Rhode Island is the smallest state in the U.S., making it easy to reside in one of the quaint seaside towns while staying close to Providence, the major metropolitan area, or vice versa. The state is also near the Northeastern hubs like New York City or Boston. These reasons, among others, explain why Rhode Island is a destination for a growing elderly population. More than 217,000 residents are aged 60 or older, which is approximately 20% of the state’s population. That number is expected to jump 75% to more than 264,000 by 2040.

Paying For Assisted Living in Rhode Island

The Cost of Assisted Living in Rhode Island

The monthly median cost of assisted living in Rhode Island is $4,350, which exceeds the national average of $4,000. According to Genworth’s 2018 Cost of Care Survey, assisted living in Rhode Island is less expensive than the median in all but one nearby state. New York is $165 cheaper a month on average.



The state median cost of assisted living is less expensive than the majority of other types of long-term care with the exception of independent living which doesn’t provide much help with activities of daily living. It’s considerably cheaper than nursing home care, in particular, and marginally less expensive than homemaker services.

Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Long-Term Care Services

hode Island Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) is the division of Rhode Island’s Medicaid program that services elderly and disabled applicants. It supports various forms of long-term care, including care-related services for assisted living.

Who Is Eligible?

Applicants must meet both financial and clinical “level of care” requirements to qualify for Medicaid Long-Term Care. Per individual, financial resources including cash, savings, and assets must be less than $4,000. People with resources higher than that may need to contribute to the cost of their care.

How to Apply

To get more details about eligibility requirements and start an application, fill out the Medicaid LTSS form or call (401) 462-4444 for assistance.

SSI Enhanced Assisted Living Program

Rhode Island offers an SSI Enhanced Assisted Living Program. This program provides financial assistance to people who are eligible for supplemental social security income (SSI) and have been professionally assessed and determined to require a level of care consistent with what is provided in assisted living facilities.

Who is Eligible?

To qualify for SSI, an individual must:

  • Be older than 65 years of age
  • Not require a nursing home level of care
  • Have a gross income of less than $1,212 per month
  • Have less than $2,000 in countable assets
  • Have either no life insurance policy or a policy that is worth less than $1,500 at face value

How to Apply?

If you are already a recipient of SSI, apply for the SSI Enhanced Assisted Living Program by calling (401) 462-4444 or download the required forms online.

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 Rhode Island

Rhode Island Alliance for Better Long-Term Care

Like many states, Rhode Island maintains a Long-Term Care Ombudsman program, which is called “Rhode Island Alliance for Better Long-Term Care.” Under the federal authority of the Older Americans Act, the role of the Ombudsman is to monitor quality of life and health care services for people who live in long-term care facilities – including assisted living facilities. Specifically, the Ombudsman is tasked with:

  • Educating communities, residents, and families on the rights of residence and issues of service and care.
  • Coordinating with licensing and enforcement agencies to ensure complaints by community residents are investigated and making sure their rights are being upheld.
  • Advocating for residents and their families, and empowering them to advocate for themselves.
  • Ensuring federal mandates are upheld throughout the long-term care system.

To contact the ombudsman program for help with a concern or question, call 1-888-351-0808 or visit them online.

The POINT Network Program

Rhode Island’s Division of Elderly Affairs collaborates with community partners, including the local Aging and Disability Resource Centers and Senior Health Insurance Program, to form the POINT Network. POINT aims to bring information, referral and long-term care options counseling, along with healthcare service and delivery. POINT has regional offices to ensure information is consistent and culturally appropriate. These regional offices are located in the following areas:

Regional POINT AgenciesAddressPhone Number

TriCounty North Community Action Agency (Region 1)

1126 Hartford Avenue, Johnston, RI 02919

401-709-2635

Westbay Community Action Program (Region 2)

224 Buttonwoods Avenue, Warwick, RI 02886

401-732-4660

TriCounty South Community Action, Inc. (Region 3)

1935 Kingstown Road, South Kingstown, RI 02879

401-789-3016

Diocese of Providence, Office of Community Services and Catholic Charities (Region 4)

50 Valley Street, Providence, RI 02909

401-519-0360

St. Martin dePorres Senior Center

160 Cranston Street, Providence, RI 02907

401-274-6783

East Bay Community Action Program

610 Waterman Avenue, East Providence, RI 02914

401-435-7876

Child & Family Services of Newport County

31 John Clark Road, Middletown, RI 02842

401-849-2300

Area Agency 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.

Due to its size, Rhode Island has just one Area Agency on Aging, which is housed under the Division of Elderly Affairs in the state’s Department of Human Services. It offers comprehensive information on various kinds of programs and community supports for seniors.

Address: Louis Pasteur Building, 2nd Floor, 25 Howard Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920

Phone Number: (401) 462-3000

Veterans Affairs

Unlike bigger states, Rhode Island has just one VA center to help veterans and their spouses with financing options for various kinds of care. This office can provide guidance on your eligibility and direct you to the best support options for you.

Address: 380 Westminster St. Providence, RI 02903

Phone Number: (800) 827-1000

Social Security Offices

The Social Security offices in Rhode Island offer another great resource for seniors looking for assistance and information about their long-term care options. By contacting or visiting a Social Security office, you can get a better understanding of you or your loved one’s social security benefits and what types of resources may be available to help pay for assisted living expenses. Below is a list of Social Security Offices in Rhode Island.

