Known as the nation’s last frontier, Alaska beckons visitors with its unspoiled beauty. The state has four major urban areas that are home to a significant number of its 731,545 residents. Alaska’s population includes more than 65,000 veterans and 91,440 seniors aged 65 or older, and residents are served by 27 hospitals throughout the state. Although the climate is harsh, residents have access to many natural wonders, including Denali National Park, Glacier Bay and the famed Inside Passage. Alaska also has a number of cultural attractions, such as the Museum of the North, which features more than 1 million artifacts.

Independent living facilities are ideal for seniors who are healthy, active and self-sufficient. Seniors who don’t need help with day-to-day activities can transition to these facilities to enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle. The median cost of independent living is $4,311 per month, which is $1,516 higher than the national average. However, rates include accommodations, meals, enriching activities and utilities.

This guide provides an overview of independent living, expected costs and payment options. Seniors will also find information about agencies that offer information, advice and supportive services.

The Cost of Independent Living in Alaska

Note: On average, seniors pay 30%-40% less for Independent Living than for Assisted Living. Because there are no nationwide data sources that outline Independent Living costs throughout the nation, we estimate fees by subtracting 35% from the Assisted Living rates in the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey.

Seniors in Alaska pay $4,440 per month for Independent Living compared to the national rate of $2,925, making this one of the more expensive states in the nation for this type of care. In Washington, monthly fees are several hundred dollars lower at $3,900, and in Oregon, rates are more affordable but still over the national rate at $3,279. In Montana, rates average $2,893, and in Idaho, fees are competitive at $2,495.  

$4440

Alaska

$2925

The United States

$3900

Washington

$3279

Oregon

$2495

Idaho

$2893

Montana

Because Alaska isn’t densely populated, Independent Living data is available in only two cities: Fairbanks, where rates average $4,713, and Anchorage, where costs are more affordable at $4,397. In other Pacific Northwest cities, care costs tend to be more economical. Seniors in the Washington cities of Bellingham and Mount Vernon pay $2,990 and $3,575, respectively. In the Portland area of Oregon, care costs average $3,234, and in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, fees are more economical at $3,039. Missoula, Montana, may be a good option for those seeking budget-friendly Independent Living, with local rates coming in at $3,023.  

$4713

Fairbanks

$4397

Anchorage

$2990

Bellingham, WA

$3575

Mount Vernon Area, WA

$3234

Portland Area, OR

$3039

Coeur d’ Alene, ID

$3023

Missoula, MT

Compared to other senior care types in Alaska, Independent Living is among the more cost-effective options at $4,400. For older adults who need personal care services, Assisted Living offers residential care for $6,830. Seniors who need extensive skilled nursing services may require Nursing Home placement, which is very costly at $31,512 monthly. Older adults who obtain care in their own homes pay $5,720 for basic In-Home Care and skilled Home Health Care, and Adult Day Care is the most economical option in the state at $1,562.  

$4440

Independent Living

$5720

In-Home Care

$5720

Home Health Care

$1562

Adult Day Care

$6830

Assisted Living Facility

$31512

Nursing Home Care

Can You Use Medicare or Medicaid to Pay for Independent Living in Alaska?

Unfortunately, you cannot use Medicaid and Medicare to help pay the monthly fee for residing in an Independent Living community. For seniors who need help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), there may be financial assistance programs available to help cover the cost of care in Independent Living. For more information about financial assistance for those who need a higher level of care, read our guide to Assisted Living in Alaska.

Read on for more information about using alternative means to make Independent Living more affordable, such as retirement funds, the sale of a home, etc.

Paying for Independent Living in Alaska

Seniors typically pay for independent living out-of-pocket using retirement income, investments or proceeds from real estate sales. Reverse mortgages can generate a monthly cash flow if needed, or they can provide a lump-sum payment to help with move-in costs and buy-in fees. Medicare, Medicaid and the VA typically won’t pay for independent living, unless these services are medically necessary. Seniors must also require a nursing home level of care and meet certain financial requirements. While most programs won’t cover the cost of room and board, they may help with meal preparation, housekeeping and transportation for errands and medical appointments. Long-term care insurance may also offer some coverage for these items. For more information about what to expect, seniors can review our independent living guide.

Independent Living Resources in Alaska

For seniors who want to age in place, the first step is developing a suitable plan. The following agencies provide free and low-cost services to help seniors maintain their independence and enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle.

