According to data from the Population Reference Bureau, as of 2020, Maine had the largest percentage of adults aged 65 and over of any state in the country. Home to more than 1.3 million people, older adults comprise approximately 21.2% of the local population. Individuals have many health facilities within easy reach, good air quality, and there are plentiful opportunities for active adults to discover the state’s diverse natural attractions. Although Maine taxes most retirement income, the overall cost of living is slightly lower than the national average. This guide provides an overview of assisted living in Maine, including regulations related to long-term care communities, care costs, and options for paying for senior care.
Located in New England, Maine is the most northeastern state on the U.S. mainland. Covering more than 35,000 square miles, the state is home to diverse landscapes, including a stretching craggy coastline, lakes, state parks, national parks, mountains, and dense wildlife-rich forests. The state also has thriving cities and towns, adding to the rich diversity. People can find housing in various appealing settings, with options to suit different needs and preferences.
Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs)
When a loved one can no longer live independently, an assisted living provider can be a good option. Assisted living residences are for residents who would like to, and can, maintain some independence but need help with meals, housekeeping, and some of the activities of daily living (ADLs), such as showering, getting dressed, or personal hygiene.
Maine’s assisted living facilities are suitable for older adults who require assistance with day-to-day activities. The State of Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Licensing and Certification, is responsible for regulating and licensing assisted living communities. There are several levels of assisted living communities:
Each residential care facility provides services through an assisted living program categorized as either Type I or Type II:
Assisted living communities that accept funding through Maine’s Medicare program, known as MaineCare, are called Private Non-Medical Institutions (PNMIs). They have different rules for Residential Care Facilities, but the levels share the same capacity limits:
Level IV PNMI: more than six residents.
Difference Between Assisted Living and Residential Care Facility
A Residential Care Facility is similar to an Assisted Living Facility with the exception that the RCF offers these services in private or semi-private bedrooms. The ALF provides accommodations that are considered to be private apartments. Some Residential Care Facilities receive funding thru MaineCare funding known as Private Non-Medical Institutions and have separate governing rules.
A Private Non-Medical Institution is defined as an agency or facility that is not a health insuring organization. These facilities provide food, shelter, personal care and treatment services for four or more residents in single or multiple facilities. These facilities must be licensed by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Independent Living Communities
Independent living communities are a good housing option for seniors who can still live independently but want to downsize. Each resident or couple lives in a private unit, and most communities offer social programs so residents can meet their neighbors. Housekeeping, chores, and some meals may be provided, although these may incur an additional cost. Unlike the care given in an assisted living community, assistance with activities of daily living and medication management aren’t available in these communities.
Nursing homes offer the highest level of care of all senior living options. These communities provide around-the-clock supervision and skilled nursing care, and medical help is available. Generally, people in nursing homes have complex medical issues or need more residential care than is offered in an assisted living facility. Maine has both skilled nursing facilities (SNF) for people who require 24-hour care and intermediate care facilities (ICF) for people who don’t need as much medical care. The average cost of nursing home care in the state is $10,494 for a semiprivate room and 11,254 for a private room.
Many seniors prefer to choose a community that will continue to meet their needs in the future. Continuing care retirement communities have independent living, assisted living, and nursing home facilities on the same property or owned by the same community. This model allows seniors to stay near their friends in familiar surroundings, even as their needs change. The care provided in the assisted living section of a CCRC is the same as in an assisted living community. The difference is that residents can easily move to a skilled nursing room if required. Often, CCRCs are bigger than ACHs, as they encompass more care options.
Supportive Housing is residential facilities designed for older adults or persons with disabilities who are unable to live independently. These individuals need help with toileting, bathing, dressing, medication management and administration, assistance with meals and housekeeping, and other activities of daily living. These individuals do not need regular nursing care. There are several housing options available that range from living in a facility to residents living in their own home or apartment, with community-based support services.
Adult Day Care
In households where the primary caregiver works during the daytime, older adults may be able to attend an adult day care program rather than staying at home on their own. In Maine, there are two types of adult day care programs:
A night program is available for older adults with dementia. Individuals who attend the night program can’t also attend a day program.
Adult day care differs from assisted living as services aren’t available around the clock. It’s not an option for anyone who requires 24-hour care in a residential or institutional setting. The average cost of adult day healthcare in Maine is $2,600 per month.
