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Assisted Living Illinois

Home to the city of Chicago with its museums, cultural opportunities and many shopping destinations, as well as a large number of smaller suburban and rural communities, the Land of Lincoln continues to appeal to seniors. Around 16.1% of the 12.6 million people who live in Illinois are age 65 and older. The state is home to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, which is eighth in the nation for senior care based on data from U.S. News and World Report.

Ranking eighth in the nation for quality of life and ninth for transportation on our 2024 Senior Living Report, Illinois has much to offer its senior population. The state’s low marks for affordability and community involvement earned it a ranking of 30th overall. It also has low rankings for affordability, but the cost of assisted living is a little below the national average at $4,488 a month.

This guide for assisted living in Illinois tells older adults the costs of residential care in Illinois, while also providing guidance about options to pay for that care. It highlights  local and government agencies that offer services for seniors and features the laws covering assisted living in the state.

The Cost of Assisted Living in Illinois

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 Illinois and its 111 cities.

The Cost of Assisted Living in Illinois's Top Cities

Assisted living costs in Illinois' top cities vary significantly, with Chicago's rates being $1,199 more than the state's average. Rockford follows Chicago with the second-highest cost of $5,143, while Joliet's costs are slightly lower at $4,807. Conversely, Naperville offers the most affordable rates at $3,736. Given these considerable price variations, exploring different locations before making a decision would be advantageous. 

Illinois

$4,742

Chicago

$5,941

Naperville

$3,736

Rockford

$5,143

Joliet

$4,807

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

From 2022 to 2023, Illinois bucked the national trend with assisted living costs dropping 4.37%, from $4,959 to $4,742, unlike the nationwide increase of 9.55% (from $4,070 to $4,459).

Two neighboring states mirrored Illinois's trend, with Indiana experiencing a slight decrease in assisted living costs by 0.06% (bringing it to $4,357), while Missouri saw a more significant fall of 6.03% (resulting in a cost of $4,217). In contrast, Kentucky's costs surged by 13.99%, and Wisconsin saw a sharp increase of 16.93%. Given these variances, it's essential to monitor costs closely when planning for assisted living.

Location2022 Cost (Historical)2023 Cost (Current)2024 Cost (Estimated)
Illinois$4,959$4,742$5,313
U.S. Average$4,070$4,459 $4,802
Wisconsin$4,269$4,992$5,606
Missouri$4,488$4,217$4,318
Kentucky$3,288$3,748$4,397
Indiana$4,360$4,357$4,699

The Costs of Other Types of Senior Living

Independent living in Illinois is $2,775, lower than rates for other types of care, because fewer resources are necessary. In contrast, assisted living comes with many benefits, such as access to medical help, facilities and 24/7 support, so it is costlier at $4,742. However, individuals who need extra attention due to medical conditions such as dementia will pay $5,790 for memory care services. Because each person’s assisted living needs are unique, it is necessary to consider these options before committing to one.

Assisted Living

$4,742

Memory Care

$5,790

Independent Living

$2,775

Does Medicaid Cover Assisted Living in Illinois?

Medicaid in Illinois does not directly pay for assisted living costs. However, there is a waiver program that seniors can use to pay for care in an assisted living setting. The Illinois Supportive Living Program allows low-income older adults to pay for assisted living care using Medicaid funds.

What Assisted Living Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Illinois?

Under the Illinois Medicaid waiver program, income-qualified seniors living in assisted living facilities or residential treatment facilities can receive money to pay for:

 

  • Daily living activities help
  • Health support
  • Medication management
  • Recreation and social services

 

The senior must pay for their room and board at the assisted living facility, but the rest of the assisted living services are part of the waiver program.

Applying for this program involves three steps:

 

    • Pre-admission screening that shows a need for supportive care.
    • Assessment of functional risks and needs to see if the SLP setting can meet them.
    • Income evaluation and tuberculosis test.

