Page Reviewed / Updated - January 27, 2021
This webpage will help New York residents understand assisted living, home care, and adult day care costs throughout the state. It also explores the payment options and financial assistance programs available to assist in caring for the elderly, be that in residential care or for aging in place at home.
The programs outlined here are comprehensive of what is available from the state of New York, but is not comprehensive of what is available at a national level. To search for assistance nationwide, and to explore all of your options, please use our Resource Locator Tool. Finding the program that is most suitable for your circumstances is key.
Cost of Care Calculator
In 2021, according to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey 2020, the average cost of assisted living in New York is $5,991 / month. However, the costliest area of the state far exceeds this, which is Ithaca at $13,500 / month. Other areas of the state have a much more reasonable cost in comparison and are equivalent or close to the statewide average cost. These include Elmira at $5,624 / month, the New York area (including Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island) at $5,991 / month, and Watertown at $6,034 / month. The most affordable areas include Glens Falls, Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, and Utica where assisted living costs are in the $4,235 - $4,905 / month range.
Alzheimer's residential care throughout New York, sometimes called Memory Care, adds an additional 20% - 30% to the monthly cost of assisted living. Due to the large variance of cost of assisted living throughout New York, this can equate to approximately $1,058 - $3,375 / month more. This additional cost is due to the increased level of care and security that dementia patients require.
Home care across the state in New York on average costs $26.00 / hour in 2021 per the 2020 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. The areas of Poughkeepsie and New York City, which includes Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island, are in line with the statewide average at $26 / hour. In Syracuse, Glens Falls, and Binghamton, the hourly cost is just under the statewide average and is approximately $25.50 - $25.88. The least costly areas for home care where the hourly rate averages from $23.00 to $24.38 are Watertown, Kingston, and Utica. Albany and Ithaca are the most expensive areas for home care, where the range is $27.00 - $29.13 / hour.
Home health care is another option for elderly care and is ideal for those who require a bit more intensive care. This type of care averages the same as home care at $26.00 / hour statewide. However, there are three areas of the state, Rochester, Syracuse, and Watertown, where the average hourly cost averages approximately $2 - $2.50 more per hour than home care.
According to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey 2020, Non-residential adult day care in New York continues to be the least expensive care option and costs on average $90 / day in 2021. This is despite a notable increase of approximately 20% from the previous year. Adult day care is most expensive in Elmira, Binghamton, and Glens Falls, where it costs between $96 and $130 / day. The New York area (Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island) is on par with the statewide average of $90 / day. The areas of Rochester, Utica, Albany, and Syracuse, have more reasonable daily costs between $70 and $80. Adult day care is most affordable in the areas of Buffalo and Ithaca, where the average cost is $50 / day.
Medicaid is a program for disabled and elderly individuals with limited income and resources. Federally and state funded, the federal government sets the parameters of the program, and the state works within these parameters. The Medicaid program, as in all states, pays for nursing home care, and some personal care, for qualified New York residents.
The Community First Choice State Plan Option (CFCO) provides personal care assistance in the homes of seniors who require a nursing home level of care. In addition to assistance with daily living activities, such as bathing, grooming, and mobility, health care aides can assist with medical related tasks. Durable medical equipment and personal emergency response systems are also available benefits via CFCO. Program participants are able to hire and manage the care attendant of their liking, including select relatives. This option is available via the Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Program. Learn more.
New York also offers two Medicaid programs that help pay for assisted living and home care. These waiver programs allow seniors to avoid or delay nursing home placement.
1) The Managed Long Term Care Program (MLTC) helps residents with care services, such as personal care assistance and housekeeping, in their home or in an assisted living facility. Other benefits may include adult day care, home modifications, meal delivery, personal emergency response systems, dental services, and more. Read about eligibility and benefits for the MLTC Program.
The Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) is a way for individuals to receive services under MLTC, as well as CFCO. This program will pay for personal care for seniors in their homes. Via this program, participants have the flexibility to select some of their own care providers, and certain family members can be hired as paid caregivers.
