Assisted Living in Idaho
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Families looking for assisted living in Idaho (ID) have a wide array of communities to choose from, since estimated that there are more than 30,000 assisted living communities serving seniors across the U.S., and over 144 statewide. The state is also home to a rapidly growing number of senior citizens, with adults over 65 making up an estimated 15 percent of the population. A resident in an assisted living community in Idaho will pay $3,475 per month on average.
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What You Should Know About Assisted Living in Idaho
Assisted living communities in Idaho are referred to as assisted living facilities (ALF) or residential care facilities (RCF). They are classified as any facility or residence that cares for three or more seniors not related to the owner by providing meals, lodging, personal assistance and necessary supervision.
Assisted living facilities in Idaho help residents with tasks such as dressing, eating, meal preparation and entertainment activities. Assisted living community residents include those with age-related impairments and disabilities who need assistance with regular daily activities.
Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Idaho
Low-income seniors in Idaho may be eligible to receive assistance from state subsidy programs to help cover the costs of assisted living.
Aid for Aged, Blind and Disabled (AABD) Program
The Aid for Aged, Blind and Disabled program provides cash assistance to eligible participants as part of Idaho Medicaid services. The amount applicants receive is determined by calculating their income, living arrangements and resources.
Who Is Eligible?
Eligibility is limited to Idaho residents who are U.S. citizens and are either 65 years or older, blind or are classified as disabled by Social Security standards. Applicants must also fall within the financial guidelines set by the state for Medicaid approval.
How to Apply
Applications for cash assistance can be found online and must be completed and submitted to the local Health and Welfare office. Hard copies of applications are also located at Health and Welfare offices and can be completed on-site. At the office, a representative will discuss your situation with you to determine what services you may be eligible for. Make sure to bring documentation with you that verifies relevant information such as income, resources and expenses to speed up the process.
You can find your nearest Health and Welfare office on the Contact Us page of the Idaho Health and Welfare website under the Regional Contact Information tab.
Idaho seniors who require skilled nursing care can apply for the Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver through Medicaid. This waiver allows individuals to retain their independence using home-based care or an assisted living community rather than an institution or nursing home. The waiver covers the cost of needed services up to the amount that would be paid for institutional care.
Who is Eligible?
Eligible seniors must be over the age of 65 and require nursing home-level care. Participants must meet the financial qualifications for Nursing Home Medicaid or Idaho Long-Term Care. This includes monthly income and countable assets or resources, covering everything of value except their home, car, personal effects and burial contract. Married applicants, where one spouse intends to participate in the HCBS waiver and the other does not, can allocate a portion of joint assets to the nonparticipating spouse to cover living expenses.
How to Apply
Despite its ties with Idaho Medicaid, the HCBS waiver is not considered an entitlement, and applicants are placed on a waiting list if all spots are filled. To check the current wait time or receive application assistance, seniors can contact their nearest Department of Health and Welfare regional office. The application and an explanation of the waiver can also be downloaded here.
Idaho also offers the Personal Care Services (PCS) program to help seniors with activities of daily living. The PCS program is open to seniors living at home, in an adult foster care home or in an assisted living residence. Activities the program covers include preparing meals, shopping, eating, dressing and relocation.
Who is Eligible?
This program is open to Idaho seniors who are at least 65 years old and qualify for Idaho Medicaid. Financial requirements for this program allow a monthly income of no more than $789 and less than $2000 in countable assets. These assets do not include the applicant's home, a single vehicle as long as it is in use, furnishings for their home, personal belongings and life insurance policies with low value.
How to Apply
To apply for the PCS program, seniors must call or visit their nearest Department of Health and Welfare office.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Not all assisted living communities accept all forms of state assistance. Make sure to check with your chosen residence to ensure that any assistance you apply for will be approved.
More Ways to Finance Assisted Living
While many families use their own funds or personal assets to pay for assisted living, there are plenty of additional options to cover these costs. Visit our 9 Ways to Pay for Assisted Living page for more information.
Free Assisted Living Resources in Idaho
Elderly Idaho residents and their family members can take advantage of the many free resources available across the state to provide information and assistance regarding long-term care needs. The nonprofit and federally funded organizations are available to help identify the needs of seniors, refer appropriate care options and identify possible sources for financing if needed.
Area Agency on Aging (AAA)
Idaho is divided into six regional districts, each with its own Area Agency on Aging (AAA). The federally funded program offers services to Idaho adults over the age of 60 as part of a national network of more than 600 offices. Seniors can contact their local office for assistance with transportation, meals, money management, case management and family caregiver support programs.
