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How Much Does Independent Living Cost?

Older woman using tablet

As older adults consider a move to a retirement community, there are a lot of factors to account for: timing of the move, the community’s location and proximity to resources, reputation for quality services, and more. But one of the most important considerations is cost. In their retirement years, seniors want to make sound financial decisions that serve both their current needs and any needs that may arise in the future. One of the best ways to create a secure future is to enter independent living at a Life Plan Community while they’re still active. If you’re wondering “how much does independent living cost,” it’s important to understand the full picture of what cost and value.


What is Independent Living?


Independent living is the residence option for active seniors who don’t need daily health care. Older adults are able to avoid home maintenance and skip cooking and dishes as often as they choose. Within independent living, residents have convenient access to a fitness center and senior-friendly exercise classes. Communities will often bring in interesting programming, speakers and entertainment. Residents form and join special-interest clubs and committees. Older adults find it easier to be social, engaged and healthy with all the resources a community provides.


What are Life Plan Communities?


Life Plan Communities (also known as continuing care retirement communities or CCRCs) are senior living communities that provide a continuum of senior health care. One benefit of this kind of model is the ease with which residents can transition to higher levels of care if they need them. Older adults may not need extra support now, but they have peace of mind in knowing they have a plan if their needs change.


Some Life Plan Communities, like North Oaks, offer a LifeCare® contract. Under this senior living contract, healthy, active seniors enter the community through independent living, pay a one-time entrance fee and a predictable monthly fee, and secure access to higher levels of health care at predictable rates — usually at or below market rates. The senior may select a traditional LifeCare contract, which calls for a lower entrance fee that amortizes over time. Alternatively, a new resident could select a Return of Capital® contract, which asks the senior to pay a higher entrance fee but offers estate protection. A large portion of the entrance fee will be returned to the senior or their estate when the resident leaves the community.


North Oaks is a closed campus Life Plan Community, which means all our residents enter through independent living. Then, when they need higher levels of care, they have guaranteed access and don’t have to compete with other area seniors for space and support. Our health care model is the ultimate comfort for our residents.


How Much Does Independent Living Cost?


Knowing the potential value associated with retirement communities, how much does independent living cost? The average cost of any type of senior living community will vary by state. Monthly costs for just independent living in Maryland can range from $1,334 to $5,200, with an average of $3,238. Communities that offer only independent living have similar lifestyle services and amenities but offer no assurance of future care. If a resident’s needs change, they will have to move again.

Life Plan Communities are not subject to outside regulation and there is an array of contract options, so there can be a bit more variation in their prices. Additionally, entrance fees and monthly fees will fluctuate based on the size of the residence and the number of occupants. At North Oaks, entrance fees for one-bedroom apartments start at $87,500. Entrance fees for two-bedroom apartments start at $188,500.


Compare Senior Living with Home Expenses


When comparing cost of living expenses, many people make the mistake of only comparing monthly fees to their mortgage payment — or lack thereof. But monthly fees at Life Plan Communities like North Oaks cover a number of services and amenities. Here, the monthly fee covers utilities (water, gas, electric, Wi-Fi and basic cable), your choice of meal plan, preventive  maintenance, weekly housekeeping with towel and linen service, valet and concierge services. Residents also enjoy complimentary access to the LifeBridge Health and Fitness in Pikesville. Add up these various expenses with your home maintenance costs and grocery bills, and then consider how much you could save on future health care to get an accurate cost of living comparison.


Our Cost Calculator can give you a clearer view of how the cost of North Oaks compares to the costs of your current lifestyle. You can also download the “Understanding Senior Living Costs” guide for a deeper dive into the topic. But if you want to know the specifics of how much independent living costs at our community, feel free to contact us online or by phone at 410-691-3146. We’d be happy to provide details to help with your search.