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Cost of Assisted Living in Alaska

The cost for an Assisted Living Facility in Alaska averages about $5,750 per month ($69,000 per year), although the costs increase depending on the services required. This is significantly higher than the national average and Alaska actually rates #1 as the most expensive state for long-term care, including Assisted Living and nursing home care. The costs may also increase for residents with dementia, and for seniors who are in special care facilities for dementia or Alzheimer's facilities. Assisted living costs in Alaska are still not as high as the cost of a nursing home. Semi-private rooms in Alaska nursing homes cost $292,000 and a private room is almost $300,000 per year.

2 major cities in Alaska have the following assisted living costs:

  • Anchorage, AK - $5,665 per month
  • Fairbanks, AK - $6,750 per month. Fairbanks assisted living is probably not easily affordable for many Alaska seniors.

Assisted Living in Alaska costs more than Adult Day Health Care, which averages around $36,500 per year. Alaska Assisted Living Facilities are actually cheaper than hiring a Home Health Aide which costs, on average $62,000 a year. By the year 2030, Assisted Living in Alaska is projected to cost $104,369 per year – an increase of over $35,000 per year.

One of the reasons for the high cost for Assisted Living in Alaska is due to Alaska’s low population. In the larger cities, there is a labor force that is more readily available; however, in large states such as Alaska where the population is so widely dispersed, these employees may have to commute farther and facilities may need to maintain larger staff to ensure adequate 24-hour care.

Programs for Seniors Living in Alaska

Seniors all over the U.S. are trying to determine the best places to live in during their retirement years. Is Alaska a good destination for a senior looking to retire? Alaska is a state that has a strange patchwork to care for its elderly citizens. It is probably best suited for healthy seniors with money who desire to live either in one of the larger cities like Anchorage or Fairbanks, or those that have enough money to live in a remote location. When, and if, the time comes that these seniors need assistance with their health-care needs, they will be able to either afford it in one of the larger cities, or with private help from individuals or companies in more remote locations.

Alaska Senior LivingAlaska’s Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ARDC) program helps disabled Alaska seniors, as well as those who are using long-term health care services via a caregiver. The ARDC helps all Alaskans in the state, no matter what their income or age is - so it can serve seniors who are 65, for example, or younger adults with disabilities. For help in this area you can call 1-877-6AK-ARDC or the site that is nearest to you.

There is a program called Personal Care Services (formerly Personal Care Assistance) for around 4,000 Alaskan elders and people who are disabled. PCA gives assistance related to Alaskan’s Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). It is a statewide program that is provided through private agencies and is checked by the PCA Unit of Senior and Disabilities Services, Department of Health and Social Services. There are two different models available for the PCA program:

  • Agency-Based PCA Program (ABPCA) – Alaska elders and disabled individuals receive services via an agency that manages and oversees their care; and
  • Consumer-Directed PCA Program (CDPCA) – Each participating consumer manages their own care. They can chose, fire, hire, and supervise their own personal care assistants.

Alaska also has 4 different Home and Community Based Waiver programs for seniors that are eligible for Medicaid. More information on these programs can be found here, but those that affect the senior population are:

  • Alaskans Living Independently (ALI) – available to adults age 21 and over; and
  • Adults with Physical and Developmental Disabilities – available to those over 21 who have been determined to be developmentally and physically Disabled.

Alaska also provides an extensive grants program under the Division of Senior and Disabilities Services. They make grants to nonprofit organizational partners across the state to help provide community based support services to families and individuals with Developmental Disabilities, Alzheimer’s Disease, and related Disorders (ADRD). These grants also help family caregivers of seniors living in Alaska who are over the age of 60, grandparents aged 55 and over raising grandchildren, seniors aged 60 and over, and/or frail or disabled seniors who need assistance in their homes.

These services are available to those who are waiting or don’t qualify for Home and Community Based services under the Medicaid waiver program, or for those who only need minimal support.

