Assisted Living in Maine
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Families looking for assisted living in Maine (ME) 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 81 statewide. The state is also home to a rapidly growing number of senior citizens, with adults over 65 making up an estimated 20 percent of the population. A resident in an assisted living community in Maine will pay $4,950 per month on average.
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What You Should Know About Assisted Living in Maine
Assisted living communities, which are sometimes referred to as residential care facilities throughout Maine, help seniors maintain a lifestyle that keeps them as independent as possible. The state houses both public and private assisted living facilities. Both types operate in the same way. However, while public properties offer seniors a private bedroom, private communities offer entire apartments. When choosing an assisted living facility, it's important to decide what you can afford and then determine whether you prefer a public or private community.
Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Maine
SSI State Supplement
SSI is a federally run program that helps low-income seniors pay for housing, and the state of Maine also offers a supplement to help cover the costs of assisted living. The amount of the supplement varies, depending on a person's living arrangements, and is combined with the SSI payment to pay for room and board at their assisted living facility. For example, if you meet all of the requirements to receive SSI, but your income is a bit higher than the maximum limit, you might still qualify for the state's supplement program.
Who Is Eligible?
Maine's supplement program is available to all seniors who qualify for federal SSI payments and, in some instances, seniors who don't qualify — typically for financial reasons.
How to Apply
To apply for supplemental SSI payments, you should contact your county's Department of Health and Human Services.
The VA offers an assisted living benefit for veterans as part of their pension program. This covers about $2,200 per month of expenses. These benefits are paid in addition to the pension, but they aren't available to those who don't qualify for a pension through the VA.
Who Is Eligible?
Veterans who qualify for a basic VA pension are eligible for the Aid and Attendance program. The program also covers a veteran's spouse. However, you can't receive both Aid and Attendance benefits and an allowance as part of the VA's Housebound program. If your spouse is collecting a Housebound allowance, and you decide to move into an assisted living community, you might be better off using another form of financial assistance to pay for the costs of assisted living.
How to Apply
To apply for the Aid and Attendance program, you can write to the Pension Management Center that serves Maine. Alternatively, you can visit your nearest VA office. Keep in mind that this program is only for elderly veterans who are in need of special care or need to reside in an assisted living community. Because of this, the application process does require a detailed report from your physician.
Maine's Medicaid program, also commonly called MaineCare, offers a Medicaid Waiver program, which is also known as the Elderly Adults with Disabilities Waiver. It's designed to help seniors pay for some of the costs of residing in an assisted living community. Maine's Department of Health and Human Services runs this program.
Who Is Eligible?
Seniors age 65 and older who require a level of care typically provided by an assisted living facility or a nursing home are welcome to apply for the waiver program. However, there are specific income and asset limits you must meet to qualify. As of 2018, your monthly income cannot exceed $2,250, and your assets can't be valued at over $10,000.
If your income is over the maximum allowed, MaineCare does offer a medically needy option known as the Spend Down Program, which helps seniors with recurring medical costs that consume the majority of their income. Keep in mind that when applying for the waiver program, there may be a waiting list.
How to Apply
To apply, contact your county's DHHS office to start the MaineCare application process. When you apply, you'll need to provide DHHS with:
- Proof of identity
- Proof of address
- Power of attorney, conservator or guardianship documents
- Your financial information, including proof of income, bank accounts and assets
- Copies of insurance policies
- Copy of any prepaid burial agreement
IMPORTANT NOTE: It's important to remember that not all of the assisted living facilities in Maine accept payments from these programs. Before you apply for any financial programs, check with your assisted living community to see what forms of payment they do accept. Also, you should inquire as to whether they offer reduced rates for low-income individuals.
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. Some additional ways to finance assisted living costs include:
- Veteran Benefits
- Life Insurance Policy
- Long-Term Care Insurance
- Reverse Mortgage
More information about key ways to pay for assisted living can be found here.
Free Assisted Living Resources in Maine
Finding the right assisted living facility can be difficult because it takes a lot of time and patience. However, there are several free resources available to seniors and their family members to help them through the process.
Maine Area Agencies on Aging
The Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) has more than 600 offices across the United States, including several offices in Maine. The federally funded operation aims to help seniors with everything from applying for Medicare/Medicaid to finding a suitable assisted living facility.
The website has plenty of valuable resources. You can also make an appointment at one of the local offices to get any help needed. Some of the resources it provides include:
- Counseling for family members and seniors to help them through the transition process
- An ombudsman program that handles complaints from seniors about their assisted living facility
- Help filling out and understanding application forms
If you're a veteran, you can always turn to your local VA center for help. VA center staff members help seniors and their spouses find appropriate assisted living facilities. They can also review all of your current VA benefits and help you determine if you're eligible for any VA benefits you don't currently have.
Below is a list of VA Centers in the state and their contact information:
615 Olin Road, Suite 3, Bangor, ME 04401
35 Westminster Street, Lewiston, ME 04240
456 York Street, Caribou, ME 04736
475 Stevens Avenue, Portland, ME 04103
628 Main Street, Springvale, ME 04083
The Social Security Administration is federally run, but there are office locations in every state. You can visit your nearest social security office to apply for basic social security and Medicare benefits, as well as SSI. Additionally, staff members at your local social security office can help you fill out and understand the required forms and ensure you're receiving all of the benefits you're entitled to receive.
A list of Maine Social Security offices can be found on their website.
