Georgia is more than just the home of one of the southeast’s largest and busiest city centers. This state boasts mountainous national parks, miles of clean, rural coastline, and historical elements of antebellum charm not often seen in the South. Combine all of that with Georgia’s many tax advantages for people over 60, and it’s clear that this state is a beautiful and affordable option for retirees.
Careful research is a necessity in finding the right facility for yourself or a loved one. To save you time and simplify your research process, we have compiled a directory of assisted living facilities in the state of Georgia. Below you will find 678 of Georgia’s facilities listed with their pertinent details, such as amenities, Medicaid acceptance status, and care provided.
According to the 2018 Genworth Cost of Care survey, Georgia has the cheapest average assisted living costs in the southeastern region, and costs there undercut the national average by $900 per month. Nearby Alabama has comparable costs, but in Florida and South Carolina, consumers are likely to pay about $400 more per month, with still greater costs in other bordering states.
Average Monthly CostsNearby State ComparisonsAverage Cost$0.00$500.00$1,000.00$1,500.00$2,000.00$2,500.00$3,000.00$3,500.00$4,000.00National AverageGeorgiaTennesseeNorth CarolinaSouth CarolinaFloridaAlabamaState
Assisted living costs in any state will vary depending on which city you decide to settle in. Georgia’s highest population cities of Macon and Atlanta represent the most expensive places for assisted living in the state, though both areas have average ALF costs of at least $500 less than the national average. If the state’s most populous cities are excluded from the calculation, average ALF costs in the remaining counties total only $2,520.
Average Monthly CostsCity ComparisonsAverage Cost$0.00$500.00$1,000.00$1,500.00$2,000.00$2,500.00$3,000.00$3,500.00State AverageMaconAtlantaAugustaColumbusSavannahAthensWarner RobbinsOther CountiesCity
The type and extent of care that is needed will also significantly affect long-term care expenses. Georgia’s average cost for assisted living is over $700 less than median costs of memory care and home health services. Only adult day healthcare and independent living are likely to be less costly, while expenses for nursing home care will be at least double that of assisted living.
Average Monthly CostsCare Cost Comparison In GeorgiaAverage Costs$0.00$1,000.00$2,000.00$3,000.00$4,000.00$5,000.00$6,000.00$7,000.00Assisted LivingIn-Home CareNursing Home CareMemory CareIndependent LivingCare Type
Georgia’s Medicaid coverage for the Aged, Blind, and Disabled can cover personal care services provided by assisted living facilities or home health aides. Recipients of ABD coverage must be assessed by a physician as eligible for a nursing home level of care, and services can only be covered under a particular set of circumstances. If an assisted living resident has a specific health condition and a physician has assigned a plan of care with the aim of ultimately healing that condition, then ABD Medicaid may cover the basic care services associated with the healing process.
Who is Eligible?
How to Apply
For application assistance, interested parties can contact their local Area Agency on Aging to be connected with a GeorgiaCares Medicaid counselor. Consult the directory in this guide to find an AAA office serving your county. Applications can be submitted to any DFCS office by mail, fax, or in person. For more information on eligibility or what is offered under the ABD program, view the ABD Medicaid fact sheet.
Georgia’s Department of Community Health partners with the state’s Area Agencies on Aging to administer the Community Care Services waiver program. This waiver is for nursing home-eligible Medicaid recipients who do not need 24-hour care, and wish to continue receiving their benefits in their own home or community setting, such as an assisted living facility.
The CCSP waiver offers coverage of home- and community-based services, including the following:
Who is Eligible?
People who are assessed by a physician as being eligible for a nursing home level of care and who also meet Medicaid eligibility requirements may qualify for the CCSP waiver. State funding for the program is subject to budgetary limitations and enrollment is limited accordingly. Preference is given to applicants with the greatest medical and/or financial need.
How to Apply
To initiate a physician’s diagnosis of your nursing home eligibility, contact your local Area Agency on Aging by consulting the directory included in this guide. For more information on what is offered under this waiver, view the CCSP Fact Sheet online.
