Assisted Living in Tennessee
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Families looking for assisted living in Tennessee (TN) 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 343 statewide. The state is also home to a rapidly growing number of senior citizens, with adults over 65 making up an estimated 16.0 percent of the population. A resident in an assisted living community in Tennessee will pay $3,595 per month on average.
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What You Should Know About Assisted Living in Tennessee
Assisted living communities in Tennessee fall into one of two classifications:
- Assisted care living communities
- Residential homes for the aged
Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Tennessee
Tennessee does not provide a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit, but the state does assist lower-income adults through its TennCare CHOICES long-term care program. TennCare is the state’s Medicaid provider.
Tennessee’s CHOICES program limits the amount that assisted living communities can charge CHOICES members based on a personal needs allowance (PNA). The PNA is calculated at 300 percent of the current federal SSI benefit. Assisted living communities cannot charge CHOICES members more than 80 percent of the resulting number for room and board services.As of 2018, the maximum federal SSI benefit is $750 for an individual. Based on this number, enrolled CHOICES members would be required to pay $1,800 per month for room and board.
Who Is Eligible?
For assisted living benefits, applicants must be eligible for the CHOICES Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) program. To qualify for HCBS applicants must:
- Be an adult age 65 or over
- Be an adult age 21 or over with a physical disability
- Make less than $2,250 per month
- Have less than $2,000 in assets (excluding the home you live in)
More information on the CHOICES program qualifications can be found here.
How to Apply
For those with TennCare coverage, contact your health-plan managed care organization (MCO). You can locate the number on your TennCare card.If you’re not enrolled in TennCare, but would like to apply for CHOICES, call your local Area Agency on Aging and Disability (AAAD) at 1-866-836-6678. Not everyone qualifies for Medicaid and CHOICES, but the AAAD may have other suggestions depending on your specific circumstances.Please note: Not all assisted living communities accept residents through the CHOICES program. Be sure to contact individual locations for their CHOICES status and to find information on lower-income programs they may offer.
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 Tennessee
There are resources throughout Tennessee that can help seniors with information and benefits to assist with long-term care. Government and private nonprofit organizations can provide seniors, disabled individuals and retired veterans and their families with support and assistance before, during and after entering an assisted living community.
Tennessee Area Agencies on Aging and Disability (AAAD)
There are nine Area Agencies on Aging and Disability offices located in Tennessee. These agencies plan and implement programs and provide assistance for seniors and those with disabilities including:
- Nutrition counseling and home-delivered meals
- Caregiver support
- Assistance program information
- Administartor referrals
- Facility information and complaint investigation
- Insurance counseling
- Transportation assistance
- Application Assistance
3211 North Roan Street, Johnson City, TN 37601
9111 Cross Park Drive, Suite D-100, Knoxville, TN 37923
1000 Riverfront Parkway, Chattanooga, TN 37405
1225 South Willow Avenue, Cookeville, TN 38506
501 Union Street, 6th Floor, Nashville, TN 37219
101 Sam Watkins Blvd., Mount Pleasant, TN 38474
124 Weldon Drive, Martin, TN 38237
102 East College Street, Jackson, TN 38301
2670 Union Avenue Extended, Suite 1000, Memphis, TN 38112
The VA provides veterans and qualified dependents with benefits and assistance across a broad scope of services, including assistance with long-term care and senior housing. Contact your local VA center for more information:
951 Eastgate Loop Road, Building 5700, Suite 300, Chattanooga, TN 37411
2203 McKinley Road, Suite 254, Johnson City, TN 37604
8033 Ray Mears Blvd, Knoxville, TN 37914
1407 Union Ave., Suite 410, Memphis, TN 38104
1420 Donelson Pike, Suite A-5, Nashville, TN 37217
There are 28 social security offices located throughout the state. Your local social security office can provide assistance with survivor benefits and SSI, which must be done in person. Online, seniors can find information detailing retirement, disability, Medicare and a wealth of other benefits that may be useful.