Assisted Living Waiver Programs in Illinois

Illinois Supportive Living Program

The Illinois Supportive Living Program provides coverage to pay for the services Medicaid normally does not cover. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is in charge of the Supportive Living Program. Through this waiver, seniors can get financial help for almost all assisted living costs, and this may include:

 

  • Personal care
  • Intermittent nursing care
  • Meals and snacks
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Social and health activities
  • Recreation services
  • Staff to meet residents needs 24 hours a day

 

The program does not pay for room and board. This is the responsibility of the senior. In addition, the senior must spend all but $90 a month of their remaining income to pay for their assisted living costs before receiving help from this program. To receive SLF funds, seniors must receive assisted living services at a qualified Supportive Living Program Provider Site.

To qualify for this program, a senior must be age 65 or older or a younger senior with a physical disability. They must also meet financial criteria and be eligible for Medicaid.

To learn more, seniors can contact the Department of Healthcare and Family Services at (217) 782-0545 or contact them via email at hfs.webmaster@illinois.gov.

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

Medicaid eligibility is based on several factors, starting with income. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services determines legibility if a senior is not receiving Supplemental Security Income. Those that are will get screened for Medicaid with their application for SSI through the Social Security Administration.

In 2022, single applicants for Illinois Medicaid must have an annual pre-tax income of no more than $17,775. A married couple can earn $24,040 a year.

2022 Basic Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Illinois

Household SizeNumber of ApplicantsIncome Limits Per Year*Asset Limits: Applicant(s)Asset Limits: Non-Applicants
One Person1$14,580$17,500
Two Person1$14,580**$17,500$120,780
Two Person2$19,716$17,500

*Based on the facility setting, a recipient may not be able to keep income up to this level. People in supported living residences can only retain a $90/mo. personal needs allowance. Income may also go toward Medicare costs and a spousal income allowance for a non-applicant spouse.
**Income limit is for applicant only.

 

In addition to these requirements, applicants must:

 

  • Be U.S. citizens or legal aliens
  • Need insurance assistant
  • Reside in Illinois
  • Have a documented need for health support and assistance with the activities of daily living.

 

How To Apply for Medicaid in Illinois

Individuals can apply for Medicaid online through the Application for Benefits Eligibility portal (ABE). Applicants can also call the ABE hotline at (800) 843-6154 to get help applying for Medicaid. In 2022, paper applications are not possible. However, seniors may need to submit documentation after filing the online application.

Information You Will Need

Before starting the application, individuals should gather the following information:

 

  • Social Security number
  • Proof of income, including Social Security or Supplemental Security Income
  • Policy numbers for Medicare or other insurance
  • Proof of citizenship or legal alien status
  • Proof of Illinois residency
  • Photo I.D.
  • Proof of assets, including bank accounts and retirement funds

How To Get Help Applying for Medicaid

Illinois residents who need assistance with their Medicaid application have a few resources they can tap to get that assistance. These programs and agencies will assist seniors in finding the right care plan, fighting unfairly denied applications or applying for Medicaid for the first time.

Does Medicare Cover Assisted Living in Illinois?

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

Other Financial Assistance Options for Assisted Living in Illinois

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 Illinois

There are many resources in Illinois 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
Illinois Area Agencies on AgingIllinois' Area Agencies on Aging provide vital services and support for older adults and their caregivers. They offer a range of programs that promote independent living, health and overall well-being. AAAs assess needs, help develop care plans and connect seniors with services such as transportation, meal programs and in-home assistance. They also provide counseling on Medicare, Medicaid and other benefits. These agencies advocate for seniors and ensure they have access to the resources they need to age with dignity.

Cash Assistance Programs

Cash assistance programs in Illinois 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
Illinois 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, Illinois 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
Illinois HCBS Waiver for the ElderlyThe Waiver for the Elderly is a Home and Community-Based (HCBS) program that helps seniors who require a nursing level of care to access services and support in their own homes, thus helping them avoid institutionalization. The program pays for homemaker services and adult day care, as well as devices such as automated medication dispensers and personal emergency response systems.

