Assisted Living in Virginia
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Families looking for assisted living in Virginia (VA) 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 428 statewide. The state is also home to a rapidly growing number of senior citizens, with adults over 65 making up an estimated 15.6 percent of the population. A resident in an assisted living community in Virginia will pay $4,508 per month on average.
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What You Should Know About Assisted Living in Virginia
Unlike in most other states, assisted living in Virginia is split into two levels of care: residential living care and assisted living care. The first of these is appropriate for seniors who can handle most of their activities of daily living (ADLs) independently and who need only minimal help with cleaning, errands and other chores. Residential living care helps preserve the maximum of independence and privacy, while still providing help with the ADLs that have become difficult for seniors.
Assisted living care is usually more hands-on, and aging citizens who've opted for this level usually have 24/7 staff nearby to help them bathe, dress, cook, shop and carry out the rest of their daily routine. Privacy and freedom are still priorities for the seniors who live in Virginia's assisted living care communities, but safety and comfort are emphasized more at this level.
Many, though by no means all, of Virginia's assisted living care communities offer multiple levels of care for their residents. Some have skilled nursing and/or memory care annexes on the property that tend to seniors' needs through illness and injury. These are not strictly assisted living care, though many residents cycle from one level to another, sometimes returning to assisted living care after their rehab or nursing period is over or moving into memory care at the same facility if they develop Alzheimer's disease or dementia. Please visit our Virginia Memory Care page for more information.
Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Virginia
In Virginia, low-income seniors can apply for assistance to pay for the costs of assisted living care from two different government programs:
Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
Virginia's Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) offers a full-spectrum approach to the issues many aging citizens have paying for their health care and assisted living needs. This program works in conjunction with federal Medicare and Medicaid funds to cover most of the costs seniors are likely to incur. Once you're enrolled in the program, PACE picks up all or some of the cost of the following:
- Adult day primary care
- Emergency room care
- In-home care
- Hospital admissions
- Laboratory and X-ray services
- Meals delivered at home or in a care setting
- Specialist care
- Nursing home admission
- Nutritional counseling
- Occupational and physical therapy
- Some prescription drugs
- Preventive health care
- Caregiver training, support groups and respite care for caregivers
- Social work relating to community care
- Transportation to and from the PACE center for activities or medical appointments
You might be eligible to join PACE if you meet the program's criteria. To join, you must:
- Be age 55 or over
- Live in a PACE-designated region of Virginia
- Meet the program's medical standards for either nursing home care or living in the community with the appropriate level of assistance
How to Apply
Eligible seniors can learn more about PACE by visiting the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services website. To apply, residents are encouraged to visit Covered Virginia online, where you can also see your options for low-income health insurance, managed plans and state-approved HMOs.
The Commonwealth of Virginia administers supplemental income programs paid for by the federal government for needy seniors and low-income residents of the state. One of these, Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), provides a monthly income for disabled adults who have worked and paid into the Social Security system. Another program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) does something similar, but does not have the same requirements for work and contributions that regular Social Security and SSDI have. SSI in Virginia pays up to $750 a month, depending on need.
These programs come with additional health care benefits. For example, a person receiving cash aid through SSI automatically becomes eligible for Medicaid after the first month on the program. Residents who receive SSDI, meanwhile, become eligible for Medicare — regardless of age — after 24 months on that program. Between them, these programs and the associated government health insurance provide coverage for much of the cost of assisted living care in Virginia.
Who is Eligible?
Virginia residents may qualify for SSI if they have a disability that's expected to last longer than 1 year, and assets that do not exceed $2,000 for individuals or $3,000 for disabled couples. The program does not consider the value of your home or one vehicle in calculating your assets, so you can keep your house and car without sacrificing eligibility.
SSDI requires you to have worked and paid Social Security tax for long enough to have accrued 'quarters of coverage.' This is based on a relatively complex calculation, in which every $1,320 you have earned (and paid tax on) counts as one quarter of coverage. The amount you are entitled to depends on how many quarters you've earned over your working life. The exact number of quarters you need to qualify for SSDI varies with age, with younger adults needing fewer quarters to qualify than older adults. In general, the more you have paid into Social Security during your career, the higher your monthly benefit amount is.
How to Apply
To sign up for SSI in Virginia, seniors can call the Social Security customer service line at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778), or visit a local Social Security office for an in-person appointment.
