About Assisted Living in Georgia

Georgia’s mild winters make it an ideal place to retire. While some parts of the state have an increased cost of living, some areas are significantly lower than the national average. Unlike Florida, Georgia does have an income tax, but it does offer incentives to seniors, not taxing social security income and allowing part of other retirement income (IRAs and 401(k)s) to be exempt from taxes.

What Options are Available for Assisted Living?

In 2013 the regulations for Personal Care Homes (PCHs) were updated to include new policy and procedure requirements, additional training for staff, language regarding staffing above minimal standards, and requirements for needs assessment upon admission.

In the state of Georgia facilities consisting of more than 25 beds can opt for licensure as a PCH or an Assisted Living Community (ALC). An ALC requires more stringent standards, including disclosure, required services, admission thresholds, resident assessments, medication management, and staff training and physical requirements.

PCHs with 2 to 6 beds must meet all local fire safety ordinances. Those with more than 7 beds must comply with state fire safety regulations, including a sprinkler system. PCHs are required to have sufficient smoke detectors hard-wired into the home with battery backups. ALCs must also meet all local fire safety ordinances and rated as a limited or existing healthcare facility.

What are the Alzheimer’s Requirements for PCHs and ALCs in Georgia?

Specialized Memory Care Units or Homes include requirements concerning not only disclosure of information, staffing, assessments, individual service plans, and therapeutic activities, but also physical design, environment, and safety.

Senior Assisted Living Details and Costs for Cities in Georgia

Found below are some of the larger cities in Georgia. Each city link provides details on assisted living facilities, independent living, senior group homes, and memory care. Provided details may include costs, amenities, medical care, among other information.

What Training is Required for PCH/ALC Staff?

Regardless of licensing both PCHs and ACLs require staff to have work-related training within the first 60 days of employment. Training include instruction in residents’ rights, identification of conduct constituting abuse, neglect or exploitation of a resident, and reporting requirements as well as general infection control principles and emergency preparedness. Direct-care staff must also be training in CPR, emergency first aid, medical and social needs and characteristics of the resident population, and training specific to job duties within the first 60 days.

Specialized Memory Care staff should undergo training on the facility’s philosophy of care for residents with dementia, common behavioral problems, behavior management techniques, the nature of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, communication skills, therapeutic interventions and activities, the role of the family, environmental modifications that create a more therapeutic environment, development of service plans, new developments in diagnosis and therapy, skills for recognizing physical or cognitive changes that warrant medical attention, and skills for maintaining resident safety.

Is an Assessment Required Before Move-In?

PCHs must complete a resident assessment and the proper forms can be found online to be completed by a physician 30 days prior to admission. There is also a post-admission assessment requirement to help determine the level of care for the resident, addressing family support, ADLs, physical care needs, and behavior impairment.

ALCs must complete an assessment to address resident’s needs. An individual care plan must be developed within 14 days of admission and updated either annually or more frequently if the resident’s needs change before then.

What Care is Available in a PCH and ALC?

  • Housing.
  • Food Services.
  • 24 hour responsibility.
  • Assistance with ADLs.
  • ALCs must provide protective care and watchful oversight.

How is Medication Managed?

In PCHs all medication must be self-administered by the resident unless assistance is requested. Then only licensed staff or those who have undergone the proper training may assist. In ALCs, unlicensed staff may assist with self-administration if requested, or a certified medication aide can administer medication.

What are the Bathroom Requirements for a PCH and ALC?

ALCs require a separate toilet and sink for staff use.

What are the Move-In or Move-Out Requirements?

PCH (Personal Care Home) requirements:

  • Resident must be able to move around and not require physical or chemical restraint.
  • Resident must not require confinement to control behavior.
  • Resident must not be bedridden.
  • Resident must not require continuous medical or nursing care and treatment.

ALC (Assisted Living Community) requirements:

  • Resident must be able to participate in transferring from place to place.
  • Resident must be able to participate in social and leisure activities.
  • Resident must not require continuous medical or nursing care and treatment.

Is Assisted Living Covered by Medicaid in the State of Georgia?

While Medicaid reimbursement is not available for ALCs, a Medicaid home and community-based services waiver reimburses 2 models of PCHs.

Who can I contact for more information?

Georgia Department of Community Health, Healthcare Facility Regulation Division
Elaine Wright
(404) 657-5850