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How Much Does Independent Living Cost? A State-by-State Guide

10 minute readLast updated June 7, 2024
fact checkedon June 10, 2024
Written by Merritt Whitley, senior living writer and editor
Reviewed by Saul Chapnick, MSWAssisted living executive Saul Chapnick has extensive experience revitalizing distressed facilities and ensuring new ones start strong.
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The national median cost of an independent living community is $3,100 per month, according to A Place for Mom’s proprietary cost data. Independent living has become a popular senior living option among older adults because of the active lifestyle, vibrant social scene, and neighborhood-like feel offered in these communities. Independent living, sometimes called active adult communities or retirement homes, typically refers to communities for active adults 55 years and older. To accommodate the unique needs and lifestyles of seniors, independent living communities often vary in their activities, style, services, and — you guessed it — cost.

Can you afford independent living?

Let our free assessment guide you to the best senior living options, tailored to your budget.

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Understanding the cost of independent living

Independent living is often more affordable than assisted living, memory care, and nursing home care because care services are not provided. Median independent living costs can be as low as $1,800 per month or as high as $6,000 per month, according to A Place for Mom’s 2024 Cost of Long-Term Care report.[01]

Seniors most often start their independent living search by asking, “What is the average cost of senior independent living?” However, the average cost of independent living is often skewed due to concentrations of extremely high or low price points. Therefore, the median cost of independent living paints a better picture when searching for the monthly cost of these senior living communities.

“Senior living costs will fluctuate based on the basic principles of economics: supply and demand,” explains Kendra Stevens, former vice president of sales at Holiday Retirement, a senior living provider with more than 260 independent living communities nationwide.

The U.S. population over the age of 65 has grown rapidly since 2010, with baby boomers beginning to turn 65 in 2011. By 2030, all baby boomers will be 65 or older.[02] As that generation continues to age into retirement, the need for senior living is expected to rise — along with the cost.

Monthly independent living costs by state

StateMedian price
Alabama$2,412
AlaskaN/A*
Arizona$2,703
Arkansas$2,750
California$3,543
Colorado$3,116
Connecticut$3,930
Delaware$3,534
District of Columbia$6,000
Florida$3,250
Georgia$3,030
Hawaii$4,963
Idaho$3,035
Illinois$2,820
Indiana$2,621
Iowa$2,573
Kansas$2,683
Kentucky$3,039
Louisiana$2,325
Maine$3,434
Maryland$3,790
Massachusetts$3,995
Michigan$2,675
Minnesota$2,550
Mississippi$2,875
Missouri$2,930
Montana$2,922
Nebraska$3,302
Nevada$3,598
New Hampshire$4,390
New Jersey$3,600
New Mexico$2,878
New York$3,360
North Carolina$3,395
North Dakota$1,830
Ohio$2,783
Oklahoma$2,495
Oregon$3,026
Pennsylvania$3,260
Rhode Island$4,050
South Carolina$2,997
South Dakota$2,999
Tennessee$2,880
Texas$2,691
Utah$2,838
Vermont$4,550
Virginia$3,360
Washington$3,575
West Virginia$3,200
Wisconsin$2,795
Wyoming$2,597

* A Place for Mom does not have sufficient cost data on the cost of independent living in Alaska.

The medians above are taken from an analysis of 13,481 residents who moved into independent living communities within A Place for Mom’s network in 2023. These median independent living facility costs are calculated based on actual monthly costs paid by families within a resident’s first month of moving in.

Can you afford independent living?

Let our free assessment guide you to the best senior living options, tailored to your budget.

Most expensive states for independent living

See the 10 states with the highest cost of independent living below.[01]

Least expensive states for independent living

See the 10 states with the lowest cost of independent living below.[01]

How are independent senior living costs calculated?

“The most important thing to keep in mind is that independent living communities all structure their pricing differently,” says Maureen Bradley, a former executive director at a senior living community, who now works at A Place for Mom. “For example, some independent living communities offer meal or housekeeping plans that are flexible. Depending on how much the senior plans to do those things on their own, they can minimize or eliminate extra costs.”

“The majority of communities are bundled or have an all-in inclusive rate,” Stevens also explains. “Amenities are generally included in the base rent, but some communities have variations, which include paying for meals or housekeeping separately.”

In continuing care retirement communities, or CCRCs, independent living, assisted living, and nursing home care are all offered on one campus. CCRCs typically have a large entrance fee, which is sometimes partially refundable.