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 Illinois seniors afford the nutritious food they need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Illinois Meals on WheelsThe Illinois Meals on Wheels Program provides nutritional dishes and safety checks for homebound seniors and others with a disability or mobility issue that makes it challenging to shop for food and prepare fresh, healthy meals. Participants pay based on income anywhere between free to full price. Illinois seniors who use Meals on Wheels receive regular weekday visits from volunteers who deliver meals. The program also serves meals at community gathering places for those with transportation.
Illinois Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)800-843-6154The Illinois Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, helps eligible seniors 60 and older and low-income families obtain healthy food. Seniors must be Illinois residents and meet income guidelines to be eligible. Benefits are provided on the electronic Illinois Link Card. The card can be used at grocery stores statewide for most food products, plus seeds and plants for home gardens. They can't be used for liquor, beer, wine or tobacco.

Financial Assistance for Senior Living

Low-income elderly individuals in senior living communities can access financial assistance through local-run programs. These Illinois resources offer advice, guidance and support to help older adults pay for the services offered by long-term care providers.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Illinois Supportive Living Facilities WaiverSeniors who receive Medicaid coverage can take part in the Supportive Living Facilities waiver, which provides personal care services for those living independently in their own communities. The program is self-directed and ensures that participants have the opportunity to customize the program to suit their needs.

Free Used Medical Equipment

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

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Illinois Assistive Technology Program800-852-5110Illinois Assistive Technology Program offers equipment loans, funding for new equipment and training for assistive technology such as general household accessibility aids, handheld and desktop video magnifiers, TV amplifiers and vehicle modification tools.
Illinois Devices 4 the Disabled773-870-1553Devices 4 the Disabled collects donated equipment and redistributes it to those who need it. Available supplies typically include wheelchairs, hospital beds and walkers.
Illinois Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach217-525-8843Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach distributes medical supplies and equipment to low-income seniors and disabled persons throughout the globe; however, personal delivery is available to those living across the Midwest United States.
Illinois St. John's Community Care618-344-5008St. John's Community Care hosts a free lending program at its Collinsville location. This program makes supplies such as walkers, wheelchairs, canes and bath chairs available to anyone who needs it.
Illinois Village of Schaumburg Medical Equipment Loans847-895-4500The Village of Schaumburg offers its residents loans of medical equipment for up to 90 days, provided they can make a small security deposit. Available equipment includes canes, bedside tables, bathtub seats and rails, and wheelchairs.

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

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP)217-785-2533Through this program, older adults can apply for assistance with upgrades to their homes that make them more weather-resistant. These include air sealing, insulation, HVAC repair or replacement, water heater repair or replacement and ventilation services.
Illinois Section 504 Home Repair Program800-225-5342The Section 504 Home Repair Program offers funding to very low-income seniors who live in rural areas throughout the United States. Funds may be used to remove health hazards from the home or make necessary home modifications. More information about eligible housing can be found online at the United States Department of Agriculture Eligibility website.

Many organizations offer free or low-cost legal services to Illinois 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
Illinois Adult Protective Services866-800-1409Illinois Adult Protective Services coordinates with 40 provider agencies through the state to investigate any claims of abuse and neglect of seniors or disabled individuals. This program looks into instances of abuse and neglect that are outside of the boundaries of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. If someone suspects abuse, exploitation or neglect of a senior, they can call the number 24-hours a day to get immediate help.
Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman ProgramThe Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program connects seniors living in assisted living and other long-term care facilities with advocates that will ensure they are receiving a high level of care. Representatives from the Ombudsman Program will help seniors and their families resolve issues or look into accusations of abuse and neglect with long-term care facilities. This program is free to any resident who needs it.

