Page Reviewed / Updated - May 22, 2019
Pennsylvania senior living options and their monthly costs vary between facilities and cities, which can make it difficult for seniors and their families to choose the best location. This guide is intended to explain monthly costs associated with assisted living, home care, adult day care and nursing home services in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It also provides various financial resources for seniors who need assistance paying for their care and low-income housing options for seniors on a tight budget. For more information about statewide senior care options, check out our comprehensive guide to paying for senior care in Pennsylvania.
For the most part, the average monthly cost of senior care in Pittsburgh is reasonable when compared to state and national medians, according to the 2018 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. However, monthly home care costs average $286 higher than the Pennsylvania median and $477 higher than the national average.
At $3,150, the city’s average monthly cost of assisted living is lower than both the state and national averages — $3,750 and $4,000, respectively. Monthly adult day care costs in Pittsburgh are also lower than the state and national averages; seniors can expect to pay about $1,365 per month for adult day care services in Pittsburgh, compared to the Pennsylvania average of $1,408 and the U.S. average of $1,560.
Pittsburgh seniors who require nursing home care should expect to pay $8,699 per month — $913 less than the average cost of nursing home care in Pennsylvania. This amount is higher than the national average of $7,441 per month, though.
While Pittsburgh assisted living costs are lower than the state average, they aren’t the lowest in the state. Scranton’s average monthly assisted living cost of $2,400 is $750 lower than Pittsburgh’s average, and seniors residing in Gettysburg assisted living facilities pay about $50 less per month on average than those in Pittsburgh.
In Allentown, the average monthly costs of assisted living are $3,750, which is on par with the state average. State College’s average monthly assisted living costs are also only slightly higher than those in Pittsburgh by about $688.
Other areas of the state have average monthly assisted living costs that are higher than the state, national and Pittsburgh averages. Philadelphia seniors should expect to pay around $5,318 per month to reside in an assisted living facility, which is $2,168 per month more than Pittsburgh seniors typically pay. In Lancaster and Erie, seniors residing in assisted living facilities pay more than those in Pittsburgh, but the cities’ averages aren’t quite as high as those in Philadelphia. Lancaster’s average monthly assisted living cost is $1,200 more than Pittsburgh and Erie seniors pay about $1,438 more per month for assisted living than Pittsburgh seniors do.
At $4,481, Pittsburgh’s average monthly home care costs are above the Pennsylvania average. However, they aren’t the highest in the state. Both Philadelphia and State College have higher average home care costs than Pittsburgh does, at $4,576 and $4,719 respectively.
Gettysburg’s average monthly home care costs come in right below Pittsburgh’s at $4,338 per month, while Erie seniors pay $334 per month less for home care costs than Pittsburgh seniors pay. Allentown and Lancaster both have average monthly home care costs that are on par with the state average, $4,195. This is $286 less per month than Pittsburgh’s average. The Scranton area has the lowest average monthly home care costs in the state at $4,004, which is $477 less than Pittsburgh’s average.
Only State College and Gettysburg have lower average monthly adult day care cost than Pittsburgh. State College has the lowest average, which is $498 per month lower than Pittsburgh’s average. Adult day care costs average $1,300 per month in Gettysburg, though, only $65 less than Pittsburgh.
Adult day care costs in Philadelphia are the highest in the state. They average $1,668 per month, $303 more than Pittsburgh’s average. The average monthly cost of adult day care in Lancaster and Scranton is $1,430, which is only $65 per month higher than Pittsburgh’s average, and adult day care costs in Erie average slightly higher than that at $1,473.
Allentown’s average monthly cost of adult day care is comparable to Pittsburgh’s. At $1,408, it’s only $43 more than the monthly average in Pittsburgh.
Seniors in need of nursing home care should be able to find an affordable option in Pittsburgh. At $8,699, the city’s average monthly cost of nursing home care is the second lowest in the state. Erie is the only city with costs averaging lower than Pittsburgh, but the difference is only $61 less.
Scranton and State College have average monthly nursing home costs that could be considered low-to-mid-range for Pennsylvania. State College’s average is $563 per month higher than Pittsburgh’s average, while Scranton’s monthly nursing home costs average $898 more than those in Steel City. Even though the costs in these cities average higher than those in Pittsburgh, they are still lower than the state average.
At $11,254, the average monthly cost of nursing home care in Allentown is the highest in the state — $2,555 more per month than Pittsburgh’s average. The average monthly nursing home costs in Gettysburg, Lancaster and Philadelphia are quite a bit lower than that, but still a lot higher than Pittsburgh’s averages. Gettysburg seniors typically pay about $1,582 per month more for nursing home care than seniors in Pittsburgh, while Philadelphia seniors pay an average of $1,673 more per month. Lancaster has the second highest average monthly nursing home cost in Pennsylvania. At $10,448, it’s $1,749 per month more than Pittsburgh’s average cost.
Pittsburgh area seniors who need assistance paying for senior care may qualify for the state’s Medicaid program. The program is commonly known as Medical Assistance and is jointly financed by state and federal governments, and it covers personal care costs for seniors in assisted living facilities, nursing homes or adult day care settings. In some cases, Medical Assistance does cover the cost of home care for Pittsburgh seniors.
In Pittsburgh, Medical Assistance is an entitlement program. This means as long as seniors meet the eligibility requirements, they are entitled to receive Medical Assistance benefits.
To be eligible for Medical Assistance, Pittsburgh seniors need to be a U.S citizen, legal alien or permanent resident, live in Pennsylvania, and meet the program’s income requirements. The maximum income level for a one-person household is $16,040. Married couples in Pittsburgh can’t earn more than $21,599 per year to qualify for Medicaid.
