Assisted Living in Washington

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Families looking for assisted living in Washington (WA) 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 520 statewide. The state is also home to a rapidly growing number of senior citizens, with adults over 65 making up an estimated 15.1 percent of the population. A resident in an assisted living community in Washington will pay $5,135 per month on average.

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Average Monthly Cost

States near Colorado

$5,135.00 Washington
$4,593.00 Oregon
$4,000.00 US
$3,475.00 Idaho
According to the Genworth 2018 Cost of Care Survey, Washington state is on the higher end of the financial spectrum, with an average monthly cost that is more than $1100 above the national average for assisted living care. When compared to the surrounding states of Oregon and Idaho, the Washington monthly average is significantly higher.

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.
$8,669.00

Nursing Home Care

$5,339.00

In-Home Care

$5,135.00

Assisted Living

Average Monthly Cost

Cities in Washington

$5,750.00 Seattle
$4,250.00 Olympia
$4,000.00 Spokane
Despite the high statewide average, the cost of assisted living varies in different areas of the state. Residents of Seattle typically pay almost $600 more per month for assisted living, while those who live in Spokane usually pay over $1,000 less. Individuals who are concerned about the financial burden of assisted living can potentially save money by searching out of their immediate area.

What You Should Know About Assisted Living in Washington

Assisted living facilities in Washington are licensed through the Aging and Long-Term Support Administration of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). Licenses are granted to communities that provide room and board to seven or more residents and offer assistance with the activities of daily living (ADLs).

Licensed assisted living facilities that contract with Medicaid provide three levels of services:

  • Enhanced adult residential care
  • Assisted living services
  • Adult residential care services
The first two are provided through Washington's 1915(c) waiver program, and adult residential care services are provided through the Medicaid State Plan. For a community to contract with Medicaid, it must offer additional services, such as medication administration and personal care, and must meet additional requirements not needed for standard licensing.

Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Washington

Seniors who fall into lower income brackets may need financial assistance to cover the cost of assisted living care. Washington offers several subsidy programs to ease the financial burden by providing necessary services for little to no cost.

Medicaid Personal Care (MPC) Program

The Medicaid Personal Care (MPC) program operates as part of the Washington state Medicaid plan. Although the MPC program does not pay for room and board, it does provide personal care assistance to eligible participants, including services such as eating, bathing, grooming, personal hygiene and other services that fall under activities of daily living. The program can also provide nursing services to conduct assessments, coordinate care and offer skilled treatment. The MPC program is classed as an entitlement, so qualification guarantees services with no waiting list.

Who Is Eligible?

Washington seniors must qualify financially and functionally to be eligible for the MPC program. To gain functional eligibility, candidates must require assistance to perform at least three of the following activities of daily living:

  • Eating
  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Personal hygiene
  • Mobility around and outside the home
  • Bed mobility
  • Medication management
  • Transferring (standing from a bed or chair)
  • Toileting

Seniors will qualify financially if they meet eligibility requirements for the Non-institutional, Categorically Needy Medicaid program. These requirements are stricter than those of classic Medicaid, and the income limit changes each year. Health insurance premiums can be deducted from the monthly income total. The value of countable resources are also considered and must be below $2,000 for individual applicants or below $3,000 for married couples applying. The applicant's primary home is exempt as long as it is valued under $572,000, along with a primary vehicle, household items, personal effects and pre-arranged burial plans.

How to Apply

Applicants for the MPC program must be enrolled in Medicaid. Those who already are can speak with their case manager, fill out a paper application and submit it to the address on the form or fill out and submit an application online.


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 Washington

Washington seniors can also take advantage of the free resources offered by the state to residents of assisted living communities. These resources can be obtained through nonprofit or government funded programs.

Washington Area Agency on Aging (AAA)

The Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) in Washington are overseen by the Washington Association of Area Agencies on Aging. The state is home to 13 AAA offices that are available to resident seniors. AAA representatives offer information about resources available to seniors, eligibility requirements for programs within the state, application assistance and explanation of benefits from various organizations.

