Page Reviewed / Updated - May 2019
This webpage is intended to help the residents of Arkansas understand the different types of eldercare assistance available in their state, from their state. Our Resource Locator Tool, which is free to use, should be used to search for nationwide assistance. The programs listed on this webpage are only comprised of options available from the state of Arkansas, and many other programs do exist.
Cost of Care Calculator
In 2019, the monthly average cost of assisted living in Arkansas is close to $3,037. However, the average range across the state is quite large, with $2,350 / month on the low end to $3,975 on the high end. In the least expensive areas of the state, Pine Bluff, and Fort Smith, care can be found with an average cost between $2,350 and $2,700 / month. In the more expensive parts of Arkansas, Little Rock and Hot Springs, the average monthly costs are closer to $3,950 to $3,975 / month.
Memory care, also referred to as Alzheimer’s care, is also available. However, it is more expensive that is traditional assisted living due to the need for increased security and supervision. It is estimated that this type of care costs an additional $600 - $800 / month.
When it comes to home care costs, the average hourly rate for the state is $18.00 / hour in 2019. Fort Smith and Hot Springs are on par with the statewide average of $18.00 / hr. The areas of Little Rock and Jonesboro have an hourly cost that is slightly more expensive at $19.00 to $19.50 / hour. The most expensive hourly rate is found in Fayetteville at $22.00.
For those requiring home health assistance, home health care is also available at nearly the same rate, with the average cost at approximately $19.00 / hour throughout the state.
Overall, adult day care can provide the most affordable care option for senior citizens and their families. The average cost of adult day care in Arkansas in 2019 is $80 / day, though it ranges from $64 / day on the low end to $103 / day on the high end. The city of Hot Springs has the lowest daily cost at an average of $64 / day, and Pine Bluff is on par with the state average at $80 / day. The Fayetteville and Little Rock areas have higher average daily costs at $96 to $103.
In Arkansas, the Medicaid state plan will cover the cost of living in a nursing home facility, as well as limited personal care in the home and community.
Personal Care Program – Via this state Medicaid program, which is an entitlement program, assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), such as grooming and dressing, preparing and eating meals, and medication assistance, is provided. In order to receive services, they must be deemed necessary by a physician.
Medicaid also offers Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waiver programs. These programs are designed to serve elderly residents in their current place of care, instead of in much costlier nursing home facilities. This is intended to help seniors reduce dependence on family members and to live more independently. Functionally, the applicants must require a nursing home level care, but be willing to live at home, in assisted living, or in adult foster care instead. Unlike the state Medicaid program, Medicaid Waivers are not entitlement programs, which means there are enrollment caps, and wait lists may exist.
Currently, Arkansas provides three Medicaid Waiver programs.
DAAS ElderChoices Waiver – This Medicaid Waiver, along with the Alternatives for Adults with Physical Disabilities Waiver, were combined and formed a new Medicaid Waiver, AR Choices, in January of 2016. The benefits that were available under the ElderChoices Waiver are available under the AR Choices Waiver.
AR Choices in Homecare – Intended to provide services to prevent institutionalization of seniors living at home, in the home of a family member, or in an adult family home, a variety of services are provided to promote independent living. Benefits include attendant care, adult day care, respite care, and home modifications.
Living Choices Assisted Living Waiver (ALW) – This wavier covers the cost of care services at assisted living facilities, but does not cover the cost of room and board. Benefits may include attendant care, nursing evaluation, monitoring of medication, and more. Assistance may also be provided for those currently living in a nursing home, but wish to transition into congregated (group) housing.
Independent Choices Program - While this program is not a waiver program, in and of itself, it is an option for seniors who are receiving services via the Personal Care Program or the AR Choices Waiver. This program provides counseling and gives monthly cash allowances to qualified applicants to use on what they see fit for their personal care. This program also covers the cost of home modifications, such as wheelchair ramps, and Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS). An attractive component of the Independent Choices Program is that applicants can hire select family members, such as adult children, as care providers. Applicants must meet disability status / medical need criteria in order to qualify for this program option.
As of 2019, in general terms, to qualify for these Medicaid programs in the state of Arkansas, a single applicant cannot exceed $2,313 in monthly income. This amount is equivalent to 300% of the current Federal Benefit Rate. The asset limit is set at $2,000 for an individual. While this figure may seem low, several assets are considered exempt, or said another way, are not counted towards the asset limit. These include one’s primary home, as long as the applicant or their spouse lives in the home and the equity value is not greater than $585,000, one automobile, and prepaid funeral and burial arrangements. Both income and assets can be partly distributed to one’s spouse, if over the limit, as long as the spouse is not also applying for Medicaid. More about qualifying for Medicaid.
Arkansas does not currently have any state non-Medicaid care assistance programs available. However the state does offer senior citizens financial assistance for home energy costs. One can download an application for this type of assistance here. Home delivered meals and transportation assistance are also provided free of charge, or heavily subsidized, to eligible seniors through the state's network of Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). Find your local AAA.
Along with these state-sponsored options, there are several more ways one can receive assistance in paying for care. Other options to consider are programs at the federal level, as well as local and non-profit routes. Our Resource Locator Tool is a great source to use to find such reduced-cost programs and should be utilized to find the program that best meets one's needs.
To find more affordable care options in Arkansas, click here.
There are many good reasons to search for a broad range of providers in the state in order to find more affordable care options. Things like in-home care can be much more affordable and cost-stable than a skilled nursing facility, especially in more populated urban areas. Our organization provides free matching services to meet people’s unique needs for eldercare services and their budgets.