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Assisted Living in Arizona

Arizona is a popular retirement spot, in part due to its warm, dry weather and beautiful desert landscapes. The state is home to 7.2 million people, and 18% are aged 65 and older. Social Security income isn’t subject to state income tax, which can help seniors budget, and groceries and medicines are exempt from sales tax. Retirees in Arizona also have access to world-class medical care at facilities such as the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix.

The state ranks 42nd overall in the 2024 Senior Living Report, in part due to the relatively low number of health care professionals and opportunities for community involvement. However, it’s among the top 10 states for senior living and housing. Assisted living costs of just $4,000 per month impact this ranking. Arizona also ranks highly in quality of life for seniors who choose to make the state their home.

This guide has details about the cost of assisted living in Arizona and its cities, as well as the prices of other senior living options. You can also find information about resources available to seniors in Arizona and the rules and regulations for assisted living facilities in the state.

The Cost of Assisted Living in Arizona

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. To help shed light on real senior living prices, Caring.com has compiled proprietary cost data from its network of over 75,000 senior living providers to offer insight into the average cost of assisted living in Arizona and its 23 cities.

The Cost of Assisted Living in Arizona's Top Cities

Assisted living in some of Arizona's biggest population centers is priced well above the norm. The cost in Phoenix rises by over 10%, at an average of $5,073, and Flagstaff is the most expensive city at $5,978 per month. On the other hand, relatively large cities such as Tucson and Scottsdale have costs slightly below average for the state, at $4,263 and $4,255 per month respectively.

Arizona

$4,420

Phoenix

$5,073

Tucson

$4,263

Scottsdale

$4,255

Flagstaff

$5,978

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

Assisted living costs have risen by 10% due to inflation between 2022 and 2023, pushing Arizona's monthly average from $4,008 to $4,420. The U.S. average also increased, but at a slightly slower pace, reaching $4,459 per month in 2023. With a further 12% increase predicted in Arizona, the state is on track to become more expensive than the national average.

Costs grew by 6.9% and 5.4% in California and Colorado, respectively, although these states remain less affordable than Arizona. Nevada's 3.6% increase was the lowest regionally, while costs in New Mexico jumped by 20.8%.

Location2022 Cost (Historical)2023 Cost (Current)2024 Cost (Estimated)
Arizona$4,008$4,420$4,962
U.S. Average$4,070$4,459$4,802
California$4,625$4,946$5,221
New Mexico$3,465$4,185$4,752
Nevada$3,586$3,716$3,957
Colorado$4,392$4,630$5,063

The Costs of Other Types of Senior Living

Although assisted living has one of the highest costs among the three main options — at an average of $4,420 per month in Arizona — it's still around $1,000 below the cost of memory care in the state. With an average monthly cost of $3,009, independent living is approximately 32% cheaper than assisted living. The significantly lower cost of independent living is largely due to residents requiring less help with daily life.

Assisted Living

$4,420

Memory Care

$5,401

Independent Living

$3,009

Does Medicaid Cover Assisted Living in Arizona?

Assisted living care is covered directly by Arizona Medicaid for eligible residents in the state. The Medicaid program, known as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, or AHCCCS, doesn’t include waivers. Instead, all care is offered through a managed care system. As part of the AHCCCS, Arizona Long Term Care Services (ALTCS) covers medical and personal care for eligible residents in their homes and in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

What Assisted Living Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Arizona?

ALTCS provides services to people who need a nursing home level of care. As this is a Medicaid program, there aren’t any waiting lists; everyone who’s eligible can receive benefits. The managed care system also means that seniors work entirely with a single organization, making the logistics of arranging care and benefits easier. 

To qualify for ALTCS support, you must be financially eligible. The financial limits for this program are higher than those for regular Medicaid. You must also be aged 65 or older, or have a recognized disability, and at risk of institutionalization. 

The exact benefits you can receive depend on your needs and where you reside. For example, there are different levels of support provided for people in assisted living facilities as compared to those living in their own home. In addition to the medical care provided by Medicaid, the program offers assistive services. These can include:

  • Care coordination
  • Behavioral health care
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Personal care services
  • Personal emergency response systems
  • Medical transportation

The program doesn’t cover the cost of room and board in assisted living facilities.