Seniors who wish to contact a representative should look up their local AAA office on this interactive map to obtain contact information.

Aging & Adult Care of Central Washington

50 Simon Street SE, East Wenatchee, WA 98802
(509) 886-0700

Aging and Disability Services, Seattle-King County

700 5th Avenue, 51st Floor, Seattle WA 98104
(206) 684-0104

Aging & Long-Term Care of Eastern Washington

1222 North Post, Spokane, WA 99201
(509) 458-2509

Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities of Southwest Washington

201 NE 73rd Street, Suite 201, Vancouver, WA 98665
(360) 735-5720

Colville Confederated Tribe Area Agency on Aging

21 Colville Street, Nespelem, WA 99155
(509) 634-2759

Kitsap County Division of Aging & Long-Term Care

1026 Sidney Avenue, Port Orchard, WA 98366
(360) 337-7068

Lewis/Mason/Thurston Area Agency on Aging

2404 Heritage Court SW, Suite A, Olympia, WA 98502
(360) 664-2168

Northwest Regional Council

600 Lakeway Drive, Suite 100, Bellingham, WA 98225
(360) 676-6749

Olympic Area Agency on Aging

11700 Rhody Drive, Port Hadlock, WA 98339
(360) 379-5064

Pierce County Community Connections Aging and Disability Resources

1305 Tacoma Avenue, Suite 104, Tacoma, WA 98402
(253) 798-4500

Snohomish County Aging & Disability Services Division

3000 Rockefeller Avenue, M/S 305, Everett, WA 98201
(425) 388-7200

Southeast WA Aging and Long-Term Care

7200 W Nob Hill Blvd, Yakima, WA 98908-0349
(509) 965-0105

Yakama Nation Area Agency on Aging

91 Wishpoosh Rd, Toppenish, WA 98948
(509) 865-7164 or (509) 865-5121


Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Washington

Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements

Before admittance, residents must submit to a thorough assessment of needs and preferences to create their service plan. Medications, medical history, any professional medical diagnosis, behaviors or symptoms that necessitate special care, mental illness, personal care needs, food and daily routines, and activity and service preferences must all be considered when developing the service plan. An initial assessment is conducted before admittance, and then a full assessment must be completed within 14 days of the resident moving in. Limited assessments are conducted if there is a change with the resident's condition or it appears the current service plan is not meeting the resident's needs.

Assisted Living Admission Requirements

Residents who require a nursing home level of care can only be admitted to assisted living facilities with a registered nurse on staff. Residents who require frequent evaluations by a registered nurse are also ineligible for an assisted living facility unless they are receiving hospice care or the evaluations are related to an illness that will resolve within 14 days.

Assisted living communities must consider their ability to serve the needs of residents when choosing who to admit and may not retain anyone who endangers other residents.

Assisted Living Scope of Care

Assisted living facilities are responsible for the residents in their care and must abide by the resident care plan to promote the safety and well-being of each resident. Assistance with ADLs, intermittent nursing services and health support services are not required but, if assisted living facilities choose to offer ADL assistance, they must meet minimum standards and provide assistance for mobility, personal hygiene, transferring, toileting, bathing, dressing and eating. Health services and intermittent nursing services that assisted living facilities may choose to provide include:

  • Blood glucose testing
  • Puree diets
  • Calorie-controlled diabetic diets
  • Dementia care
  • Mental health care
  • Medication administration
  • Administration of health care treatments
  • Diabetic management
  • Non-routine ostomy care
  • Tube feeding
  • Nurse delegation

Intermittent nursing services must be provided by staff with the proper licensing and credentials. Assisted living facilities that provide these services must closely monitor residents for physical, mental or emotional changes and respond appropriately.

Third-party providers can be arranged by the resident to provide services onsite but the assisted living facility is not required to supervise the caregiver. Services provided by the assisted living facility must be coordinated with third party caregivers and the community is required to observe the resident for any changes in functioning.

