Best Assisted Living in Des Moines

According to, Iowa is not only one of the safest places to live in the U.S., but also has “outstanding health care and its residents are some of the happiest in the country.” The state’s reputation is bolstered by claims that the people are friendly and the lifestyle low-stress.

Though state capitals are often characterized as dull – and Des Moines, for many years, was no exception – beginning in the early 2000s, all that began to change.

The city, with a population in  2017 of about 216,553, is still ranked as the third largest “insurance capital” in the world. Thanks to investors, the downtown area experienced a major revival, making it appealing to artists, big employers, and a wealth of amenities to appeal to shoppers, diners, museum- and gallery-goers, and those seeking a broad range of live entertainment from rock ‘n’ roll to Shakespeare.

What people like about Des Moines, Iowa

  • The median house price is some $50,000 less than the national average. rates 100 popular US cities regarding home affordability, using a scale of 1 to 10, where level 1 equals most affordable. Des Moines is rated a level 2.
  • As of early 2018, stated that Iowa was had the 12th lowest cost of living in the U.S. and was the 2nd best in housing affordability.
  • Taxes: While Social Security benefits are tax-exempt, Iowa does have an estate/inheritance tax ranging from 1% to 15%; a sales tax of 6%; there is a Homestead Exemption for those 65+ with a sufficiently low income; there are also Retirement Income Exemptions for those who qualify;
  • You can explore downtown Des Moines in perfect comfort, no matter what time of the year, by using the four-plus miles of climate-controlled, covered skywalks that connect one building with another. The Des Moines Skywalk System is one of the largest such networks in the country. There are downloadable maps available to keep folks from getting lost.
  • Public transportation, apart from taxis and rental cars, is represented by the Des Moines Area Regional Transit. DART currently offers a widespread bus schedule that includes the expected in-city routes plus express and commuter routes. The possibility of adding light rail has been raised numerous times but has failed to get much public support.
  • Seventy-six city parks
  • Three public golf courses
  • Three family aquatic centers
  • The picturesque Des Moines River runs through the downtown area, beautifully embellished by the Principal Riverwalk, a 1.2-mile trail, with two pedestrian bridges linking the east and west sides of the downtown area. The trail also connects a series of plazas, an outdoor ice skating rink, an amphitheater, and other features worth seeing.
  • Des Moines is the home to several professional minor-league sports teams in baseball, basketball, soccer, indoor football and hockey. In fact, in 2017, Sports Business Journal selected Des Moines as the #1 minor league sports city in the entire country.
  • There are at least 11 museums celebrating various of the arts, sciences, and Iowan history. There’s also the unique World Food Prize Hall of Laureates, which, since opening in 1987, acknowledges and promotes agriculturists from around the world who develop responsible methods to increase worldwide food production.
  • For those who are politically minded, Des Moines is the host of the Iowa caucuses.
  • The city hosts 11 hospitals and clinics, though three are devoted to children.

Other considerations for Des Moines

  • Though Iowa’s overall crime rate is lower than the national average, Des Moine’s is well above the country’s average for similarly-sized US cities. Like any city, though, some neighborhoods are safer than others. Your best bet in determining the safety factor in a given neighborhood would be to contact the police station in or closest to the neighborhood of interest.
  • Temperature changes throughout the year can be extreme. Expect nighttime lows of below freezing from December into March and summers that can sizzle; high 80s up to mid-nineties are pretty much the norm. Tornados are common, and you could expect an estimated 50 thunderstorms annually.

Best Assisted Living Des Moines, IA – Who makes the list?

A look at the best assisted living in Des Moines, Iowa.