When you apply, the department looks at your finances first. If you’re financially eligible for the program, a social worker conducts an in-person assessment to decide if you meet the functional eligibility criteria. The assessment also determines the level of care you require. To apply, you can contact the nearest ALTCS office or call (888) 621-6880.

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

As the Medicaid program is designed to provide health insurance to low-income residents, finances are the main factor determining eligibility. Applicants must meet both income and asset limits

The income limit for ALTCS coverage is $2,523 per month, or $30,276 per year per person, and the asset limit is $2,000. When both spouses of a married couple are applying, that limit is per person, meaning the couple can have up to $4,000 of assets. 

When only one spouse applies for long-term care assistance, the income limit only applies to the applicant. However, the applicant may transfer a certain amount of their income to the non-applicant according to Medicaid’s spousal impoverishment provisions. The non-applicant spouse may also retain up to $137,400 in assets. 

Arizona doesn’t count all assets when calculating Medicaid eligibility. Personal belongings, an automobile and burial trusts are generally exempt. A primary home is also exempt if the person intends to return to it or their spouse still lives there. 

2022 Basic Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Arizona

Household SizeNumber of ApplicantsIncome Limits Per Year*Asset Limits: Applicant(s)Asset Limits: Non-Applicants
One Person1$32,904$2,000
Two Person1$32,904$2,000**$148,620
Two Person2$65,808***$4,000****

*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.

****Assets are limited to $2,000 per spouse

 

In addition to the financial criteria, applicants must:

 

  • Be an Arizona resident
  • Be a U.S. citizen or qualified immigrant
  • Have a Social Security number
  • Be aged 65 or older, or have a recognized disability
  • Be in need of a nursing home level of care
  • Apply for all cash benefits they may be entitled to
  • Live in an approved living arrangement, such as an assisted living facility

 

How To Apply for Medicaid in Arizona

To start an application for ALTCS, you may visit your local office or call (888) 621-6880. Alternatively, you can fill in a request for application form and take it to the nearest ALTCS office or return it by mail, fax or email to:

801 East Jefferson Street, MD 3900, Phoenix, Arizona, 85034
Fax (toll-free): 888-507-3313 
Email: altcsregistration@azahcccs.gov 

Information You Will Need 

ALTCS staff members need to see various documents to process applications. You may be asked to provide:

  • Proof of citizenship and identity
  • Immigration documents
  • Social Security number
  • Birth certificate
  • Proof of income
  • Proof of assets
  • Verification of any other medical insurance, such as a Medicare card

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid

Arizona has resources available to help people who wish to apply for Medicaid. The Health-e-Arizona Plus website answers frequently asked questions about the application process. ALTCS workers are also able to answer questions, and the agency offers a detailed guide for those applying for long-term care.

ProgramContactServices provided
Health-e-Arizona PlusOnlineHealth-e-Arizona Plus accepts applications for nutrition, cash and medical assistance, including Medicaid. Although long-term care applications aren’t processed through the system, the website has an extensive list of frequently asked questions about eligibility and Medicaid applications.
Arizona Long-Term Care System Offices(888) 621-6880In addition to processing applications, staff at ALTCS offices are able to answer questions and help you fill in applications. Assistance is available over the phone, or in person at local office locations.
Filing an Application GuideOnlineThe ALTCS office produces a guide for people who are applying for long-term care. The information sheet has easy-to-understand instructions about eligibility requirements, how to apply and how the program works. The guide is available in both English and Spanish.

Does Medicare Cover Assisted Living in Arizona?

The short answer is that no, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living in Arizona. 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 Arizona.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Assisted Living in Arizona

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 va.gov.Veterans 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 acl.gov.Seniors 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 Arizona

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

 

Area Agency on Aging

Retirees can find support and advice on various senior-related issues from their local Area Agency on Aging. The agency provides advice on topics such as financial assistance programs, in-home care and long-term care planning. It also connects seniors and caregivers with community-based resources.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Arizona Area Agencies on AgingArizona's Area Agencies on Aging provide support and advocacy for older residents, empowering them to remain in their homes where desirable. Accessible remotely and at a selection of statewide locations, they connect senior Arizonans, along with families and caregivers, to a range of support services. These include home-delivered meals and assistance with self-managing chronic health conditions. A 24-hour accessible senior helpline is also available at (888)-783-7500.

