A guide to understanding independent senior living costs

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What’s the average cost of senior independent living?

The average monthly cost of independent living is $3,000, according to A Place for Mom’s 2023 report on the cost of long-term care.[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]

State Median price
Alabama $2,376
Alaska $3,500
Arizona $2,738
Arkansas $2,529
California $3,466
Colorado $3,116
Connecticut $3,409
Delaware $3,995
District of Columbia
Florida $3,067
Georgia $2,995
Hawaii $5,031
Idaho $2,907
Illinois $2,701
Indiana $2,550
Iowa $2,573
Kansas $2,590
Kentucky $3,000
Louisiana $2,469
Maine $3,300
Maryland $3,895
Massachusetts $3,770
Michigan $2,635
Minnesota $2,518
Mississippi $3,375
Missouri $2,905
Montana $3,020
Nebraska $3,098
Nevada $3,285
New Hampshire $4,193
New Jersey $3,340
New Mexico $2,813
New York $3,300
North Carolina $3,281
North Dakota $2,880
Ohio $2,872
Oklahoma $2,495
Oregon $2,995
Pennsylvania $3,060
Rhode Island $4,492
South Carolina $2,919
South Dakota $3,073
Tennessee $2,679
Texas $2,640
Utah $2,710
Vermont $4,790
Virginia $3,248
Washington State $3,480
West Virginia $3,020
Wisconsin $2,938
Wyoming $2,610

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:[01]

  1. Hawaii
  2. Vermont
  3. Rhode Island
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Delaware

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:[01]

  1. Alabama
  2. Louisiana
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Minnesota
  5. Arkansas

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?

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.

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.

This article originally appeared on APlaceForMom and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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