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Assisted Living in Arkansas

Known for its beautiful waterways, hot springs and naturalized areas, Arkansas is home to just over 3 million residents. The state’s population has grown by 3.3% over the past decade, and 17.4% of Arkansans are seniors aged 65 and older. Little Rock is the state capital and most populous city in Arkansas, and it serves as the regional health care hub. A number of top-ranked health care facilities are located here, including UAMS Health, a full-service teaching hospital.

Arkansas ranked 46th on our 2022 Senior Living Report, despite the fact that the state’s average assisted living rate of $3,760 is well below the nationwide median of $4,500. This low ranking reflects that Arkansas has fewer primary care physicians per capita than the U.S. average, and crime rates in the state are relatively high.

This guide offers an overview of assisted living costs in Arkansas, and compares those costs with other states and long-term care options. There’s also an overview of Medicaid-funded programs that seniors can access to help finance their long-term care expenses, a list of state regulations for assisted living facilities and links to free resources for Arkansas seniors.

The Cost of Assisted Living in Arkansas

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, 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 Arkansas and its 0 cities.

The Cost of Assisted Living in Arkansas's Top Cities

In Arkansas' top cities, assisted living costs offer families choices that align with their financial means. In Fayetteville, for instance, the average cost is $3,998, offering a mid-range option for senior care. Fort Smith, however, presents a more affordable alternative with an average cost of $2,678. Springdale and Little Rock stand at the higher end with an average cost of $4,207 and $4,220, respectively. 





Fort Smith




Little Rock


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

The United States has experienced an escalation of 9.6% in assisted living costs from 2022, hitting an average of $4,459 in 2023. Interestingly, unlike most other states, Arkansas' cost of assisted living has declined, marking a 3% decrease from 2022.

Comparisons to neighboring states, however, emphasize the weight of inflation's effect. In Texas, for example, costs increased by 5.68%. Mississippi and Louisiana followed suit with an 8.2% and 12.38% growth respectively. However, Tennessee stood out with a remarkable increase of 24.18% to reach an average cost of $4,201. With these rising senior care expenses, families should be well-prepared.

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

Costs fluctuate across different types of senior care in Arkansas. Assisted living presents a mid-range option costing around $3,840 in 2023, while memory care sits at the higher end of the spectrum at $5,056 due to the specialized services required. Independent living, at $2,764, is cheaper as it generally requires less hands-on care and assistance.

Assisted Living


Memory Care


Independent Living


Does Medicaid Cover Assisted Living in Arkansas?

Arkansas’ Medicaid program directly covers personal care services delivered to residents living in an assisted living facility that’s registered as a Medicaid-authorized provider. Medicaid beneficiaries may also be eligible for services through the Living Choices program Medicaid waiver.

What Assisted Living Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Arkansas?

Arkansas’ Medicaid program covers some personal care services for eligible beneficiaries who reside in a community-based, noninstitutional setting such as an assisted living facility. Services are assigned on an individual basis based on need, and may include: 


  • Nonmedical assistance with activities of daily living 
  • Intermittent skilled nursing care
  • Medication monitoring and assistance with self-administration 


Arkansas seniors who meet the admission criteria for placement in a skilled nursing facility, but who can be safely supported in an assisted living facility with enhanced services, may qualify for enrollment in the Living Choices program. 

Assisted Living Waiver Programs in Arkansas

Living Choices 

Living Choices is an assisted living Medicaid waiver program that’s designed to delay or prevent nursing home placement among frail seniors. Services funded through this program include: 


  • Assisted living services such as recreational programming
  • Nonmedical transportation 
  • Case management 
  • Intermittent and skilled nursing services 
  • Medication monitoring and administration 
  • Assistance with transfers, personal hygiene and other activities of daily living


To qualify for enrollment in the Living Choices Waiver, you must be at least 65 years old, or be assessed as permanently disabled in accordance with the criteria set by Medicaid. You must also meet the criteria for admission to a nursing home at the intermediate care level, need at least one of the services covered by the program and meet the financial criteria. 