Assisted Living Medicaid Policy

The Washington state Medicaid program has programs and waivers that can provide financial assistance to seniors in assisted living facilities. These include the Medicaid Personal Care (MPC) program, the Community First Choice Option (CFCO) and the Community Options Program Entry System waiver. Not all assisted living facilities accept payment for services from these programs, so it's important to speak with any prospective facility to understand what may be covered.

Assisted Living Facility Requirements

Washington law does not require private rooms or apartments but no more than two residents can occupy any unit and both must agree to the arrangement. Assisted living facilities who obtained their license before July 1, 1989, can house up to four residents in one unit. Each facility must provide at least one toilet and sink per eight residents and one bathing fixture per 12 residents. The bathroom must be placed on the same level as the sleeping room for the resident it is designated to serve.

Assisted living communities that wish to accept coverage for assisted living services by the Washington State DSHS Aging and Disability Services Administration must provide Medicaid-eligible residents with apartment-like units. Each unit should have a private bathroom with a sink, toilet and bathing facilities. The entry door must be lockable and the unit must include a kitchen with a refrigerator, microwave or stove top and a counter or table for preparing food. A living area must be provided with wiring for a telephone and television service where available.

Medication Management Regulations

Assisted living communities must offer medication administration options that include full administration, self-administration or assisted administration of medication. Some communities are licensed to allow a family member to administer medication provided the family member can produce a written medication or treatment plan.

Staffing Requirements

Every assisted living community must have an administrator and registered nurses are required for communities that offer nursing level care services. There are no staff-to-resident ratios, but there must always be one staff member onsite who is over the age of 18 and is certified in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Staff Training Requirements

Training requirements for administrators and long-term care workers include:

  • First aid and CPR certification within 30 days of employment. Card must remain valid throughout employment.
  • 2-hour orientation before providing care.
  • 3 hours of safety training before providing care.
  • 70 hours of basic training within 120 days of hire.
  • 12 hours of continuing education each year.
  • HIV/AIDS training within 30 days of employment. This is included in basic training.
  • Nurse delegation and core diabetes training (must be a registered nurse assistant or certified home care aide) before accepting delegated tasks.

Employees who provide services to residents with special needs must undergo specialty training.

Background Checks for Assisted Living Staff in Washington

All staff within an assisted living facility must undergo a thorough background check. Fingerprint background check authorizations must be submitted for all employees who have unsupervised access to residents. Being convicted of a disqualifying crime, pending charges of a disqualifying crime and those found to have abused a vulnerable person are ineligible for hire at assisted living facilities.

Requirements for Reporting Abuse

The Aging and Long-Term Support Administration handles reports of abuse at residential facilities for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. You can reach their 24-hour hotline at 1-800-562-6078 or visit the Residential Care Services Online Incident Reporting page to file a report online.


Assisted Living Facilities in Washington

Cities

Counties

Top-Rated Caring Stars Winners in Washington

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.

Highgate at Vancouver

Vancouver, WA Cost Levels

12 reviews

730x450%23

Farrington Court

Kent, WA $$

21 reviews

730x450%23

Redmond Senior Living

Bellevue, WA $$$$

19 reviews

730x450%23

Brookdale Federal Way

Federal Way, WA Cost Levels

15 reviews

730x450%23

The Lodge at Mallard's Landing

Gig Harbor, WA $$

22 reviews

730x450%23

Merrill Gardens at Tacoma

Tacoma, WA Cost Levels

15 reviews

730x450%23

Brookdale Canyon Lakes

Kennewick, WA Cost Levels

13 reviews

730x450%23

Sunrise of Bellevue

Bellevue, WA $$$

17 reviews

730x450%23

Sullivan Park Assisted Living Community

Spokane, WA Cost Levels

12 reviews

730x450%23

Madrona Park

Federal Way, WA $$$

30 reviews