The Senior and Disabilities Services (SRS) is a grant program that provides money to rural and remotely located providers of certain Alaskan Assisted Living Facilities to operate and keep the facilities going. The purpose is to provide assistance in a residential setting so that Alaska elder residents can stay in the communities they choose as they get older. It is extremely important for Alaskan elders to stay close to their families and their loved ones and to stay in the community that they know and love instead of going to an urban assisted living facility that they are unfamiliar with. Currently, grants are provided to “Gramma’s House” in Dillingham, Alaska, and Yukon Koyukuk Elder Assisted Living Facility in Galena, Alaska. More information on this program can be found here.

Who Pays for Assisted Living Care in Alaska?

Most Assisted Living care in Alaska is paid for out of pocket by either the resident or their families. Each assisted living program in Alaska has eligibility requirements, including asset and income qualifications. There are requirements to receive Adult Public Assistance (APA) in Alaska which provides cash to needy seniors and blind and disabled Alaskans to help them remain independent. These requirements include:

  • Those under the age of 65 must be blind or disabled;
  • Disabled means that he or she is not able to take a part in any substantial activity due to a mental or physical disability that can be medically verified, which does not include drug and alcohol addiction. The disability must have been present or is projected to be present for at least 12 months or to end in death;
  • U.S. citizen or a qualified immigrant;
  • Currently residing in Alaska;
  • If not disabled or blind, the Alaskan senior must be at least 65 years of age and if blind or disabled they must be at least 18 years of age;
  • They must not have resources of $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple; and

Pros and Cons of Senior Living in Alaska

Alaska is a diverse state with mountains as well as the coast so when you are a senior and you are choosing a place to live, you should consider your options.

Here are some things to consider when choosing where to live and retire in Alaska.

• Beauty – it is not called “America’s Last Great Frontier” by mistake. Alaska is one of the most beautiful places in the United States, especially for those seniors who love the outdoors. There are 3 million lakes, 3,000 rivers and hundreds of miles of coastline to look at and to fish from should you desire. It also has wildlife that you probably won’t see anywhere else in America like Grizzly Bears, Polar Bears, Humpback Whales, Moose and the beautiful bird the Puffin;

• High cost of senior living – It can cost an estimated 35% more than the national average to live in Alaska. Utilities are around 50% higher and food is 37% more expensive. Again, that gets more expensive if you choose to live in an area that is not an urban area;

• Healthcare around your area –Unless you are living in one of the major cities, getting to a hospital can be hard, if not impossible in Alaska. It may require a three-hour plane ride to get to a decent hospital if you are living in the more remote parts of Alaska;

• Small towns – there are still some very cool small towns in Alaska that maintain the frontier atmosphere. These are perfect for seniors who want to live in smaller communities and enjoy nature and outdoors during retirement. Juneau, Homer, Seward, Ketchikan, and Sitka are beautiful towns with opportunities to see wildlife from bears to whales; and

• Low to no taxes – Alaska has no income tax or sales tax and does not tax pension or Social Security Income.

The climate of Alaska is classified as a mid-latitude oceanic climate in the southern part of the state and a subarctic oceanic climate in the northern parts. Each year, the southeast part of Alaska is both the warmest and the wettest part of the state with softer temperatures during the winter and much rain throughout the year– Juneau, the capital averages over 50 inches of precipitation with Ketchikan averaging 150 inches. The southeast is also the only part of the state where the average daytime high temperature is above freezing during the winter. Anchorage, the capital, and south central Alaska are mild by Alaskan standards due to the proximity to the coast. This area gets less rain than southeast Alaska, but gets more snow and the days tend to be clearer. Anchorage averages 16 inches of precipitation per year and around 75 inches of snow, although there are some areas in south central Alaska that receive far more snow annually.

Common Questions About Assisted Living in Alaska

1. What is assisted living?

Assisted living is a type of residential care that provides support and assistance with daily activities for seniors who need help with tasks such as dressing, grooming, and medication management. In Alaska, you can find various assisted living facilities across cities like Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau.

2. How much does assisted living cost in Alaska?

The cost of assisted living in Alaska can vary based on factors like location, amenities, and services offered. On average, the cost ranges from $4,000 to $7,000 per month. For instance, facilities like Frontier Assisted Living in Anchorage and Ravenwood Assisted Living in Fairbanks offer pricing options to accommodate different budgets.

