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Assisted Living Alaska

Seniors who prefer cold weather will likely see the appeal of life in Alaska. Older adults make up 12.5% of the state’s 732,000 residents, and newly arriving retirees may find there’s more to the state than snow. The 2024 Senior Living Report ranked Alaska No. 18 overall and No. 3 for the health care available to seniors. Access to world-class medical care from hospitals such as Providence Alaska Medical Center helped boost the health care rankings, as did the high number of physicians, dentists and other health care providers for every 100,000 residents.

Alaska’s distance from the rest of the United States does tend to make things more expensive. This includes assisted living care, which averages $6,830 per month. However, the state has a number of programs that provide financial support to seniors, and there are no state income or sales taxes, which can also help bolster the budget.

This guide provides an overview of the cost of assisted living in Alaska and how that compares to other states and senior living options. It also has information about financial assistance available, the rules and regulations governing assisted living and free resources available to seniors in the state.

The Cost of Assisted Living in Alaska

When trying to decide how to pay for assisted living, one of the first questions that comes up is "How much does it cost?" With the impact of inflation, it's more important than ever to have up-to-date information when making a financial plan for senior living. 

The Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey shows that assisted living in Alaska costs an average of $6,830 per month. This is $2,330 higher than the national average of $4,500. States in the lower 48 tend to be more affordable, with Washington averaging $6,000 and seniors in Oregon paying $5,045. Prices in Idaho, another state close to Alaska, are much lower. Seniors there pay $3,838 per month, or $2,992 less than those in Alaska.

Inflation's Impact on the Cost of Assisted Living in Alaska

As costs rise across America, the price increase has also affected assisted living. From 2022 to 2023, the average monthly cost of assisting living rose by a modest 9.6% nationwide. Inflation had a lower impact in Alaska, where rates have only risen 3.6%.

Throughout the country, inflation has affected each state differently. Seniors in Hawaii noticed a drastic increase of 32%. In Oregon, prices rose 19.2%, while the increase was 14.1% in Washington. California's costs have risen a modest 6.9%. While 2024's figures are only projected, they're expected to continue rising. Alaska's projected rates are 6.5% higher next year.

Location2022 Cost (Historical)2023 Cost (Current)2024 Cost (Estimated)
U.S. Average$4,070$4,459$4,802

The Costs of Other Types of Senior Living

The cost of senior living depends on factors such as the level of daily care, the variety of on-site amenities, staff training and specialized programming to meet seniors' needs. In Alaska, independent living is the most affordable option for seniors, with monthly rates averaging $4,485 compared to a higher average of $6,768 for assisted living. Memory care is the most expensive option, as monthly costs average $8,149.

Assisted Living


Memory Care


Independent Living


Does Medicaid Cover Assisted Living in Alaska?

Medicaid doesn’t directly cover assisted living in Alaska; however, there is a waiver program that can help seniors fund assisted living care. Known as the Alaskans Living Independently Waiver, this program is designed to help people remain living in the community when they need a nursing home level of care. There is a wide range of services available to help people living in their homes or assisted living facilities, but the exact support provided depends on an individual’s needs and circumstances.

What Assisted Living Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Alaska?

Medicaid is known as DenaliCare in Alaska. It offers health insurance to low-income people across the state, with particular programs aimed at helping older residents, children and people with disabilities. There are multiple waiver programs, and the Alaskans Living Independently waiver is focused on providing long-term services and support. 

Assisted Living Waiver Programs in Alaska

Alaskans Living Independently Medicaid Waiver

The Alaskans Living Independently (ALI) waiver is available to people aged 65 and older, and those aged 21-64 who have a physical disability. Applicants must be in need of a nursing home level of care and meet the financial eligibility criteria of the program. It provides care to people living at home and those in residential supportive living, which includes assisted living. As the program is designed to delay entry to a nursing home, it’s not available to those already living in these facilities. 

Waiver beneficiaries work with a care coordinator to identify the services they need and ensure that they receive them. Services available through the program include personal care, meals, home modifications and specialized medical equipment. Assisted living residence is listed as an available benefit, and care in a facility would include many of the other services mentioned. The exact care each person receives depends on their needs and living situation. The ALI doesn’t cover room and board. 

People can apply for the program through a local Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Senior and Disability Services office. There are limited places available on the waiver, so applicants may be put on a waitlist. However, you may be eligible for other programs while waiting for a spot to open up. 

How To Know If You’re Eligible for Medicaid in Alaska

As Medicaid is designed to assist low-income residents, an individual’s finances are the primary determining factor of eligibility. Applicants must meet both income and asset limits. The exact limits can differ depending on your circumstances and the program you’re applying for. 

