Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What is assisted senior living?

A: Senior living is the long-term care option that combines housing, support services and health care as needed.

Q: What services do senior living communities offer?

A: A typical community offers dining, social and wellness activities, housekeeping, transportation, assistance with ADL's (Activities of Daily Living) and medication management.

Q: How do I know if senior living is the right option for my loved one?

A: Senior living is appropriate for someone who needs some level of assistance with everyday activities such as meals, medication management, bathing or transportation.

Q: How are senior living communities regulated and licensed?

A: Regulations and licensure requirements vary from state to state. Most providers and their staff have specialized, ongoing training based on standards of care established by their senior living community. Some states require special training and staff certification. Communities must comply with local building codes and fire safety regulations.

Q: Are senior living services tax deductible?

A: Residents, family members and others who pay for an individual's care in an senior living community can, in most cases, file the entire monthly cost of senior living as a tax-deductible medical expense. Such information gives providers another tool regarding the affordability of senior living when working with seniors and their family members. Under HIPAA, expenses can be tax-deductible if such services are provided pursuant to a plan of care prescribed by a licensed health care practitioner, and the personal care services are required by a person who:
     - is unable to perform at least two activities of daily living, or
     - has severe cognitive impairment and requires supervision to protect self and others from health and safety threats.

Providers cannot provide tax advice; rather, they should advise consumers to consult a personal tax advisor, tax preparer or the IRS for information specific to their needs.

USA Today recently reported that Alzheimer's care provided by senior living communities is fully tax-deductible as a medical expense. Under IRS rules Alzheimer's is categorized as a severe cognitive impairment, "which is the threshold for determining if the taxpayer is entitled to a full medical deduction," according to the newspaper.

Details are available in two IRS documents:
Tax Topic 502 (Medical and Dental Expenses) and Publication 502 (Medical and Dental Expenses PDF)