Independent Living Community Costs: Facts & Figures

If you or your parents are ready to escape the responsibilities of home ownership and daily chores, then perhaps it’s time to consider joining an independent living community. These communities provide maintenance, dining services and transportation often at a monthly cost that is less than what is required to maintain a house.

The cost of joining an independent living community varies upon several factors which typically include:

Independent Living Costs by State

Just as the cost of real estate varies by geographic area, independent living costs also vary nationwide. Unlike assisted living and nursing home costs which are published annually by Genworth Financial, there is very little published cost information available on independent living. To help you budget for joining an independent living community, SeniorHomes.com has compiled pricing* for each state.

StateMonthly AverageMonthly MinimumMonthly Maximum
Alabama$2,303$1,395$3,455
Arkansas$2,030$1,149$3,500
Arizona$2,382$1,049$4,558
California$2,814$1,100$6,825
Colorado$2,286$1,145$4,060
Connecticut$3,490$1,424$5,200
Delaware$2,864$698$4,300
Florida$2,545$1,174$4,700
Georgia$2,463$1,100$3,995
Hawaii$2,564$2,195$3,099
Iowa$2,247$924$3,770
Idaho$1,880$900$2,700
Illinois$1,859$499$3,800
Indiana$2,135$899$5,400
Kansas$2,038$795$3,516
Kentucky$2,435$1,580$3,393
Louisiana$1,804$1,024$2,249
Massachusetts$4,002$1,649$6,375
Maryland$3,238$1,334$5,200
Maine$2,587$1,974$3,224
Michigan$2,190$637$3,844
Minnesota$1,679$899$3,050
Missouri$2,087$899$2,975
Mississippi$1,920$1,725$2,074
Montana$2,002$1,199$3,250
North Carolina$2,267$1,424$4,015
North Dakota$3,250$3,250$3,250
Nebraska$2,281$1,174$2,950
New Hampshire$3,537$2,599$5,700
New Jersey$3,371$2,000$5,355
New Mexico$2,325$1,249$4,768
Nevada$2,295$1,449$3,795
New York$3,895$956$6,605
Ohio$2,450$937$4,200
Oklahoma$1,865$1,149$2,580
Oregon$2,042$1,049$3,555
Pennsylvania$2,690$1,590$5,249
Rhode Island$3,383$2,500$4,295
South Carolina$2,180$1,124$3,380
South Dakota$1,399$1,399$1,399
Tennessee$1,972$999$3,090
Texas$2,225$700$4,745
Utah$1,806$969$2,526
Virginia$2,181$795$3,800
Vermont$2,715$2,400$2,995
Washington$2,288$827$3,500
Wisconsin$2,034$928$3,775
West Virginia$2,050$2,050$2,050
Wyoming$2,072$1,349$2,795

*2015 Cost data provided by senior living communities and compiled by SeniorHomes.com is subject to change without notice. This data is for informational purposes only and may contain inaccuracies. Your actual senior living costs may vary depending on your personal situation.

The states with the most expensive average monthly independent living costs are:

  1. Massachusetts - $4,002
  2. New York - $3,895
  3. New Hampshire - $3,537
  4. Connecticut - $3,490
  5. Rhode Island - $3,383

The states with the least expensive average monthly independent living costs are:

  1. South Dakota - $1,399
  2. Minnesota - $1,679
  3. Louisiana - $1,804
  4. Utah - $1,806
  5. Illinois - $1,859

Apartment Options

When joining an independent living community, new residents can typically choose from several floor plans, including studio, one-, two- and even three-bedroom apartments. The size of an apartment and its features, such as a kitchen or private patio or balcony, determines its base monthly rate, as does the location of the apartment with regard to views and proximity to elevators and public areas.

Typically communities offer either a month-to-month leases or one-year leases that may be renewed.

Amenity and Service Fees

The monthly rent frequently includes a number of services such as:

  • All utilities except local telephone service and expanded cable
  • 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 costs typically include a non-refundable entrance or community fee, which ranges from $750 to $1,500 on average, and covers administrative and apartment renovation expenses. A second-person fee, typically between $500 and $1,000 per month, will also be assessed for couples. 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. And don’t underestimate the expense of dining out or purchasing discretionary items, as our blogger Joan discovered in her recent post Small Expenses Impact Senior Lifestyles.

There is an example of some household 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)

If you need help searching for a community to fit within your budget, our Family Advisors can help you search the communities in your area.

Written by gerontologist Sara Shelton and Andrea Watts.