921 Congress Pkwy N, Athens, TN 37303
1-866-964-7431 or TTY: 1-423-745-4883
1290 Premier Dr, Chattanooga, TN 37421
1-866-964-0029 or TTY: 1-423-954-9364
119 Center Pointe Dr, Clarksville, TN 37040
1-877-531-4695 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
529 Inman St W, Cleveland, TN 37311
1-855-207-4867 or TTY: 1-423-479-5501
1885 Shady Brook St, Columbia, TN 38401
1-877-876-3174 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
1145 Perimeter Park Dr, Cookeville, TN 38501
1-888-717-1528 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
1070 Vendall Rd, Dyersburg, TN 38024
1-877-480-5002 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
637 Commons Drive, Gallatin, TN 37066
1-866-964-7392 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
1618 Old Tusculum Road, Greenville, TN 37745
1-877-405-0416 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
140 Sharp Perkins Rd, Jacksboro, TN 37757
1-866-964-7324 or TTY: 1-423-566-6062
415 Cheyenne Dr, Jackson, TN 38305
1-888-383-1593 or TTY: 1-731-664-6935
818 Sunset Drive, Johnson City, TN 37604
1-866-964-5059 or TTY: 1-423-282-4761
2401 South Wilcox Dr, Kingsport, TN 37660
1-888-487-0161 or TTY: 1-423-392-4327
8530 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919
1-866-331-9091 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
109 E Taylor Street, Lawrenceburg, TN 38464
1-877-405-5866 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
140 Cude Lane, Madison, TN 37115
1-866-964-6302 or TTY: 1-615-860-3548
900 Sparta St, Mcminnville, TN 371101-877-616-2515 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
3602 Austin Peay Hwy, Memphis, TN 381281-855-420-8557 or TTY: 1-901-373-8695
1330 Monroe Avenue, Memphis, TN 381041-866-336-2212 or TTY: 1-901-544-0052
3461 South Third St, Memphis, TN 381091-855-782-9155 or TTY: 1-901-786-9348
3112 Millers Point Dr, Morristown, TN 378131-866-875-6156 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
2836 Saint Patrick Ct, Murfreesboro, TN 371281-866-593-3112 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
120 Athens Way, Nashville, TN 372281-877-808-5461 or TTY: 1-877-293-5741
565 Oak Ridge Tpke, Oak Ridge, TN 378301-888-676-2954 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
186 Commerce St, Paris, TN 382421-866-698-2507
661 Mulberry Ave, Selmer, TN 383751-888-397-4814 or TTY: 1-731-645-5373
717 Kings Lane, Tullahoma, TN 373881-866-635-0647 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778
1800 Old Troy Rd, Union City, TN 382611-877-401-5904 or TTY: 1-731-885-3147
An ombudsman acts as an advocate for individuals to resolve issues with assisted-living administration. They can also help by answering questions concerning resident rights and responsibilities.Tennessee’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman program helps elderly Tennesseans living in nursing homes, residential homes for the aged and assisted care living facilities. Visit their site for more information or call 877-236-0013.A list of district long-term care ombudsman offices is below.
Legal Aid of East TN, 311 West Walnut St., Johnson City, TN 37064-6786
9111 Cross Park Drive, Suite D-100, Knoxville, TN 37923-4517
865-691-2551 ext/ 4223
Partnership for Families, Children & Adults, 5600 Brainerd Rd., Suite B24, Chattanooga, TN 37411-5347
Aging Services for the Upper Cumberlands, 1225 South Willow Avenue, Cookeville, TN 38506-4194
Mid-Cumberland Human Resource Agency, 1101 Kermit Drive, Suite 300, Nashville, TN 37217-5109
South Central Tennessee AAAD, 101 Sam Watkins Blvd, Mt. Pleasant, TN 38474-4024
West Tennessee Legal Services, 113 W Paris Street, Huntingdon, TN 38344
Southwest TN Area Agency on Aging and Disability, 102 East College St., Jackson, TN 38301-6202
Metropolitan Inter-Faith Assoc., 910 Vance Avenue, Memphis, TN 38126-2911
Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Tennessee
Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements
Tennessee requires assisted living communities to assess new residents within three days of admission. This assessment is often done by a direct care staff member. Communities must then complete a written plan of care within five days of admission.An assessment is essentially an evaluation of a resident’s current abilities and needs. Providers measure how well a resident can walk and talk. They evaluate their ability to bathe, dress and feed themselves. Assessments also include identifying personal habits and interests.With this information, assisted living staff then writes a plan of care that defines the services provided as well as their associated costs. Tennessee requires that a plan of care describes:
- The amount and type of personal care assistance needed
- Who provides that assistance
- When and how often the assistance is provided
- Arrangements for health care provider visits
- Social and recreational activities
- Provisions of an advance care directive
- Individuals with power-of-attorney over health care decisions
- Dietary requirements
Assisted Living Admission Requirements
To ensure that the needs of residents are met effectively, assisted care communities are restricted from admitting or retaining residents with certain conditions or those who require specific medical treatments. For example, those with:
- Stage III or IV decubitus ulcers
- A need for physical or chemical restraints
- Infectious and reportable disease requiring isolation Continuous care requirements
- Aggressive behavior that presents a threat to themselves or others
- Late-stage Alzheimer's disease
In addition, residential homes for the aged cannot admit or retain anyone incapable of self-administering medications, that requires medical observation or is unable to safely evacuate the home within 13 minutes.
