Assisted Living in Wisconsin

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Families looking for assisted living in Wisonsin (WI) 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 670 statewide. The state is also home to a rapidly growing number of senior citizens, with adults over 65 making up an estimated 16.47% percent of the population. A resident in an assisted living community in Wisconsin will pay $4,000 per month on average.

Average Monthly Costs

States near Wisconsin

$4,698.00 Wisconsin
$4,403.00 Illinois
$4,370.00 Minnesota
$4,207.00 Michigan
$4,203.00 Iowa
$4,000.00 US
Genworth lists the average cost of a private, one bedroom unit in an assisted living community in Wisconsin as $4,698. This places Wisconsin on the higher end of the scale at about $700 over the national average, and about $400 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


In-Home Care


Assisted Living

Average Monthly Costs

Cities in Wisconsin

$5,463.00 Oshkosh, Neenah
$5,341.00 Racine
$5,107.00 Sheboygan
$5,074.00 Wausau
$4,889.00 Eau Claire
$4,767.00 Madison
$4,711.00 Appleton
$4,659.00 Milwaukee, Waukesha, West Allis
$4,452.00 Green Bay
$4,445.00 Janesville, Beloit
$4,343.00 Rest Of State
$4,091.00 Fond Du Lac
$2,882.00 La Crosse, Onalaska
When estimating the cost of assisted living, it's important to know that average prices can differ significantly between various parts of Wisconsin. For example, assisted living rates in areas such as Racine are at least $600 more than the state average of $4,698, but in areas like Rest of State, you're saving on average $400. The most affordable region in Wisconsin for assisted living is La Crosse, Onalaska at $2,882.

What You Should Know About Assisted Living in Wisconsin

Just because you can no longer shovel snow or handle household chores like cooking meals doesn’t mean that it’s time for a nursing home. Thousands of seniors in Wisconsin find the help they need through services available at assisted living facilities.

Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services licenses four types of assisted living facilities:

  • Community-based residential facilities (CBRFs)
  • Residential care apartment complexes (RCACs)
  • Adult family homes
  • Adult day care
Adult family homes provide adult foster care in residential owner-occupied homes. Family homes host up to four residents. This article doesn't discuss these adult foster care programs, but more information can be found here.

CBRFs are licensed by size and class. They can be:

  • Small: 5–8 beds
  • Medium: 9–20 beds
  • Large: 21 or more beds
They’re also classified by resident mobility:

  • Ambulatory
  • Semi-ambulatory
  • Non-ambulatory
CBRFs offer care, treatment and other services in a homelike environment to seniors who live semi-independently. Residents at CBRFs may need supportive or protective services and possibly intermediate nursing care, but not to the extent that nursing homes provide.RCACs are suited to more independent seniors who live in a homelike apartment setting with individual locking doors, kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms. RCACs may provide up to 28 hours per week of supportive and nursing services as needed by individual residents.

Please note:

RCACs must register with the state, but they're not licensed or monitored. RCACs that receive reimbursements from Medicaid must be certified in compliance with state and federal laws.

Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Wisconsin

The Medicaid State Plan is the recognized name of Wisconsin’s state Medicaid program. The plan includes waivers that help eligible seniors and adults with disabilities pay for services at RCACs and CBRFs.

The amount that facilities can charge residents for room and board is capped for waiver participants. RCACs and CBRFs may charge the current supplemental security income (SSI) federal benefit rate plus any SSI-E benefits received, minus a $45 personal needs allowance (PNA) that residents keep.

SSI-E is a supplemental security income exceptional expense disbursement of $95.99 per month to eligible SSI recipients requiring over 40 hours of services per month.

Wisconsin also allows for family supplementation to help pay for room and board, private rooms and additional services not covered by Medicaid. In some states, family supplementation can affect eligibility.

Elderly and Physically Disabled 1915(c) Waiver Program

This Medicaid waiver program covers a wealth of services, among them specialized transportation and meal delivery for participants, including eligible residents of RCACs and CBRFs..

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 Wisconsin

There are many state-funded and private nonprofit organizations that can assist seniors with information, referrals and benefit programs to help them transition into assisted living or other long-term care solutions, including continued independent living.