There are two types of in-home care available in Maine: homemaker services and home healthcare. Homemaker services generally provide personal care and may also help with errands, chores, and housekeeping. Home healthcare can deliver these services and also offer medical care such as skilled nursing and medication management. Unlike assisted living care, in-home care is provided to people in their homes, making it a good choice for those who prefer to age in place. However, it doesn’t give seniors access to the social and recreational programming of assisted living communities. The average cost of homemaker services and home health aides is $5,720 per month.
Over 240 assisted living facilities in Maine have over 6,500 licensed beds. One of the largest owners of assisted living, Atria manages two facilities in the state. Many of the ALFs in the state are
The average cost of assisted living care in Maine is $5,865 per month. This is $1,365 higher than the national average of $4,500 per month. The cost of living in Maine is 3.5% lower than the national average with healthcare costs nearly 0.1% higher and housing costs 0.8% less than the national average. The level of care that a person requires will impact the cost of assisted living, but where you also live matters. The monthly cost varies by as much as $3,311 a month, depending on where you live. The cost of assisted living ranges from a low of $4,750 in the Bangor area to a high of $8,061 per month in the Manchester area of Maine.
Maine only borders one state but is close enough to Massachusetts that it should also be considered as an option. The cost of Assisted Living in New Hampshire averages $6,053 per month and $6,500 in Massachusetts. Both states have a higher average cost compared to Maine, but you could find something affordable.
The average cost of assisted living in Maine is around $70,000 per year, so, understandably, you or a family member may be wondering how to pay for care. A range of options is available to fund senior housing in the state.
Selling a home is a common way for seniors to raise funds for assisted living care. Income from pensions and Social Security may also pay for some care. Other examples of private funds include your retirement accounts, mutual funds, and other investments.
Maine has an optional state supplement available to aged, blind, and disabled SSI recipients and a few individuals who are not eligible for SSI. The state calculates the supplement by deducting federal SSI payments and other countable income from a set state standard figure. Any remaining amount after deductions is the state supplement. It increases a recipient’s monthly SSI payment. Eligible individuals may use their extra funds to cover assisted living costs.
Long-term care insurance covers personal care, residential care, and other long-term support and services. Each plan is different; however, most offer a daily amount based on the policy that pays for assistance with activities of daily living. Most people buy a policy in their 50s or 60s and access it when required. If you or your family member has a policy, read it carefully to see what care it covers.
Maine has six Veterans’ Homes around the state, in Augusta, Bangor, Caribou, Machias, Scarborough, and South Paris. These homes provide skilled nursing care to residents of Maine who served in the military. The state’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs also has offices around the state where team members can help people obtain benefits and services. This includes the Aid and Attendance Benefit, which can help qualified veterans fund personal care.
Elderlife Financial can help you understand how to pay for assisted living.
The services provided in assisted living communities generally come under three broad categories: personal care, medical care, and amenities.
Most people move to assisted living communities because they look for easy access to personal care. These services assist with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, walking, and toileting. Communities also provide supervision and can deliver care for unforeseen needs or in cases of emergencies.
In Maine, ACHs must provide care and services in the resident’s care plan. This can include coordinating medical care and appointments. Communities may also deliver health services, with 57.% of communities providing skilled nursing. Many have healthcare specialists and on-site services, with 65% of communities offering dental care. In addition, 70% of ACHs have hospice services.
ACHs may provide specialized care for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. These special care units have additional security measures to ensure residents don’t wander, a common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Typically, they also offer programs designed to improve cognitive function and routines that help lower stress.
Mental health issues are a growing consideration for communities, and services to address these concerns are becoming more common. In Maine, 89% of communities conduct depression screening, and 62% offer mental health counseling. Social work programs are also found in 62% of ACHs. Social workers can provide counseling, conduct assessments, and help ensure residents have access to all the resources they need.
Amenities refer to other features and services of the community. ACHs offer three meals a day and coordinate activity programs to help residents stay active and connected with families and the community. Maine facilities must also provide transportation and laundry services and may offer housekeeping services.
There are 52 hospitals in Maine, with a collective total of more than 4,400 beds. Maine has 270 doctors per 100,000 people, which is higher than the national average of 210. High-performing hospitals in Maine include Maine Medical Center in Portland, Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, LincolnHealth in Damariscotta, and Houlton Regional Hospital. The state is also home to many clinics, pharmacies, and health centers.