Senior Engagement

Senior engagement resources and programs in Illinois 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 Illinois Chapter847-933-2413The Alzheimer's Association provides seniors, their family or their caregivers with up-to-date information on available Alzheimer's resources in the state, respite care resources and how to find appropriate memory care units. The Alzheimer's Association also regularly fundraises for continuing research into Alzheimer's and other dementia-related diseases.
Illinois Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center312-942-7100The Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center is one of 29 national centers funded by the National Institute on Aging. The center offers psychological and neurological evaluations and consultations with physicians treating patients with Alzheimer's. The center also researches ways to treat and diagnose dementia-related diseases.
Illinois SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline877-360-5428LGBTQ seniors can call the hotline for information about local support services, including memory care. Hotline staff members can talk with seniors about concerns they may have about aging as an LGBTQ senior. The hotline can also connect callers with crisis response care.
Illinois Senior Helpline800-252-8966The Helpline provides seniors aged 60 and older, their family or caregivers with information on programs and services. Staff can refer callers to appropriate services such as transportation, assisted living in mental care facilities and long-term care.

Social Security Offices

Social Security offices in Illinois 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
Illinois 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 Illinois 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
Illinois Property Tax ReliefThe state of Illinois offers a variety of tax exemptions and exceptions for seniors, persons with disabilities and Veterans. The eligibility requirements for these exemptions vary but for seniors, most require applicants to be at least 65 years old and considered a low-to-moderate-income household.

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

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity833-711-0374Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity

Veteran's Services

Illinois 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
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs800-437-9824Throughout the state, Veterans Administration centers connect veterans and their spouses to the senior care and residential options they qualify for, as well as other benefits earned through military service. There are several VA centers located throughout Illinois.
Illinois VA Benefits and Health CareIllinois VA Benefits and Health Care

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health’s Division of Assisted Living handles state licensure and oversight of assisted living facilities in Illinois. In order to maintain a license, these facilities must adhere to the following rules and regulations outlined in the Assisted Living and Shared Housing Establishment Code.

TopicRule
Assisted Living Service Plan RequirementsBefore admission to an assisted living facility, seniors must have an evaluation from a medical professional. Through this evaluation, the facility can determine if they are equipped to care for the needs of the resident. All residents receive a service plan that outlines the care provided.
Assisted Living Admission RequirementsOnly residents above the age of 65 or who have a physical disability can enter an ALF in Illinois. Residents must not pose a threat to themselves or others at the facility and they may not require total rehabilitation services or extensive nursing care.
Assisted Living Scope of CareALFs must provide housing, meals, housekeeping, laundry and security services. They also must provide assistance with activities of daily living. All residents must have emergency communication devices provided.
Assisted Living Medicaid PolicyThe Illinois Supportive Living Program, a Medicaid waiver program, may be able to fund some of the costs of assisted living facilities in Illinois. To qualify, residents must meet medical and income guidelines. This funding covers all but room and board, but funds go to the resident to pay the facility. If a resident has other income, they must spend all but $90 a month on their assisted living costs.
Assisted Living Facility RequirementsAll apartments in an ALF must have a locking door, emergency communication option, telephone jack and a view of the outside through a window or door. A bed in good condition, lighting and privacy corners are also necessary. All residents must have their own bathroom with working fixtures and assistive devices as required in their service plan. Apartments must have small kitchens.
Medication Management RegulationsUnder the current Administrative Code, only licensed healthcare providers can administer medication. If a facility is going to offer medication management, then a qualified health professional must approve their handling methods. Staff that are not licensed cannot watch self-administered medication unless they report directly to a licensed healthcare professional. Medications have to be stored safely with proper labeling indicating the patient and dosing. All residents must have medication records that show when they took their medications.
Staffing RequirementsAt all times, ALFs must have one staff member on-site who is trained in CPR. They also must always have at least one awake staff member. The state does not specify a particular ratio of staff members but does require that they are sufficient in number to meet the needs of residents.
Staff Training RequirementsAll newly hired staff must have an orientation about the community and the basic requirements of care. Within the first 30 days, they must have training about resident service plans and activities of daily living. Eight hours of training every 12 months are required for all staff members.
Background Checks for Assisted LivingThe Health Care Worker Background Check Act and Health Care Worker Background Check Code require ALFs in Illinois to perform background checks on their staff members. All staff members will also need a check against the Health Care Worker Registry.
Requirements for Reporting AbuseAny instances of potential abuse must be reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health within 24 hours using the Assisted Living Complaint Registry. The person who is accused of abuse must be immediately terminated.

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Caring.com

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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