Cash Assistance Programs

Cash assistance programs in Arizona 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
Arizona 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.

Financial Assistance for Senior Care and Senior Living

Whether living in their own home or in a senior living community, Arizona 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
Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS)The Arizona Long Term Care System covers a comprehensive array of supportive services for individuals who are aged or disabled. This program pays for nursing home care and community-based alternatives that can help you remain in your own home or in a residential setting of your choice. It covers in-home care, personal care attendants, assisted living, adult day health care and other 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 Arizona seniors afford the nutritious food they need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Arizona Commodity Senior Food Program (CSFP)Arizona's Commodity Senior Food Program serves the needs of low-income seniors in the state through monthly deliveries or pickups of nutritious foods. Packages available through the CSFP include canned meats, fruits and vegetables as well as milk, cereal, rice and pasta. The food for the program is purchased by Arizona from the USDA. Seniors must meet income qualifications to participate.
Arizona Coordinated Hunger Relief ProgramThe Arizona Department of Economic Security Coordinated Hunger Relief Program coordinates food assistance from various federal, state and local organizations to maximize resources and ensure that the nutritional needs of poor and vulnerable seniors are met. The program also administers The Emergency Food Assistance Program that distributes food from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to low-income residents, including seniors. To qualify, a senior's gross household income should not exceed $25,142 per year for one person or $33,874 for two.
Arizona Meals on WheelsArizona seniors can access nutritious meals through the Arizona Meals on Wheels program. Those unable to travel can have pre-prepared meals delivered to their door. While making deliveries, Meals on Wheels volunteers also provide much-needed companionship and safety checks. Meals are generally provided on a sliding fee scale depending on individual circumstances. Older residents who are mobile can attend congregate meals held in senior centers, cafes and other venues throughout the state, where seniors gather together for socialization.
Arizona Senior Farmers Markets Nutrition Program (SFMNP)The Arizona Senior Farmers Markets Nutrition Program provides vouchers for seniors to use to buy fresh food at their local farmer's market. Seniors qualify for this program based on income, and they must be age 60 or older to apply. Some locations that participate in SFMNP offer Community Supported Agriculture boxes of produce, which removes the need to travel to and shop at the farmer's market.
Arizona C.R.I.T. Food Distribution Program928-669-1283The C.R.I.T. Food Distribution Program in Parker, AZ, serves low-income seniors and others in the Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation area, including Riverside and San Bernardino counties in California and La Paz County in Arizona. The nutrition assistance program provides USDA-approved foods and fresh-grown produce to supplement groceries for the month. Eligible elderly and disabled residents may qualify for home meal delivery. Recipients must complete an application, and food distribution is available on weekdays by appointment.
Arizona The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a federally supported program that provides free emergency food packages to low-income individuals and seniors in times of need. In each monthly food box, seniors receive shelf-stable foods, including canned or dried fruits, vegetables, pasta, bread and bottled juices. Seniors must have a total household income of less than 185% of the federal poverty line to be eligible for emergency food assistance, and they can find many participating distributors across Arizona.

Free Used Medical Equipment

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

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Arizona Loans for Assistive Technology (AZLAT)800-477-9921Operated by Northern Arizona University, this assistive technology program stocks approximately 4,000 AT and AT-related products, including items that help with hearing and vision loss and functional needs.

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 Arizona have different eligibility criteria and often assist retirees by providing grants or loans.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Arizona Emergency Repairs and Housing RehabilitationThe Arizona Department of Housing provides community block grants to help fund emergency repairs in designated areas.
Arizona Weatherization Assistance ProgramThe Weatherization Assistance Program covers the cost of energy-efficient upgrades and home improvements.

Many organizations offer free or low-cost legal services to Arizona seniors. Older adults can access advice on issues such as estate planning, living wills and power of attorney. Some firms also act as long-term care ombudsmen, advocating for the rights of seniors in senior living communities.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Arizona Community Legal Services602-258-3434Seniors and low-income adults can access advice and representation for legal issues here. On a pro-bono basis, attorneys with this agency can help seniors resolve tax issues with the IRS and access health care and public benefits. This organization also runs a resource center with self-help information and forms.