To apply for the Living Choices Waiver, you must: 


    • Contact the nearest Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) county office to arrange for a needs-based assessment. Alternatively, you can call the Choices in Living Resource Center at (866) 801-3435 to set up an assessment. 
    • If the DHS assessment confirms that you meet the functional criteria for enrollment in the program, DHS staff will determine what services you’re eligible to receive.   

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


 Eligibility for Arkansas Medicaid is based on age, income, financial resources and need. Individuals who are approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits automatically qualify for Medicaid coverage. If you don’t receive SSI payments, you must meet the following criteria: 


  • Be at least 65 years old, or
  • Be blind or have a permanent disability that meets Medicaid guidelines, and, 
  • Meet the current income and asset limits


As of 2023, single applicants may have an annual pretax income of no more than $32,904 and $2,000 in countable assets. Married couples who are both applying can have a combined income of up to $65,808 per year and $3,000 in assets. If only one spouse applies, the assets limits are $2,000 for the applicant and up to $148,620 for the non-applicant.


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

*Income limit is for applicant only.

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

***$148,620 is the maximum and only applies if total resources exceed $297,240. If combined resources are less, the amount the non-applicant can retain is also less.

Arkansas Medicaid applicants must also:


  • Be permanent residents of Arkansas
  • Be either a U.S. citizen, national, permanent resident or legal alien


How To Apply for Medicaid in Arkansas

Your application for Medicaid can be submitted online through Access Arkansas.  Alternatively, you can call the Choices in Living Resource Center at (866) 801-3435 for assistance with completing and submitting your application.

Information You Will Need 

When applying for Medicaid, you should be prepared to provide the following documentation:

  • Proof of age via government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport
  • Proof of citizenship status and permanent residency in Arkansas
  • Verification of income from all sources, including wages, investment dividends, VA benefits and pension payments
  • Verification of all assets, including real estate, vehicles and investments 
  • Social Security number 
  • All insurance policies, including the cash value of any life insurance 
  • Any prepaid burial contracts or funeral services 

How To Get Help Applying for Medicaid

If you need help applying for Medicaid, obtaining Medicaid-funded services or appealing a declined Medicaid application, you can contact the following programs and agencies for assistance. 

ProgramContactServices provided
Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care(888) 987-1200Headquartered in Little Rock, AFMC is a nonprofit organization that works to improve services delivered through Medicaid while reducing overall health care costs. Individuals can call the AFMC Medicaid complaint hotline for assistance with Medicaid services and the application process. AFMC operators are fluent in English and Spanish.
Department of Human Services - Appeals and Hearings Section(800) 482-5850, ext 2-8622Arkansas residents who disagree with a decision made by the Department of Human Services related to Medicaid eligibility and benefits can file an appeal through the DHS Office of Appeals and Hearings. Note that individuals must request an appeal hearing within 30 calendar days of the date listed on their Notice of Action letter from the DHS.
Arkansas Department of Human Services - County OfficesOnline onlyThe Arkansas Department of Human Services maintains offices in each county throughout the state. Staff at these offices can provide information on Medicaid eligibility and the application process. County-specific contact information is available on the DHS website.

Does Medicare Cover Assisted Living in Arkansas?

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

Other Financial Assistance Options for Assisted Living in Arkansas

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 Arkansas

There are many resources in Arkansas that assist seniors in their retirement. 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
Arkansas Area Agency on Aging800-467-2171Arkansas Area Agencies on Aging connect seniors with resources designed to maintain a high quality of life as their needs increase. They empower seniors to age in place with programs such as Meals on Wheels, senior centers and transportation assistance. In addition, AAAs protect senior rights through long-term care ombudsmen programs and by educating seniors on government assistance. Other critical services include connecting families with caregiver resources and community programs that can serve seniors.