Wisconsin Area Agencies on Aging

Wisconsin has three Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) that serve their local communities by assessing seniors age 60 and older and matching them with available programs to fill existing service gaps.

Dane County Area Agency on Aging

2865 N. Sherman Avenue, Madison, WI 53704
(608) 261-9930 voice

Milwaukee County Area Agency on Aging

1220 W. Vliet Street, Milwaukee, WI 53205
(414) 289-6874

1-866-229-9695 toll free

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Wisconsin

Wisconsin residents expect adequate, compassionate and consistent care in assisted living facilities. To that end, the state has enacted laws and regulations that govern the operations and services provided by RCACs and CBRFs.

The following information summarizes some of the more important mandates.

Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements

A service plan is a document that outlines a resident’s individual needs and details the manner in which they're addressed.

Before admission, prospective residents at CBRFs are assessed to evaluate their needs, physical and mental condition and abilities.

CBRFs must develop a temporary service plan to address the immediate needs of a resident upon move-in and a comprehensive service plan within 30 days of admission. Reassessments must be done annually or anytime a resident has a change in condition.

Those considering an RCAC can expect a similar process. RCACs are required to perform an assessment that includes:

  • Physical health
  • Medication self-administration status
  • Functional limitations
  • Dietary needs
  • Mental Health
  • Behavioral patterns
  • Social and leisure habits
  • Capacity for self-care
  • Services desired and their timing
  • Strengths and abilities
  • Risk factors

With this information, RCACs must create a service plan that supports the resident’s needs. In cases where a resident’s preferences are in conflict with the facility’s advice, a risk agreement must be completed that outlines the accommodation made, any lower-risk alternative options, an agreed-upon action and the resident’s understanding of accepted responsibility.

Assisted Living Admission Requirements

CBRFs have far broader acceptance parameters than RCACs. CBRFs are licensed to admit residents who are of advanced age or terminally ill, or who have:

  • Dementia
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Physical disabilities
  • Brain injuries
  • AIDS
  • A history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Mental health issues

With such a wide potential resident base, CBRFs are required to ensure that residents’ ages, behaviors and developmental levels are compatible.

CBRFs can't have more than four residents requiring three or more hours of weekly nursing care. They're also restricted from admitting residents who are bedridden, destructive, physically or mentally abusive, have needs that are incompatible with the current resident group, have needs that the facility can't meet, and present a risk of harm to themselves or others.

RCACs are licensed to admit more independent seniors. If a resident is to live alone, RCACs may not admit anyone who has an activated health care power of attorney or who is court-determined incompetent, subject to guardianship, incapable of recognizing danger or summoning help and incapable of expressing needs or making care decisions.

Existing residents who come under these conditions after admission may be retained at the facility under specific criteria as outlined by law

RCACs can discharge a resident for many reasons, including:

  • The facility's inability to meet the resident's current needs
  • The need for more than 28 hours of services weekly
  • The need for 24-hour daily nursing
  • Behaviors that present an immediate threat to self or others
  • Refusal to complete a physical exam
  • Refusal to complete or revise a risk agreement
  • Adjudication of impotence

Assisted Living Scope of Care

The scope of care mandated to facilities differs by the facility type.

CBRFs are required to provide:

  • Supervision Information and referral services
  • Leisure activities
  • Transportation
  • Health monitoring
  • Personal care
  • Dementia activities
  • Independent living skills
  • Behavior management
  • Communication skills
  • Medication assistance and administration

The minimum allowable service package at an RCAC must include:

  • Housekeeping
  • Personal services, including assistance with ADLs
  • Nursing services
  • Health monitoring
  • Medication administration

RCAC services must meet the needs outlined in a resident’s service plan as well as unexpected needs. RCACs must also provide 24-hour emergency services.

The combination of individual services, including preparation and documentation time, must not exceed 28 hours per week per resident. RCAC residents may contract with outside service providers without concern for the hourly allotment. Recreational activities don't count toward the limit.

Assisted Living Medicaid Policy

Wisconsin's Medicaid program provides waiver options for seniors who qualify for nursing care, but don't require the intensive care setting it provides. Waiver participants can't be charged more than the current SSI federal benefit rate and SSI-E disbursement for room and board. Wisconsin allows family supplementation for room and board fees, private rooms and additional services.