The Source Options Using Resources in a Community Environment waiver is an evidence-based approach to care delivery that has been shown to improve health outcomes for the very frail elderly. The program allows Medicaid and SSI reimbursement for enrolled individuals to support a less fragmented, more cohesive approach to their healthcare by bringing primary care physicians together with home- and community-based service coordinators. Medicaid- or SSI-eligible people who qualify for this waiver may receive their Medicaid benefits in a community setting such as an assisted living facility.
Primary care physicians in this program become central figures in an enrollee’s customized care plan, ensuring the following benefits:
This waiver is intended for frail and medically needy people, so it reimburses for fewer independent living assistance services than Georgia’s CCSP waiver, mentioned above. For more information, view the SOURCE fact sheet.
Who is Eligible?
People who are eligible for Medicaid and/or Supplemental Security Insurance may apply for SOURCE if they are assessed as eligible for a nursing home level of care. The SOURCE program is multi-tiered to provide a more individualized plan of care for all recipients, so eligibility requirements can vary. Enrollment in this program is capped, which means that enrollment may involve being added to a waitlist for services. The program currently serves 19,000 Georgians.
How to Apply
Applications may be initiated with your local Area Agency on Aging, which can be found by consulting the directory in this guide. Completed applications may be mailed to The Georgia Department of Community Health, Aging and Special Populations Unit located at 2 Peachtree Street NW, 37th Floor, Atlanta GA 30303. Mailed applications should be marked “Attention SOURCE specialist.” For additional information, call (404) 463-6570 or (404) 653-8365.
The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly is a nationally implemented Medicare/Medicaid program. The goal of PACE is to provide community-based services and complete coverage of all medical care for especially frail seniors who are facing institutionalization. Enrollment in PACE is limited, and applicants to the program are likely to see their name added to a waitlist for services. Only residents of select counties in a PACE provider’s local area can be served, and most providers can only support between 150 and 300 active participants. Georgia hosts eight PACE providers, each of them offering a limited suite of services and coverage.
Who is Eligible?
Medicaid eligibility is not a prerequisite of PACE coverage. Anyone who meets the above qualifications may apply for services, though people who are not Medicaid-eligible are charged a fee for service that is lower than the average cost of nursing home care in Georgia.
How to Apply
To begin the application process and add your name to a PACE waitlist, contact your local Area Agency on Aging by consulting the directory included in this guide. For more information about the mission of PACE and what it can offer, visit Medicare.gov. For a complete list of PACE providers and service areas in Georgia, visit NPIDB.org.
Some additional ways to finance assisted living costs include:
The goal of Home- and Community-Based Services is to allow people 60 and older who are nursing home-eligible to avoid institutionalization, instead living in community settings as safely and independently as possible. In most states, Home- and Community-Based Services are offered by the state government through a Medicaid waiver. However, Georgia implements its non-Medicaid HCBS program through regional Area Agencies on Aging, which are government-funded agencies that offer services and supports on a local level.
Home- and Community-Based Services are not an entitlement in Georgia, which means that space in this program is limited. Enrolling in the program is likely to result in one’s name being added to a waitlist, and p reference is given to individuals who are considered more medically and/or financially needy. To learn more about services offered by the HCBS program, visit Aging.Georgia.gov.
The state of Georgia hosts 12 Area Agencies on Aging, with each location serving surrounding counties. Every Area Agency on Aging offers its own list of Home- and Community-Based Services, and the types of services offered as well as the extent of aid are independently determined by each AAA office location. To find contact information for your local AAA office, consult the directory in this guide.
GeorgiaCares is the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), a Medicare/Medicaid funded benefits counseling program available in all states. The goal of GeorgiaCares is to provide the aid of certified counselors to help consumers understand their Medicaid and Medicare benefits. Over the phone or in person, counselors can help Georgia citizens select their health plans, handle claims, resolve billing issues, and more.