The cost of independent living typically varies due to factors like:

  • Cost of living in your area
  • Apartment or home size
  • Selected services
  • Offered amenities

Medical care isn’t usually an option in senior independent living communities. However, if residents need medical services, physical therapy, or more daily assistance, some independent living communities may coordinate with third-party providers and offer these services on-site at an additional cost.

Within A Place for Mom’s network, nearly 65% of independent living communities offer third-party care services.[03] Because such health care services are provided through a third-party home health care provider, they may be covered by public pay options, like Medicaid, or at least be tax deductible.

What’s included in the price of independent living?

Many all-inclusive communities include the following in their monthly price:

  • Housekeeping and unit maintenance
  • Maintenance and upkeep of grounds and common areas
  • Social activities
  • 24/7 security
  • Meals, snacks, and drinks
  • Scheduled transportation
  • Utilities (electric, basic cable, water)

What costs extra in independent living?

Depending on the independent living community and your preferences, there may be additional costs for:

  • Association fees. These fees are typically used for maintenance, services, or special activities and can be charged on an annual, monthly, or quarterly basis.
  • A one-time admission fee. This charge covers apartment preparation. Some communities may charge a one-time admission fee ranging from $870 to $7,500.
  • An entrance deposit. Up to 90% of this fee is refundable if you leave the community.
  • Personal services. Laundry, dry cleaning, medical assistance, meal delivery, haircuts, and spa services may be priced a la carte.
  • Pet care. Most pet-friendly communities allow select animal companions and might even offer on-site pet-care services. Pet policies, costs, and restrictions vary.
  • A second-person fee. Having a roommate, such as a spouse or a friend, may cost extra in some communities.
  • Carports. If you choose to bring a vehicle and prefer to keep it covered, carports can be rented on a monthly basis in some communities. Over 30% of communities within A Place for Mom’s network offer carports.[03]

Expert advice for affordable independent living

Tell us your care needs to receive options tailored to your budget.

Important pricing questions to ask independent living communities

Asking the right questions can provide families with an accurate idea of independent living costs and potential ways to save when paying for senior care. Many communities offer move-in incentives, depending on supply and demand.

When discussing cost while touring independent living facilities, ask the following:

  • Does the price increase annually? If so, by how much?
  • Is it possible to lock in a rate for a set number of months or years?
  • What apartment styles or sizes are available, and what are the cost differences?
  • Can I downsize from a larger unit to a smaller unit in the future to save money?
  • What happens if I require care services in the future?
  • What happens if I can no longer pay?
  • Are you offering any deals or specials right now?
  • What fees or services aren’t included in the price?
  • How long is the lease? Does the price vary with different lease lengths?
  • If I’m not happy here, how can I get out of the lease?

“Cost is a large factor for most families, but always keep in mind the environment, staff engagement, and how earnest the staff is to find a solution that works for your family,” says Stevens.

EXPERT TIPS: HOW TO SAVE ON INDEPENDENT LIVING COSTS

Choose the smallest unit size that you’re comfortable with. Units can vary drastically, from studios with a kitchenette to two-bedroom apartments with a full kitchen.

 

Ask for an affordable unit. Some communities charge less for units with obstructed views or units that are next to elevators due to noise.

 

Stay in independent living when care needs arise. It’s often cheaper to receive home care from a partnering agency rather than moving to assisted living.

How to find the right independent living community for you

The many senior living options available today can make it overwhelming when searching for one to fit your unique situation. It’s important to learn how to choose the right independent living facility according to your needs, preferences, and budget.

Senior Living Advisors at A Place for Mom are there to help you learn more about senior living options and costs in your area. They can locate options based on your specific preferences and can even help schedule tours of prospective communities — all at no cost to you and your family.

SHARE THE ARTICLE

  1. A Place for Mom. (2024). Cost of Long-Term Care and Senior Living.

  2. United States Census Bureau. (2020, June 25). 65 and older population grows rapidly as baby boomers age.

  3. A Place for Mom. (2024). A Place for Mom proprietary data.

Meet the Author
Merritt Whitley, senior living writer and editor

Merritt Whitley writes and edits content for A Place for Mom, specializing in senior health, memory care, and lifestyle articles. With eight years of experience writing for senior audiences, Merritt has managed multiple print publications, social media channels, and blogs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University.

Edited by

Marlena Gates

Reviewed by

Saul Chapnick, MSW

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom and the reader. Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter, and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site. Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

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