The Southeastern state of Kentucky offers scenic mountain views, thriving metropolitan cities and a broad range of medical and long-term care amenities, making it a prime retirement destination for older adults. Of its 4.5 million residents, nearly 17% are aged 65 and over, and this demographic is growing considerably faster than others.

On the 2022 Senior Living Report, Kentucky scores 27th in the nation for the overall comfort and quality of life it offers older adults. Across the report’s categories, the state has strong scores in Affordability, Senior Living & Housing and Health Care. Its overall cost of living is about 15% below the national median, and health care costs are nearly 10% lower than in the typical U.S. city, making it a budget-friendly option for those with limited incomes. Residents have access to high-performing medical facilities, such as the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital and Baptist Health Lexington in Lexington and Norton Hospital in Louisville. The state also has competitively priced assisted living rates averaging $3,448 monthly.   

This introductory guide for assisted living in Kentucky highlights residential care rates in cities across the state, as well as some options for paying for care. It also lists some resources available to older adults and outlines the rules and regulations governing assisted living facilities within the state.  

The Cost of Assisted Living in Kentucky

The Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey indicates that Kentucky is among the most cost-effective states in the nation to obtain assisted living, with seniors paying $3,448 per month on average for care. By comparison, nationally, assisted living facilities charge an average rate of $4,500. In Indiana, which borders the north, monthly care costs are about $800 higher at $4,283, and to the south, seniors in Tennessee pay $4,105. West Virginia seniors pay $4,160, and in Virginia, rates are considerably higher at $5,250.




The United States








West Virginia

Assisted living rates across Kentucky range considerably. Owensboro seniors enjoy the most competitive rates of $3,088 per month, and in the Elizabethtown area, care costs are a little higher but still affordable at $3,225. In Bowling Green and the Louisville region, rates are consistent with the statewide average at $3,500. The Lexington area is the costliest city to obtain care in Kentucky, with facilities charging $4,568 monthly.  




Bowling Green


Elizabethtown Area


Louisville/Jefferson County


Lexington Area

Assisted living is one of the cheapest senior care options in Kentucky, with facilities charging $3,448 for care. Those seeking more affordable long-term care may consider adult day health care, which costs $1,690 monthly. Older adults may obtain a similar scope of care through homemaker services, which includes light housekeeping, personal care and companionship, for $4,767 per month. Home health aide services are for those who need some skilled nursing services at home and are priced the same as homemaker services at $4,767. Seniors who need a higher degree of care than assisted living facilities provide may require nursing home placement, which costs $7,178 for shared rooms and $7,969 for private accommodations.  


Homemaker Services


Home Health Aide


Adult Day Health Care


Assisted Living


Nursing Home (semiprivate)


Nursing Home (private)

Does Medicaid Cover Assisted Living in Kentucky?

Currently, Kentucky’s Medicaid program doesn’t cover assisted living services, either directly or through waiver programs. However, Medicaid provides comprehensive health care coverage for services, such as outpatient primary and specialty care, inpatient care, prescription medications, transportation and therapy. When used alongside Medicare, it can significantly reduce older adults’ out-of-pocket medical expenses. This may leave more money available for assisted living services. To obtain services, individuals must meet eligibility guidelines related to age, income and assets. 

Does Medicare Cover Assisted Living in Kentucky?

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

Other Financial Assistance Options for Assisted Living in Kentucky

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.

How to Apply

How It Works

Aid and Attendance

Learn more and apply online at

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 Mortgages

Learn more about your options and how to apply at

If 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) Insurance

Learn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and how to apply for a policy at

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 Kentucky

Seniors in Kentucky obtain information and assistance from various statewide agencies and programs, helping them make importation decisions regarding long-term care. Through the following resources, older adults connect with social and recreational activities, options counseling, financial and legal advice and benefits screening.  




(502) 564-6930 

There are 15 Area Agencies on Aging and Independent Living in Kentucky. These nonprofit agencies have designated service areas and provide free and low-cost programs and services to those aged 60 and over. Through their local agency, older adults can get more information on assisted living facilities throughout the state and meet with options counselors who provide public benefits screenings, which can help them understand their options for covering costs. The agencies can also provide information and referrals for community-based programs, such as durable medical equipment loans, congregate meal sites and social and recreational activities.

(800) 572-6245 

The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs serves the nearly 300,000 veterans throughout the state through benefits counseling, long-term care at veterans’ homes throughout the state, health care services and special programs for qualifying individuals. The department has benefits representatives throughout the state that individuals can work with for help with applying for benefits and following up on applications. It also operates vet centers throughout the region that serve as single points of contact for benefits information and help with accessing community-based services.

(800) 372-2991 

The statewide Long-Term Care Ombudsman advocates for those in assisted living to help them understand their rights, research options for paying for care and resolving issues related to substandard care. Individuals can contact the ombudsman to report suspected resident abuse, neglect or exploitation. The ombudsman can also provide mediation for disagreements among family members or assisted living facilities regarding a residents’ care.

(877) 293-7447, Option 2 

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program is a free statewide program with trained volunteers who help individuals understand their Medicare coverage. Seniors can contact a SHIP counselor for help with comparing available Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans, which can reduce out-of-pocket expenses for medical and long-term care. The program can also screen individuals for Medicaid eligibility and help them learn how to protect themselves from health insurance fraud.