GeorgiaCares is located at 2 Peachtree Street NW, 33rd Floor in Atlanta, Georgia 30303, but there are field offices integrated with the state’s 12 Area Agencies on Aging. To contact a GeorgiaCares location, consult the table in this guide to find an Area Agency on Aging near you. The main office can be reached by calling (866) 552-4464 and selecting the 4th menu option. All Medicare- or Medicaid-eligible U.S. citizens are entitled to services offered by SHIP programs.
For veterans and their families, the VA can be a major source of support in the retirement years. Veterans’ Affairs has an extensive counseling and social services network in every state to support veterans at any stage of life, and an important part of that network for Georgia seniors is the VA’s Regional Benefits Office. This office can provide guidance to assist retired veterans with their military pensions, additional pension benefits, VA loans, and other financial concerns.
To visit the VA’s Atlanta Regional Office, you can find them at 1700 Clairmont Road
Decatur, GA 30033. For more information, call the office at (800) 827-1000 or contact MyVA311 by calling (844) 698-2311.
The long-term care ombudsman program is active in every American state with the goal of protecting the right to thrive for people in long-term care programs. Ombudsmen are volunteers organized by central offices located throughout the state, and their job is to visit with residents of long-term care facilities, such as assisted living facilities, to field any complaints and ensure that residents receive the quality of care agreed upon in their residency contracts.
To find direct email addresses to reach an ombudsman as well as other points of contact for the program, visit GeorgiaOmbudsman.org. Find an ombudsman in your local area in the following directory.
Georgia’s Aging and Disability Resource Connection serves as the state’s Area Agency on Aging. The AAA program consists of a national network of information centers tasked with providing program development and access to aging supports in all 50 states. The goal of the Area Agencies on Aging is to reduce confusion and facilitate access to care on the local level, and local AAA offices function as a single point of contact for all long-term care questions and needs.
Many Social Security related activities can be completed online, but sometimes personal assistance is necessary to help consumers understand their benefits and to simplify the process of procuring them. Georgia’s Social Security program has regional offices in many cities.
Find the Social Security office that serves your county by consulting the directory below.
Georgia’s Division of Healthcare Facility Regulation is responsible for licensing and regulating assisted living facilities in the state. Facilities must meet certain quality and logistical standards to maintain their licensure. The following are some of the most important ALF regulations for Georgia seniors to be aware of.
The service plan is an important part of the health, safety, and happiness of assisted living facility residents. It functions as an acknowledgement of residents’ medical and physical needs and care preferences, as well as an outline of how a facility can best meet those needs and plan for contingencies.
Within the first month of residency at an assisted living facility, new residents must meet with facility staff for an interview to establish their service plan. On a yearly basis, or whenever there are major changes in a resident’s life, the service plan must be updated pending a reassessment of a resident’s needs. In ALFs that house memory care units, service plans for residents of those units must be reassessed on a quarterly basis.
Additionally, A residential agreement will usually be drawn up that will present the resident with all pricing information for services at their facility and inform them of their rights and responsibilities as tenants of the community.
No assisted living facility can admit or retain residents who may require the use of restraints or isolation, or who require a level of care that is beyond that facility’s means of accommodation. Personal care homes and assisted living communities have differing capabilities where care is concerned.
Personal care homes can admit people who are capable of standing and walking on their own or with minimal assistance, and who can administer their own medications with minimal assistance. PCH residents cannot have active tuberculosis, and must be deemed capable of participating in lifestyle activities offered by the facility.
Assisted living communities can accommodate residents who have very limited mobility and who require the help of others to take their medicines. Prospective residents will be assessed by assisted living community administrators and nurses/physicians in the 30 days prior to admittance. If it is determined that an applicant for residency has active tuberculosis or requires round-the-clock nursing care, then residency cannot be offered. There are times when an emergency placement must be accommodated by referral from Adult Protective Services. In these cases, the physical examination for residency can be delayed by two weeks.
