To get a better understanding of how much independent living costs, it helps to know what independent living actually is. The term “independent living” covers a variety of housing options for seniors.
Active adult or age-restricted communities offer housing only to those age 55+.
- Senior apartments in these communities usually have standard, long-term leases with rent due each month. The lease often includes some maintenance and access to senior-friendly amenities such as a pool or fitness center. You may have to pay additional fees for other services.
- Some 55+ communities let you buy a free-standing home, condo or townhome. You have to secure a mortgage and provide a down payment, just as you would when buying any other home. Some communities charge a buy-in fee or monthly fee to cover amenities, landscaping and maintenance.
Life Plan Communities (also known as continuing care retirement communities) have independent living options as well as a continuum of care that can include assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing. Entrance fees and monthly fees cover housing, services, amenities, maintenance, programming and dining. Health care is on-site, and costs vary depending on the contract type offered.
Typically, senior living communities with independent living offer an active lifestyle and freedom from the hassles of home maintenance. You’ll get to choose from residence options such as apartments, free-standing cottages or villas, duplexes, townhomes and condos, all in a variety of floor plans and sizes.
Independent living services and amenities are designed to make things easier and more convenient. Housekeeping, linen service, dining plans, transportation services and security are common. Amenities often include a fitness center, pools, multiple dining venues, beauty and barber salons, woodworking shops, art studios or crafting rooms, and entertainment spaces such as auditoriums, game rooms or movie theaters.
How Much Does Independent Living Cost?
The cost of independent living depends on a number of factors such as the cost of living in your city, size of your residence, number of occupants, and whether or not there is an entrance fee. Rental communities tend to have lower monthly rates, which can be appealing in the short term. But not everything is included in that rental cost – especially health care.
According to the National Investment Center, the average independent living monthly rate is around $3,200 – although monthly fees can range from $1,500 to $5,000 or more.
Tips for Evaluating Independent Living Costs
As you compare the costs of different senior living communities to staying in your current residence, make sure you’re looking at the whole value, not just a single price point.
- Know what your current monthly expenses are. Include everything from mortgage/rent payments to insurance, maintenance, hired services, HOA fees, dining, groceries, entertainment and transportation.
- Estimate future home expenses. To continue to live safely and independently, your home needs to be well maintained and safe. In the next few years, will you need to repair or replace your roof, heater or air conditioner, or sewer lines? Will you need to consider modifications such as ramps, grab bars, walk-in showers, or wider doorways to accommodate walkers or wheelchairs?
- Compare services, amenities and programs offered. Not all independent living communities offer the same things. Make sure you’ll have access to high-quality amenities, helpful services and an abundance of social, intellectual, cultural and spiritual activities to choose from.
Questions to Ask About Independent Living Costs
When you have a personal appointment with a sales team member at a senior living community, have a list of questions about costs. They can include:
- Is there an upfront entrance fee or move-in fee? What is it based on?
- What is the range of monthly fees for the residence sizes you’re interested in?
- What’s covered in the monthly fees – and what isn’t?
- Are there additional fees (for pets, activities, on-site services such as barber/salon, spa, parking, etc.)?
- What is the dining plan? How many meals are included? How will you be charged? Is there a charge if you dine with guests?
- If on-site health services are available, what contract types are offered? (It’s very important for you to understand potential future expenses and how they impact your budget.)
We’re happy to discuss the cost of independent living at Peace Village at any time. We think you’ll find we offer a good value that adds up to a richer lifestyle.