Nebraska Assisted Living


Nebraska Assisted Living: How to pay for, Licensing and Questions to ask…

Nebraska is known to offer a high quality of life for residents. People come to Nebraska to take advantage of the great affordability of living. The Cornhusker state ranks number four in senior living and ranks top five for housing costs. Why wouldn’t seniors and retirees enjoy living here? There are 320,000 aging adults 65 years and older in Nebraska, and it is likely many will require care at some point. When most people think of senior care they imagine a nursing home, but this is not the case. There are excellent options for senior care besides nursing homes. Assisted living in Nebraska offer your loved one the benefit of security and peace of mind. These communities are a specific level of care in a community setting.

The state of Nebraska has several states which offer excellent healthcare: Omaha, Lincoln, Columbus, Grand Island, Kearney, Beatrice, among others.

Aside from assisted living, there are a variety of senior living and housing and care options which suit the requirements and desires of seniors.

Common terms that differentiate levels and types of senior living: 

  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)- typically include independent living, assisted living, residential care and skilled nursing services all on one campus.  
  • Independent Living Communities – provide residents a setting without the burden of home ownership. Residents commonly live in fully equipped private apartments or cottages from a studio to large two-bedroom units.  
  • Care Home or Adult Family Care Home- are private residences in a home-like setting that provide care services to a smaller more limited number of residents (typically 5-12 residents, depending on each state’s regulations). 
  • Assisted Living- provides housing and supportive care in a community setting, but the residents do not require 24-hour nursing care. 
  • Memory Care- a care setting for residents with memory loss or confusion. The community typically has a “secured” entry for residents that may wander. This care can be provided in different care settings depending on the state licensing requirements. 
  • Skilled Nursing is state licensed to provide a safe, therapeutic environment for people who require rehabilitative care 24 hours a day.

More about assisted living in Nebraska

Assisted living communities are NOT nursing homes. The most common universal term is assisted living. Some other common terms include: care home, residential care, convalescent home, rest home, or retirement home. The lay person sometimes groups all senior housing into the term of “nursing home.”

What does Assisted Living in Nebraska offer?

Service plans

An outline of the services the facility to meet the required needs of the resident. The service plan will outline all the care and services provided to the individual, how often, when and which staff.

Services offered in assisted living in Nebraska

Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs):

  • bathing
  • dressing
  • medication management
  • mobility
  • grooming
  • meals

Facilities may also provide additional services like transportation, laundry services, shopping, financial assistance and management, and even spiritual services.

Laws and regulations


Licensing for assisted living in Nebraska is regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services, Licensure Department, the Division of Public Health.


Units provided for residents may be an apartment or a a bedroom. Apartments are required to have a private bathroom, kitchenette, as well as a sleeping area.

In modern facilities, the maximum occupancy is two residents per unit, one toilet and sink for every four individuals, and one bathing facility for every eight residents.


Personal care services are performed by direct care staff. Medication must be administered by trained medication staff. Facilities are required to have a registered nurse on staff.

Staff must undergo a requisite training within the first six months of hiring, covering a variety of necessary topics: resident care and services, administration, rules and regulations and standards.


Nebraska provides and online complaint form through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services so anyone reporting abuse may do so anonymously if they wish.

Expected monthly cost of assisted living in Nebraska

Assisted living in Nebraska is more affordable than the national average. In Nebraska, residents pay $4,100 per month, whereas the national average is $4,500 per month. Aside from South Dakota, Nebraska offers the most affordable rates in the region.

  • National average cost of assisted living per month: $4,500
  • Nebraska: $4,100
  • Kansas: $$4,600
  • Colorado: $4,800
  • South Dakota: $3,400

Because of the economic structure within the state, costs vary city to city.

  • Omaha: $4,675
  • Lincoln: $4,725
  • Norfolk: $4,100
  • Grand Island: $2,950

How to pay for assisted living

You want to consider your payment options for assisted living, memory care, and care homes. For these services, Medicare is NOT an option for payment.