To be eligible for the ALI, single Alaskans must have an income below $2,742 per month and assets of less than $2,000. For two-person households when both people are applying, the income limit is $5,484 and the asset limit is $3,000. 

When only one spouse of a married couple is applying, the financial criteria are the same as for single applicants. However, the non-applicant spouse may be entitled to a Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance. This allows part of the applicant’s income to be transferred to ensure their spouse can pay for expenses. The non-applicant can also have up to $148,620 of assets. 

Although Medicaid counts all income when calculating eligibility, certain assets are exempt. This includes personal belongings, an automobile and a burial plot. A person’s home is exempt if they intend to return to it or if their spouse still resides there.


Household SizeNumber of ApplicantsIncome Limits Per Year*Asset Limits: Applicant(s)Asset Limits: Non-Applicants
One Person1$32,904$2,000
Two People1$32,904**$2,000$148,620
Two People 2$65,808***$3,000

*Depending on the facility setting, a recipient may not be able to keep income up to this level.

**Income limit is for applicant only.

***Income is limited to $2,742 per month per spouse.

Applicants for the ALI waiver must also meet certain other eligibility requirements. They must be:

  • An Alaskan resident 
  • A U.S. Citizen, permanent resident or legal alien
  • Require a nursing home level of care


How to Apply for Medicaid in Alaska

You can apply online for Medicaid in Alaska through the federal government website or the state’s ARIES Self-Service Portal. Paper applications can be returned to your local office by mail, fax, email or direct secure messaging or in person. Application forms for long-term care and regular Medicaid are available on the website. Alternatively, you can phone the virtual contact center at (800) 478-7778 to apply over the phone. 

Information You Will Need 

To assess your application, the Division of Public Service requires documentation about you and your finances. You will need to provide proof of your:

  • Identity
  • Citizenship or residency status
  • Age
  • Income
  • Assets
  • Medical expenses
  • Health insurance

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid

Alaska has assistance available to help people apply for Medicaid. These government resources can connect you with people who can answer questions, provide assistance filling out forms and give you an idea of whether you’re eligible. 

ProgramContactServices provided
Division of Public Assistance Offices(800) 478-7778The Division of Public Assistance operates a contact center and has offices throughout the state. Staff can answer questions about eligibility and applications, as well as accept phone applications.
ARIES Self-Screening ToolOnlineARIES stands for Alaska’s Resource for Integrated Eligibility Services. The Self-Service Portal lets you apply for benefits and view details about your case. It also has a self-screening tool that can help you see if you may qualify for any benefits.
Alaska Medicaid Recipient HandbookOnlineThe Recipient Handbook has detailed information about how Medicaid works, what’s covered by Alaska Medicaid and eligibility for the program.
State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (SHIP)(800) 478-6065The SHIP program provides free one-on-one health insurance counseling to older Alaskans. The intent is to help people take full advantage of their benefits. Trained volunteers can help seniors with Medicare and Medicaid questions.

Does Medicare Cover Assisted Living in Alaska?

The short answer is that no, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living in Alaska. Assisted living facilities are considered to be a “residential setting” and not a “clinical setting,” (think nursing homes). While Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of care received in an assisted living community, it does still cover things like approved medications, doctor visits, medical equipment, etc., just like it would if you lived at home.

For more information about when Medicare can be used to pay for senior living in a nursing home, and for Medicare-related resources, see our guide to Nursing Homes in Alaska.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Assisted Living in Alaska

Seniors who are not eligible (due to location, financial situation, or other factors) for other types of financial assistance, do still have some options. See the table below for an overview of some of the most common ways to make Assisted Living affordable.

NameHow To ApplyHow It Works
Aid and AttendanceLearn more and apply online at who receive a VA pension may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, a monthly cash allowance that veterans receive in addition to their standard pension amount. The benefit is intended for veterans in need of long-term care services and may be used towards paying for Assisted Living.
Reverse MortgagesLearn more about your options and how to apply at ftc.govIf you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to help pay for Assisted Living. Reverse mortgages are loans that one can take out against the value of their home, essentially converting some of the home's equity into cash. Reverse mortgage loans do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months of receiving the loan.
Long-Term Care (LTC) InsuranceLearn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and how to apply for a policy at who already have long-term care insurance may be able to use it to pay for Assisted Living. Most policies cover at least a portion of the cost, but it depends on the specific policy terms. Note that older adults who are already in need of Assisted Living will not typically be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Alaska

There are many resources in Alaska that assist seniors in their retirement. has compiled information on local organizations, programs and agencies and categorized them into care types for easy reference.