3801 Grand | Des Moines, IA 50312

3801 Grand provides Independent Living, Enhanced Independence, Assisted Living, Memory, and Respite.

Caring– 8 Reviews, Average Rating 4.6
SeniorAdvisor– 16 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorHomes– No Reviews
GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: entire complex always very clean, setting is very beautiful, pet-friendly, Some benefits to being downtown, clean & neat, Really feels like home, Plenty of patios, a lot of flowers, Staff were friendly and attentive, very social [atmosphere], 3801 has a lovely [&] updated [&] open lobby and dining area, [facility has] a cozy small feel, [facility] is smaller so it's personal, [Resident] became more independent without the ongoing concerns of health and home, [Resident] received all the support she needed in final stages of life, place was very homey, staff was very good, people [are] very friendly, seemed like [employees] were happy, staff [is] kind and very helpful, probably not as plush [as other community] but a better value, Administrators appear to have the well-being of residents as top priority, very comfortable, food was fine [though] a little on the bland side, well prepared and delicious, [food] was good, food is excellent, food seems to be pretty good, dining-area was beautiful, environment was more than good, rooms were very nice, [apartment] was clean [&] nice and spacious, [Resident’s] room was comfortable [&] clean, [apartment had] large windows, easy accessibility to kitchenette and bath, all rooms except first floor have decks, [facility] met my relative’s needs for a safe [&] friendly [&] quiet [&] secure stay, facility is comfortable and pretty, has a homey and friendly feel, The staff is incredible, [Staff] are kind [&] caring [&] supportive[&] respectful & experienced, They have helped ME help my aunt cope and live with dementia, Probably best of all…everyone has a good sense of humor, The smiles of happy staff brighten gloomy days, When [resident] has bad times during the day the staff works with her to engage her in an activity [or] support her with comforting words or just sit with her until she feels better, nursing staff makes me feel secure with her medical needs, they don't have add on services and the facility was much nicer than some of the other places we looked at, Everyone there was helpful throughout the process, [Staff member] gave me the name of someone to help us get $$ from the VA and he is great too, [there’s] a meeting room for group get-togethers, Activities always going on whether it was entertainment or physical fitness and well-attended, Kept [Alzheimer’s resident] active and involved, bowling, library, cards, outings, beauty shop, They have Sunday services

What they didn’t like: only thing that really turned [us] away was the old neighborhood the community is in, weekends can get a little difficult because there are less staff, Very serious language gap [between employees and residents], told Grand could care for [resident] through stages of Alzheimer’s…then told [resident] couldn’t return after hospital stay, Language barriers, [Resident] not getting bath [for] 10 days, Expecting a person with dementia to answer open-ended questions, There’s a gap between what they say they’ll do and…what actually gets done

Beaverdale Estates | Des Moines, IA 50310

Beaverdale Estates offers Independent Senior Living, Assisted Living, and Alzheimer’s and Memory Care.

Caring– 14 Reviews, Average Rating 4.9
SeniorAdvisor– 37 Reviews, Average Rating 4.5
SeniorHomes– 4 Reviews, Average Rating 4.5
GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: [Facility] kept up very well, very elegant, very beautiful, very clean, clean and organized, warm and homey,[family] know resident is safe, no buy-in, particularly liked that paying two extra months’ rent [meant resident’s] room rate [would never go up], a very involved community [and] a lot of residents volunteer in different ways, all amenities included, outdoor rockers and open entryway, facility has a lot of natural light and a very bright feeling, rooms were beautiful, rooms are spacious, one-bedrooms…were quite spacious with lots of storage space, kitchenette with sink and dorm sized fridge, efficiency apartment with small refrigerator and full bath, staff are just amazing, “ambassador” assistance, staff communicate with [family] really well, [Sales staff] work very well with the VA, Sales lady was simply amazing, Maintenance man addressed…problem quickly, staff learn the names of all residents and family members, people were great, the manager was very welcoming, housekeeping staff are wonderful and…respectful of [residents’] things, The staff was knowledgeable, staff is outstanding and caring, knowledgeable and competent staff, good managers; their office doors are open all the time, staff very friendly, maintenance is perfect, They clean the apartments every week, Maid service launders sheets [&] towels, token economy for some behaviors, staff is nice and very helpful, staff…very friendly, staff was very efficient, BE was an excellent [&] warm [&] comfortable place, good city bus, the food is good, dining area was nice and very pleasant, dining area is easy to get to, three meals a day, food was fantastic, open cafeteria style throughout the day so you can get coffee and fruits until 9:00 p.m, food was excellent [and the] selection was great, menu was very good, food was awesome, all kinds of activities, musical entertainment, cards, games, exercise, an exercise room, morning exercises every day, Wii bowling, bean bag toss, singing, very nice craft activities room, very nice kitchen that you can use if you want to bake cookies or do something fun for yourself, [facility does] provide transportation on shopping or to doctor's appointments, travel service M thru F, have our own choir made up of residents, have a choir director and…musical managers that are very talented, gospel singing on Sunday afternoon, two different kinds of bingo, all kinds of games, baseball, movies on Sunday with popcorn and refreshments, two wonderful libraries, big open spaces, [Owners] knew that a lot of the residents couldn't go to the fair so they brought the fair to them

