Assisted Living in Massachusetts

Get the insights you need to find the right city.

Families looking for assisted living in Massachusetts (MA) 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 256 statewide. The state is also home to a rapidly growing number of senior citizens, with adults over 65 making up an estimated 16 percent of the population. A resident in an assisted living community in Massachusetts will pay $5,495 per month on average.

Average Monthly Costs

States near Massachusetts

$6,004.00 Massachusetts
$5,135.00 Connecticut
$4,000.00 US
Genworth lists the average cost of a private, one bedroom unit in an assisted living community in Massachusetts as $6,004. This places Massachusetts on the higher end of the scale at about $2,000 over the national average, and about $900 higher than the median cost of assisted living in nearby states.

Compare Monthly Care Costs

When it comes to care options, assisted living is just one of several choices available to seniors. Some care options, like part-time in-home care or independent living, may cost less, while others like memory care or skilled nursing are likely to cost significantly more. Seniors can speak with their medical practitioners to receive guidance on what level of care will best suit their needs and abilities.

Nursing Home Care


Assisted Living


In-Home Care

Average Monthly Costs

Cities in Massachusetts

$7,048.00 Rest Of State
$6,392.00 Boston, Cambridge, Newton
$6,266.00 Worcester
$5,999.00 Barnstable Town
$5,409.00 Springfield
$4,589.00 Pittsfield
When estimating the cost of assisted living, it's important to know that average prices can differ significantly between various parts of Massachusetts. For example, assisted living rates in areas such as Rest of State are at least $1,000 more than the state average of $6,004, but in areas like Springfield, you're saving on average $600. The most affordable region in Massachusetts for assisted living is Pittsfield at $4,589.

<p>What You Should Know About Assisted Living in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, assisted living communities are officially known as “Assisted Living Residences,” or ALRs. Some assisted living communities in Massachusetts also include what the state calls a “Special Care Residence,” or SCR, which is designated for residents with dementia, Huntington’s disease or mental health issues.

Some assisted living communities throughout the state also include housing and care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. There are also a number of communities throughout Massachusetts that are uniquely dedicated to this type of assisted living, which is known as memory care. Please visit our Massachusetts Memory Care page for more information.

Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, low-income seniors can apply for assistance to pay for assisted living from two different subsidy programs:

Group Adult Foster Care (GAFC)

Group Adult Foster Care, or GAFC, is a statewide program funded by MassHealth and pays for personal care services for eligible seniors and people with disabilities living in GAFC-approved housing. Some assisted living residences in Massachusetts accept payments from this program to help cover part of a resident’s costs.

Who Is Eligible?

Any Massachusetts resident who is 65 or older with an income level of $1,012 or below who needs assistance with at least one activity of daily living (such as dressing, bathing or eating) may apply for the program.

How to Apply

Eligible seniors (or their caregivers on their behalf) may apply for the program by mail, by fax or in-person. Detailed instructions about how to apply can be found here. You can also visit any Massachusetts Area Agency on Aging [jump link to MA AAAs below] for assistance with your application.

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 Massachusetts

There are a number of government funded agencies and non-profit organizations throughout Massachusetts that offer free assistance for older adults and their loved ones searching for long-term senior care.

These organizations can be a good place to start to better understand the different senior care and financing options available to you or your loved one, especially if they have a low income, are disabled or a U.S. military veteran or spouse of a veteran.

Massachusetts Area Agencies on Aging

Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) is a network of more than 600 organizations throughout the U.S. providing federally funded services to adults over 60 in their local areas. As part of this network, there are 26 Aging Service Access Points across Massachusetts that offer a range of free services such as information and referrals about long-term senior care options, case management, family caregiver support programs, money management programs and free or low-cost meals and transportation.

Visit the Massachusetts Care Planning Council’s site for a list of AAAs in the state and their contact information.

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has established a comprehensive set of laws and regulations that assisted living communities statewide must follow. Below are some of the key state regulations governing assisted living operations that are helpful to know.

Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements

In Massachusetts, assisted living community staff are required to create a service plan, or care plan, for each resident. Service plans are created following initial screenings of each resident before that person moves into the community, and are based on information given by the resident and his or her legal representative or loved ones who are designated as “Resident Representatives.”

The plan should include the results of a recent doctor’s evaluation of the prospective resident’s “physical, cognitive, functional, and psychosocial condition,” according to the Massachusetts Department of Elder Affairs. ALR staff must provide documentation of their assessment of the resident’s needs, including any dietary needs, allergies, history of psychosocial issues such as behavior problems, need for assistance in emergency situations and level of need for help with activities of daily living.

The community’s service coordinator or nurse is required to review each resident’s service plan at least every six months and revise as needed.

Assisted Living Admission Requirements

There is no statewide age requirement for admission to live in an ALR in Massachusetts. However, in order to be admitted, prospective residents’ care needs must fall within the level of care provided at assisted living communities.