Cash Assistance Programs

Cash assistance programs in Arkansas 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
Arkansas 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.

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 Arkansas seniors afford the nutritious food they need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Arkansas Meals on WheelsArkansas' Meals on Wheels program seeks to solve food insecurity among seniors who are unable to take care of their nutritional needs due to limited financial resources, mobility or access to grocery stores. Volunteers deliver nutritious meals to seniors' doors while also providing a friendly visit and safety check. Administered through regional Area Agencies on Aging and local senior centers, the program is open to adults aged 60 and older who are homebound or unable to prepare their own meals.
Arkansas Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)Administered by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is designed to support low-income seniors aged 60 and older by offering financial aid for purchasing nutritious food. Monthly benefits are distributed through an electronic benefits card that can be used at farmers markets and eligible retailers. This allows seniors to maintain a balanced diet and improve their overall health and well-being. SNAP also connects seniors with resources, such as nutrition education and senior meal programs.

Free Used Medical Equipment

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

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Arkansas Increasing Capabilities Access Network800-828-2799Increasing Capabilities Access Network provides seniors and other Arkansas residents with free and low-cost assistive technology, including medical equipment. Its AT Reuse program reclaims used items and distributes them to those in need.
Arkansas Village Loan Closet501-922-2888Hot Springs residents can borrow medical equipment for free from the Village Loan Closet. Loans are made on an initial three-month term which can be renewed if required. Seniors can find a range of equipment, including canes, walkers, shower chairs, toilet risers, wheelchairs and commodes.
Goodwill Industries of Arkansas' Health Equipment Loan Program877-372-5151Common types of medical equipment found through Goodwill Industries of Arkansas' Health Equipment Loan Program include wheelchairs, rollators and shower chairs. Equipment is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis and inventory is dependent on community donations. Seniors can participate by visiting any Goodwill location throughout Arkansas.

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

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Arkansas Section 504 Home Repair ProgramHomeowners who live in rural areas of Arkansas can apply for the Section 504 Home Repair Program. This program provides grants to seniors aged 62 and older of up to $10,000. The funds can be used to remove health and safety hazards to make the home safe to live in.

Many organizations offer free or low-cost legal services to Arkansas 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
Arkansas Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program800-467-2171The Arkansas Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program helps ensure that assisted living residents understand their rights under federal laws and regulations. Ombudsmen investigate complaints about long-term care services filed by residents, caregivers and community members; advocate for improvements in long-term care services; and when necessary, escalate concerns to local law enforcement officials.
Legal Aid of Arkansas Low Income TaxPayer Clinic800-952-9243Seniors often qualify for free tax help through Legal Aid of Arkansas and its low-income tax clinic. This not only helps seniors with their tax returns but also assists with free legal representation when elderly adults have IRS tax disputes.

Senior Centers

Senior centers in Arkansas 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
Arkansas Choices In Living Resource Center866-801-3435Operated by the Arkansas Department of Human Services and open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Choices In Living Resource Center provides callers with information on long-term care services. Operators can help callers learn about available care services, Medicaid programs, assistive technologies, prescription drug plans and help for family caregivers.

Senior Engagement

Senior engagement resources and programs in Arkansas 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
Alzheimer's Association Arkansas Chapter800-272-3900The local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association maintains a directory of programs and services to assist seniors in Little Rock living with dementia and their caregivers, especially those who are unpaid. With the help of volunteers, the organization is able to provide respite care to family caregivers in addition to its education and advocacy efforts.

Social Security Offices

Social Security offices in Arkansas 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
Arkansas Social Security800-272-3900Social 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 Arkansas 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
Arkansas Homestead Tax Credit and Homeowner Property Tax ReliefArkansas seniors who own their own homes may be eligible for an annual homestead tax credit of up to $375 per year. In addition, adults aged 65 or older or who are disabled could be entitled to an additional tax relief with the value of their property being frozen for tax purposes.

