Living expenses in general are higher in Alaska, and assisted living facilities are no exception. On average, seniors will pay $6,300 per month to live in one of these communities, which is about 50 percent higher than other states. Alaska’s Medicaid plan offers the Personal Care Services Program (PCS) which allows seniors to hire a caregiver to provide qualified personal care services in their homes. Medicaid also offers the following Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers which cover home modifications as well as assisted living or adult day care costs:
- Alaskans Living Independently, which helps seniors receive help either in their own homes or in the community.
- Adults with Physical & Developmental Disabilities Waiver, which is for citizens 21 and up who are physically impaired because of a developmental or intellectual disability.
To qualify for long-term care assistance, monthly income can’t be more than $2,349. Non-applicant spouses may transfer up to $3,216 per month in income to their spouse as a spousal allowance. There is also a liquid asset restriction of $2,000; but joint assets and some high value assets such as a home may be exempt.
Since assisted living in Alaska is so expensive, the state offers programs to help residents afford it.
- The Alaska Senior Benefits Program. Lower income residents 65 and older may receive financial assistance for state subsidized assisted living facilities.
- Alaska Pioneer Homes. Residents who have lived in Alaska for at least a year and are at least 60 years old may qualify as long as they have Medicare Parts A, B & D.
What are the Best Assisted Living Facilities in Alaska?
1. Pioneer Homes
Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services operates six licensed assisted living facilities throughout the state under the name “Pioneer Homes.” Guided by the Eden Alternative® philosophy, the staff, volunteers, friends and family members at each facility work together to eliminate loneliness, boredom and helplessness, and aim to provide a supportive, positive experience for residents. The average age of residents is 86, and the majority have lived in Alaska for at least two decades.
Services available to residents include:
- Meal preparation
- Dietary assessment and medically prescribed diets
- Laundry and housekeeping
- Emergency call systems
- Assistance with eating, bathing, dressing, etc.
- Assistance with medications
- Recreational programs
- Opportunities for spiritual devotion
- Care during illness
- Pharmacy services
Anyone who resides in an Alaska Pioneer Home may purchase medications through the Alaska Pioneer Homes Pharmacy Program. All residents whose medications are administered by staff members or who are on the Payment Assistance Program are required to participate in the program.
Price for Alaska Pioneer Homes varies according to the level of service provided.
- Level I: Includes housing, meals, emergency assistance, recreational activities, and transportation for recreation.
Cost: $3,005 per month.
- Level II : Includes Level I services, medication management, and assistance with up to two activities of daily living during the day. Does not include nighttime assistance.
Cost: $5,466 per month.
- Level III: Services include Level I services and medication management, plus occasional assistance with activities of daily living, assistance with up to four activities of daily living, OR Level II behavior management, OR Level II nursing services.
Cost: $7,915 per month.
- Level IV: 24-hour Hands-on assistance by a staff member for up to five ADLs, and either behavior management or nursing services.
Cost :$9,454 per month.
Anchorage Pioneer Home
This 168-resident community sits just across Anchorage’s Park Strip which separates downtown and the city’s oldest residential area. The five-story facility has private and semi-private rooms and offers multiple levels of care, including intermittent services and memory care. Residents enjoy movies, shopping trips, outdoor excursions and family barbecues.
Fairbanks Pioneer Home
Located on 16 quiet acres of birch trees and blueberry patches, this 91-bed property is home to a wide variety of wildlife including moose, fox, eagles, song birds, and bobcats.
Juneau Pioneer Home
Nestled in the wetlands along Juneau’s Egan Drive, this 45-resident community is within two miles of restaurants, bistros, and Juneau International Airport. Seniors can take in breathtaking views of the Gastineau Channel as well as wildlife such as brown bears and eagles. The home is divided into four hallways that each serve as separate communities, with each community having their own support staff. Friendly cats roam freely throughout the neighborhoods, providing companionship to the residents.
Ketchikan Pioneer Home
Located just across the street from the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry Terminal and close to the airport ferry terminal, this home is in a convenient place for family and friends to visit. Approximately 45 residents live on the two upper floors of this three-story building, with each floor divided into three “neighborhoods” based on each individual’s care needs.
Alaska Veterans & Pioneers Home (Palmer, Alaska)
The 79 residents who live in this downtown facility enjoy beautiful views of the Chugach and Talkeetna Mountain Ranges, as well as the massive Knik Glacier. Seventy five percent of the beds are designated for veterans, while non-veterans occupy the ther 25 percent.
Sitka Pioneer Home
This first Pioneer Home opened in Sitka in 1913— which is before Alaska became a state. It sits on a beautiful campus and is renowned for its gorgeous and aromatic rose hedges. The facility has room to accommodate 65 seniors.
Other Assisted Facilities in Alaska
The following communities are unaffiliated with Alaska’s Public Health Department.
2. Baxter Senior Living (Anchorage, Alaska)
Voted Anchorage Daily News’ Best of Alaska 2020, Baxter offers 63 assisted living apartments. It’s located within the U-Med District, and has its own barbecue pavilions, a dog park, a rooftop deck, a movie theater, a full-service salon, a coffee bar, and a fitness center. Culinary offerings include fresh, local produce, Alaskan seafood and old-fashioned comfort food. Specialty Care apartments are available based on the care plan needed.
Cost begins at $6,500 per month.
3. Marlow Manor (Anchorage, Alaska)
Marlow Manor is a 40,000 square foot facility in Northeast Anchorage offers 48 assisted living apartments. Residents love the breathtaking views of the Chugach Mountain views and appreciate the convenience of having a Walmart, Fred Meyer and Walgreens nearby. Stimulating activities include daily exercises, arts and crafts, games, movie nights, religious services and visits by pets. Accommodations may be able to be made for spouses or companions upon request.
Cost begins at $6,077 per month.
4. Reach Mendenhall Woods (Juneau, Alaska)
As a board and care home, this community offers a higher staff-to-resident ratio than larger senior living communities in Alaska but with a more affordable price than many other facilities. Caretakers offer help with activities of daily living and transportation, and residents enjoy small, organized group activities tailored to their interests.
Cost begins at $5,282 per month.
5. Primrose Retirement Community (Wasilla, Alaska)
Every resident at Primrose has a plan of care and professional nursing staff specifically for their unique needs. Seniors are encouraged to live as independently as possible while enjoying peace of mind that help is there if needed. Residents love the various amenities in the community, including free parking, covered garages at nominal fee, storage spaces, laundry on every floor, and walking trails near the building.
Average cost is $7,200.