Medical Assistance and Payment of Long-Term Care Services (MA LTC) Program
The Medical Assistance and Payment of Long-Term Care program includes both Home and Community Based Services and services received in a long-term care facility. The program’s guidelines are the same as the regular Medical Assistance program with one difference. Seniors applying for MA LTC must have a need for long-term care services. To verify this, a doctor has to complete a form disclosing the medical necessity and the form has to be reviewed and approved by the designated assessing department.
Pittsburgh area seniors in need of Medical Assistance benefits can apply:
Attendant Care Waiver
The Attendant Care Waiver is only available to seniors under the age of 60 who need help with activities of daily living, such as assistance getting in and out of bed, transferring to and from a wheelchair, bathing, personal hygiene, feeding and health maintenance.
Eligible seniors must be mentally alert and able to manage the attendant they work with. This includes selecting, hiring and firing attendants on an as-needed basis. Seniors who opt to use the Attendant Care Waiver should also be capable of handling their own financial and legal affairs. To apply, download the application, fill it out and return it to the Allegheny Department of Human Services, which can be reached by phone at 1-800-344-4319.
Living Independent for the Eldery (LIFE)
The Living Independent for the Elderly (LIFE) program is the managed care program that replaced the state’s Aging Waiver. It helps seniors live as independently as possible and is known nationally as the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).
To be eligible for the LIFE program, seniors must meet the financial requirements determined by the Allegheny Department of Human Services or be able to privately pay for services. They also need to be at least 55 years old, require a nursing home or rehabilitation facility level of care and reside in a community that’s served by LIFE providers.
Seniors in Pittsburgh are served by Community LIFE. They offer a variety of services, including medical care, pharmacy services, in-home care, coordination of care and transportation services. To apply for LIFE, contact the Intake Department at 1-866-419-1693 or fill out the online form to receive more information.
Pennsylvania Domiciliary Care Services for Adults (PA Dom Care)
The Pennsylvania Domiciliary Care Services for Adults program is commonly referred to at Dom Care. The program is offered to Pittsburgh residents as an alternative to assisted living, and it provides them with room, board and care services at a lower cost than they would pay if they were residing in an assisted living facility.
Participants in this program move into a caregiver's home. While the caregiver can't be a relative, it can be a friend as long as the friend meets all of the qualifications to provide care. All providers are carefully screened by Pennsylvania Area Agencies on Aging to ensure the provider and their home pass background and safety checks.
To be eligible for financial assistance through Dom Care, Pittsburgh seniors must be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which means individual seniors should have an income of less than $750 per month and couples should have a monthly income of $1,125 per month or less. Read more about the program requirements and learn how to apply, here.
Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF) Loans and Grants for Home Modification and Aging in Place
The Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation offers zero-interest or very-low-interest loans and partial grants to seniors to cover the costs of home modifications and assistive technology, such as wheelchairs and hearing aids. The non-profit organization also offers financial education to seniors.
To be eligible for a grant, seniors must have an income that’s less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. For loans, there aren’t many eligibility requirements. However, seniors applying for a loan must be a Pennsylvania resident and include a statement telling the organization why the assistive technology or home modifications are needed and how they will be used. Find out more about the program, including how to apply, here.
Pennsylvania’s Options Program: Home Care Services and Support
Pennsylvania’s Options Program provides in-home services to elderly Pittsburgh residents, as well as financial assistance for adult day care, assistive technology, respite care and transportation services. This program isn’t an entitlement program, though. So there may be a limit to the number of seniors the program can service and a waiting list.
The in-home services portion of the program doesn’t have strict requirements other than the applicant must be a Pennsylvania resident at least 60 years of age. However, in order to qualify for financial assistance through the program seniors must meet its income requirements, which are based on a sliding scale. Find out more about the program requirements and how to apply, here.
Community Healthy Choices Program
The Allegheny County DHS Area Agency on Aging offers the Community Healthy Choices program, which covers the cost of home-delivered meals, adult day care service, personal assistance with activities of daily living, medical supplies and equipment, non-medical transportation and a personal emergency response system.
To qualify seniors must:
Seniors can apply through the Allegheny County DHS Area Agency on Aging’s SeniorLine (412) 350-5460 or in person at their office in Birmingham Towers.
|Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh||(412-456-5030)||The Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh is a low-income housing program with several senior-only communities available, including Murray Towers in Squirrel Hill, Morse Gardens on the city’s south side, and Pressley Street apartments on the north side. The program isn’t an entitlement program, and there’s typically a waiting list so it’s important to apply as soon as possible. They also offer a Housing Choice Voucher program to those who prefer living in a house.|
|Allegheny County Housing Authority||(412) 355-8940||The Allegheny County Housing Authority has low-income housing options available in the Pittsburgh area. Qualified individuals pay 30 percent of their monthly income for rent. There is typically a waiting list for Allegheny County’s Section 8 program, though.|
|Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)||(866) 857-7095||The Allegheny Department of Human Services handles Pittsburgh’s LIHEAP program. It provides financial assistance to reduce the cost of heating bills. To qualify, seniors can’t have an income exceeding $18,210 per year, $24,690 per year for married couples.|
|Dollar Energy Fund’s Pennsylvania Hardship Program||(412) 431-2800||Dollar Energy Fund’s Pennsylvania Hardship program offers cash grants to Pittsburgh area seniors for each utility, once per program year. Seniors age 62 and older can qualify with a $0 balance utility bill, as long as they meet the income requirements and have paid at least $100 on their gas and electric accounts and/or $50 on their water account for the year.|