Cash Assistance Programs

Cash assistance programs in Alaska provide financial support to help low-income retirees remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Seniors and caregivers can apply for tax rebates and reductions, discounts on vital services and help covering the cost of heating and cooling their home.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Alaska Lifeline Program800-234-9473The LifeLine Program offers a discount on landline or mobile telephone service, ensuring that participants can stay in contact with loved ones.
Alaska Senior Benefits Program800-478-7778The Senior Benefits Program offers qualified seniors monthly cash payments of $76 to $250 to assist with living costs such as utility bills and household expenses.

Financial Assistance for Senior Care and Senior Living

Whether living in their own home or in a senior living community, Alaska seniors can find financial assistance from numerous local resources. These organizations help residents cover some of the costs associated with in-home or long-term care and connect them with other helpful community-based resources.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Alaska Adults with Physical & Developmental Disabilities Waiver (APDD)855-565-2017Alaska offers the APDD waiver to adults over the age of 21 who display a disability caused physical impairment and require a nursing home level of care. Eligible seniors can receive assistance with home modifications and several care services to remain at home or in assisted living.
Alaskans Living Independently Waiver (ALI)855-565-2017The ALI waiver is available to seniors over the age of 65 or those with disabilities requiring a nursing home level of care. The waiver covers care services to assist seniors with remaining in their homes or an assisted living facility, including home modifications, durable medical equipment and meal services.

Food Assistance Programs

Local organizations help ensure elderly citizens have a balanced diet and receive essential vitamins and minerals to remain healthy. Through nutrition programs, congregate meals, home-delivered meals and food pantries, these programs help Alaska seniors afford the nutritious food they need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Alaska Meals on WheelsAlaskans over the age of 60 may qualify for the Meals on Wheels program. Those eligible can receive weekly deliveries that often include a hot meal and the option of frozen meals to sustain them throughout the week. Each location sets its own delivery dates, the maximum number of meals allowed and the maximum delivery period.

Free Used Medical Equipment

Due to the high cost of purchasing new medical equipment, several organizations in Alaska collect lightly used medical devices such as wheelchairs, ramps and walkers and distribute them to local seniors and residents in need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Alaska Access Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Loan Closet800-770-4488Access Alaska provides adaptive equipment and assistive technology to disabled Alaskan seniors through the organization's Durable Medical Equipment Loan Closet. The program covers all parts of the state, including those who live in rural areas.
Alaska Assistive Technology Acquisition Assistance Program800-723-2852The ATLA has several programs to provide free medical devices and technology to aging Alaskans. The ReUse Program cleans and refurbishes donated assistive technology devices. It then passes this equipment along to any Alaskans in need. The TechAbility Program offers lifetime equipment loans to disabled Alaskans who are Alaska Mental Health Trust beneficiaries. Seniors experiencing hearing and vision loss can take advantage of the Alaska Can Connect program that offers a variety of applications, software and hardware to assist with communication.
Alaska Center for Children and Adults (ACCA)907-456-4003The ACCA offers adaptive mobility equipment for free or at a reduced cost to seniors in need. It requires participants to put down a deposit based on the type of equipment borrowed. The program returns the deposit if the participant returns the equipment within three months.

Home Repair and Modifications

Seniors and those with disabilities can access a variety of local resources to help them pay for home repairs and modifications. Programs in Alaska have different eligibility criteria and often assist retirees by providing grants or loans.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Alaska AHFC Senior Access Program (SAP)907-330-8275Seniors eligible for the AHFC Alaska Senior Access Program can receive financial assistance for necessary home modifications to improve accessibility for those with disabilities or age-associated restrictions.

Senior Centers

Senior centers in Alaska bring together residents through recreational activities and events. Many also offer advice and support on senior issues, run wellness and nutrition programs, and connect older adults with other resources in the local area.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Alaska Mat-Su Senior Services907-745-5454Mat-Su is a non-profit organization that provides a range of services to help seniors to live independently in their own homes. To be eligible for the services, seniors need to be aged 60 or older and meet certain income requirements. Some of the services offered by volunteers include transport, adult day services, meals, chore assistance, respite services and family caregiver support. The majority of the services are offered for free but donations are always appreciated. The services that carry a fee are eligible for financial assistance if required.

Social Security Offices

Social Security offices in Alaska help seniors and disabled people access the benefits they're entitled to. Older adults can contact their local office for information about receiving retirement benefits, disability allowance and Supplemental Security Income.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Alaska Social SecuritySocial Security is a source of income available to retirees and people who can no longer work because of a disability. The money for Social Security comes from a payroll tax levied on employers, employees and self-employed individuals. When you retire, you'll receive monthly payments based on how much you earned when you were working.