What they didn’t like: apartments were just a little bit small, lousy sidewalks to building, Staff members are friendly but…they could be a little more available, they don’t really do anything hands on to get new residents acclimated to the new community, a lot of people here are cliquey, [nice community] but got feeling staff was more interested in the sale than in me, setup of bathroom, ceiling water damage, too few washers and dryers, parking situation

Bickford at Urbandale | Urbandale, IA 50322

Bickford at Urbandale provides Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Companion Care, Retreat Stay, and Day Stay.

Caring– 12 Reviews, Average Rating 4.2
SeniorAdvisor– 19 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorHomes– No Reviews
GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: welcoming and homey, clean and well maintained, pretty clean, very clean, The people are always friendly, [Residents] were talking and discussing current events, grounds looked fine, reasonable price, very homey atmosphere, a lot of activity, staff seems to be very active, happy with the great care received here, front patio, flower beds and nicely manicured grass, The interior was inviting and we could smell fresh flowers, dining area looked very nice and clean, [facility] small and seemed more personable, staff was great, [staff] very pleasant and knowledgeable, staff was fine, staff…was supportive, [resident] is safe and happy there, staff super friendly, staff are so responsive and kind, The dining areas were nicely designed and warm, the dining area was very nice, nice menu, food is really good, food seems to be very good, The dietician and chef change up the menu to keep it interesting and encourage residents to make suggestions, great food, residents encouraged to enjoy physical activity [and] may take exercise classes such as yoga and aerobics or use the weight training and other equipment, outer walkways around the building and courtyard, private rooms tastefully decorated and had…a light and airy atmosphere, Each unit has nice views, Bathrooms designed with safety seats and rails, a little beauty shop, discussions, and other stimulating activities, transportation, activities, games, arts and crafts, a lot of entertainment

What they didn’t like: all [the rooms] were small, food portions were small, very expensive, won’t accept state or federal funds, rooms gave the feel of an old nursing home…very sterile, occasional clothing mix-ups with the laundry service, food is really the only…issue, sort of like an old-fashioned community, too many people to caregivers

Illahee Hills | Urbandale, IA 50322

Illahee Hills offers Independent Senior Living, Assisted Living, and Alzheimer’s and Memory Care.

Caring– 15 Reviews, Average Rating 4.6
SeniorAdvisor– 24 Reviews, Average Rating 4.5
SeniorHomes– No Reviews
GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: very nice facility, excellent place, nice residential area, location is good…right in the old downtown area in Urbandale, always clean with no odors, a little fancier than the other place we visited, affordable, general cleanliness and friendliness stood out for me, good communication with main office, price is competitive, as close to assisted living as you can get and still be in independent living, [facility] is cheery [&] light and bright, The rooms and dining area are very nice, a lot of windows and you get a lot of outdoor light, a lot of art on the walls and in the hallways, grounds were beautiful, not many grounds which was kind of nice, very pleasant people, [staff] seemed authentic and very knowledgeable, a nice room for entertaining if you had somebody come to visit, a private dining room, If you [are a resident] in one of their facilities anywhere in the country…you can travel and stay [at other of their facilities] for free and eat for free – a good benefit [for residents who] like to travel, seemed like [staff] would adapt to your personal situation, beautiful [&] elegant dining area, food was excellent and chef-prepared, staff friendly and accommodating, rooms were very spacious, rooms are spacious, Apts and studio smaller but good layout, thought the rooms were a little larger [than elsewhere], rooms seemed to be very nicely organized, kitchenette [with] a little refrigerator/sink/a counter/cupboards, weekly light housekeeping, They only launder [facility-owned] sheets and towels [&] laundry room [available] for no additional charge, restaurant-style dining, food was really good, three meals a day and snacks, food is very good, They accommodate my strict diet requirements, varies menu options, dining room very nice, dining room on second of three floors, meals were excellent, Trivia games at lunch, very good [food] selection, Wii bowling, horseshoes, crafts, [Facility has] a bus that will take them to appointments, bingo, ice cream socials, live entertainment, There is a zoo and they will be bringing some live animals on Saturday, People come in for Sunday school and communion, beautiful library, a big screen TV and a screening room for sports and movies, lots of games in the recreation room, puzzles, exercise, transportation to doctors' appointments, [Facility] provides toilet paper, all utilities (except phone)