Senior Engagement

Senior engagement resources and programs in Arizona help older adults remain active and ensure they contribute to the community. Resources include wellness programs, volunteer opportunities, support groups and organizations that help residents connect with the community to live fulfilling lives.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Arizona Complete Health Avondale Resource Center623-333-2741Avondale residents aged 60 and older enjoy several fun activities and events at this community center. Participants can sign up for fitness classes, bingo, raffles and more. Transportation service is available to and from the campus.

Social Security Offices

Social Security offices in Arizona 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
Arizona 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 Arizona 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
Arizona Senior Property Tax FreezeThe Arizona Department of Revenue allows seniors to request a property valuation protection option on their primary residence. This program will freeze the assessed value of a senior's home for three years. Tax rates may fluctuate based on local regulations. Applications are processed by your County Assessor.

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. Arizona retirees could also qualify for emergency funding programs if they're in danger of losing utility services due to unpaid invoices.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Arizona Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)866-494-1981LIHEAP provides one payment per 12-month period to income-eligible families. Funds can help with unpaid energy bills, deposits and some energy-efficient energy bills, deposits and some energy-efficient

Veteran's Services

Arizona 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
Arizona VA Benefits and Health CareArizona VA Benefits and Health Care is a support network offering extensive services to senior veterans. It provides comprehensive health care solutions, including mental health and PTSD support. The program assists with disability compensation, pensions and home loans to help seniors have the financial support they need. It also assists with burials and memorials, demonstrating its commitment to the veteran community.

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Arizona

Assisted living facilities in Arizona are licensed and regulated by the Bureau of Residential Facilities Licensing. Facilities must comply with the rules and regulations set forth to protect the health, safety and well-being of assisted living residents in the state. 

TopicRule
Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements A service plan must be developed with the assistance of the resident, the facility manager and any individual requested by the resident or their representative. It must be completed no later than 14 days from the resident’s date of acceptance. Service plans should state what services are being provided, medication requirements and any health conditions or functional impairments the resident has. Plans must be reviewed by a nurse or medical practitioner if the resident requires intermittent nursing or medication administration.  Service plans are reviewed every 3, 6 or 12 months, depending on the type of care being provided. They must also be reviewed within 14 days of any significant change in a resident’s condition.
Assisted Living Admission Requirements A facility can only accept a resident if they have the ability to provide the care the individual needs. Facilities can’t accept anyone who requires continuous medical, nursing or behavioral health services. 
Assisted Living Scope of Care Assisted living services are defined as supervisory, personal, directed or behavioral care services in a residential setting. Facilities can be licensed to provide different levels of care. 
Assisted Living Medicaid Policy Arizona Medicaid pays for the care services provided in licensed and participating assisted living facilities for eligible residents. It doesn’t pay for room and board. You should check acceptable payment options prior to deciding on a facility to ensure that Medicaid is accepted.
Assisted Living Facility Requirements All doors in assisted living communities must be wheelchair accessible and facilities must provide accessible outdoor activity space.  There can be no more than two individuals in a bedroom and all sleeping rooms must have access to natural light. Furniture, including a bed and linen, should be provided unless the resident is bringing their own, and each sleeping area must have sufficient storage space.  There must be at least one working toilet and shower or bathtub for every eight residents.
Medication Management Regulations All medication must be stored securely. Medication can be administered under the direction of a medical practitioner and following a medication order.  If residents are self-administering medication, assisted living facility staff can take actions to help, including providing reminders and opening containers. 
Staffing Requirements Facilities must schedule sufficient trained staff to ensure the needs of the residents can be met. At least one manager or caregiver must be present and awake when a resident is on the premises. 

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Caring.com is a leading online destination for caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones. We offer thousands of original articles, helpful tools, advice from more than 50 leading experts, a community of caregivers, and a comprehensive directory of caregiving services.

 

The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal, financial, professional, or medical advice or diagnosis or treatment. By using our website, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

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