The scope of care offered by Georgia assisted living facilities is divided into two categories, and facilities are designated accordingly. The two types of Georgia ALFs are assisted living communities (ALC) and personal care homes (PCH). The key differences between the two facility types are in the amount of assistance they are legally permitted to provide where medication administration and emergency evacuation are concerned.
While personal care homes can provide limited assistance to residents in self-administering their medicines, Georgia assisted living communities employ certified medication aides and consulting pharmacists to offer medication administration to residents who cannot self-administer, or who choose not to. Evacuation procedures for the two facility types differ as well. A more limited amount of physical assistance can be provided by staff at a personal care home, so residents of PCHs must be capable of a certain measure of personal mobility and must be able to understand and remember evacuation directions. Assisted living communities may provide bodily transference for less capable residents in order to get them to safety in emergencies.
Georgia ALFs can be reimbursed by Medicaid for things like personal care services, which involve basic assistance with activities of daily living, and for other activities, like minor homemaking chores or non-emergency transportation. Medicaid funding is only offered to long-term care facility residents who are eligible for a nursing home level of care, and only through the use of Medicaid waivers or Aged, Blind, and Disabled (ABD) Medicaid plans. Recipients of Supplemental Security Insurance pay capped rates for room and board at assisted living facilities, with the maximum cost to the resident set in accordance with the Federal Benefit Rate, which is currently $771 for individuals and $1,157 for couples.
Apartment style units are not required in Georgia’s assisted living facilities. Apartment living may be offered, but private and semi-private rooms are also available, and must have at least 80 square feet of usable space per resident. Shared units in personal care homes may house up to four people, whereas assisted living communities can have up to two residents per unit. In both types of assisted living environments, at least one toilet and sink must be provided for every four residents, and for every eight residents, there must be at least one bathing area. Every floor of a facility must have accessible bathing facilities and lavatories, and all handrails, doorways, and corridors must accommodate mobility devices.
Medication management practices differ between the two main types of assisted living facilities in Georgia. In personal care homes (PCH), the ability of staff to assist residents with their medications is limited. Staff of a PCH may offer assistance by helping residents to read labels, open packaging, and remember to take their medicines, though it is prohibited, in most cases, for PCH staff to determine dosage and directly administer a resident’s medication. However, insulin and epinephrine may be administered by PCH staff under supervision and under established medical protocols. Certified medication aides employed by assisted living communities (ALC) may handle and administer medicines for residents who are incapable of self-administration. ALC and memory care residents may also give their permission to proxy caregivers who are trained to handle medical maintenance tasks to administer their medicines.
All assisted living facilities in Georgia are responsible for retaining sufficient staff to meet the needs of the population which they admit for residence. A staff-to-resident ratio must be maintained at all times, with one facility staff member on the grounds per 15 residents throughout the day, and one staff member on the grounds per 25 people in residence throughout the evenings. Facilities must hire administrators, direct care staff, and in the case of assisted living communities where medication administration is provided, certified medication aides must also be on staff.
Administrators must be on the grounds at all times, or designate a house manager to be present in their absence.
Direct care staff are responsible for providing basic assistance to residents who may need help performing activities of daily living.
Certified medication aides are individuals trained by a licensed healthcare professional to administer scheduled medications for residents who are incapable of doing so for themselves.
In assisted living communities, quarterly drug regimen reviews are conducted by licensed pharmacists to ensure the continued safety of residents. Memory care units in assisted living communities also employ licensed nurses working under the supervision of licensed physicians to oversee the administration of resident medicines and to coordinate dosing schedules. A proxy caregiver, or a staff member who is trained directly by a licensed healthcare professional to perform health maintenance tasks, may also provide medication administration in memory care if a resident gives expressed consent.