To sign up for SSDI in Virginia, you can visit your local Social Security office in person, calling the Virginia SSA Teleclaims unit by phone or online, at the national Social Security Administration website.
IMPORTANT NOTE:Not all assisted living residences in Virginia accept payments from Medicare, Medicaid or SSI/SSDI. It's always a good idea to check with the assisted living care community you're looking into regarding which forms of payment they accept, as well as any reduced rates they may offer for lower-income residents.
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 Virginia
Seniors in Virginia who are moving into assisted living care communities for the first time can feel like they need some extra help to get through the transitional period. These agencies exist to help aging citizens cope with changes in life like this, as well as provide general assistance to seniors, regardless of their current living arrangements.
Virginia Area Agencies on Aging
The Virginia Area Agencies on Aging offers comprehensive assistance and advocacy on behalf of seniors in the state. Operating more than 600 regional offices nationwide, this organization provides information to seniors and caregivers about issues relating to senior care, as well as referrals to long-term care providers social workers who specialize in the needs of aging citizens, money management programs and free or low-cost meal services, such as Meals on Wheels and food banks all over the state. There are 25 local offices:
4401 Ford Avenue, Suite 103, Alexandria, VA 22314
P.O. Box 765, Cedar Bluff, VA 24609-0765
(276) 964-4915 or (800) 656-2272
2100 Washington Boulevard, 4th Floor, Arlington, VA 22204-5703
(703) 228-1700 or TTY: 703-228-1788
P.O. Box 610, Urbanna, VA 23175
501 12th Street, Suite A, Lynchburg, VA 24504
23 Seyler Drive, Petersburg, VA 23805
4453 Lee Highway, Marion, VA 24354-4270
(276) 783-8150 or (800) 541-0933
P.O. Box 415, Belle Haven, VA 23306
(757) 442-9652 or (800) 452-5977
12011 Government Center Parkway, Suite 720, Fairfax, VA 22035
674 Hillsdale Drive, Suite 9, Charlottesville, VA 22901
1105 West Danville St, South Hill, VA 23970-3501
P.O. Box 14205, Roanoke, VA 24038-4205
20145 Ashbrook Place, Suite 170, Ashburn, VA 20147
P.O. Box 888, Big Stone Gap, VA 24219-0888
(276) 523-4202 or (800) 252-6362
141 East Main Street, Suite 500, Pulaski, VA 24301
739 Thimble Shoals Boulevard, Building 100, Suite 1006, Newport News, VA 23606
1413 South Main Street, P.O. Box 398, Burkeville, VA 23922-0398
(434) 767-5588; (800) 995-6918
5 County Complex, Suite 240, Woodbridge, VA 22192
460 Lendall Lane, Fredericksburg, VA 22405
(540) 371-3375; (800) 262-4012
P.O. Box 1568, Culpeper, VA 22701
(540) 825-3100; TDD: (540) 825-7391
24 East Cary Street, Rickmond, VA 23219
(804) 343-3000; (800) 995-6918
5 Interstate Corporate Center, 6350 Center Drive, Suite 101, Norfolk, VA 23502
207 Mosby Lane, Front Royal, VA 22630-2611
(540) 635-7141; (800) 883-4122
204 Cleveland Avenue, Martinsville, VA 24112-4228
P.O. Box 14205, Waynesboro, VA 22980-0603
(540) 949-7141; (800) 868-8727
The federal Department of Veterans' Affairs has offices throughout the State of Virginia to help veterans, their spouses, widows and surviving children find residential care and other benefits they are entitled to. VA coordinators can also provide assistance and advice finding long-term care and getting into the level of care they need.
Below is a list of VA Centers in the state and their contact information:
6940 South Kings Highway, Suite 204, Alexandria, VA 22310
1711 Church Street, Suite A and B, Norfolk, VA 23504
4902 Fitzhugh Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230
350 Albemarle Avenue, Southwest, Roanoke, VA 24016
324 Southport Circle, Suite 102, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
The Social Security Administration is another federally administered system that can help Virginia's seniors understand the benefits they are eligible for, including SSI/SSDI benefits and retirement income. As discussed above, the SSA can also help some seniors defray the cost of assisted living care.
