Independent Living in Montana

Montana, or “Big Sky Country” as it’s often called, is an ideal retirement destination for seniors looking for a relatively quiet lifestyle paired with truly breathtaking scenery and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. Eastern Montana is part of the Great Plains and has a distinctive mixed landscape of vast prairies, buttes, and bluffs, which is also captured by the area known as the “Missouri Breaks” in the north central part of the state. However, it’s western Montana — with several subranges of the Rocky Mountains — that draws most of the state’s tourists. Its two national parks, Glacier in the northwest and Yellowstone in the southwest, feature some of the country’s best opportunities for sightseeing and hiking. Montana is also home to charming, quaint cities like Missoula, home of the University of Montana, and Bozeman, a top destination for fans of skiing and outdoor recreation.

Currently, A Place for Mom partners with more than 10 independent living communities in Montana.

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Independent Living in Montana

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Montana Independent Living Regulations

Each state regulates senior living communities differently. Because independent living is often provided by assisted living communities, states may regulate independent living within their guidelines for assisted living. You can use APFM’s guide to assisted living regulations to learn more about access to community records in Montana.

In Montana, independent living communities — also known simply as retirement communities — are geared towards seniors who are able to live on their own, without daily assistance, and prefer to live among people their age. This usually means residents are self-sufficient and do not require hands-on care. Think of independent living communities as age-restricted (typically 55+) complexes, which provide organized activities, meal services, and transportation.

Cost of Living

Overall, the cost of living in Montana is considered to be slightly less affordable than the national average. The following index scores are based on a scale with the national average set at 100.

Price Indexes

  • Cost of Living: 104
  • Groceries: 105
  • Housing: 112
  • Utilities: 84
  • Transportation: 125


About 19% of Montana’s population are seniors. In the 2016 presidential election, Montana leaned conservative. However, many of its counties with larger cities, like the Missoula area, tend to be more progressive.

2016 Presidential Election

  • 36% voted Democratic
  • 56% voted Republican
  • 8% voted third party


  • Median age: 40
  • Over the age of 55: 33%
  • 2018 population: 1,062,305
  • 2020 population: 1,080,978
  • Estimated 2025 population: 1,129,108


  • 31% regularly attend a religious service
  • 36% consider themselves atheist, agnostic, or a non-believer
  • The state has a total of 1,778 congregations
  • There are 94 Masonic lodges in the state

Climate and Weather

Given Montana’s significant geographical variation throughout the state, it has many different climate types. The entire central and eastern portions of Montana fall into the country’s Great Plains region, while the western part of the state is defined by its mountainous terrain. This means the eastern half of the state largely has a cold semi-arid climate, with hot summers, cold winters, high winds, and not much precipitation. Much of western Montana — which is set apart from the rest of the state by the Continental Divide — has a climate similar to the Pacific Northwest’s, with milder temperatures throughout the year and more moisture in the air. The state’s higher elevations in the northern Rockies have a subarctic climate classification, with temperatures that are much lower, and winters which can be extremely cold with lots of snowfall. Due to these vastly different terrains and climates, certain parts of Montana can experience sudden temperature swings within a single day.

Humidity and Precipitation

  • Average humidity level: 60%
  • Average monthly precipitation: 1”
  • Average maximum monthly precipitation: 5” (June)

Air Quality

  • Average air quality index rating: 37 (Good)
  • Average maximum air quality rating: 70 in August (Moderate)

Moderate air quality means that those who are sensitive to particulates in the air should limit the amount of time they spend on outdoor exertion.

Seasonal Temperatures

  • Average temperature: 44°F
  • Average summer temperature: 65°F
  • Typical summer high: 91°F (July)
  • Typical summer low: 34°F (June)
  • Average winter temperature: 23°F
  • Typical winter high: 44°F (February)
  • Typical winter low: -3°F (January)

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Cities in Montana
and surrounding area