Tax Assistance

Seniors can apply for tax assistance from several Alaska resources. Elderly residents and those with disabilities could be eligible for tax exemptions on medical expenses, reductions on property tax and other tax assistance programs.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Alaska Senior Tax ExemptionQualifying seniors can reduce their property tax burdens by applying for the Senior Tax Exemption. If approved, the program designates up to $150,000 of their home's value as non-taxable.

Utility & Energy Bill Assistance

Low-income seniors who are struggling to meet the costs of maintaining their homes can find support from organizations that offer assistance with utility and energy bills. Alaska retirees could also qualify for emergency funding programs if they're in danger of losing utility services due to unpaid invoices.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Alaska Heating Assistance Program (HAP)907-269-5777HAP offers Alaska residents a one-time annual payment to offset heating costs. The program pays the heating vendor directly and applies it to the applicant's account as a credit. Participants can also apply the subsidy toward any deposits needed to establish service in subsidized rentals that include heat in rental costs but do not include cooking gas or electric.

Veteran's Services

Alaska retirees who have served in the U.S. military can find support from local veteran services. These offices and organizations help vets access the benefits they're eligible for and provide advice and information on a variety of issues.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Alaska VA Benefits and HealthcareAlaska's Veterans Services helps senior veterans access the essential benefits and support services designed to help them thrive in their elder years. Those who meet residency and service criteria can turn to the various vet centers and outpatient clinics or access the VA health care system to meet their medical needs. Veterans Services can also help vets gain access to their specialized disability benefits, navigate their pensions or locate customized housing options.

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Alaska

Alaska’s assisted living facilities follow the regulations set forth by the Division of Health Care Services. These regulations establish standards intended to protect residents while promoting an environment that encourages growth and independence.

Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements An assisted living service plan must be created within 30 days of an individual’s admission. It identifies the services that will be used to meet a resident’s reasonable wants and needs. Plans are developed in conjunction with a physician, a resident service coordinator, the resident and an administrator. Any plans that include health-related services must be reviewed by an RN. Plans must be reevaluated quarterly if health-related services are provided or annually otherwise.
Assisted Living Admission Requirements A residential service contract must be completed and signed prior to the individual being admitted to a facility. This should include what services will be provided, the rates charged and the termination policy. Alaska doesn’t have any other mandated admission requirements.
Assisted Living Scope of Care An assisted living community in Alaska is defined as a facility that serves three or more adults not related to the owner. Facilities must offer assistance with activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living. They can also be licensed to provide health-related services including nursing duties and medication administration. 
Assisted Living Medicaid Policy The Alaskans Living Independently waiver may fund assisted living in appropriately licensed facilities. Not all facilities can accept Medicaid waivers, so be sure to ask about acceptable payment options prior to deciding on a facility. 
Assisted Living Facility Requirements Alaska mandates the size of rooms based on the number of people sleeping there. All rooms must have storage space. There can’t be more than two residents per room, and residents must have privacy in a shared room. For every six people, the facility must have at least one toilet, one sink and one bathtub or shower. The grounds of an assisted living facility should be clean, safe and in good repair. 
Medication Management Regulations Medications must be stored in a manner that prevents access by residents. Only one employee per shift can administer medication. Prescription drugs can only be administered by licensed staff, either an RN or a certified caregiver under the direction of an RN. The administration of controlled substances can’t be delegated by the RN. Non-licensed staff who have had training can help residents self-administer medication by giving reminders, opening containers and reading labels. 
Staffing Requirements Facilities must have the type and number of caregivers and other employees necessary to provide care to residents and comply with all regulations. They must also have at least one person on duty at all times who is CPR-certified. 
Staff Training Requirements A facility’s administrator must meet certain educational or experience standards. These differ based on the size of the facility but can include a degree or nursing certificate. They must also complete 18 hours of continuing education annually. Care providers must receive orientation training within 14 days of their employment and work with direct supervision for three working days unless they have previous experience in a facility. They must complete 12 hours of continuing education annually.    
Background Checks for Assisted Living All staff must pass a background check, which includes a fingerprint check. The state can provide provisional approval to work with residents if the initial check is clear. Final approval is granted after the fingerprint check is completed by the FBI. 
Requirements for Reporting Abuse Any incidents of abuse or suspected abuse must be reported to a local law enforcement agent. The facility must also make a report to its licensing specialist within 24 hours of the incident occurring. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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