A list of Virginia Social Security offices can be found here:
22581 Center Pkwy, Accomac, VA 23301
6295 Edsall Road, Alexandria, VA 22312
1401 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209
2484 Lee Highway, Bristol, VA 24202
1470 Pantops Mtn Place, Charlottesville, VA 22911
1010 S Craig Avenue, Covington, VA 24426
1014 S Main St, Culpeper, VA 22701
3295 US Hwy 29, Danville, VA 24540
11212 Waples Mill Rd, Fairfax, VA 22030
324 Commerce Road, Farmville, VA 23901
9915 Jeff Davis Hwy, Fredericksburg, VA 22407
1521 Hardy Cash Dr, Hampton, VA 23666
351 N. Mason St, Harrisonburg, VA 22802
7618 Timberlake Rd, Lynchburg, VA 24502
9500 Center Street, Manassas, VA 20110
320 W Commonwealth Blvd, Martinsville, VA 24112
13551 Waterford Place, Midlothian, VA 23112
11706 Jefferson Avenue, Newport News, VA 23606
5850 Lake Herbert Dr, Norfolk, VA 23502
100 Poplar Drive, Petersburg, VA 23805
3305 Airline Blvd, Portsmouth, VA 23701
1834 West Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23220
612 S Jefferson Street, Roanoke, VA 24011
245 East Williamsburg Rd, Sandston, VA 23150
2049 Hamilton Blvd, South Boston, VA 24592
1600 N Coalter St, Staunton, VA 24401
502 Hillpoint Blvd, Suffolk, VA 23434
2875 Sabre St, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
629 Cedar Creek Grade, Winchester, VA 22601
253 Ridgeview Road SW, Wise, VA 24293
130 Withers Lane, Wytheville, VA 24382
The Virginia Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman is a federally funded program that provides a safe and effective avenue for seniors and their families to report concerns and complaints about assisted living care communities anywhere in the state. In addition to taking reports, which can be done anonymously, the Ombudsman's office can also act as a mediator in disputes between seniors or their families and the assisted living communities they are or were involved with.
To contact an assisted living ombudsman in Virginia or learn more about the program, call (800) 552-3402. Alternatively, contact one of the offices below.scrollable-content:
Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services
8004 Franklin Farms Dr., Henrico, VA 23229
Toll Free: (800) 552-3402; Local: (804) 565-1600
Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Virginia
Virginia's Department of Social Services has established a comprehensive set of regulations that assisted living care communities statewide must follow. Below are some of the key state regulations governing assisted living operations you should be familiar with.
Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements
In Virginia, assisted living community staff are required to create an individual service plan for each resident. This is most often done when the resident moves into the community, and they must be updated at least once a year. Plans are drafted by facility staff in conjunction with the resident and the resident's doctor, family, caregiver and other concerned parties. Plans are split into major sections, according to needs and how the care is to be delivered. Individual care plans cover:
Activities of daily living (ADLs) refer to residents' personal needs, which must be delivered on an individual basis. These include:
- Bowel and bladder control measures
- Eating and feeding assistance
Instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) are more group-oriented activities and include:
- Meal preparation
- Money management
Ambulation refers to how the resident can get around, both inside and outside of the community property.
Hygiene and grooming goes over the plan for helping residents with personal care needs, specifically:
- Shampooing, combing and brushing hair
- Trimming fingernails and toenails (if medically appropriate)
- Skin care
- Arrangement for transportation
- Arrangement for shopping
- Use of the telephone
Assisted Living Admission Requirements
The State of Virginia sets certain requirements for admission and retention of assisted living care residents. Before a senior may be admitted to one of the state's licensed communities, staff must certify that:
- an individual treatment plan has been completed and submitted for the resident.
- the resident's personal care physician has agreed that assisted living is the appropriate level of care, as opposed to memory care or skilled nursing.
- the resident has had a mental health screening.
- staff have met with and designated a contact person who can act for the resident in the event of emergencies and/or incapacity.
Assisted Living Scope of Care
The State of Virginia licenses assisted living care communities to house residents and provide limited amounts of non-medical assistance. To keep licensure, communities must stay within their designated scope of care, neither falling short nor exceeding it. At a minimum, Virginia's assisted living communities must provide safe, clean and comfortable living conditions, emergency assistance in case of a fall or other injury, regular meal service and help with ADLs. Because assisted living is not considered medical care, staff may only assist residents taking medication if the resident can largely self-administer the treatment, such as pills or oxygen.