The State of Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health, manages several programs to support mental health. Anyone experiencing a mental health emergency can call the Maine Crisis Line. Individuals may also contact 211 Maine for free, confidential information about supportive services; the line is staffed 24/7. The nonprofit National Alliance of Mental Health (NAMI) has a branch in Hallowell, providing additional support to any Maine resident facing mental health challenges. The toll-free Intentional Peer Support Warmline offers support any time of the day or night. For veterans, support and counseling are available via the VA Maine Healthcare System or by calling the national Veterans Crisis Line, which is available 24/7. The Bureau of Veterans’ Services also maintains an up-to-date list of mental health resources.
The decision to move into an assisted living community can be difficult. Generally, you’ll notice changes in your loved ones that suggest they need some assistance. Signs that this environment could be beneficial include increased isolation, loss of mobility, noticeable weight loss or gain, and signs that they’re neglecting household chores.
Your older family member may be the one to start talking about assisted living. For many seniors, the idea of moving into a home where cooking, laundry, and other chores are taken care of is appealing. For seniors who realize they need help with daily tasks, the addition of personal care may come as a relief. In Maine, 27% of residents need help with eating. Other commonly used services include bed transfer (33%), toileting (42%), and walking (56%). Caregivers in ACHs help 71% of residents to dress, and 59% of residents need help bathing.
If you think your family member would benefit from assisted living, start by talking about it openly. Highlight the positives of a move, such as social activities, cooked meals, and easily accessible assistance. Some ACHs provide respite care, which may allow your family member to have a trial run. Remember, this should be a conversation, not a lecture. Stay open to their opinion. If they’re not ready to transition to assisted living, talk about the care they need to stay at home.
The Division of Licensing and Certification of the State of Maine Department of Health and Human Services oversees the legal and regulatory compliance of assisted living communities in Maine. The Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program investigates complaints against senior residential care facilities, such as assisted living communities and nursing homes, and helps individuals resolve issues related to standards and quality of care. Individuals can contact the Office of Aging and Disability Services for help accessing medical support, funding, or social services.
The term “elder law” is often associated with estate planning, trusts, and help obtaining benefits through Medicare or Medicaid. Unfortunately, the field has grown to include cases involving elder abuse, elder neglect, and exploitation. Skilled attorneys can help older adults affected by these issues.
In Maine, Adult Protective Services operates a 24/7 phone line for individuals to report neglect, abuse, and exploitation of seniors and other dependent adults. People can also use the online report form. Maine’s network of Area Agencies on Aging and Aging and Disability Resource Centers can connect seniors with free or low-cost legal services. Maine Senior Medicare Patrol provides assistance in cases of Medicare fraud and misuse.
Legal Services for the Elderly provides free civil legal advice, assistance, and advocacy for seniors aged 60 and older. Topics include public benefits, debts, health insurance, pensions, long-term care, consumer affairs, powers of attorney, wills, advanced healthcare directives, and elder abuse. The statewide helpline is staffed during business hours. People with low income may also be able to obtain assistance from the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project.
There are 31 assisted living facilities in ME and the median cost of care is $5,865. The average rating of assisted living facilities in Maine is 2 out of 5 stars and the top ranked facility is St. Andrews Village.
89 Admiral Fitch Avenue * Brunswick, ME 04011 Phone: 207-729-6222 | Fax: 207-729-0222, Brunswick, ME, 04011
200 Stetson Road, Auburn, ME, 04210
Outdoor Areas, Clubs & Communities, Activity Center, Pool, Restaurant Style Dining,
92 US Route 1, Cumberland Foreside, ME, 04110
Pet Friendly, Housekeeping, Social Outings, Beauty & Barber,
2 Victoria Ct, York, ME, 03909
Outdoor Areas, Housekeeping, Social Outings, Pet Friendly, Parking,
18 Black Point Road, Scarborough, ME, 04074
Outdoor Areas, Restaurant Style Dining, Clubs & Communities, Activity Center, Social Outings,
600 Commerce Dr, Scarborough, ME, 04074
Pet Friendly, Beauty & Barber, Pool, Social Outings, Activity Center,
1 Huntington Common Drive, Kennebunk, ME, 04043
Outdoor Areas, Housekeeping, Activity Center, Pool, Clubs & Communities,
27 Forest Falls Drive, Yarmouth, ME, 04096
Outdoor Areas, Beauty & Barber, Washer & Dryer in Unit, Pool, Social Outings,
Access hundreds of resources, chat with our experts and compare care options to find the solution that’s right for you and your loved ones.