What they didn’t like: a smell that wasn't pleasant, a little expensive, TV in the room but no Wi-Fi, Got the feeling the staff was…more interested in the sales than [in] me, Guide seemed rushed and didn’t really listen to [me], food isn’t always great, [delay] in setting the phone up, nice but expensive and doesn’t take elderly waiver or Medicare or Medicaid

Prairie Hills at Des Moines | Des Moines, IA 50320

Prairie Hills at Des Moines provides Assisted Living, and Alzheimer’s and Memory Care.

Caring– 2 Reviews, Average Rating 4.5
SeniorAdvisor– 15 Reviews, Average Rating 4.5
SeniorHomes– No Reviews
GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: [Facility] clean, [Facility]well taken care of, good environment, wide hallways, beautiful yet homey, homier [than elsewhere], memory care unit had all small private rooms, This [facility] better set up for elderly people – less kitchen in their living space [and] better shower access etc., getting more value here than [previous location and] paying slightly less, secured area, [staff] all address [resident] by first name, staff always checking up on [resident], [staff] very quick to give [family] information, [Staff] are awesome – every single one of them, They help us with everything we need; they don’t just leave you on your own, agent…took time to know my loved one’s needs, [agent] also helped provide information on some financial aid, Everybody was very nice [&] very helpful [&] very engaged with all the residents, [staff] very caring, staff…pleasant and friendly, so much attention paid to the residents, everybody was like one big family, Mobile doctor, the menu, food was good, the food is great, variety of healthy [food] choices, lots of activities and lots of people participating, transportation for residents who need it, hair dresser visits every week, bingo, getting [resident’s] nails done, daily exercises, state fair party

What they didn’t like: didn't have as many activities [as elsewhere], front door didn't have a buzzer and that their [residents] were further along in dementia [than loved one]

Ramsey Village | Des Moines, IA 50301

Ramsey Village offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, Residential Care, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing, and Respite Care.

Caring– 8 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorAdvisor– 13 Reviews, Average Rating 3.5
SeniorHomes– No Reviews
GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: [Facility] very pleasant, the organization, more like a hotel in its style and cleanliness, They offer several levels of care, clean and maintained, It seemed like a safe place, security seemed fine since we had a code to get in and out, seemed to be in a rough neighborhood but they never had any trouble, The facility was OK, very clean, clean and safe, exterior and main areas newly renovated, Those rooms [that have been renovated] have very high-end finishes [like] marble counter top in kitchenette, very pleased with their chain of communication – they keep us well informed, Very professionally run, staff bent over backward to accommodate [respite resident], staff was very nice, major bonus is that even in a walk through you can get prices, [Sales team] very upfront, They were very friendly, staff is excellent, can tell they're well-trained in their areas, it was a fun environment, seemed a friendly place, had lots of things going on, grounds were adequate, the price was about average, residents were watching the eclipse with glasses on, The common dining-area was nice, food at Ramsey Village was good and home-cooked, menu was appealing and staff attentive, facilities were good and very well-maintained, [Family] felt much caring concern for [resident’s] well being and for [family’s], staff seemed excellent, staff is very skilled, very pleased with the way they treat my mom, professionalism, staff works well with the people [including in memory care], rooms were very nice – None of them was big but they were adequate, Individual rooms were nice and large, live entertainment, if you want or need help with cleaning it is available, rooms were nice, the bedroom seemed like a nice size and the living area was very nice, carpet seemed nice

What they didn’t like: couldn't go from A to B without going through a locked door – you felt locked in, it needed updating, didn’t see as much as activities as the [two other] places, seemed more like a nursing home, rooms are small, expensive, no covered parking, Too close to downtown, Ambience was quite institutional, suggest adding some music or television in the dining areas, Very nice – But many add-ons

The Lodge of Ashworth, Inc. | West Des Moines, IA 50265

The Lodge of Ashworth, Inc. provides Independent Living and Assisted Living.