You can find your nearest AAA office by using the interactive map on the Idaho Commission on Aging website.
2120 Lakewood Drive, Suite B, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
124 New Sixth Street, Lewiston, ID 83501
701 S. Allen, Ste 100, Meridian, ID 83642
315 Falls Ave, P.O. Box 1238, Twin Falls, ID 83303
214 East Center, P.O. Box 6079, Pocatello, ID 83201
357 Constitution Way, P.O. Box 51098, Idaho Falls, ID 83405
The Idaho Division of Veteran's Services works with the Veteran's Administration (VA) Centers in the state to provide assistance and support to seniors who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces and their families. The program offers aid in understanding any benefits and services seniors already receive along with an assessment of the needs of senior veterans to match them with services and benefits they require.
More information can be found on the Idaho Division of Veterans Services website or by visiting one of the local VA Centers listed below.
Idaho seniors who are eligible for Social Security benefits can also use local Social Security offices as a resource. Staff at these offices are available to help identify any Social Security benefits that may be available to elderly residents, navigate the Social Security program and explain any benefits the individual qualifies for.
Seniors in need of assistance from Social Security can visit one of the local offices listed below, email or write the organization, or call 1-800-772-1213 and follow the prompts.
1249 S Vinnell Way, Boise, ID 83709
1-855-377-9316 or TTY: 1-208-321-2902
1118 South Kimball Ave, Caldwell, ID 83605
1-877-836-1560 or TTY: 1-208-455-1002
7400 N Mineral Drive, Coeur D Alene, ID 83815
1-866-931-2523 or TTY: 1-208-667-0940
2196 Channing Way, Idaho Falls, ID 83404
1-866-253-0489 or TTY: 1-208-522-7516
1617 19th Ave, Lewiston, ID 83501
1-877-405-9796 or TTY: 1-208-746-9942
861 Jefferson Ave, Pocatello, ID 83201
1-866-643-3407 or TTY: 1-208-637-2537
1437 Fillmore St, Twin Falls, ID 83301
1-866-748-2087 or TTY: 1-208-735-8203
The Idaho Ombudsman program is operated through the Idaho Commission on Aging and focuses on the health, safety and welfare of seniors who require long-term care. The program handles investigations concerning violations of resident rights, issues with quality of care, administration violations and any problems with outside agencies.
The regional Ombudsman offices are located within each of the six Area Agencies on Aging.
The Idaho Commission on Aging is committed to providing assistance to senior residents by connecting them with the appropriate state and federal organizations to meet their needs. The commission offers information about housing, transportation, meal assistance, caregiver services and elder abuse prevention.
Seniors can find organizations to meet their needs by visiting the Idaho Commission on Aging websiteor by calling 2-1-1 or 1-877-471-2777.
341 W. Washington, 3rd Floor, Boise, ID 83702
Idaho's State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIBA) was created to help Idaho seniors navigate the state Medicare process. Local staff and volunteers are available to answer questions, explain benefits, identify senior Medicare needs and assist with Medicare applications. The program operates within the Idaho Department of Insurance and is funded through a grant from the Administration for Community Living.
Department of Insurance
3700 West State Street, 3rd Floor, Boise, ID 83720-0043
Department of Insurance Regional Office
2005 Ironwood Parkway, Suite 143, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
Department of Insurance Fire Marshal Regional Office
1820 E. 17th, Suite 220, Idaho Falls, ID 83404
Department of Insurance Regional Office
353 N. 4th Avenue, Suite 200, Pocatello, ID 83201
Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Idaho
Assisted living communities in Idaho must follow the state's comprehensive laws regarding senior care to stay in operation. Some of these laws are highlighted below.
Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements
All residents in assisted living communities must have a written agreement with the home that covers the minimum information required by Idaho law. This includes an overview of any services that will be provided, staffing patterns and qualifications, a breakdown of the community's rates for services and supplies, a plan for resident funds management, description of the conditions needed for emergency transfers and the responsibilities of the resident.
Assisted living homes are required to perform an assessment to determine the needs of each resident. This assessment should cover any ADL support needed and include the level and frequency of support necessary, health services required, any agreement for medication assistance, behavioral symptoms along with interventions for each symptom, and any physician's orders for the resident. Once the assessment is complete, a service agreement is negotiated based on the results.