3. What services are typically provided in Alaska assisted living facilities?

Alaska assisted living facilities offer a range of services, including assistance with personal care, meal preparation, housekeeping, and transportation. Facilities like Sitka Senior Services in Sitka and Mountainside Assisted Living in Eagle River provide these services to ensure residents' comfort and well-being.

4. Can I bring my own furniture to an Alaska assisted living facility?

Yes, many Alaska assisted living facilities allow residents to bring their own furniture to make their living space feel more like home. Facilities such as Northern Comfort Assisted Living in Wasilla and Glacier View Lodge in Juneau often encourage residents to personalize their rooms with familiar items.

5. Are there social activities for residents in Alaska assisted living communities?

Absolutely, Alaska assisted living communities offer a variety of social activities to keep residents engaged and connected. Activities may include group outings, arts and crafts, and local community events. Facilities like Denali Center in Fairbanks and Anchorage Pioneer Home in Anchorage provide a vibrant social calendar for residents.

6. Is transportation provided for medical appointments in Alaska assisted living?

Yes, many Alaska assisted living facilities offer transportation services for medical appointments. This ensures that residents can access healthcare services conveniently. Facilities like Anchorage Point Assisted Living in Anchorage and Fairbanks Assisted Living in Fairbanks often arrange transportation for residents' medical needs.

7. What safety measures are in place at Alaska assisted living facilities?

Alaska assisted living facilities prioritize resident safety with features like emergency call systems, secure entry points, and trained staff. These measures ensure residents' well-being. Facilities such as Anchorage Senior Center in Anchorage and Forget-Me-Not Alh in Palmer take safety seriously to provide peace of mind.

8. Are pets allowed in Alaska assisted living communities?

Yes, some Alaska assisted living communities are pet-friendly and allow residents to bring their beloved pets. Facilities like Juneau Pioneers' Home in Juneau and Wildflower Court in Juneau often recognize the positive impact of pets on seniors' quality of life and welcome them into the community.

9. How do I choose the right Alaska assisted living facility?

Selecting the right Alaska assisted living facility involves considering factors like location, services offered, costs, and resident reviews. Visiting potential facilities, such as Aspen Creek Senior Living in Anchorage and Primrose Retirement Community in Wasilla, can help you make an informed decision for yourself or your loved one.

10. Is memory care available in Alaska assisted living facilities?

Yes, many Alaska assisted living facilities offer specialized memory care programs for residents with Alzheimer's or dementia. Facilities like Primrose Retirement Community in Wasilla and Anchorage Pioneer Home in Anchorage have dedicated memory care units with staff trained to provide the support and care needed.

11. What amenities are typically available in Alaska assisted living communities?

Alaska assisted living communities often offer amenities such as communal dining areas, fitness centers, and outdoor spaces to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Facilities like Geneva Woods in Anchorage and Fireweed Place in Juneau provide a range of amenities to enhance residents' quality of life.

12. Can I bring my car to an Alaska assisted living facility?

Yes, many Alaska assisted living facilities offer parking options for residents with cars. Having a car can provide residents with the freedom to explore the scenic landscapes of Alaska. Facilities like Twin Lakes Assisted Living in Sitka and Fairbanks Pioneers' Home in Fairbanks often provide parking spaces for residents' vehicles.

13. What is the difference between assisted living and nursing homes in Alaska?

Assisted living in Alaska offers support with daily activities while encouraging independence. Nursing homes provide more comprehensive medical care for those with higher care needs. Facilities like Mountain View Assisted Living in Anchorage offer assisted living services, while Providence Extended Care in Anchorage provides nursing home care.

14. Are there financial assistance options for assisted living in Alaska?

Yes, there are financial assistance options for assisted living in Alaska. The state's Medicaid program and veterans' benefits may offer support for eligible individuals. Long-term care insurance can also help cover costs. Facilities like Pioneer Home Fairbanks in Fairbanks and Anchorage Pioneers' Home in Anchorage can provide information on available financial assistance resources.

15. Are there memory care options in Alaska assisted living facilities?

Yes, many Alaska assisted living facilities offer memory care programs for residents with memory impairments. Facilities like Willow House Assisted Living in Palmer and Chugiak Senior Center in Chugiak have specialized memory care units designed to provide a safe and supportive environment for residents with Alzheimer's and dementia.

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