Assisted Living Facilities

What is an assisted living facility?

An assisted living facility is any group residential program that is not licensed as a nursing home and that provides personal care and support services to people who need help with daily living activities. Assisted living facilities usually combine housing, personal services, and light medical care. They support those who are too frail to live alone but too healthy to go to a nursing home.

Are assisted living facilities licensed?

Assisted living facilities are licensed by the Tennessee Department of Health, but they are not regulated by the federal government.

How do I pay for assisted living?

Usually you pay for assisted living with your own money. Medicare and Medicaid do not pay for assisted living. Veteran Affairs may pay for some assisted living services. For more information, contact your local VA office. Long-term care insurance policies may cover assisted living as an alternative care benefit. If you have long-term care insurance, talk to your insurance company about your coverage.

How do I choose an assisted living facility?

You should visit several communities and talk with residents and staff. You should carefully compare fees and services offered by different facilities. Some questions to consider include:

  • Is the facility clean?
  • Are the rooms comfortable?
  • Are the meals appetizing?
  • Is there a stimulating activities program?
  • Are the buildings and grounds well-maintained?

Who do I call if I have concerns about assisted living?

The Tennessee Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program provides help to elderly residents in nursing homes, homes for the aged, assisted care living facilities, and adult care homes. The Ombudsman can help you or your family resolve concerns about quality of care, financial information, resident rights, admissions, transfer, and discharge. For more information, go to www.tn.gov/aging/topic/long-term-care-ombudsman.

Assisted Living Facilities PDF

Acknowledgements & Disclaimer: This Fact Sheet was prepared by West Tennessee Legal Services (WTLS) and made possible by Serving Tennessee Seniors-administered by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee at the request of the Chancery Court. WTLS thanks the Tennessee Bar Association for its permission to use The Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors (2014 edition) as a primary information source. This publication is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Southwest Area Agency on Aging and Disability, the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The content herein does not necessarily reflect the opinion or policy of the Southwest Area Agency on Aging and Disability or any agency of Tennessee or the U.S. government. Fact Sheets are for information only and not intended to replace legal advice. If you are in need of legal help, call WTLS at (800) 372-8346, or seek the help of a private attorney. (Revised 5/2017)