Social Security OfficeAddressPhone Number

Newport Social Security Office

130 Bellevue Ave. First Floor. Newport, RI 02840

1-866-253-5607

Warwick Social Security Office

30 Quaker Lane. First Floor, Warwick, RI 02886

1-866-964-2038

Pawtucket Social Security Office

4 Pleasant St. Pawtucket, RI 02860

1-866-931-7079

Woonsocket Social Security Office

Pavilion Plaza. 2168 Diamond Hill Road, Woonsocket, RI 02895

1-877-229-3542

Providence Social Security Office

One Empire Plaza. Sixth Floor. Providence, RI 02903

1-877-402-0808

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Rhode Island

Assisted Living Service Plans

Prior to admission in an assisted living facility (ALF), a registered nurse (RN) must conduct a comprehensive assessment to evaluate each applicant’s health, physical, social, function, activity, and cognitive needs. This assessment is the basis for service planning and it must be updated annually or following any significant change in health status.

After admission, an RN must visit the residence at least once per month to:

  • Monitor medication regimens and ensure an unlicensed staff member’s administration is in accordance with the state law
  • Evaluate the health status of all residents, review any new physician orders, and monitor for symptoms of illness and/or changes in mental or physical health
  • Make a recommendation for changes in care, if applicable

Residents are allowed to contract an outside agency to receive skilled nursing care or therapy from a licensed healthcare professional or hospice program.

Assisted Living Admission Requirements

Save for dementia care units, admission and residency in an assisted living communities in Rhode Island are dependent upon a person’s physical mobility, ability to make decisions, and ability to take appropriate action in emergency situations. ALFs are not permitted to accept people requiring skilled advanced medical or skilled nursing care. If a resident develops an illness that requires skilled nursing care for less than 21 days, they are allowed to stay. Residents under the care of a licensed hospice agency are permitted in ALFs.

Assisted Living Scope of Care

The scope of care provided by assisted living facilities in Rhode Island are as follows:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living, including personal hygiene, preparing meals or transportation
  • Medication administration by appropriately licensed staff, or helping with self-administration
  • Providing support services and monitoring residents’ recreational, social and personal activities
  • Certain health services, including simple wound care, urinary catheter care, and ulcer treatment and prevention

Residents also have the right to contract out to a third party to provide care services that fall outside the scope of care for an assisted living facility, as long as the third party abides by the rules and regulations that govern ALFs.

Assisted Living Medicaid Policy

Rhode Island’s Medicaid program is one of the few among the US that directly covers some of the costs of assisted living for eligible residents. However, it may not cover the cost of room and board.

Assisted Living Facility Requirements

Assisted living communities in Rhode Island may provide residences that are apartment-style or bedrooms which offer single or double occupancy. Single rooms must have a minimum square footage of 100 feet and be at least 8 feet wide, while double bedrooms must be a minimum of 160 square feet in area and at least 10 feet wide.

Both room types must have exclusive use of toilet rooms, closets, lockers, and wardrobes. There is a two-resident maximum per unit, and there must be at least one bath for every 10 residents and one toilet for every eight. Residents must have access to a lockbox where they can keep their personal belongings.

Medication Management Regulations

Assisted living facilities are individually licensed based on the type of medication services they are permitted to provide. For Level M1 ALFs, the most comprehensive of assisted living arrangements, licensed employees like RNs or practical nurses can administer oral or topical drugs and monitor health indicators. Injection medications, including but not limited to insulin, that cannot be self-administered must be administered by an RN.

In an M2 level residence, unlicensed staff can help residents with self-administration by giving them reminders and observing them while they do it.

Staffing Requirements

There is no minimum staff-to-resident ratio in Rhode Island assisted living facilities, but the ratio must be considered “sufficient” to provide the necessary level of care to maintain resident well-being.

A certified administrator must be present and responsible for the proper operation of the facilities, including overseeing employees who provide direct care services to residents. At least one employee who is trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation must be awake and at the facility at all times.

Staff Training Requirements

New employees hired must go through at least 2 hours of orientation and training in specific topics within 10 days of hire and before beginning to work alone in the facility. Any employee that has direct and regular interaction with residents and provides personal care must go through a minimum of 10 hours of orientation and training within a month of hire on additional topics, such as medical emergency procedures, basic knowledge of aging-related behaviors and personal assistance with medications.

Beyond initial training requirements, Rhode Island ALF employees must have ongoing in-service training as appropriate for their specific jobs, while Administrators must complete a minimum of 32 hours of continuing education every two years.

Background Checks for Assisted Living

Fingerprinting is not required, but within one week of employment, all ALF staff members must go through Rhode Island’s statewide criminal records check through either a local or state police department. An Administrator ultimately decides whether an employee is fit for continued employment.

Requirements for Reporting Abuse

To discuss or report abuse claims in assisted living facilities, you can call the Rhode Island Ombudsman at 401-785-3340 or 1-888-351-0808.

The Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs is responsible for investigating complaints against seniors in any setting. To file an abuse or neglect report with the DEA call the Protective Services Unit at 401-462-0555.