217 communities in Massachusetts
Carleton Willard Village
Wingate Residences at Needham
Benchmark Senior Living At Leominster Crossings
Tatnuck Park At Worcester
Hebrew Senior Life
John Bertram House
Lathrop Community At Easthampton
Southgate At Shrewsbury
Benchmark Senior Living At Billerica Crossings
Benchmark Senior Living At Robbins Brook
Nicknamed the Bay State, Massachusetts is one of six New England states, all of which can be easily reached from Boston. As one of the original 13 colonies and the landing place for the Mayflower and the pilgrims, Massachusetts is a state steeped in history. There you’ll find the site of the Boston Tea Party and the Salem Witch Trials, Paul Revere’s House, and the Freedom Trail.
Boston is the state capital and the largest city in Massachusetts with a population of more than 630,000 people. Its mass transit system, run by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, offers public transportation by subway, bus or ferry, and monthly passes for seniors are discounted, making it easy to get around town.
Outside of Boston the population of Massachusetts’ cities drops drastically. Worcester is the state’s second largest city with a population of around 180,000 people and the state’s third-largest city, Springfield has a population of just over 150,000.
The Mayflower became the state’s official flower in 1918 but isn't easy to spot since it's been on the endangered list since 1925. However, you can see the official state bird, the black-capped chickadee, throughout the state all year long. The tiny, sociable creature doesn’t migrate south for the winter. Massachusetts also has an official state game bird, which, fittingly enough, is the wild turkey.
Seniors retire to Massachusetts to take advantage of its convenient location, rich history and famed clam chowder. The state has plenty to offer seniors and their families, including a lot of high-quality assisted living facilities.
What is Assisted Living?
In Massachusetts, assisted living communities are commonly referred to as residential care facilities. They are long-term care facilities that house seniors who are somewhat independent but require some help with normal activities of daily living (ADLs) such as dressing, grooming, bathing, medication management and meal preparation.
What Does Assisted Living Cost in Massachusetts?
The median cost of residing in an assisted living facility in Massachusetts is $5,599, which is $1,849 per month more than the national average, according to Genworth’s 2017 Cost of Living Survey. Like with other states, the average monthly assisted living costs vary throughout Massachusetts. Boston residents should expect to pay around $5,975 per month to reside in an assisted living facility, while Worcester residents typically pay about $5,238 per month. Springfield’s average monthly cost of assisted living is slightly lower at $4,918 per month.
As of 2017, people age 65 and older make up about 16.2% of the population in Massachusetts. The portion of the state’s population that includes people over the age of 60 is growing faster than any other portion of the population, and it’s estimated that approximately 25% of the state’s population will be age 60 or older by the year 2030, when the last wave of baby boomers reach retirement age. This is an increase of 33% from 2012.
How is Assisted Living Regulated in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, the Department of Public Health creates and enforces regulations for residential care facilities. It also has administrative power over other types of assisted living facilities including skilled nursing, memory care, hospice, and rehab. The state’s goal is to ensure all long-term care facilities maintain an above-average level of care so that residents have a safe, homelike place to call home as they continue to age.
Massachusetts’s Assisted Living Resident Rights are a set of regulations that protect the rights of residents residing in residential care facilities. These guidelines help ensure residents are treated and cared for properly and have a safe, healthy place to live. According to the list of guidelines, assisted living facility residents have the right to:
- Live in a safe, decent, and habitable residential living environment.
- Be treated with consideration, respect, and due recognition of individuality, personal dignity, and the need for privacy.
- Retain the use of his or her own property, space permitting, in their private living area to maintain a sense of individuality and independence.
- Private communications, including receiving and sending unopened correspondence, visiting with anyone he or she wants to see, and access to a telephone.
- Freedom to benefit and participate in community activities and achieve the highest level of independence within the community.
- Manage his or her own financial affairs, unless the resident has a legal guardian or court-appointed representative with the authority to manage his or her finances.
- Present grievances and recommended changes in policies, procedures and services.
- Confidentiality of all records and communications to the extent provided by law.
How is Assisted Living in Massachusetts Affected by Laws and Taxes?
Massachusetts is moderately friendly to seniors in regards to taxes. The state doesn’t impose an income tax on Social Security or public pension payment, but withdrawals from retirement accounts and private pension income are all fully taxed. Also, wages earned are taxed at the normal state rates, which are 5.10%.
Massachusetts property tax rates sit slightly higher than the national average, at 1.21%. On average, homeowners pay $4,132 in property taxes each year. This can make it difficult for low-income seniors and seniors on a fixed income to remain living in their homes after retirement. Fortunately, the state’s residential care facilities offer a high quality of care and its financial assistance program make living in the communities easier for seniors to afford.
Politics in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is often politically categorized as a socially progressive and liberal state. People in Boston are especially known for their passionate politics, particularly social progressivism and liberalism. The state government is divided into three branches: executive, a bicameral legislature, and judicial. The Governor is the chief executive officer of the Executive Council, which is also commonly referred to as the Governor’s Council. He or she is elected to office to serve a four-year term.
The Bay State maintains a state-level agency for aging citizens and senior affairs. This body, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, falls under the purview of the Governor's office and promotes independence and personal empowerment for seniors. This it does with research, advocacy and assistance with such things as senior job placement and abuse reporting.
Fun Facts About Massachusetts
Much of America's history comes from the Bay State, and as a result, there are a lot of quirky, fun facts that even many locals may not know.
- The notorious back wall of Fenway Park is called "the Big Green Monster." The iconic shade has been patented by the Boston Red Sox. It's called "Fenway Green," and using it sometimes requires paying a licensing fee to the ball club.
- Odd bits of Massachusetts' Puritan history can be found here and there. For example, the City of Boston outlawed happy hours in its bars in 1984. This actually comes up in a 1988 episode of Cheers, which was set in a bar in the city. In the episode "Jumping Jerks," bartender Sam suggests implementing a happy hour to Rebecca, the manager, who replies that it's not legal.
- Plymouth Rock is a lumpy fragment of glacial moraine about the size of a coffee table with the date 1620 carved into its surface. After it was broken, it was dragged around the town of Plymouth by ox teams in an effort to inspire Revolutionaries. Afterward, it was pillaged by 19th-Century treasure hunters before it was placed near the head of Plymouth Harbor.