Independent Living in Washington

Washington has earned its nickname as “The Evergreen State” for its wide swaths of coniferous forest. Many people may be most familiar with Seattle and its iconic Space Needle, but the eastern half of the state has a personality all its own, with a serene desert beauty akin to parts of Idaho or Montana. In contrast, Washington’s Pacific Coast is home to an actual rainforest. The state’s varied landscape as well as its relatively mild climate make it an ideal retirement destination.

When it comes to retirement communities, Washington state has many great options. Currently, A Place for Mom partners with more than 300 independent living communities in Washington. The median monthly cost of independent living in Washington is about $2,600. A Place for Mom’s Senior Living Advisors can help you find the best retirement communities in Washington state.

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Independent Living in Washington

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Washington 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 facility records in Washington.

In Washington, 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, living in Washington state is considered to be more expensive than the national average. The state has an extremely high housing and transportation index rating, like much of the West Coast. This is due in part to the fact that a large portion of the state’s population lives in Seattle and the surrounding King County. Other parts of the state have much lower costs of living, comparatively. All index scores are based on a scale where the national average is set at 100.

Price Indexes

  • Cost of Living: 110
  • Groceries: 108
  • Housing: 118
  • Utilities: 89
  • Transportation: 122

Demographics

In the 2016 presidential election, Washington voted strongly Democratic. However, this is because a majority of registered voters live in Seattle and King County, which leans heavily liberal. The rest of the state, outside of Seattle, Spokane, and Olympia, is more rural and considered to be very conservative. Nearly 15% of the state's population is 65 years of age or older.

2016 Presidential Election

  • Voted Democratic: 53%
  • Voted Republican: 37%
  • Voted third party: 11%

Population

  • Median age: 38
  • Over the age of 55: 28%
  • 2018 population: 7,535,591
  • 2020 population: 7,760,836
  • Estimated 2025 population: 8,353,846

Miscellaneous

  • 30% regularly attend a religious service
  • 45% consider themselves atheist, agnostic, or a non-believer
  • Across the state there are a total of 6,114 congregations
  • There are 291 Masonic lodges in the state

Climate and Weather

As the crown jewel of the Pacific Northwest, Washington is known for its high mountain peaks, dense forests, and hundreds of miles of pristine Pacific coastline. The state of Washington has two distinct climate zones. The western part of the state has a Mediterranean type of climate, which means that areas like Seattle have wet and rainy winters, while the summers are dry and pleasant. The state’s eastern half has a continental climate type, meaning it experiences four distinct seasons with fluctuating seasonal temperatures.

Humidity and Precipitation

  • Average humidity level: 71%
  • Average monthly precipitation: 3”
  • Average maximum monthly precipitation: 19” (November)

Air Quality

  • Average air quality index rating: 32 (Good)
  • Average maximum air quality rating: 77 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: 50°F
  • Average summer temperature: 65°F
  • Typical summer high: 92°F (July)
  • Typical summer low: 40°F (June)
  • Average winter temperature: 35°F
  • Typical winter high: 53°F (February)
  • Typical winter low: 14°F (December)

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