Please note:

Not all facilities accept Medicaid as a form of payment. Contact your prospective RCAC or CBRF for its policy.

Assisted Living Facility Requirements

IWisconsin sets minimum facility requirements for RCACs and CBRFs concerning occupancy, bathrooms, showers and sinks.

CBRFs may offer private and double-occupancy rooms with shared bathrooms. In small and medium communities, there must be one bathroom and shower for every eight residents. Larger CBRFs must have at least one toilet, bath and shower for every eight residents of each gender.

All RCAC units must be independent and have lockable doors. Multi-occupancy is limited to a resident’s spouse or a roommate of the resident’s choosing. Each unit must have a distinct kitchen area with either a microwave or stove. Units must contain a sleeping and living area, though they don't necessarily have to be separate rooms.

Each unit must have a bathroom with a door, toilet, sink and tub or shower.

Medication Management Regulations

Residents in CBRFs can self-administer medications provided they've been found capable by their physicians. CBRFs may offer medication administration by trained staff members under the supervision of an RN, practitioner or pharmacist.

RCACs may also offer medication administration or assistance by trained staff under the supervision of a nurse or pharmacist.

Staffing Requirements

CBRFs must employ an administrator who is responsible for the daily operation of the facility and for the training of all employees. CBRFs must also have resident care staff to provide direct care to residents.

Wisconsin does not set a minimum staff-to-resident ratio, but CBRFs must employ adequate personnel to meet resident needs on a 24-hour daily basis. Facilities must have at least one qualified staff member on duty whenever residents are present, and at least one awake overnight staff member whenever a resident has at least intermittent care needs or is unable to evacuate within four minutes.

RCACs must employ sufficient staff to meet all planned and unplanned needs of their residents, and a service manager to ensure that provided services meet resident needs.

RCACs' staff must be properly trained and qualified to administer services, supervised, willing and able to follow facility policies, and protective of the safety and health of residents.

Staff Training Requirements

Wisconsin requires CBRFs to provide orientation training to all employees before performing duties.

CBRF orientation training includes:

  • Job responsibilities
  • Facility policies
  • Medication management
  • Fire safety
  • First aid
  • Resident rights
  • Dealing with challenging behaviors
  • Reporting abuse

Specific staff performing certain tasks must be trained in needs assessments, service plan development and provision of personal care. CBRF administrators must receive 15 hours per year of relevant continuing education.

RCAC staff must be trained in:

  • Fire safety, precautions and first aid
  • Resident rights
  • Facility emergency plan

Staff providing services to residents must be trained in the characteristics of aging within the facility population, the purpose and philosophy of assisted living and performing their assigned responsibilities.

Background Checks for Assisted Living Staff in Wisconsin

CBRFs must conduct a background check on all employees before hiring and every four years thereafter. Facilities cannot employ or give residence to non-clients who have been convicted of certain crimes.

RCACs must perform a criminal record check on all employees and caregivers with direct resident contact through the Wisconsin Department of Justice and state registries.

Requirements for Reporting Abuse

If you have reasonable belief of abuse or neglect against an elder, contact Wisconsin’s

If the abuser is a paid caregiver, please contact the Office of Caregiver Quality via email at or call 608-261-8319.

Assisted Living Facilities in Wisconsin



Top-Rated Caring Stars Winners in Wisconsin’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.


St. Monica's Senior Living

Racine, WI Cost Levels

26 reviews


Harbour Village

Greendale, WI $$$

15 reviews

North Pointe Senior Living

Kenosha, WI Cost Levels

13 reviews


Dimensions Living Appleton

Appleton, WI $$

16 reviews


Meadowmere & Mitchell Manor Oak Creek

Oak Creek, WI Cost Levels

16 reviews


Oak Park Place Wauwatosa

Wauwatosa, WI $$$

15 reviews


Meadowmere Northshore

Mequon, WI Cost Levels

10 reviews


Aria at Mitchell Manor

West Allis, WI $

21 reviews


The Addison of Pleasant Prairie

Pleasant Prairie, WI $$$

16 reviews


Aspire Senior Living

Kimberly, WI $

13 reviews