Caring– 5 Reviews, Average Rating 4.8
SeniorAdvisor– 12 Reviews, Average Rating 5
SeniorHomes– No Reviews
GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: very large, very nice and very well-kept, very clean, There wasn't a smell, very homey and has flowers and trees around, a lot of activities, how everything was laid out in their apartments, Optional buy-in, Buy in reduces monthly rate, Can buy in at a later date, Only 2 meals – one is a continental breakfast, the staff in the dining room were all very friendly, [dining room] had a buffet, dining room was very large, the food is great, older complex but everything had been updated, [resident] likes the food, menu is appealing with a good variety, delicious meal, the chef did a great job, no assigned seating, 1 BR has 750 sf, Not a lot of closet space but includes storage in garage, They would rebuild the apartment if you wanted it a certain way, All the carpets were fresh [&] nice and new, had an emergency call button in the apartment, director and everybody were super nice, studios and from small bedrooms to 2 bedrooms with two bathrooms, washer/dryer in room, small but decent kitchen, Large patio/balcony, many unique floor plans, [generally] all had a balcony, [staff] clean apartments once a week, Housekeeper is very nice and helpful, an elevator, parking garage, a Jacuzzi, The staff was excellent, Staff is really good and caring, Everybody was very cordial and informative, staff are knowledgeable, exercises, outings, regular routines to keep people active, people come in to perform, theatre, musicians [brought] in, woodworking shop, many scheduled events, a gym, indoor swimming pool, bingo, [residents] really into bridge, scheduled travel service to market or mall or doctor, Guest room and party room available for fee, easy to transfer to more care if needed

What they didn’t like: had to sign a year's lease agreement, required first [&] last and deposit upfront, the only reason this facility didn’t work out…is hallways too narrow and not enough space for his wheelchair, community [is a] little older and darker

The Shores at Pleasant Hill | Pleasant Hill, IA 50327

The Shores at Pleasant Hill offers Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Skilled Nursing.

Caring– 5 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorAdvisor– 13 Reviews, Average Rating 4
SeniorHomes– No Reviews
GoldenReviews– No Reviews

What they liked: the staff is great, the price is good, exterior was designed like a hotel or resort, nicely appointed and beautifully landscaped greenery overlooking nearby Copper Creek Lake, residents could safely navigate the lovely patio grounds with adequate supervision as necessary, [residents] get to meet a lot of people with different backgrounds and interests, always someone at front desk to help [residents], all residents help each other whenever they can, If resident moves into independent care they get to stay there even if level of care changes, Some of the seniors maintain the garden, lobby was clean and fresh with very nice staff to greet us, a full-service senior community with a very attentive staff, staff is accommodating, The residents are very friendly for the most part and quite courteous, Some of the layouts were great, staff was very nice, open area for the dining room, meal menus all had healthy food options for all kinds of diets, dining room was quite nice with plenty of space, Healthy snacks are offered all day and into the evening [and] whenever residents request them, a smaller place with one- or two-bedroom units, living spaces were generous, several different floor plans to choose from, a two-bedroom [&] two-bathroom apartment with a nice living room [&] a full size kitchen [ &] a very big laundry room with a full washer and dryer and all the appliances, apartment comes with den and a plenty of closet space, fitness center [with] well maintained equipment and ample rooms, daily classes, library was impressive with many good books and games, Internet access, hair salon in the facility, Internet cafe and work spaces for various hobbies and crafts, safety of the residents is assured at all times, residents are taken to many interesting events in the region – to… many cultural activities, many planned outings feature everything from book readings and discussions to the arts and visits to local museums [&] galleries [&] film and theater, very good parking services for residents including an indoor parking garage, also a little shop [onsite where] residents can…buy snacks and other assorted conveniences

What they didn’t like: [apartments] did not have decks or patios, a little expensive, square footage could have been better for the price, [staff great but] very averse to any actions that might hinder “routine,” [all in all recommend but] be aware that there are a number of rules and guidelines, the “pod” option seemed too small [and] it seemed there was a charge for everything, [good for independent living but] quality care issues for memory care and assisted living, Very very nice but wanted something smaller

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