About Assisted Living in Wisconsin

For those that enjoy the outdoors Wisconsin is the ideal place to retire with 100s of golf courses and plenty of land for fishing and hunting. While the personal income taxes are high (the 11th highest in the nation), the cost of living is below the national average.

What Options are Available for Assisted Living?

In the state of Wisconsin there are 3 types of regulated residential assisted living providers: community-based residential facilities (CBRF), adult family homes (AFH), and residential care apartment complexes (RCAC). All assisted living facilities in the state are designed to provide a home-like environment that enhances independence while providing care and protective oversight for its residents.

Both CBRFs and AFHs require a Program Statement to disclose the type of facility and the services provided, along with program specifications. A RCAC requires a service agreement to disclose all necessary information to the potential resident.

All facilities have different fire safety standards that must comply with state and local fire and building codes regarding the use of extinguishers, smoke detectors, alarms, and automatic sprinkler systems. Written evacuation plans are required in both CBRFs and AFHs, also requiring the performance of drills and local inspections.

What are the Alzheimer’s Requirements for Assisted Living Facilities in Wisconsin?

Both CBRFs and AFHs who serve residents with functional and cognitive impairments, including Alzheimer’s, must disclose special needs services as part of the licensing process, as well as steps to ensure needs and resident safety are met.

Senior Assisted Living Details and Costs for Cities in Wisconsin

The listings below are some of the larger cities in Wisconsin. Each city page provides details on assisted living facilities, independent living, senior apartments and homes, and memory care facilities. Details include costs, amenities, medical care, and other useful information.

What Training is Required for Assisted Living Facility Staff?

CBRFs require employees to complete orientation with department-approved training in medication management, standard precautions, fire safety, and first aid, as well as resident rights and challenging behaviors. Additional training is required for employees providing service to residents with dementia, including specific medication and treatments, program services, meeting dual diagnosis needs, and maintaining or increasing social participation, self-direction, self-care, and vocational abilities.

RCACs require documented training or experience in assisting with ADLs and the facilities philosophy, including respect for tenant privacy, autonomy, and independence. All staff are required to have fire safety training, first aid, and policies and procedures relating to tenant rights.

AFH service providers must complete 15 hours training relating to health, safety, and welfare of residents, resident rights, and fire safety and first aid.

Is an Assessment Required Before Move-In?

An assessment is required for each assisted living facility to create and implement a service plan or the resident.

What Care is Available in an Assisted Living Facility?


  • Supervision.
  • Activities, including activities for those with dementia.
  • Transportation.
  • Health monitoring and up to 3 hours of nursing care per week.
  • Medication administration and assistance.


  • 24-hour emergency services.
  • Meals.
  • Housekeeping.
  • Access to medical services.
  • Personal services.
  • Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs).
  • Nursing services, including health monitoring and medication administration.


  • Supportive and personal care services with Alzheimer’s or dementia, emotional disturbances or mental illness, alcoholism, physical disabilities, pregnancy, terminally ill, or AIDS.

Licensed 3rd party services may be contracted in all facilities to meet resident needs.

How is Medication Managed?

In both CBRFs and RCACs medication management and administration must be performed by a licensed professional. CBRF direct-care staff must complete an 8 hour approved medication administration and management course.

AFH must have written orders from the resident’s prescribing physician to administer medication, and all prescriptions must be stored in their original containers.

What are the Bathroom Requirements for an Assisted Living Facility?

CBRFs must have at least 1 toilet, sink, and bathtub or shower for every 10 residents. RCAC apartments must have a bathroom that has floor-to-ceiling walls, as well as a sink, toilet, bathtub or shower, and a door. AFHs must have at least 1 complete bathroom for every 8 household members, with locking doors that can be opened from the outside in case of an emergency, as well as grab bars and wheelchair accessibility for those who are unable to walk into bathing facilities.

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

Assisted living facilities can only admit residents whose needs can be met by the facility, and they may not admit or retain residents who:

  • Are bedridden (CBRF).
  • Are destructive to property or self (CBRF, RCAC, AFH).
  • Have needs that are not compatible with the rest of the group (CBRF).
  • Are incompetent and subject to guardianship (RCAC).
  • Require 24-hour nursing (RCAC).

30-day notice is required to discharge residents, unless it’s necessary to prevent harm to the resident or other household members.

Is an Assisted Living Facility Covered by Medicaid in the State of Wisconsin?

Community Option Program (COP) and COP-Waiver funds may be available for all types of assisted living facilities, depending on eligibility and waiting lists. Wisconsin’s Family Care program also provides public funding.

Who can I contact for more information?

Department of Health Services, Division of Quality Assurance, Bureau of Assisted Living
Carrie Molke
(608) 267-5267