2) The Assisted Living Program (ALP) helps individuals who qualify for nursing home care, but prefer to live in an assisted living residence. This program helps to cover the cost of room and board, and often times the assisted living facility will offer additional services, such as housekeeping and personal care. The program is also open to those who are not on Medicaid. Read more about the ALP.
To qualify for Medicaid in the state of New York in 2020 (2021 figures were not yet out at the time of this rewrite), individual residents must have a monthly income of less than $875 and couples less than $1,284. The resources or assets limit is $15,750 for single applicants and $23,100 for couples. When calculating assets, the state does not include the value of a home, provided one’s equity in the home is not greater than $906,000. Household items, personal effects, and a single vehicle are also considered exempt assets.
Persons with income and assets over these limits can still become eligible for Medicaid assistance. Individuals whose incomes exceeds the limit, but have high medical expenses, may qualify through a Medicaid spend-down program called Medicaid Excess Income. Similar to a deductible, once one has spent their “excess” income on medical expenses, they will be eligible for Medicaid for the remainder of the spend-down period. Persons with assets valued over the limit might become eligible by working with a Medicaid planner to structure their resources appropriately. Please note, it is extremely important not to gift assets or sell them for less than they are worth in order to meet the asset limit. For Medicaid funded nursing home care, New York has a Medicaid look-back period of 60-months where all asset transfers from the date of application are reviewed. If one has gifted assets or sold them very cheaply, a penalty period, in the form of Medicaid ineligibility, will result. (Please note that New York is in the process of implementing a 30-month look back period for Medicaid funded home and community based services).
If there is some question regarding qualification, it is strongly recommended individuals contact a Medicaid Planner prior to applying for Medicaid. Read about the pros & cons of Medicaid planning.
New York offers six programs for lower income residents that do not qualify for Medicaid. These programs provide financial assistance to help seniors with the cost of care and other medical expenses.
1) The Expanded In-home Services for the Elderly Program (EISEP) provides non-medical personal care for seniors in their homes. This program allows for consumer direction, meaning a senior may hire the caregiver of their choosing, including family members. Other benefits available via this program include adult day care, personal emergency response systems, respite care, and transportation assistance. Read more about EISEP qualifications and benefits.
2) The Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage (EPIC) program provides two levels of Medicare Wraparound coverage for prescription drugs. This program assists with the cost of Medicare Part D premiums, as well as coverage of both generic and brand name medications. Read about EPIC eligibility and benefits.
3) The Community Services for the Elderly (CSE) program provides a variety of services and non-medical care for seniors to enable them to continue to live at home. Services include personal care, adult day care, respite care, minor residential repairs, and personal emergency response systems. Learn more about CSE and its eligibility.
4) The New York Residential Emergency Services to Offer Repairs to the Elderly (RESTORE) program assists seniors in making emergency repairs to their homes so that they are able to live in safe environments. Benefits include structural, heating, plumbing, and electrical repairs. Other modifications, such as grab bars and wheelchair ramps, may be done via this program. Read more about the RESTORE program and how to qualify.
5) New York’s Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC) is a phenomenon where a neighborhood or building has a large number of elderly residents. Non-profit agencies provide services, such as nursing, case management, housecleaning, and social activities, for these naturally occurring communities. Read more about NORC qualifications and benefits.
6) New York offers a paid family leave program that pays certain family members to care for their loved ones (or more accurately, allows them to continue receiving a portion of their salary at their current job). It is being implemented in phases, and at the time of this writing, up to 10 weeks of paid leave can be taken. In 2021, when the program is fully enacted, up to 12 weeks of paid leave will be allowed. Read about the Paid Family Leave Benefits Law.
Worth a mention is the New York Elder Caregiver Support Program, which is New York's version of the national Family Caregiver Support Program. Read more.
In addition to the state specific options that help pay for care, there are many non-profit and federal options. Use our Resource Locator Tool to find other programs, including the best ones for you or your loved one, that help pay for or reduce the cost of care. There are also programs that help veterans with assisted living and there are eldercare loans available in New York.
To help families find affordable care in New York, we've partnered with several organizations that maintain databases of care providers. These organizations all provide free services that match an individual's specific care needs with care providers in their preferred geographic area. Click here to find affordable care.
For more information about the costs and resources available in New York cities, click on the links below.