Assisted Living Admission Requirements
Assisted living homes may not admit residents who require care the community is not licensed to provide. This could include ongoing skilled nursing services, the use of physical restraints, intravenous therapy, tracheotomy care and syringe feeding. Residents who have needs that are incompatible with other residents, whether emotional, physical or social, may not be admitted, especially if they demonstrate they are a danger to themselves or others. Any resident who requires ambulatory assistance must reside on the ground floor unless certain fire safety rules are met.
Assisted Living Scope of Care
All assisted living communities must be able to provide basic services to residents, such as necessary supervision, assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), medication assistance and monitoring, first aid, emergency interventions, outside service coordination and basic housekeeping that includes laundry. If necessary, residents can contract with third parties for additional services.
Assisted Living Medicaid Policy
Idaho Medicaid offers programs to pay for seniors' personal services at any location, including an assisted living facility, as long as they are not in a nursing home. The two Medicaid programs offered are the HCBS Aged and Disabled waiver and the Personal Care Services program. Neither program pays for meals or room and board as both are limited to personal services.
Assisted Living Facility Requirements
Idaho does not require apartment-style units for residents, but no more than two residents may share a single unit if licensed after July 1, 1991. Assisted living communities licensed before that date can house up to four residents in one unit. The home must provide at least one toilet for every six residents housed within the facility.
Meals in assisted living facilities are also regulated. Therapeutic diets require an order from an authorized provider or the resident's physician. A therapeutic diet menu plan must be approved with the date and a signature from a licensed dietitian. Food selections must be provided with the resident's habits, preferences and physical abilities in mind. Communities are required to offer snacks between meals and at bedtime.
Medication Management Regulations
Residents have the options of self-administering their medications, requesting assistance or having them administered. Staff who are unlicensed can help with self-administration provided they complete a course covering medication assistance and are designated to do so by a licensed nurse. Only a licensed nurse may administer medication or check medication regimens, which should be done on a quarterly basis.
All medications must be received in blister packs or medisets and must be filled by a licensed nurse or a pharmacy. For residents who display behavioral issues, the community must attempt intervention without drugs before psychotropic drugs are used. Should any resident demonstrate behavior that may require psychotropic drugs, possible side effects and need for the medication must be monitored.
Every assisted living community must have a dedicated administrator on staff unless approved for a variance allowing an administrator to oversee multiple residences. The administrator is required to be on site long enough to ensure the safety of residents and confirm that care is adequate. Each community must have a licensed nurse on staff to handle administering medications and delegating staff for assistance with self-administered medications. Additional staff must be trained to provide services to residents. At least one direct-care staff member who is certified in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation must be on site at all times.
Assisted living communities with a license for no more than 15 beds must have at least one trained and qualified staff member available during sleeping hours. If any resident requires night care or is unable to call for assistance, on-site staff must be awake. For communities licensed for more than 15 beds, staff is required to be awake during sleeping hours. If detached units house residents, at least one trained staff member must be present in each of those buildings.
Staff Training Requirements
Staff members at assisted living communities are prohibited from providing unsupervised personal assistance to residents until the completion of a 16-hour job-related orientation. All staff members are required to complete eight hours of job-related continuing training annually except licensed administrators, who must complete 12 hours of continuing education each year.
If the community is admitting residents who have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury, mental illness or a developmental disability, staff must receive targeted training that covers the specialized needs of those residents.
Background Checks for ALF Staff in Idaho
All employees or contractors with direct access to residents must submit to a thorough criminal history and background check. This check must be conducted using a fingerprint search through the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Nurse Aide Registry, National Criminal History Background Check System and any other relevant state registries.
Requirements for Reporting Abuse
Idaho has an extensive list of mandated reporters for elder abuse, including medical professionals, any employees of a health facility, ombudsmen for the elderly, social workers, law enforcement and professional caregivers. Reporting is required if there is reasonable evidence that a senior has been abused, neglected or exploited. Nursing facilities and their employees report directly to the Department of Health and Welfare while others must report to the Idaho Commission on Aging. If an act of suspected abuse results in serious injury or death, a report must be made to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Assisted Living Facilities in Idaho
Top-Rated Caring Stars Winners in Idaho
Caring.com’s Caring Stars award program recognizes the best assisted living facilities across the U.S. based on reviews from family caregivers and older adults. This award is meant to help older adults and their loved ones find the best assisted living or in-home care option in their area. The list below shows up to 10 listings that have won the most Caring Stars annual awards in their state, sorted by their current overall average rating. For a complete list of Caring Stars winners for each year, please visit our Caring Stars info center.