Employees of any assisted living environment in Georgia are required to undergo a mix of initial coursework, in-service training, and continued education. The Department of Community Health determines appropriate topics for new employee coursework and, within 60 days of hire, all staff must complete at least 24 hours of training, with dementia care employees requiring an additional eight hours of training on topics relevant to memory care populations. Direct care staff must also complete additional training in the provision of CPR and emergency first-aid, and all employees must be trained to administer basic first-aid. Continued education for direct care staff is required at a rate of 16 hours per year, with an additional eight hours per year for memory care unit staff.
Georgia requires that anyone associated with an assisted living facility, including owners, administrators, managers and employees, must pass a federal background check before any licensure or employment can be confirmed. Fingerprint analysis is used to check a person’s identity against the databases of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Crime Information Center.
Non-managerial employees are required to undergo a background check, but are not required to submit to fingerprint analysis. Certain crimes will disqualify an individual from ownership of a licensed facility, administrative powers, or basic employment. These crimes generally include any past convictions or substantiated accusations of abuse, neglect, assault, or exploitation.
The state of Georgia provides discrete means of reporting long-term care facilities for breach of contract and for reporting instances of suspected elder abuse.
An assisted living facility may be reported to the Division of Healthcare Facility Regulation if the establishment fails to uphold contract terms and legal requirements as stated in the residency agreement or service plan. The Division advises that ALF residents who wish to file a complaint first approach facility administrators with their concerns. If no resolution can be reached, then a complaint can be filed online. Complaints may also be initiated by calling (800) 878-6442, or by fax: (404) 657-5731.
It is required by law that any Georgia citizen who witnesses or suspects elder abuse must report it. Abuse can take many forms, such as abandonment, neglect, exploitation, and emotional or physical harm. Adult Protective Services can be reached by phone Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm. Call them at (866) 552-4464, or go online to file a report at HarmonyIS.net.
Assisted living in Georgia can help seniors with health and cognitive issues live more independent lives, enriched by friendship, meaningful activities, and the chance to master new skills. Caregivers may also gain immense relief from assisted living, since it allows them to transition back to a family relationship and out of the caregiver role. This can alleviate stress and depression, and can even create far-reaching health reverberations for a family, since caregivers sometimes struggle with stress-related health issues.
If you want a better life for the senior you love, you may wonder if it’s time to consider assisted living. Georgia does not have any specific requirements for seniors who want to live in assisted living. Instead, admission criteria are up to each individual community. To get Medicaid coverage for assisted living, however, a senior has to meet very specific requirements.
The Georgia Department of Community Health licenses and regulates assisted living communities, as well as a wide range of other health care facilities. DCH has stringent requirements for assisted living communities, and conducts regular safety inspections to ensure seniors receive quality care in a supportive and safe environment.
DCH does not set eligibility standards for seniors to enter assisted living. Instead, caregivers decide when assisted living is appropriate for their loved ones. Some communities may also establish requirements for acceptance, especially in areas where assisted living communities have long waiting lists.
Although DCH does not set any specific requirements, Medicaid does. Georgia Medicaid will fund assisted living for low-income and medically needy seniors. Because Medicare does not fund long-term care, most seniors who need assisted living end up classified as medically needy, which means they cannot afford to fund their long-term care needs. Medicaid funds more than 70 percent of assisted living stays.
To be eligible for Medicaid funding of long-term care, a senior must:
Additionally, a senior must apply for a Medicaid waiver, which allows them to choose assisted living instead of a nursing home.
Seniors of limited means and those who have significant medical expenses will likely qualify for Medicaid-funded assisted living, although applying can take some time. Plan ahead, and work with a care coordinator to apply before you think the move to a nursing home is imminent.
As your loved one’s needs change, you’ll need to assess whether it is time for assisted living. This is not an easy question to answer, especially if you don’t see your loved one every day. Some signs that a person might need assisted living include:
Assisted living in Georgia can help your loved one feel safer, live healthier, and enjoy greater independence and socialization. The Arbor Company has served Georgia’s seniors for more than 30 years. We believe that the right assisted living program can revolutionize a senior’s entire way of being, while offering invaluable support to their family. To learn more about our unique approach, or even ask a simple question, give us a call!