Resource

Contact

Service

(907) 465-4879

The Alaska Commission on Aging manages the state’s network of Aging & Disability Resource Centers. Located in six metropolitan areas and wider geographic regions, these service centers provide free information and advice to assist with healthy, independent aging. They also sponsor fall prevention programs, senior employment opportunities and agencies that advocate for vulnerable populations, such as Adult Protective Services and the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.

(800) 478-9996

Alaskans who want to learn more about Medicaid waivers for home- and community-based care can contact the division of Senior and Disabilities Services for assistance. These programs can help with case management, meals, environmental modifications, transportation, daytime care and relief for caregivers and family members.

(907) 334-4480

This federally managed program provides confidential advocacy services to help seniors who have questions or concerns about the care they’re receiving in a long-term care facility. It also helps individuals who are considering independent or assisted living and need more information to make the right decision. The ombudsman assists with admissions, evictions, guardianship, personal care, food services and concerns over individual rights.

(907) 563-2662

The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium is dedicated to assessing the long-term needs of the state’s tribal elders and developing results-focused programs that help seniors receive the care they require while staying close to family and friends. It offers outreach services, visits seniors in long-term care facilities and connects residents to resources for preventing and managing chronic diseases.

(907) 375-2207

Alaska Community Services administers national volunteer programs that benefit seniors statewide. These initiatives include the Elder Mentor, Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs. Its volunteers are also instrumental in providing transportation to seniors in six metropolitan areas and dozens of smaller villages. Initiatives supported by the Retired Senior Volunteer Program benefit seniors who need assistance, as well as those who want to donate their time and talents.

(907) 745-5454

Established in 1980, Mat-Su Senior Services is the state’s largest age-related organization by geographic area. It was the first agency to offer Medicaid waiver services as an alternative to institutional care, and it continues to provide recreational activities, in-home chore assistance, nutritional benefits, traveling notary services and transportation to seniors who want to maintain their independence. Free informational services are available to seniors who want to learn more about government-sponsored programs that are available in their area.

(907) 463-6100

Since 1973, Catholic Community Service has been supporting seniors, families and children, including individuals who require skilled nursing and end-of-life care. Today, it manages more than 150 employees and 200 volunteers who serve residents across southeast Alaska. It partners with the Department of Transportation, tribal groups and other government bodies to provide accessible door-to-door transportation, meal deliveries and supportive services to Alaska’s older residents.

COVID-19 Rules for Independent Living in Alaska

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including dhss.alaska.gov. These rules apply to Independent Living Communities and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/2/2022, but since COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving pandemic, contact your local senior living facility or Area Agency on Aging for more specific and up-to-date information.

Visitation Policies

Rules for Alaska Communities

Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are relatives allowed to visit for end-of-life care?

Yes

Are residents required to quarantine after visiting with a loved one?

No

Are visitors required to wear PPE (including masks) in order to visit residents?

Yes

Are non-medical contractors (such as hairdressers and entertainers) allowed in senior living facilities?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are visitors required to answer questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?

Yes

Outings & Social Activities

Rules for Alaska Communities

Are residents allowed to leave (errands, visiting family, etc.) for non-medical reasons?

Yes

Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

Not Available*

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?

No

Are residents allowed to eat meals together in a common area?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are residents allowed to gather in common areas for group activites?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

*Note: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for Alaska Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?

Yes

Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes

Are staff members members regularly required to do a health and safety screening, including questions about travel, contact with positive cases, etc?

Yes

Are residents regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms?

Yes

Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes

Find Independent Living Communities in Alaska

Use the tool below to find Independent Living Communities near you – if you’d like to search in a specific city in Alaska, simply put that in the search bar below.

Baxter Senior Living

4280 Baxter Road, Anchorage, AK, 99504


Primrose Retirement Community of Wasilla

889 N. Elkhorn Drive, Wasilla, AK, 99654

The staff was friendly and helpful. The facility is beautiful, peaceful, quiet, and clean. The rooms are spacious, clean, and well furnished and equipped. In particular, the guest room for visiti … (read more)
The staff was friendly and helpful. The facility is beautiful, peaceful, quiet, and clean. The rooms are spacious, clean, and well furnished and equipped. In particular, the guest room for visiti … (read more)

Independent Living Facilities in Alaska (0)