3 Assisted Living Communities in South Dakota
Jenkins Living Center
Westhills Village Retirement Community
Good Samaritan Society - Ellsworth Village
South Dakota occupies a mixed bag of terrain, from broad flats and stark badlands in the east to cathedral-spire rocks and the massive Black Hills in the west, most of the state is still in its pristine natural condition. Some of America's most productive fossil beds are located here, as are multiple national parks and monuments, including Mount Rushmore and the site of Custer's Last Stand. Seniors who enjoy outdoor recreation and horseback riding past one of the world's largest bison herds (1,500 animals, each roughly 2,000 pounds) can find peace and freedom in South Dakota, which has taken on the moniker "the Mount Rushmore State."
The state of South Dakota is home to only 870,000 people, 16 percent of whom are seniors over age 65. Many of the state's people live in or close to Rapid City and Sioux Falls, though plenty of small frontier towns dot the horizon beyond the Interstate 90 corridor. Much of the wilderness in South Dakota blooms with the state flower, the American pasque, which has rich purple petals around a bright, sunny center when it's in full blossom. The state bird is the ring-necked pheasant, which breeds easily in South Dakota and can be hunted during the designated season, October 1 to the first week of January. This bird is actually not native to South Dakota but was introduced from Asia during the 19th century to California, where it's a pest animal. Veterans, former POWs and seniors with disabilities may qualify for reduced fees for admission, hunting licenses and access to the state's many designated hunting areas.
What is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is a residential care option that helps many seniors live with more privacy and independence than would be possible under medical supervision, but with enough help to stay safe and enjoy an active lifestyle. Staff at assisted living communities provide emergency response for residents, as well as help with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as dressing, personal care and taking pre-measured medications.
What Does Assisted Living Cost in South Dakota?
In South Dakota, the average monthly cost of assisted living is $3,500, according to the 2018 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.
Assisted living in South Dakota costs about $3,500 a month. This is significantly less than the national median monthly cost of $3,750. In South Dakota, home health aides, a flexible level of care before a senior moves into assisted living, generally cost $4,767 a month in South Dakota. That makes assisted living an attractive option for many seniors, even in Rapid City and Sioux Falls, where assisted living can cost $3,925 and $3,125 a month, respectively.
How is Assisted Living Regulated in South Dakota?
Assisted living facilities across the state of South Dakota must be formally licensed through the South Dakota Department of Health and Human Services Office of Health Facilities Licensure and Certification. This office maintains a publicly available directory of approved properties as a service to seniors and their loved ones who are looking for a community to move to. The office inspects and regulates these facilities for health and safety concerns, staff training issues and to investigate complaints about quality of care.
How is Assisted Living in South Dakota Affected by Laws and Taxes?
South Dakota's tax system favors seniors with pensions and investment income. For some aging citizens, it may even be one of the most tax-friendly states in the Union. Social Security is not taxed at all in South Dakota, which doesn't impose taxes on income of any kind, including wages and payments from IRAs and 401(k)s. Sales taxes are also low, relative to most other states, at a statewide 4.5 percent, plus maybe 2 percent in the cities. Food, medicine and items bought with SNAP benefits are completely exempt from even these taxes. Property taxes are also very low in South Dakota, which may work out well for seniors who wish to keep their homes in the family when they move into assisted living. In addition, South Dakota has no inheritance tax.
Politics in South Dakota
South Dakota's government is divided into three branches with a bicameral state legislature. The governor and lieutenant governor are elected together on a unified ticket, and the state courts have a combination of appointed and elected judges. South Dakota's relatively low population density has left it with only one member of the House of Representatives, which gives this solidly Republican state just three votes in the Electoral College.
Aging citizens with an interest in voting may cast their ballots early or by mail, though registration has to be done in person, with no mail-in or faxed registration forms accepted. Registration forms are available from the office of the state registrar, or residents can download print-quality copies from the Secretary of State's website.
- The carving of four presidents on the face of Mount Rushmore is officially known as the Shrine of Democracy. It took 14 years to carve into its present form, but the total cost was just $1 million. Today, the site includes a WWII museum and welcomes 2 million visitors a year.
- Jewel Cave is one of the longest connected cave systems in the world. The USGS has charted over 120 miles of underground passages at the site, where microscopic crystals in the walls glitter in the light and give the cavern its name. Seniors with mobility issues can take advantage of multiple ramps and on-site staff who are able to assist adults with disabilities explore the cave.
- The Black Hills are neither hills, nor are they black. These heavily forested mountains rise thousands of feet over the surrounding terrain, and they're visible from such a distance that the uniform green cover of the trees looks black. Since 1940, the Black Hills town of Sturgis has been the site of a popular motorcycle rally for 500,000 visitors, including several groups of senior riders.