Assisted Living Medicaid Policy
Some assisted living communities in Virginia accept Medicaid as a form of payment from prospective residents who qualify for benefits under PACE. Seniors in Virginia who receive SSI/SSDI may be able to use that to cover their housing costs. Remember to check with your community if you plan to pay for assisted living using these benefits, and be sure to ask staff at the communities you’re considering whether they can process PACE, Medicare, Medicaid and/or SSI/SSDI benefits as payment.
Assisted Living Facility Requirements
Virginia requires assisted living care communities to meet a variety of facility requirements to ensure safety and accessibility for residents and visitors. In general, the physical requirements for assisted living buildings must meet or exceed the standards for the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code. Care-specific requirements include:
- Nonslip surfaces in all common areas
- Season-appropriate outdoor furniture available to residents in pool and patio areas
- Enclosed walkways between rooms and common areas, such as dining halls and game rooms
- Central heating and air conditioning for every room
- Fixed thermostats or movable thermometers to monitor temperatures; temperatures during the day are to be set at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Night temperatures no lower than 68 degrees.
- Single-occupancy rooms may have their own temperature controls, provided the resident can safely operate them
- Facilities are to be free of insect, rodent and other vermin infestations
Medication Management Regulations
Staff at Virginia's assisted living care communities may be called on to assist residents with some aspects of medication management. All staff must be trained in the appropriate procedures and scope of care allowed for assisted living in Virginia. Not all medical interventions are allowed, but some assistance can be given for largely self-administered medication. Examples include reminders to take medication on time, application of medicated topical creams and ointment, providing residents with over-the-counter medication that has not been prohibited by a doctor, such as analgesics or decongestants, and some emergency interventions, such as rescue inhalers for residents having an asthma attack. Residents can also generally get help crushing up pills if they usually mix their medication into food or drinks but need assistance with the preparation.
Virginia law requires a minimum of two staff members to be awake and on duty at all times when residents are present. For live-in communities, this is a permanent staffing requirement. For facilities with sizable populations, the staffing requirements scale upward, but the general requirement is to keep enough staff on hand to operate the facility without leaving residents without immediate assistance, if needed.
For excursions outside of the community, such as medical visits and day trips, the assisted living community must designate an 'appropriate' number of staff to travel along with residents. This requirement is also geared toward having enough people on hand to ensure residents' safety throughout their trip.
Staff Training Requirements
Administrators at Virginia's assisted living care communities must, within three months of hire, undergo at least six hours of training in working with residents who have cognitive impairments. Staff members must undergo similar training within four months of their hire date. Both staff and administrators must also have at least two hours of training in the care needs of cognitively impaired residents during their first month on the job. Annual recertification is required for each of these training modules, with evidence of completion submitted to the state.
Background Checks for ALR Staff in Virginia
Background checks are standard for all employees who have access to the grounds of a Virginia assisted living care community. This check is included in the standard character and reputation investigation communities must conduct prior to each hiring. Individuals with felony backgrounds and/or domestic violence convictions, as well as certain offenses related to moral turpitude — such as sex crimes, whether felony or misdemeanor — are permanently barred from employment in Virginia's assisted living properties.
Requirements for Reporting Abuse
Elder abuse includes any instances of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, caregiver neglect or financial abuse. Managers of assisted living care communities are mandated reporters under Virginia state law and must report any suspected case of elder abuse, regardless of their opinion about the credibility of the allegation or evidence. Staff members are also trained to recognize and report cases of abuse or neglect.
Assisted Living Facilities in Virginia
Top-Rated Caring Stars Winners in Virginia
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.
Fredericksburg, VA $$$
Sunrise of Alexandria
Alexandria, VA $$$
The Willows at Meadow Branch
Winchester, VA $$
Commonwealth Senior Living at Georgian Manor
Chesapeake, VA $$$
Sunrise of Arlington VA
Arlington, VA $$
Pheasant Ridge Senior Living
Roanoke, VA $$$$
Spring Hills Mount Vernon
Alexandria, VA $
Heritage Green Assisted Living and Memory Care
Lynchburg, VA $$
Fairfax, VA $
Sunrise of Hunter Mill
Oakton, VA $$