(502) 938-5102 

The Kentucky Senior Living Association is dedicated to serving those who own, work in or live in assisted living facilities throughout the state. It maintains a database of resources for seniors, helping them find programs and services in their region to aid their long-term care search. The association publishes answers to frequently asked questions related to types of long-term care and what to look for in an assisted living facility. It also organizes annual events and operates support groups for older adults and families.

COVID-19 Rules for Assisted Living in Kentucky

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including and These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 3/15/2022, but since COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving pandemic, contact your local senior living facility or Area Agency on Aging for more specific and up-to-date information.

Visitation Policies

Rules for Kentucky Communities

Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are relatives allowed to visit for end-of-life care?


Are residents required to quarantine after visiting with a loved one?


Are visitors required to wear PPE (including masks) in order to visit residents?


Are non-medical contractors (such as hairdressers and entertainers) allowed in senior living facilities?


Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?


Are visitors required to answer questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?


Outings & Social Activities

Rules for Kentucky Communities

Are residents allowed to leave (errands, visiting family, etc.) for non-medical reasons?


Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?


Are residents allowed to eat meals together in a common area?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are residents allowed to gather in common areas for group activites?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for Kentucky Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?


Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are staff members members regularly required to do a health and safety screening, including questions about travel, contact with positive cases, etc?


Are residents regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms?


Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?


Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?

Not Available*

*Note: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Kentucky

Assisted living facilities in Kentucky have to be certified annually by the Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living. This department enforces rules and regulations to ensure a safe, comfortable environment for residents.  


Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements

Before a prospective resident moves in, the assisted living facility is required to complete a functional needs assessment that outlines the individual’s ability to perform activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living. It also must obtain a medical evaluation completed by the individual’s primary health care provider. Based on these assessments, the facility creates a service plan. This plan is updated annually or whenever the individual’s needs change.

Assisted Living Admission Requirements

To be admitted into an assisted living facility, individuals must be ambulatory or mobile nonambulatory, unless they’re nonambulatory due to a temporary condition. They also must not be a danger to themselves, staff members or other residents. 

Assisted Living Scope of Care

Assisted living facilities provide residents with access to services according to the lease agreement, including:

  • Assistance with activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living
  • Three meals and snacks daily
  • Help with self-administered medications
  • Scheduled daily social activities 

Residents can contract with third-party providers to obtain skilled nursing services beyond the facility’s scope.

Assisted Living Medicaid Policy

Currently, Kentucky’s Medicaid program doesn’t pay for assisted living services directly or under any waiver programs.

Assisted Living Facility Requirements

Assisted living facilities are required to adhere to building and life safety codes, and they must have central dining and living areas and laundry units for residents. Single- and double-occupancy living units must have at least 200 square feet, and each unit must have at least one unfurnished room with a lockable door, a full private bathroom, a telephone hookup, an emergency response system and a window facing outside. A maximum of two residents are allowed per room, and only by mutual agreement. Facilities built prior to 2000 are exempt from these rules but must have at least one bathtub or shower per five residents. In facilities with more than 20 living units, residents must have individual climate controls. In smaller facilities, the temperature can be set no lower than 71 degrees and no higher than 81 degrees.

Medication Management Regulations

Medication administration isn’t permitted in assisted living facilities, but staff members can provide help with self-administered medications that are prepared or directed by the resident, their designated representative or a licensed health care professional not employed by the facility. 

Staffing Requirements

There are no mandated staffing ratios for assisted living facilities in Kentucky, but facilities must have at least one awake staff member on-site at all times and enough caregivers to meet residents' needs around the clock.

Staff Training Requirements

Facilities must provide orientation to all new employees, including management and staff, within 90 days of their hire date. This orientation must cover topics relevant to their assigned duties.

Background Checks for Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities must apply for a criminal records check from the Kentucky Administrative Offices of the Court, the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet or the KARES screening program no more than 45 days prior to and no more than seven days following a new employee’s hire date. Facilities must also check the Central Registry, the Adult Protective Services Caregiver Misconduct Registry and the Nurse Aide Abuse Registry upon the hire date and again annually.

Requirements for Reporting Abuse

Facilities are required to maintain written policies on reporting and recording instances of abuse, neglect or exploitation. Kentucky is a mandatory reporting state, meaning that anyone who suspects elder abuse is legally required to report it. Assisted living staff members report suspected or confirmed cases of abuse to the appropriate Complaint Coordinator within the Division of Health Care. Residents, family members and visitors can file anonymous complaints by calling the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ 24-hour elder abuse hotline at (877) 597-2331.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Assisted Living Facilities Are in Kentucky?

There are 265 assisted living facilities in Kentucky. With the senior demographic growing more rapidly than other age groups and the relatively moderate climate year-round, Kentucky has a lot to offer older adults. The overall cost of living is 15% below the national average, and health care costs are 10% lower. Neighboring states all rank higher for assisted living costs, making this state a budget-friendly option for those on a more limited income in this region. Read More

Who Qualifies for Assisted Living Financial Assistance in Kentucky?

Unfortunately, nobody qualifies for assisted living financial assistance in Kentucky. The state doesn’t provide any funding for those in assisted living facilities, either through its regular Medicaid program or through waivers. Seniors will need to find alternative ways to pay for their care or look into alternative types of care, such as aging in place. Read More