Assisted Living Scope of Care
Both residential homes and assisted living communities must provide personal services including protective care, resident safety and crisis intervention. Staff must assist with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as laundry services, dressing, bathing and eating.
Unlike residential homes, assisted living communities may also offer services including:
- Medication administration
- Part-time nursing
- Speech and physical therapy
- Social or hospice services
Assisted Living Medicaid Policy
Covering the costs of assisted living can be challenging. In fact, about 65 percent of Tennessee’s assisted-living population receives Medicaid assistance to help with expenses. Tennessee offers Medicaid benefits to qualifying residents through TennCare, its state Medicaid organization.
Assisted Living Facility Requirements
Tennessee’s facility requirements for assisted living communities, including residential homes, include:
- Doors that can always be unlocked by the resident
- No more than two residents per bedroom Privacy screens or curtains for shared bedrooms
- At least one bathroom available per six residents
Medication Management Regulations
Both communities and residential homes can assist with self-administering medication. Staff can help by reading labels, opening packages, providing reminders and monitoring residents while they take their medications.
Administering medication is allowed in assisted living communities when done by a licensed medical professional, such as a registered nurse.
Assisted care living facilities in Tennessee don’t have a staff-to-resident ratio requirement but must have enough staff to care for residents properly. Both types of properties are required to have a certified administrator or licensed nursing-home administrator in addition to an awake, designated attendant to provide personal services for residents. Assisted living communities are also required to have a licensed nurse available as needed.
Staff Training Requirements
Keeping up with the latest regulations and industry advancements is a critical part of long-term care administration. Tennessee requires that administrators be certified, and they must maintain that certification every two years. Certification involves 24 hours of classroom instruction over each 2-year span.
Instruction topics include:
- State rules and regulations
- Health care management
- Dietary service
- Financial management
- Healthy lifestyle
Background Checks for Assisted Living Staff
Assisted living administrators, in both communities and residences, can’t have any convictions for criminal offenses that involve the abuse or intentional neglect of elderly or vulnerable individuals. Neither type of property may employ anyone that’s listed on Tennessee’s abuse registry.
Requirements for Reporting Abuse
The Adult Protective Services unit of the Tennessee Department of Human Services partners with the Department of Commerce and Insurance and the Tennessee Vulnerable Adult Coalition (TVAC) to promote awareness and prevention of elder abuse.To report elder abuse in Tennessee, call toll free at 1-888-APS-TENN (1-888-277-8366). You can also report suspected abuse online.
Assisted Living Facilities in Tennessee
Top-Rated Caring Stars Winners in Tennessee
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.
The Pointe at Kirby Gate
Memphis, TN $$$
Elmcroft of West Knoxville
Knoxville, TN $$$
Belmont Village Memphis
Memphis, TN $$$$
Manorhouse Assisted Living
Knoxville, TN $$
Hixson, TN $$$
Germantown, TN $$
Morning Pointe of Lenoir City
Lenoir City, TN Cost Levels
Brookdale Dogwood Creek
Germantown, TN $$$$
Brookdale Oak Ridge
Oak Ridge, TN $
Clarksville, TN $$$