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Understanding Independent Senior Living Costs

Written by Merritt Whitley
11 minute readLast updated May 23, 2023
Reviewed by Saul ChapnickAssisted Living Executive Saul Chapnick has extensive experience revitalizing distressed facilities and ensuring new ones start strong.
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When your loved one is looking for a place to retire, they may consider independent living because of the active lifestyle, vibrant social scene, and neighborhood-like feel at these types of communities. Independent living, sometimes called active adult communities or retirement homes, typically refers to communities for active adults age 55 and older. These retirement options offer a spectrum of activities and vary in style, services, and — you guessed it — cost. Although senior living prices differ quite drastically around the U.S., independent living typically costs less than assisted living, memory care, and nursing home care.

Key Takeaways

  1. Independent living typically accepts adults age 55 and up. Communities vary in style, the services they offer, and cost.
  2. The average monthly cost of independent living is $3,170. Costs can depend on location, supply and demand, and apartment size.
  3. Most amenities are included in the base price. Meals, activities, housekeeping, lawn maintenance, and utilities are just a few of the common luxuries of independent living.
  4. Speak with communities to understand their pricing structure. Asking questions can help you understand what you can afford.

What’s the average cost of senior independent living?

The average monthly cost of independent living is $3,170, according to data compiled by A Place for Mom via communities in our network.[01]

“Senior living costs will fluctuate based on the basic principles of economics: supply and demand,” says Kendra Stevens, 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 of the 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.

What are the costs of independent living by state?

The cost of independent living varies by state. See the chart below to learn more about the actual cost of independent living in each U.S. state with available data, as calculated from A Place for Mom’s proprietary brand partners.[01]

StateMedian price10th percentile90th percentile
Alabama$2,500$1,591$4,081
Alaska
Arizona$2,603$1,840$4,485
Arkansas$2,620$1,877$3,600
California$3,295$2,152$5,348
Colorado$3,006$2,128$4,906
Connecticut$3,409$2,295$6,326
Delaware$4,150$2,725$5,500
District of Columbia$5,565$2,272$7,346
Florida$3,045$2,027$4,610
Georgia$3,000$2,046$4,747
Hawaii$5,140$4,138$6,408
Idaho$2,795$1,991$3,980
Illinois$2,650$1,161$4,871
Indiana$2,617$1,497$4,206
Iowa$2,495$1,700$4,036
Kansas$2,430$1,753$3,962
Kentucky$2,876$2,100$4,113
Louisiana$2,475$1,579$3,666
Maine$3,300$2,519$5,511
Maryland$3,715$2,530$5,645
Massachusetts$3,585$2,508$6,439
Michigan$2,600$1,211$4,200
Minnesota$2,392$1,396$3,876
Mississippi$2,795$2,267$3,670
Missouri$2,831$1,650$4,347
Montana$2,619$2,178$4,398
Nebraska$3,000$2,188$4,111
Nevada
New Hampshire$3,835$1,595$5,077
New Jersey$3,050$1,949$5,860
New Mexico$2,745$2,115$4,271
New York$3,135$2,015$6,094
North Carolina$3,197$2,352$4,945
North Dakota$2,820$1,743$4,048
Ohio$2,779$1,462$4,490
Oklahoma
Oregon$2,829$2,021$4,393
Pennsylvania$3,100$1,950$4,744
Rhode Island$3,900$2,756$5,510
South Carolina$2,897$2,068$4,400
South Dakota$3,415$2,385$3,747
Tennessee$2,658$1,775$4,448
Texas
Utah$2,715$1,628$4,309
Vermont$4,710$2,350$6,310
Virginia$3,100$1,700$4,844
Washington State$3,295$2,102$4,970
West Virginia$3,311$2,720$4,596
Wisconsin$2,895$1,520$4,685
Wyoming$2,479$2,096$3,500

Independent living costs by room type by state

Cozy, intimate room options may be more affordable than spacious or opulent ones. A starting point cost is the lowest cost in the range for that room type. Look for your state to learn about the median monthly starting point costs as compiled by A Place for Mom.[03]

