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How Much Does Independent Living Cost?

You spent decades working hard to build a life: raising a family, putting food on the table, keeping a roof over your head. You deserve a break in the next stage of your life.

Fortunately, today’s independent living communities can seem more like resorts than senior living facilities.

But a move to independent living isn’t a vacation you save up for and splurge on once. It’s a long-term investment in a low-maintenance lifestyle that allows you to turn your focus from managing your life to enjoying it.

It sounds like a dream, but what does this investment look like in reality?

As with any type of senior living community, independent living costs depend on a number of factors:

  • Available services and amenities: Residents at luxury communities with high-end services and amenities will pay a premium.
  • Residence size: Some communities offer multiple floor plans or even different types of residences within the same campus.
  • Location: An independent living facility nestled in a small suburban area may cost less on a monthly basis than one in the heart of a major metropolitan area.
  • Care: Not every independent living scenario includes access to medical care. For example, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs for short) cost more because they offer seamless transitions to on-site care.
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There’s a lot rolled into that monthly fee, and everything included in an independent senior living community’s monthly cost is designed to provide residents with a lower-maintenance lifestyle and more opportunities to enjoy the next phase of their retirement.

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Your residence

First and foremost, your monthly fee pays for the physical space where you live.

Utilities

You’ll never pay another gas or electric bill or have to remember when your internet bill is due.
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Social and wellness activities

Fill your calendar with yoga and water aerobics classes, join a book club, or learn a new language — all included in your monthly fee.
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Dining

Your monthly fee also includes meals offered in restaurant-like settings, with a variety of options for cuisine preferences.
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Staff support

Helping hands are part of the investment, too, including friendly faces at the front desk and staff on site around the clock to ensure resident safety and security.

Landscaping and property maintenance

Mowing, hedge trimming and odd jobs around the house are a thing of the past.

Housekeeping

Most communities include light housekeeping and some laundry service in their monthly fee to help residents keep their homes tidy.
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Care

While not ubiquitous in all independent living models, Type A CCRCs like Vi account for any future care needs and structure it into residents’ monthly fee.

How does the cost of independent living compare to other options?


Independent living costs vs. costs of staying at home

Independent living costs vs. costs of staying at home


Staying at home may seem like an economical option compared to the average cost of independent living.

After all, you may have paid off your mortgage years ago, and because you’re remaining in your home, you don’t have to pay movers or the additional costs that come along with relocating to a senior living community.

But as you age, there are several cost considerations to make. The cost of aging in place at home largely depends on your lifestyle, but it’s never free — it’s just what you’re used to.

Independent living costs vs. assisted living costs

Independent living costs vs. assisted living costs


The comparison of independent living costs to assisted living costs is a bit more “apples to apples” than comparing independent living and aging in place.

In general, it’s less expensive to live in independent living than assisted living, simply because you don’t receive the additional assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs).

Assisted living services require nurses and other hands-on care staff, medical supplies, and additional security and accessibility features. Those things all cost facilities more to provide, and they naturally pass those costs on to residents.

Of course, as with any community, the cost of individual independent living versus assisted living facilities will vary by the services and amenities they offer, their location and more.

Independent living costs vs. CCRC costs

Senior independent living costs vs. CCRC costs


If you’re interested in independent living now but also want a plan in place for more advanced care in the future, you may want to narrow your search to Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), sometimes referred to as Life Plan Communities.

CCRCs are a bigger upfront investment and come with higher monthly fees. That’s because in addition to the services and amenities you’ll find in standalone independent senior living, residents also have access to a full continuum of more advanced care, should they need it.

In Inclusive or Type A CCRCs, residents can move between independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care, all within the same campus, for little to no increase in their monthly fee.

Are independent senior living communities worth it?


So, is it worth the investment to make the move to an independent living community? That all depends on what’s important to you.

If remaining in your home is your top priority, independent living may not be for you, even if it costs less in the long run. If you’re interested in lower-maintenance living among your contemporaries, you can explore your options to find an independent living facility that fits your budget as well as your lifestyle and personality.

Consider that a move to independent living could pay non-monetary dividends, too: Regular opportunities to socialize and make new friends, as well as continue to explore new hobbies and take part in physical fitness activities, can add more life to your years.

Regardless of the options you’re considering, if cost is a factor, ensure that you’re making a direct comparison when doing so: Take stock of your current monthly spending and all the costs associated with being at home, then account for potential future care costs, too. From there, you can decide whether you can afford the cost of independent senior living.

You may discover you can’t afford not to move!

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