Assisted Living
updated July 26, 2021

Some seniors and people with disabilities live in assisted living. Assisted living can look like individual apartments, or it can look like a house where five or more people live. In the past, assisted living facilities were called “housing with services establishments.”

Any place that calls itself assisted living must be licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

What It Is

Assisted living is a type of housing that provides services on site. Assisted living facilities must give you a list of all their services, the cost of these services, and what public programs (such as a MA-Waiver) they accept. This list is called a uniform disclosure information guide.

While services can be different from one facility to the next, they all must always have a staff person who is awake and available to help residents. They also must do a daily “I’m okay” check with each resident.

Assisted living may offer other services that help with your daily living, such as:

  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Laundry
  • Help taking medications, and
  • Personal care assistance services, like help during meals, toileting, bathing, and dressing.

Some assisted living specializes in services for people living with memory loss such as Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. These facilities have a special assisted living with dementia care license.

Similar services in your home

You can get services in your own home that are like assisted living services. For example, you can get help with cooking, cleaning, bathing, and more. To learn what services or programs might help you with your needs, contact your county or tribal human services office and ask for a MnCHOICES assessment.

You can request a MnCHOICES assessment even if you think you don’t qualify for public benefits. Within 20 days, the county must send an assessor to help look at your situation and see which long-term care programs or services might help you. If you might qualify for public benefits, the county will help you fill out the application forms.

How You Pay

For assisted living, you pay a monthly amount that includes your room, board, and services. Many people pay with money they have in savings or income.

If you qualify for Medical Assistance (MA), you may be able to get help paying for services through the Elderly Waiver (EW) program, Brain Injury (BI) waiver program, or Community Access for Disability Inclusion (CADI) waiver program. Waivers use the term "customized living" to refer to services paid for in assisted living.

If you have low income, you may qualify for Housing Support (formerly Group Residential Housing) benefits that help pay for your room and board. In rare cases, Housing Support may also pay for services in some assisted living settings if you need more support, but don’t qualify for a waiver.

Get Help

In Minnesota, before you move into assisted living, you must call the Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433 and discuss your needs with a specialist. The specialist will make sure you have looked at options and that the move is the right one for you.

If you want to learn more about a specific assisted living facility or you have a complaint about the services you get, you can contact the Ombudsman for Long-Term Care at 1-800-657-3591.

You can also Chat with a Hub expert to learn more.

To find assisted living, see Minnesota’s Senior Housing Directory and the Twin Cities Senior Housing Guide.