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StateStudioSemi-private roomOne bedroom
Alabama$2,304.50$2,923.00$3,195.00
Alaska$771.00$1,000.00$1,316.00
Arizona$2,795.00$2,315.00$3,250.00
Arkansas$2,535.00$2,350.00$2,800.00
California$3,795.00$2,600.00$4,595.00
Colorado$2,919.00$2,575.00$3,610.00
Connecticut$3,932.50$3,487.50$4,599.00
Delaware$3,692.50$4,117.50
District of Columbia$3,311.00$3,589.00
Florida$2,855.00$2,400.00$3,300.00
Georgia$2,895.00$2,547.50$3,310.00
Hawaii$3,767.00$4,527.00
Idaho$2,484.00$3,192.50
Illinois$2,400.00$2,600.00$2,985.00
Indiana$2,590.00$2,030.50$2,759.00
Iowa$2,870.00$2,177.50$2,505.00
Kansas$2,300.00$2,125.00$2,790.00
Kentucky$2,645.00$2,000.00$3,289.00
Louisiana$2,317.50$1,674.00$2,669.00
Maine$3,027.00$2,600.00$3,697.00
Maryland$3,184.00$3,700.00
Massachusetts$4,797.50$4,235.00$5,500.00
Michigan$2,637.50$1,960.00$2,845.00
Minnesota$2,050.50$1,675.00$2,350.00
Mississippi$2,587.50$2,200.00$2,950.00
Missouri$2,330.00$2,600.00$3,000.00
Montana$2,729.00$3,670.00
National$2,858.50$2,535.00$3,250.00
Nebraska$2,885.00$3,015.00
Nevada$3,100.00$3,600.00
New Hampshire$4,075.00$3,681.50$4,359.50
New Jersey$3,147.50$2,500.00$3,795.00
New Mexico$2,607.50$3,045.00
New York$3,297.50$3,495.00$3,300.00
North Carolina$2,907.50$2,622.50$3,509.00
North Dakota$2,074.00$3,114.00
Ohio$2,649.00$2,228.50$2,992.50
Oklahoma$2,237.50$2,500.00
Oregon$2,631.50$1,775.00$3,320.00
Pennsylvania$2,740.00$2,760.00$3,280.00
Rhode Island$3,647.50$2,785.00$5,395.00
South Carolina$2,859.00$1,725.00$2,867.00
South Dakota$2,647.50$3,215.00
Tennessee$2,329.00$1,200.00$3,000.00
Texas$2,344.50$3,000.00$2,600.00
Utah$2,675.00$3,255.00
Vermont$4,330.00$3,015.00$4,660.00
Virginia$3,217.00$3,040.00$3,500.00
Washington State$3,115.00$3,992.50$3,860.00
West Virginia$1,971.00$3,150.00
Wisconsin$2,486.00$2,981.50$2,860.00
Wyoming$2,399.50$2,869.50

Most expensive states for independent living

The states with the highest cost of independent living for a one-bedroom unit, based upon A Place for Mom’s median monthly starting price data, are:

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Vermont
  4. Connecticut
  5. California [03]

Least expensive states for independent living

The states with the most budget-friendly costs of independent living for a one-bedroom unit, based upon A Place for Mom’s median monthly starting price data, are:

  1. Alaska (data compiled from fewer than 10 communities)
  2. Minnesota
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Iowa
  5. Texas [03]

How are independent senior living costs calculated?

Independent living communities offer a range of services and pricing options, Stevens says. “The majority of communities are bundled or have an all-in inclusive rate. 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 also depends on factors like:

  • Cost of living in your area
  • Apartment or home size
  • Services

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

What’s included in the price of independent living?

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

  • Housekeeping
  • Lawn maintenance
  • Social activities
  • 24/7 security
  • Meals, snacks, and drinks
  • Scheduled transportation
  • Utilities (electric, basic cable, water)

Read more: Independent Living Activities: Promoting a Healthy, Fulfilling Retirement

What costs extra in independent living?

Depending on the 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 when 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 furry and scaled companions. The cost and pet policies 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.

Talk with a Senior Living Advisor

Our advisors help 300,000 families each year find the right senior care for their loved ones.

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 on senior living expenses. Many communities offer move-in incentives, depending on supply and demand.

When discussing cost in independent living, 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 my loved one downsize from a larger unit to a smaller unit in the future to save money?
  • What happens if my senior loved one requires more care?
  • What happens if our family 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.

How to find independent living

The many senior living options available today can make it overwhelming when searching for one to fit your unique situation. The Senior Living Advisors at A Place for Mom can help you learn more about senior living, locate options near you or your loved one, and even schedule tours of prospective communities — all at no cost to you and your family.

SHARE THE ARTICLE

  1. A Place for Mom. (2022). A Place for Mom Proprietary Senior Living Price Index.

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

  3. A Place for Mom. A Place for Mom Proprietary Median Price Index.

Meet the Author
Merritt Whitley

Merritt Whitley is a creative copywriter at A Place for Mom. She has written for senior audiences for about six years and specializes in health, finance, and lifestyle content. Merritt has managed multiple print publications, social media channels, and blogs. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University, where she focused on journalism, advertising, and public relations.

Reviewed by

Saul Chapnick

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