In other words, if a prospective resident is deemed to have care needs that surpass what the ALR can provide on-site, such as an ongoing need for skilled nursing care, under state law, they could not be admitted to live in an assisted living community. It’s important to discuss your loved one’s individual care needs with ALR staff to better understand whether he or she would be eligible for admission.

Assisted Living Scope of Care

Assisted Living facilities in Massachusetts provide housing and personal care services to residents. The personal care services include assistance with activities of daily living such as dressing, grooming, bathing and medication management. Some assisted living communities in the state also provide memory care.

ALRs do not provide skilled nursing care such as changing dressings, giving injections or managing catheters. However, in some cases home health care agencies may be able to provide health care services such as giving injections to residents in an ALR.

Assisted Living Medicaid Policy

Some assisted living facilities in Massachusetts accept Medicaid as a form of payment from prospective residents who qualify for benefits under the MassHealth program. The state has certified some ALRs in Massachusetts as Group Adult Foster Care (GAFC)-approved housing, and those communities are able to accept GAFC funding to cover the personal care services a resident receives in the ALR (room and board is not covered by GAFC).

Additionally, seniors in Massachusetts who receive the SSI-G benefit may be able to use it to cover the housing costs of their ALR. If you’re planning to pay for assisted living using these benefits, be sure to ask staff at the communities you’re considering whether they accept GAFC and SSI-G benefits as payment.

Assisted Living Facility Requirements

Assisted living communities in Massachusetts must meet a variety of facility requirements to ensure safety and accessibility for residents and visitors. These requirements include:

  • Lockable doors at the entryway of each individual or shared unit
  • Newly built assisted living communities must have private bathrooms for each unit with a lavatory, toilet and bathtub or shower stall
  • Older assisted living communities must provide at least one private half-bathroom with a washstand and toilet and one bathtub or shower for every three residents
  • Each unit must have at least a kitchenette or access to a refrigerator, sink and heating appliance (although this may be limited to supervised access)
  • Every community must meet Massachusetts state sanitary codes and building and fire safety codes

Medication Management Regulations

Staff at assisted living facilities in Massachusetts may either provide self-administered medication management (in which they remind and assist the resident in taking medication) or limited medication administration, a higher level of medication supervision that may include administering eye drops, applying medicated cream or crushing up medications and placing them in a resident’s mouth. Assisted living facility staff are not allowed to give injections to residents, according to the Executive Office of Elder Affairs.

Staffing Requirements

Assisted living residences in Massachusetts are not required to hire a specific number of staff per resident but must “maintain staff sufficient to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the residents,” according to the state’s Executive Office of Elder Affairs. Assisted living residences that include a Special Care Residence must have at least two staff members working at all times available to assist residents in that unit.

Staff Training Requirements

Before starting work, staff at Massachusetts ALRs must complete a seven-hour orientation led by qualified instructors and facilitators. Some of the topics included in that orientation include residents’ rights, understanding elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation, emergency preparedness policies, infection control, dementia and cognitive impairment, sanitation and food safety.

Any ALR staff members who provide personal care services to residents must undergo at least one additional hour of orientation dedicated to medication management. ALRs may also use training strategies such as having new staff shadow more experienced staff members during their first five days on the job. Staff members working in SCRs are required to complete an additional seven hours of training related to the SCR residents’ specialized care needs.

All ALR employees must also undergo at least 10 hours of ongoing education and training per year, with at least two hours dedicated to the needs of residents with dementia.

Background Checks for ALR Staff in Massachusetts

Any prospective employees at ALRs in the state must undergo a criminal background check. Assisted Living residences in Massachusetts are barred from hiring anyone who has been convicted of a felony related to the theft or illegal sale of controlled substances.

Requirements for Reporting Abuse

Elder abuse includes any instances of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, caregiver neglect or financial abuse. Managers of ALRs are classified as mandated reporters under Massachusetts state law and must report any suspected case of elder abuse. Staff members at ALRs are trained to recognize and report cases of abuse or neglect.

Residents of ALRs, their loved ones and others are encouraged to report cases of abuse occurring in the residence. Reports can be filed at any time, either online or by calling (800) 922-2275.

Assisted Living Facilities in Massachusetts



Top-Rated Caring Stars Winners in Massachusetts’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.


Dodge Park Rest Home

Worcester, MA $$$$

52 reviews


Oasis At Dodge Park

Worcester, MA $$$$

26 reviews


Pond Home

Wrentham, MA Cost Levels

22 reviews


Wingate Residences at Melbourne Place

Pittsfield, MA $$$

20 reviews


Mary Ann Morse at Heritage

Framingham, MA $$

15 reviews


The Village at Willow Crossings

Mansfield, MA $$

23 reviews


Keystone Commons

Ludlow, MA $$$$

11 reviews


Benchmark Senior Living at Putnam Farm

Danvers, MA $$

19 reviews