9 Assisted Living Communities in Arkansas
Elmcroft of Sherwood
Elmcroft of Mountain Home
Brookdale Conway Arkansas
Elmcroft of Maumelle
Brookdale Chenal Heights
Brookdale Pleasant Hills
Brookdale Fort Smith
Assisted Living Options for Seniors in Arkansas
Arkansas' nickname is the Opportunity State, a slogan that works just as well for seniors looking for assisted living opportunities as the pioneers who founded the state in the early 19th century. Originally a part of the French North American empire, Arkansas was one of the states organized out of the Louisiana Purchase. Lying relatively close to the Gulf of Mexico, Arkansas has a humid subtropical climate with warm, muggy summers seniors with asthma or COPD might be careful in, while winters are about as mild as it gets. Springtime brings blooming apple blossoms all over the state, which may be why they're the state flower. Arkansas' state bird is the mockingbird, which can be heard in all parts of the state, also starting in spring.
Arkansas is one of the surprisingly few states where the capital is also the state's largest city: Little Rock. Over 190,000 people live in the capital city, which is more than twice the number for Arkansas' other populous cities, such as Fort Smith, Fayetteville and Springdale, which have between 65,000 to 80,000 residents each. Assisted living communities are evenly spread throughout these cities, with a diverse mix of urban facilities and communities set in more rural settings, where people still hunt for razorback hogs and deer.
What is Assisted Living?
Assisted living in Arkansas is also sometimes called residential care, though the term nursing home is often used interchangeably with this level of care, unlike in most other states, where a nursing home is a higher level of care. Assisted living residents in Arkansas pay a monthly rate for room and board, and for help managing the activities of daily living (ADLs), such as dressing and bathing, which have become tiring or difficult for aging citizens.
What does Assisted Living Cost in Arkansas?
Assisted living in Arkansas costs an average of $3,013 a month, which is substantially lower than the $3,750 median people pay nationwide, according to the 2017 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. Paying for assisted living in most parts of the state may actually save some money for seniors and their loved ones. Home health aides in Arkansas cost an average $3,432 a month for seniors who live on their own. Little Rock, the capital and largest of Arkansas cities, has been at the center of the 13.2 percent increase in the state's over-65 population between 2010 and 2015.
How is Assisted Living Regulated in Arkansas?
The state of Arkansas monitors assisted living communities through the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Aging Services, which publishes regulations and conducts regular inspections of residential care sites around the state. The department encourages staff at residential care facilities to help seniors live as independently as their health permits, and both senior residents and their loved ones are encouraged to reach out to the department online or by phone with any concerns over the quality of care a facility provides.
How is Assisted Living in Arkansas Affected by Laws and Taxes?
Arkansas is a relatively tax-friendly place for seniors to retire to. Social Security is not taxed in the state, and there's a $6,000 exemption on other types of retirement income, though details can get complicated for specific tax benefits, which often depend on the exact type of income a senior gets. IRAs and 401(k) income are generally included in these exemptions for most seniors. Sales taxes run as high as 7 percent on many items in Arkansas, though property taxes are very low here.
Politics in Arkansas
The state constitution gives Arkansas' government a typical three-branched structure, with a relatively large bicameral legislature known as the Arkansas General Assembly. Arkansas has four congressional districts that cover the state and six electors in the presidential elections, for which Arkansas is a reliable red state. Arkansas has many deeply conservative laws on the books, such as one state statute banning abortion entirely, which was passed in anticipation of a future Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Gun laws are similarly conservative, and seniors who travel alone can carry arms with a shall-issue permit.
One quirk of Arkansas politics is the duplication of county seats in many parts of the state. When Arkansas was first organized as a state, travel over the rough terrain was extremely difficult and time-consuming. The local solution was to designate multiple county seats in some of the rougher areas. Even after the interstate system was built, this convention carried on, and so it's a general rule that county government offices are duplicated in several of the largest cities in each county in Arkansas. This actually works to the advantage of seniors with mobility or transport issues by putting county offices within reach of aging citizens in more cities than would otherwise be the case.
- Aging citizens in Little Rock can stroll across the Main Street bridge without fear in the worst weather since it's against the law for the Arkansas River to flood above the level of the bridge.
- More than half the state is still covered by its native forests. Active seniors can hike, camp and hunt in this unspoiled wilderness with a state-issued 65 Plus Lifetime Combination License, which covers the bearer for fishing and hunting for life and doesn't have to be renewed. It's also great to drive through Arkansas' unspoiled timberland on a day trip with family.
- Seniors who visit the Booger Hollow Trading Post in Dover may have the unique experience of visiting the world's only double-decker, two-story outhouse. Originally built as a joke, the structure is actually in use and takes up less space than the equivalent of two separate outhouses. Aging citizens with mobility issues are encouraged to stick to the ground floor.