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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:
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.
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’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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
SeniorGuidance.org provides comprehensive resources on various senior living options, including: assisted living facilities, senior living communities, nursing homes, independent living communities, continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) and all other long term senior care options, including memory care such as Alzheimer's or Dementia.
Additional senior living options in Alaska:Senior Apartments in Alaska Nursing Homes in Alaska Memory Care in Alaska
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