What Does Senior Independent Living Cost?

Independent Living Community

Costs of independent senior living communities vary significantly, depending on the part of the country you live in, whether your community is urban or rural, the type of housing and available amenities, and the contract option you choose.

Most Continuing Care Retirement Communities charge an entry fee. According to AARP, the average buy-in in 2017 was $329,000, but in some CCRCs, it can reach as high as a million dollars. These fees are meant to cover a variety of costs which could include community amenities or offset future care. Some communities offer contracts with a refundable option and a portion of the entrance fee can be returned to you or your estate when you move from your independent living residence. However, the entry fee does not cover all of your monthly living expenses, and CCRCs also charge a monthly fee which will vary depending on the size of the residence you choose and your chosen contract option.

For seniors who don’t have the financial resources to pay entry fees – or perhaps you simply don’t want to part with money upfront, there are retirement communities that have a rental contract option. The amount can still vary tremendously, depending on the residence you choose. Cost matters to almost everyone, so as you explore the possibilities of senior living, look for a place you’ll love to live with the services and amenities you want at a cost you can afford.

Monthly Fees vs. Rent

Keep in mind that the monthly fee at a retirement community is not equivalent to the rent or mortgage payment you’re making now. It includes an array of other expenses you currently pay separately – utilities, interior, and exterior maintenance, and a variety of other extras. Each community is different. You know what you’re spending now on necessities as well as optional activities, etc. Add up all those costs, then compare the total to what you would pay at a prospective new community, based on what they do (or do not) include, such as:

  • On-site amenities
  • Dining plan
  • Cable TV and/or Wi-Fi
  • Activities or special events
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Meals
  • Parking
  • Transportation
  • Utilities
  • Wellness programs/fitness center usage

How it Works at The Lodge

As a faith-based non-profit organization, Magnolia Manor’s mission to serve seniors is not financially motivated. Instead, all of our operations are managed carefully and efficiently to keep costs down without sacrificing the outstanding service and quality that sets us apart. As a business, we spend and invest conservatively. We also benefit from the generosity of community donors and many fellow members of the Methodist church here in Georgia, who raise money and volunteer to help support our communities.

We take very seriously our responsibility to provide for our residents for the rest of their lives. The Lodge is backed by Magnolia Manor’s financial strength and experience. This is crucial because as a prospective resident, you want to be confident the community you choose has the resources to support a stable future.

The Lodge is a fee-for-service community. There is an entry fee, which varies according to the type of residence you choose (villa, one- or two-bedroom apartment), but it is considerably less than a typical CCRC, with prices starting at $109,000.

Residents at The Lodge also pay a monthly fee, which includes:

  • All amenities (spa services are pay as you go)
  • All utilities-electricity, gas, water, and phone (except electricity in the villas)
  • High-speed (fiber) Wi-Fi
  • 30 meals per month (breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner as you choose)
  • Scheduled, local transportation (for individual needs and for group activities)

We like to say that The Lodge is “affordably upscale” – you don’t have to be wealthy to live a richly rewarding, relaxed independent lifestyle here. In fact, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the extensive range and quality of everything The Lodge has to offer.

Paying for Independent Senior Living

Living Independently in a retirement community is the same as living in any other neighborhood, in that residents do not require special care or assistance from others and that you are personally responsible for all of your expenses. In a senior community, however, you will likely get more for your money. For example, someone else will be responsible for yard work, indoor and exterior maintenance, so you won’t have out-of-pocket expenses for that.

Nonetheless, whatever the fees for the community you choose, in nearly every case you will have to pay from your own private resources. Those resources might include:

  • Pension or Social Security payments
  • IRAs or other retirement accounts
  • Savings or annuity withdrawals
  • A loan or line of credit (often used a bridge before your home is sold)
  • Long-term care insurance policy if you need additional care

Additional Financial Assistance

When and if additional care is needed, depending on the details of your long-term insurance coverage (if you have this kind of policy), your insurance policy may cover expenses for in-home assistance provided by a licensed caregiver in your current independent living residence or if you move into assisted living, memory care, or skilled nursing.

Medicaid also helps pay for some types of assistance in communities that accept Medicaid, if you meet the income and other eligibility requirements. Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance will not pay your standard monthly fees for independent senior living.