Independent Living Costs

Independent senior living communities provide a lifestyle free of the responsibilities that can become increasingly difficult for older adults. At the same time, independent living costs are often comparable or even less expensive than those required to own and maintain a home.

The table below shows the state-by-state monthly cost* for a single-occupancy room in independent living communities across the United States:

State Monthly Average Monthly Minimum Monthly Maximum
Alabama $2,227 $1,105 $3,435
Arkansas $2,432 $1,695 $4,477
Arizona $2,177 $1,295 $3,950
California $2,611 $1,388 $4,395
Colorado $2,313 $1,399 $3,500
Connecticut $3,546 $1,975 $5,375
Delaware $3,664 $3,000 $4,887
Florida $2,337 $1,325 $3,395
Georgia $2,280 $1,695 $3,105
Hawaii $3,198 $2,999 $3,495
Iowa $2,332 $1,495 $3,600
Idaho $2,445 $1,955 $2,950
Illinois $2,621 $785 $3,983
Indiana $2,260 $1,030 $3,274
Kansas $2,345 $1,329 $3,293
Kentucky $2,339 $1,700 $3,175
Louisiana $2,769 $1,695 $3,968
Massachusetts $4,117 $1,915 $7,000
Maryland $4,060 $3,252 $5,020
Maine $2,427 $1,915 $3,650
Michigan $2,047 $1,250 $3,160
Minnesota $2,436 $1,795 $3,780
Missouri $2,336 $1,795 $2,810
Mississippi $2,860 $2,340 $3,644
Montana $2,563 $1,895 $3,647
North Carolina $2,332 $1,720 $4,091
Nebraska $2,234 $1,495 $3,174
New Hampshire $3,414 $2,170 $5,662
New Jersey $4,157 $2,615 $5,518
New Mexico $2,583 $1,899 $3,390
Nevada $2,060 $895 $3,275
New York $3,905 $1,670 $6,000
Ohio $2,579 $1,425 $3,774
Oklahoma $1,822 $795 $2,916
Oregon $2,123 $1,350 $3,287
Pennsylvania $2,703 $1,810 $5,500
Rhode Island $2,579 $1,700 $3,450
South Carolina $2,191 $1,395 $3,650
Tennessee $2,097 $995 $3,060
Texas $2,473 $900 $4,489
Utah $2,143 $1,500 $3,047
Virginia $2,882 $840 $4,470
Washington $2,180 $631 $3,800
Wisconsin $2,460 $1,995 $2,893

*SeniorHomes.com 2012

In addition to geographic differences in the costs associated with independent senior living, communities will also offer rates that vary depending on the size and location of the apartment. With regard to location, apartment rates will often be more expensive if they have a premium view, access to a patio or balcony or are easily accessible to common areas within the building.

Services Included in Independent Living Costs

Monthly rates typically include the following services:

  • Monthly rent of an apartment within the community, including all utilities except local telephone service and expanded cable (in most cases)
  • One to three chef-prepared meals per day served in a restaurant-style dining room
  • Weekly housekeeping, including laundering of bed linens/towels
  • Incidental maintenance needs (filter changes, appliance repairs, etc.)
  • Full calendar of activities with scheduled transportation for shopping, medical appointments, off-site activities
  • Emergency systems and security features

Additional Independent Living Costs

Additional costs typically include a non-refundable entrance or community fee, which ranges from $750 to $1,500 on average, that covers administrative and apartment renovation expenses. A second-person fee, typically between $500 and $1,000 per month, will also be assessed for couples moving into independent senior living communities. Fees are also charged for:

  • Guest meals
  • Use of a guest apartment
  • Activities requiring tickets or other expenses
  • Concierge services
  • Unscheduled transportation

When evaluating the financial implications of moving from a single family home to an independent senior living community, it’s helpful to compare the costs associated with each. You can use the list below to compare the costs:

  • Mortgage/rent
  • Utilities (water, sewer, garbage, etc.)
  • Food/dining out
  • Entertainment
  • Basic cable/Internet
  • Auto expenses (scheduled transportation included in independent living)
  • Home maintenance
  • Yard maintenance
  • Security/safety features
  • Property taxes (not applicable to independent living) 

Written by gerontologist Sara Shelton.

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