600 Turner Street, Auburn, ME 04210
1-866-627-6996 or TTY: 1-207-783-3870
330 Civic Center Dr, Augusta, ME 04330
1-866-882-5422 or TTY: 1-207-623-4190
202 Harlow St, Bangor, ME 04401
1-877-405-1448 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
550 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04101
1-877-319-3076 or TTY: 1-207-773-3981
365 Main St, Presque Isle, ME 04769
1-866-837-2719 or TTY: 1-207-764-2925
231 Park Street, Rockland, ME 04841
1-855-269-9179 or TTY: 1-207-594-4984
110 Main St, Saco, ME 04072
1-877-253-4715 or TTY: 1-207-282-6404
14 Colby Street, Waterville, ME 04901
1-866-931-9169 or TTY: 1-207-872-9230
Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Maine
Assisted living facilities in the state of Maine, both public and private, are mandated to follow state laws and regulations to ensure communities remain safe, healthy environments for their residents. Before choosing a facility, it's important to know and understand the basic requirements set by Maine's Department of Health and Human Services.
Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements
When a new resident is admitted to the community, the assisted living facility must complete an assessment of the resident's needs and develop a care plan for the resident within 30 days. After the initial care plan is created, the facility is required to review it and make any necessary changes at least every six months — sooner if there is an immediate need in the resident's change of care. Each resident's service plan should also contain a recent doctor's evaluation.
Assisted Living Admission Requirements
Assisted living facilities are not allowed to admit residents if they can't provide for their needs. Seniors requiring special medical care that can't be handled at the facility won't be admitted. Communities also have a responsibility to keep their residents safe, so seniors who display violent or aggressive behaviors can't be admitted to an assisted living community.
Assisted Living Scope of Care
Assisted living communities in Maine are required to offer service coordination that includes housekeeping services, assistance with chores and assistance with a resident's Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs).
ADLs include things such as bathing, dressing, personal grooming and eating. IADLs aren't considered absolute necessities and may include helping a resident keep belongings organized, cook or pay bills. In most cases, IADLs are things that seniors living in private assisted living facilities do to help them remain as independent as possible.
Assisted living facilities don't provide skilled nursing to residents. Residents who need care such as dressing changes, intravenous medications and help with catheter care may be discharged to a local hospital or a nursing home, if necessary and possibly temporarily.
Assisted Living Medicaid Policy
Some assisted living facilities in Maine accept waivers from Medicaid (MaineCare) as payment for room and board. The state limits the cost of room and board for low-income individuals so that their SSI, waivers and supplemental SSI cover the cost of living in the community. However, relatives may pay additional monthly fees to provide their loved one with a private room. This additional charge can't exceed the difference in cost between a privately paid semiprivate and private room. This provision doesn't apply if private rooms are standard in the community.
Assisted Living Facility Requirements
All assisted living facilities must meet all state and local building requirements. Communities offering semiprivate rooms are only allowed to place up to two residents in each room, and couples who are both residing in the community have a right to share a semiprivate room.
Each facility has to provide one bathroom with running water for every six people in the building. This includes both residents and staff members. There has to be at least one bathroom dedicated for staff members and at least one public bathroom for every 25 residents. These bathrooms have to be equipped with a sink and toilet. Every floor that has resident bedrooms is required to have at least one working bathtub or shower.
Medication Management Regulations
Residents are assessed during the admission process on their ability to manage and administer medications on their own. If a resident needs assistance with medication management and administration, unlicensed staff members who have completed an approved training program by the licensing agency are allowed to administer medications. This means staff members can read medication labels, take out the required dosage, give the medication to the resident and update the resident's chart. Trained staff members can also give injections for insulin to diabetic patients and use a bee sting kit to help a resident in distress on an as-needed basis.
Also, a staff member who is qualified to administer medications is required to be on site at all times when any resident is prescribed a medication on an as-needed basis.
Every assisted living community must have an administrator who holds a current professional license related to health care, assisted living programs or residential care. Also, there has to be a supervisor appointed who can handle any supervisor-related duties in the administrator's absence.
Facilities also need to retain the services of a registered nurse (RN) either by employment or on a contract basis. The RN should review patient symptoms, charts and medications to ensure everything is correct. Communities with 10 or more beds also must retain the services of a pharmacist.
Facilities with 10 or fewer beds must have at least one responsible adult on site at all times, and facilities with more than 10 beds need two on-duty awake adults to be present at all times. Also, each facility is required to maintain a minimum care-staff-to-resident ratio at all times, which is determined during the community's initial inspection and updated during annual inspections if needed.
Staff Training Requirements
All staff members must complete training sessions that the Department of Health and Human Services deem applicable at any given time. Staff members, other than licensed professional staff and CNAs, are required to successfully complete a Personal Support Specialist certification course within 120 days of being hired unless they have less than 20 hours of contact with the residents each week. Also, regular staff members have to attend in-service meetings at least once per year, and administrators have to complete 12 hours of continuing education related to the care of the population the facility serves on an annual basis.
Background Checks for Assisted Living Community Staff in Maine
Licensed employees, including CNAs, CNA-Ms and administrators, undergo a criminal background check during the licensing process. Assisted living facilities aren't allowed to employ any CNA who is not listed on the CNA registry or has been cited for abuse, neglect or misappropriation of patient/client/resident funds in a health care setting.
Also, communities can't hire unlicensed personnel who have been convicted in a court of law for a crime that involved abuse, neglect or misappropriation of patient/client/resident funds in a health care setting. Even if a person wasn't convicted of these crimes in a court of law, if they have a complaint filed against them through the Maine Registry of Certified Nursing Assistants that's been substantiated, they cannot work at an assisted living facility in any capacity.
Requirements for Reporting Abuse
To report elder abuse, you should contact the Office of Elder Services. All reports are investigated, and reports can be submitted anonymously.
Assisted Living Facilities in Maine
Top-Rated Caring Stars Winners in Maine
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.