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Assisted Living in WI

A Caregiver's Guide to Assisted Living Facilities in Wisconsin

What they're called

Official name: Assisted Living Facilities, which includes Community-Based Residential Facilities (CBRF) and Residential Care Apartment Complexes (RCAC)

Common name: Assisted living facilities

To compare assisted living to board and care, skilled nursing, and other long-term residential care communities, see Residential Care Options: How to Decide.

What they offer
  • RCAC: Individual living units (from single rooms to multiroom apartments) for up to two persons (spouse or voluntarily shared) with kitchen facilities and separate bathroom
  • CBRF: Individual or shared (up to two persons) living units; bathrooms may be shared
  • RCAC: All meals, usually in a common dining area
  • CBRF: Some meals
  • CBRF: Up to 3 hours per week of nursing services
  • RCAC: Up to 28 hours per week of personal, supportive, and nursing services
  • Assistance with administration and management of medications
  • Personal care services, including assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as eating, dressing, and bathing
  • Social and exercise activities

Note: Some facilities also offer respite care and other special services.

What they cost

Median monthly fees: $3,550 (higher for residents requiring memory care)

State of Wisconsin requirements
  • A facility or resident may contract with outside agencies and providers to provide care or services not directly provided by the facility.
State of Wisconsin oversight

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Division of Quality Assurance, Bureau of Assisted Living (608-266-8598) oversees assisted living facilities.

How to resolve problems or offer feedback
How to pay for assisted living in Wisconsin
  • Most assisted living is paid for privately, by the resident and/or his or her family.
  • For low-income residents ages 65 or older, the state's Community Options Program and Family Care Options for Long-Term Care program pay for some personal care services provided in participating assisted living facilities.
  • Low-income veterans or surviving spouses of veterans may be eligible for Aid and Attendance or other payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which can help pay for assisted living.
  • Some assisted living facilities offer sliding scale fees, making a higher level of care available to families that might not otherwise be able to afford it. Be sure to ask -- or ask a geriatric care manager in the area if he or she knows which facilities offer sliding scale fees.
Help finding and choosing a facility
  • Hire a geriatric care manager (most have extensive local knowledge about assisted living facilities in a particular geographic area, including space availability, resident needs assessments, sliding scale fees, and resident satisfaction). To find a geriatric care manager, see's Senior Living Directory.
  • For details about assisted living facilities in each of the 50 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia, see A Caregiver's Guide to Assisted Living Facilities.

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