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How Much Does Independent Living Cost?

06/03/2024
Senior couple sitting together looking over finances

Understanding independent senior living costs is essential as older adults and their families decide which retirement community works best for them. The answer to how much it is, however, is more complex.

Most independent living facilities charge residents for rent, dining, home maintenance, resident activities and events, transportation, emergency services, and other standard expenses.

Services that lie outside a resident’s monthly payments may include their personalized level of care and assistance with activities. In this case, each resident’s independent living costs will vary depending on the care and services they request and require.

Cost of Independent Living by State

To determine what the average cost of senior independent living is by state, check out Genworth, a great resource that publishes yearly cost-of-care surveys.

According to the 2023 Cost of Care Survey, the average annual independent living cost increased by 1.36% since 2022, with the monthly national median cost totaling $5,350.

Other factors that come into play when calculating the cost of independent living include the size or floor plan of the apartment, the number of services, the location, and the community itself. Entering your city, state, or zip code in Genworth’s interactive map helps determine what you can expect to pay over time.

Some states such as New York have specific independent living programs to pay for the cost of services for those who require a high level of care and even the costs of room and board for those who meet stricter income and asset limits. It is worthwhile to spend time researching all the resources and programs available where you live to reduce the expected cost as much as possible.

How to Pay for Independent Senior Living Costs

Just as the cost of independent living may vary, so do the ways one pays for it.

Many senior living communities are privately owned, and therefore, often not covered by government assistance programs such as Medicare or Medicaid. (Medicare is a federal health insurance program for adults ages 65 or older and those with certain disabilities or health conditions, while Medicaid is a joint federal and state insurance program for those with low income and limited assets.)

Still, it is worth looking into where your Medicare or Medicaid can help. Seniors can continue to use Medicare for all approved services under hospital insurance or Part A, and medical insurance or Part B.

Part A includes inpatient hospital stays, care in skilled nursing facilities, hospice, and some home health care. Part B includes certain doctor’s visits or screenings, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive procedures.

Medicaid also does not cover the room and board of senior living communities, but many states offer Medicaid waiver programs that compensate for independent living costs. Seniors redeem Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid or 1915(c) Medicaid waivers to support their long-term care needs, which may include on-site therapy and medication management.

If your loved one is a veteran or a spouse of a veteran, they may be eligible for VA Aid and Attendance (A&A) pension benefits. Veterans aged 65 or older who served at least 90 days of active military service (one of which during an acknowledged period of war) and their spouses who are already receiving or are eligible for a VA pension can apply for the Aid and Attendance benefit.

This tax-free benefit offered by the Department of Veteran Affairs may bridge the gap between a veteran’s income and assets with the cost of independent living. The value of one’s car, home, or other personal effects is not included when determining eligibility.

Is Chelsea Senior Living Right for You?

At The Residences at Plainview, our staff members have lots of experience with helping families and residents discover and understand the coverage plans they qualify for. You and your loved one can contact our team at any time to compare the monthly cost of living at a Chelsea apartment versus your current home.

Our independent living communities offer a wide range of social activities and abundant amenities including fitness centers, restaurant-style dining rooms, daily happy hours, fully stocked libraries, indoor and outdoor pools, and more.

Call your preferred community today to gauge availability and level of care pricing based on your needs and benefits.