87 Assisted Living Communities in Tennessee
Morningside Of Franklin
Richland Place Tennessee
Blakeford at Green Hills
The Pointe At Kirby Gate
Carriage Court Of Memphis
Brighton Gardens Of Brentwood
Elmcroft Of Brentwood
Shannondale of Maryville
Riverdale Assisted Living
Manorhouse of Knoxville
Well-developed metro areas and broad rural districts mark the landscape of Tennessee. This state has been a popular spot for seniors and their families to retire to since the first Scottish and Irish settlers leased land there from the Cherokee in the 1760s. Nashville is Tennessee’s biggest metro area as well as the state capital and reputed birthplace of modern country and rock and roll music. Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis all signed their first recording contracts in Nashville, which today boasts nearly 700,000 people just within the city limits. Memphis, which sits against the Mississippi River in the far west of the state, runs a very close second, with 650,000 inhabitants. From the two big cities, there’s a sharp drop off in urban density, with third-place Knoxville housing just 180,000 people of its own.
Tennessee is called the Volunteer State, partly out of a general sense of public-spirited and partly because no state contributed more volunteers to both the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. Although President Polk asked for just 2,600 volunteers nationwide, in 1846, 30,000 men from Tennessee signed up within six months.
Tennessee has two official flowers and two official birds. The purple passionflower is the state’s official wildflower, while the iris is the state's cultivated blossom. Likewise, the official wild bird is the mockingbird, while Tennessee’s symbolic game bird has been the partridge since the 1950s.
Seniors retire to Tennessee from all over the South, and many move here from the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. The good climate, beautiful scenery and relatively low cost of living all encourage aging citizens to take up permanent residence, as does the generally high quality of assisted living available in every city and town in the state.
What is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is a residential, long-term care option that many seniors opt for when the normal activities of daily living (ADLs) become more difficult than they can easily manage. In an assisted living community, residents have access to 24-hour help with activities like bathing, dressing and meal preparation, as well as a large community of other seniors at roughly the same stage of life.
What does Assisted Living Cost in Tennessee?
It’s slightly cheaper to retire in Tennessee than it is in other states. According to the 2017 Genworth Cost of Living Survey, which took in data about senior living options from across the United States, the average stay in assisted living costs $3,595 a month in Tennessee, against the $3,750 monthly median nationwide. The capital, Nashville, is surprisingly more affordable than this, with an average monthly cost of just $3,455, while Memphis runs the average up a bit at $4,080.
In 2017, Tennessee had over 1.5 million residents over the age of 60. The state government predicts a rapid increase of over 37 percent to 2.16 million by 2030. This has created a local cottage industry of shops, health clinics and assisted living communities that cater to the needs of aging citizens, who are expected to make up over 28 percent of the state’s population by the early 2050s.
How is Assisted Living Regulated in Tennessee?
The Tennessee Department of Health regulates Tennessee’s assisted living communities through its Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities. This body has administrative power over all residential care options in the state, from assisted living to skilled nursing, memory care, hospice and rehab. At every level, the state’s explicit goal is to support its aging citizens in securing the least-restrictive and most homelike environments individual health conditions will allow.
Tennessee has led the way in this effort, becoming one of the earliest states to adopt a list of residents’ rights for seniors in residential care. This list is used as a set of guidelines for how care is delivered in Tennessee, and the licensing board refers to it during inspections and compliance checks. The list of rights assisted living residents can expect includes:
• Privacy as it pertains to medical care
• Freedom from mental, physical and financial abuse
• Refusal of treatment by resident
• Informed consent for all health-related and non-health-related actions that affect them
• Participation in drawing up admission agreements (which are like leases for assisted living communities) and treatment plans
• A minimum 30-day notice before major changes, such as moving to another residence
• The ability to manage your own financial and personal affairs, to the extent possible
• Treatment (medical and non-medical) with dignity and respect for your individuality
• Virtually unrestricted access to common areas and group events
• Keeping, wearing and using your own clothes, personal effects, toilet items and other possessions
• Receiving your own mail unopened, communicate privately and receive visitors of your choice at reasonable hours
• Participation (or refusal to participate) in community activities, such as trips and entertainment
• The right not to have to work for the assisted living community, unless that’s part of the payment arrangements for your stay
How is Assisted Living in Tennessee Affected by Laws and Taxes?
Tennessee is generally friendly to seniors, as it is to small businesses and property owners, tax-wise. The state does not impose an income tax, and so seniors’ retirement income gets a pass on the state level. Social Security, pensions, annuities, 401(k) plans and other forms of retirement income are all free and clear.
Property taxes are also generally low across the state, though Tennessee makes up for this with low state spending and relatively high sales tax on everyday goods. Interest and dividends are subject to state taxes, but for seniors who plan to keep working into their golden years, income from work is also tax-exempt on the state level.
Politics in Tennessee
Tennessee’s politics are as lively as you would expect from a place called “the Volunteer State.” The structure of government is a fairly standard three-branch design, with Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches sharing power in the capital. The state has a tendency to adopt statewide attitudes where it comes to voting. From 1880 to 1910, there wasn’t a Republican candidate who won an election anywhere in the state. Things moved a bit during the next 100 years, until 2010, when there wasn’t an elected Democrat to be found anywhere in Tennessee’s Congressional delegation or Governor’s office.
• In the election of 1860, Tennessee threw its electors toward Abraham Lincoln and then seceded from the Union before he could be sworn in as President.
• Tennessee native Samuel Powhatan Carter became the only person to serve as both an admiral in the U.S. Navy and as a general in the U.S. Army. He was from Elizabethton, in the eastern part of the state.
• Tennessee is home to both the most-visited National Park in the country (the Great Smoky Mountains Park) and the second-most-visited house (Graceland). Only the White House draws more visitors each year than Elvis’ mansion in Memphis.