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

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Arkansas Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)501-682-0744Arkansas' Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps low-income seniors cover the costs of heating and cooling their homes. Residents could be eligible to receive regular benefits or a crisis benefit which prevents disconnection from energy or fuel supplies.

Veteran's Services

Arkansas 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
Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs501-683-2382The Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs works to ensure that all veterans and their eligible dependents have access to county, state and federal benefits including health care, enhanced pension programs and burial honors. Veteran service officers can provide assistance to those applying for VA Aid and Attendance and Housebound, two VA pension programs that can be used to help cover assisted living expenses.
Arkansas VA Benefits and Health CareArkansas's VA Benefits and Health Care provides services for seniors at medical centers in Fayetteville, Little Rock and North Little Rock as well as at community-based outpatient clinics throughout the state. If veterans meet the service and age criteria, they can access medical, social and specialized programs for seniors. Services offered include homemaking, home health, assistance with pension applications and nursing home/residential care.

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Arkansas

Arkansas Level I and Level II assisted living facilities are regulated under state laws designed to ensure that all residents receive high-quality care in a safe environment. Regular and unannounced inspections are performed by staff from the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Office of Long-Term Care. Some key regulations are detailed in the following table. 

Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements Upon admission, all ALF residents must undergo a comprehensive functional and needs assessment, which serves as the foundation for their assisted living service plan. This plan must be reviewed and updated on an annual basis. 
Assisted Living Admission Requirements Arkansas assisted living facilities may only admit and retain individuals who don't pose a danger to themselves or others. Facilities are prohibited from admitting residents who need around-the-clock medical care, rely on a feeding tube or can't evacuate the facility in an emergency without a high level of support from staff.
Assisted Living Scope of Care Level I assisted living facilities are geared toward residents who require limited assistance with activities of daily living. Level II ALFs offer enhanced direct care services including hands-on assistance with transfers, medication administration and two or more activities of daily living.
Assisted Living Medicaid Policy Arkansas' Medicaid plan covers personal care services delivered in participating ALFs. Some enhanced Medicaid services may also be provided to ALF residents who are enrolled in the Living Choices Waiver. Note that ALFs aren't required to accept Medicaid reimbursements to be licensed in Arkansas. 
Assisted Living Facility Requirements All Arkansas assisted living facilities must provide residents with private, independent apartments equipped with separate kitchenettes and sleeping areas, and an en suite bathroom. A maximum of two residents may share a suite, and all units need to be fully wheelchair-accessible. 
Medication Management Regulations Staff in Level I facilities can help residents self-administer oral medications that have been prescribed by a licensed physician. Licensed nursing staff in Level II facilities may administer prescription medications, and these facilities must retain a consulting pharmacist to review all resident medications on a regular basis. 
Staffing Requirements Assisted living facilities are required to have a full-time administrator who's on-site during regular business hours. Caregivers must also be on-site and awake at all times, while Level II facilities need at least one registered nurse on staff to oversee resident care. Level I facilities need to maintain a minimum staff-to-resident ratio of 1:16 during the day. Level II facilities must have at least one staff on duty for every 15 residents, and there can be no fewer than two staff members on duty at any given time. 
Staff Training Requirements All ALF staff need to complete basic orientation training within 1 week of commencing employment, and enhanced training that covers medication management, cognitive impairments and infection control within 30 days.
Background Checks for Assisted Living ALF administrators must perform a background check on all new hires. Any prospective employee who has been convicted of abuse or neglect of a vulnerable person shall be deemed ineligible for employment as a caregiver. Staff background checks must be updated every 5 years. 
Requirements for Reporting Abuse Caregivers must report any suspicions of abuse, neglect or mistreatment of ALF residents to the facility administrator, who must file a report with the Arkansas Office of Long-Term Care and the nearest law enforcement agency. Family members and other parties may file a complaint anonymously by calling the OLTC at (800) 582-4887. 

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