Page Reviewed / Updated - May 2019
This page is intended to aid residents of Massachusetts in understanding the costs associated with assisted living facilities, adult day care, and home care throughout the state. A number of programs that offer assistance in caring for seniors, as well as payment options are also explored.
While the programs covered here are inclusive of what the state of Massachusetts offers, it is not inclusive of what is offered on a national level. In order to find the program that is most suited to your needs and situation, it is important to research all of your options. Make sure to use our Resource Locator Tool to search for nationwide assistance.
Cost of Care Calculator
The monthly cost of assisted living in the state of Massachusetts in comparison to the nationwide average of $4,000 / month is high. Statewide, in 2019, the average cost of assisted living in Massachusetts is $5,495 / month. The most expensive areas of the state are the town of Worcester and Boston, where the monthly average is between $5,735 and $5,850. The most affordable assisted living can be found in Pittsfield and Springfield, where the monthly cost ranges from $4,200 - $4,950. Barnstable is on par with the statewide average with an average monthly cost of $5,490.
For individuals who require Alzheimer's or Memory Care communities, which provide an increased level of supervision and security, there are additional monthly fees. The cost may run $1,099 to $1,648 / month more than does traditional assisted living, due to the need for an increased level of care.
For home care, the average hourly rate throughout Massachusetts in 2019 is approximately $25.75. Again, as with the nationwide average for assisted living, the hourly rate for home care is higher than the national average ($21.00). The most expensive areas of Massachusetts for home care are Boston and Barnstable, where the average rate is $27.00 - $27.50 / hour. The least expensive areas of the state are Pittsfield, Worcester, and Springfield, where the hourly cost ranges from $23.50 - $25.00 / hour.
For those who need a higher level of home care, home health care, which is provided by health care professionals, is also available. This type of care is approximately $1.35 - $2.00 / hour more costly than non-medical health care.
As far as care options for the elderly go, adult day care is one of the most affordable options. Statewide, in 2019, the average daily cost is $67, which is just under the national average of $72 / day. However, as with the other types of care in Massachusetts, price varies based on the location within the state. The most expensive areas for adult day care is found in Boston. Here, the average cost is $74 / day. The most cost efficient locations is Barnstable Town, where the average daily cost is $60. The areas of Pittsfield, Springfield, and Worcester have average costs equal to the statewide average at $67 / day. Note, adult day care centers commonly bill in half-day increments.
In Massachusetts, the state Medicaid (MassHealth) plan covers the cost of residing in a nursing home facility, in addition to limited personal care assistance, adult foster care, and adult day health.
1) The Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Program provides personal care services for elderly and disabled individuals, either in their home or in the home of a relative. This program allows for self-direction, meaning eligible applicants can hire the caregiver of their choosing, including select family members. To learn more about program benefits, click here.
2) The Caregiver Homes / Adult Foster Care Program provides financial assistance to caregivers providing 24-hour care to an elder, either in their own home or the home of the elderly individual. Often times, it is a relative or friend that is providing the care. For additional information, click here.
3) Group Adult Foster Care (GAFC) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI-G) Assisted Living Benefit enable seniors to reside in adult foster homes or assisted living facilities, rather than nursing home facilities. GAFC covers the costs associated with personal care assistance, housecleaning, and medication management, while SSI-G provides financial assistance with the cost of room and board. Click here for eligibility requirements.
4) The Adult Day Health (ADH) program provides daytime support for seniors and allows fulltime caregivers to continue working or, at the very least, allows them a needed break from caregiving responsibilities. For those with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, Dementia Day Services are available. Click here for eligibility information.
While the above assistance programs prove to be very beneficial, many elderly individuals prefer to remain living in their own homes. This is made possible via Medicaid Waivers, also called Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers. Currently, Massachusetts offers one Medicaid Waiver to assist seniors and disabled individuals in living independently. This offers a win-win situation, as the individual remains living at home or in the community and the state saves money. Please note, the HCBS Waiver is not an entitlement program. This means that meeting the program requirements does not ensure access to care services. The waiver program has a limited number of participant slots, and once they have been filled, a waitlist forms.
1) The Massachusetts Frail Elder Wavier provides in-home services and community supports to individuals who require a nursing home level of care. Benefits and services include home health aide, personal care assistance, meal delivery, home modifications, respite care and adult day care. Click here to learn more.
While eligibility requirements for Medicaid and Medicaid Waivers may vary slightly, there are both income and asset limits for eligibility purposes. As of 2019, in order to be eligible for Massachusetts Medicaid, an individual must not have an income in excess of $1,041 / month ($12,492 / year). This figure is equivalent to 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). The asset limit for a single applicant is $2,000, which excludes the individual’s home, given he or she lives in the home and the equity value is not greater than $878,000, household furnishings, a single vehicle, and some personal effects. To be eligible for the Frail Elder Waiver, a single applicant is allowed income up to $2,313 / month ($27,756 / year). The asset limit remains the same as above at $2,000.
If income and / or asset(s) are over the allowable amount(s), it may still be possible to qualify for Medicaid via the assistance of a Medicaid planner. More on Medicaid eligibility. Please note that it is imperative that one does not give away assets within 5 years of applying for Medicaid. This is because Medicaid has a look-back rule, and if violated, may result in a denial of benefits for a period of time.
As of 2019, Massachusetts has four non-Medicaid programs offering supportive and financial assistance to seniors and or their caregivers.
1) The Home Care Program (HCP) and Enhanced Community Options Program (ECOP) provides non-medical supports and personal care services to elderly individuals in their homes. While very similar in nature, ECOP is intended for those who have greater care needs. For more information on benefits and eligibility requirements, click here.
2) The Supportive Senior Housing Initiative Program provides care consistent to assisted living in publicly supported housing communities. Services may include 24-hour supervision, medication management, meals, personal care services, and housecleaning. To learn more about this program, click here.
3) Massachusetts’s Prescription Advantage Program, which is a state pharmaceutical assistance program (SPAP), helps seniors cover the cost of Medicare Part D and prescription drugs. Click here for eligibility requirements.
4) Massachusetts Family Caregiver Support Program, is the state version of the national program. Read more.
In addition to the included options for assistance in paying for senior care, there are additional programs that provide aid. Eldercare loans and Veteran’s assistance programs are two options that may be available. To research all of your options and to find the program that is best suited to your situation, make sure to use our Resource Locator Tool.
As one can see, the cost of senior care throughout Massachusetts varies widely based on location within the state and the type of care provided. Reaching out to multiple providers to find the most affordable service and the best care option for the situation is important. Our company offers a free service that assists individuals in matching their needs to providers in the area at affordable costs. Click here for affordable care assistance.