The most common payment for these services would be out of pocket Private Pay and assessing a combination of retirement funds, personal savings, and pension payments.

Medicaid can also be an option, be sure to see if you or a loved one qualifies.

Long-Term Care insurance is also a possible option in cases of chronic conditions, be sure to see if you or a loved one qualifies.

For our Veterans and spouses of veterans, be sure to assess Veteran Aid and your eligibility for these benefits.

Medicare – NO:

  • Medicare does NOT pay for Assisted Living.
  • People 65 years and older and individuals with end stage renal disease are eligible for Medicare benefits, no matter their income.
  • Coverage is meant for people in need of short-term care.

Private pay – YES:

  • Many families pay for assisted living with private funds.
  • Private pay can be a combination of retirement funds, personal savings, and pension payments.
  • Family members may contribute funds to pay for assisted living or other senior housing and care.

Medicaid – MAYBE:

  • Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans. Eligible participants include: low-income adults, elderly adults and people with disabilities.
  • Medicaid is administered by state, according to federal requirements. The program is funded jointly by each state and the federal government.
  • Every state has their own individual Medicaid assistance program.
  • National guidelines are in place do decipher how states must spend Medicaid money, but with allowances toward the guidelines.
  • The state determines what levels of care will be covered by Medicaid, who is eligible, and how much the state will reimburse the care community.
  • If you are unsure whether you qualify for Medicaid, you should apply. You may be eligible depending on your household income, family size, age, disability and other factors.

Long-term Care Insurance – MAYBE:

Long term care insurance is a great way to pay for assisted living, and planning ahead is important when considering how to pay for senior housing and care. Nearly 75% of people over the age of 65 will require long-term care and services at some point. Buying into long-term care insurance when a person is in their 50s and 60s is the most common time to do so.

  • Long-term care insurance helps cover the costs of chronic medical conditions.
  • Individuals and couples with the ability to pay into long-term care insurance have the advantage of a head start in allocating funds for senior care.

Veteran Aid and Assistance – MAYBE:

This benefit is available to some military veterans and surviving spouses who live in an assisted living community and those who have in-home care.

  • There are specific guidelines, but a veteran may qualify for as much as $2,050 each month.
  • A veteran with a sick spouse may be eligible for $1,600 per month.
  • If a veteran has passed, their surviving spouse can qualify for $1,300 per month.

Questions to Ask

Finding an assisted living community can be overwhelming. Here are some tips on things to be observant of:

  • Make sure the facility is clean and well maintained. You can tell a lot about the operation by noting what is clean and maintained. Are doorknobs loose or damaged? Do you see any frayed carpet or trip hazards?
  • Visit during lunch hour to observe what the residents are eating. Ask questions about the nutrition program. Is there diversity in meals, healthy fruits and vegetables served at all meals, drink options?
  • Speak to residents and/or family members to learn their perspective.
  • Ask about staff and resident engagement. Get a feel for how staff interact with residents.
  • Ask about the life enrichment programs. Activities are crucial when it comes to quality of life and play a key role in care for older adults.
  • And finally (along with a plethora of more things to consider), get to know the leadership in the building. If you feel good around the Executive Director, Head Nurse, Lead Activities Director and even the Chef or Janitor, it is a good sign you can trust them with the care of your loved one.

Eldercare Locator is a nationwide service that connects older Americans and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources. Connect with services such as meals, home care or transportation, or a caregiver education or respite from caregiving responsibilities. The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency of the U.S. Administration for Community Living.

Medicare provides a search feature to find & compare providers near you, most senior housing and care providers are included on Find & compare plans in your area. Determine if you qualify for premium savings

Medicaid offers information on how to apply for Medicaid, eligibility criteria, links to local state offices, and additional resources.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Whether you are living with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone with the disease, information and resources are available. 

Search Other Areas Assisted Living

Care Availability

Care Availability

Written by The Care Availability Team
Experts in the senior care & retirement living industries

Keep Me Informed

Receive checklists, articles, guides and news. We will email you relevant information about once a month.

"*" indicates required fields