Facility Requirements
Newer assisted living communities in Montana may provide units that are single or double occupancy, though in older established residences there may be up to 4 residents in a room. Bedrooms must be at least 100 square feet for an individual room. In shared rooms, all residents must have at least 80 feet of personal living space per resident. Additionally, each resident needs at least 30 square feet of communal living space in common areas such as dining rooms and recreational rooms.
Restrooms must have a toilet and a sink, and there must be a restroom for every four residents. For every 12 residents, there needs to be at least one tub or shower. An emergency call system must be installed in every restroom and bathing area so residents can call for help in the event of a fall or medical emergency.
Medication Management Regulations
Montana has strict medication management laws for assisted living facilities. All category A residents should be able to and must administer their own medications. Category B residents may take their own medication if they can, and should be encouraged by care staff to do so. Direct care staff may assist with opening the bottles and recording the time the medication was taken if they have been trained to do so. Only an RN may assist with the taking of any medication. No resident or staff is ever able to share medication, a doctor’s order is required, even for OTC medications.
There is not a minimum required number of staff at any given time in an assisted living facility in Montana, but there must always be sufficient staff available to meet the needs of residents and for any emergencies that may arise. The minimum amount of direct care staff and their schedules are determined by the ALF administrator. Residents are able to step in and assist with chores and other care activities but may not replace direct care staff. Volunteers are able to perform some direct care but are then subject to direct care training requirements. Volunteers are not able to perform toileting, bathing, medication assistance, or other delegated nursing tasks.
Staff Training Requirements
All direct care staff, including volunteers that perform direct care tasks like feeding and helping in and out of a bed, must be deemed capable by the administrator and fully trained in any activity they perform. The facility administrator is responsible for providing and directing training for all staff. All new employees are required to receive training in areas such as:
- Facility policies and procedures
- A review of the employee’s job description
- Services provided by the facility and how to administer them
If a facility provides CPR as a service, they must have a staff member trained in CPR in the facility at all times.
Background Checks for Assisted Living
The state of Montana Board of Nursing maintains a nurse aide registry that all potential and current employees of assisted living facilities are checked against. The facility administrator may not hire anyone who has adverse findings in the registry. Facility administrators are responsible for other background checks on potential employees.
Requirements for Reporting Abuse
To file a complaint against a nurse aide in an assisted living facility, you can submit a complaint online or call a compliance specialist at (406) 841-2238. To report elder abuse, submit a report online or call 1-800-551-3191.