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Independent Living in Idaho

Located in the Pacific Northwest, Idaho is noted for its beautiful natural amenities and affordability. It features six national parks and 27 state parks, providing plenty of opportunities to fish, birdwatch and hike, and over 100 museums and art galleries offer a glimpse of the state’s culture and history. Idaho’s overall cost of living is a little lower than the national median, and while housing costs are a little high, utilities and transportation costs are very affordable. 

For older adults who want freedom from the hassles of homeownership but want to maintain their independence and privacy, independent living is a prime option. These communities promote a low-maintenance lifestyle and offer services such as curated social and recreational activities, transportation for local outings and delicious meals. They’re designed around the needs of seniors who don’t require personal care but no longer want the responsibility and expense of owning a home. This lifestyle is highly affordable compared to other senior care options, with those in Idaho paying $2,389 per month, which is well below the national median.

This guide provides an overview of how independent living costs in Idaho compare to nearby states and offers tips on paying for services. It also lists some of the free programs and resources available to older adults. 

The Cost of Independent Living in Idaho

When trying to decide how to pay for independent living, one of the first questions that comes up is "How much does it cost?" With the impact of inflation, it's more important than ever to have up-to-date information when making a financial plan for senior living. To help shed light on real senior living prices, Caring.com has compiled proprietary cost data from its network of over 75,000 senior living providers to offer insight into the average cost of independent living in Idaho and its 4 cities.

The Cost of Independent Living in Idaho's Top Cities

When comparing the costs of independent living in Idaho’s top cities, it becomes clear why seniors should do their homework before choosing a community. In Boise, the average cost for independent living is $2,688 a month, a potential saving of $907 when compared to Idaho Falls’ average of $3,575. Coeur d’Alene and Nampa both fall within these two extremes with averages of $3,112 and $2,965 respectively.

Idaho

$2,840

Boise

$2,668

Idaho Falls

$3,575

Nampa

$2,965

Coeur d'Alene

$3,112

Inflation's Impact on the Cost of Independent Living in Idaho

The cost of independent living care in Idaho has seen relatively mild impact from inflation. From 2022 to 2023, the cost of independent living in Idaho rose from $2,733 to $2,840, an increase of 2.4%. This compares favorably with the U.S. average increase of about 5% for the same period, and it’s preferable to the 6.4% cost increase in Oregon or the hefty 54.9% increase in the state of Washington. The most unexpected price adjustments were seen in Montana and Wyoming, where costs actually decreased in 2023 by 29.7% and 21.2% respectively.

Location2022 Cost (Historical)2023 Cost (Current)2024 Cost (Estimated)
Idaho$2,773 $2,840$3,025
U.S. Average$2,810$2,955$3,162
Oregon$2,566$2,731$2,936
Montana$3,860$2,714$3,160
Washington$2,292$3,552$3,783
Wyoming$2,723$2,065$2,200

The Costs of Other Types of Senior Living

The cost of senior living in Idaho varies a lot, depending on the care type. Independent living is by far the most affordable option at an average of $2,840 a month, but seniors may still have to factor in the cost of their food and other living expenses. Memory care is the most expensive option, averaging $5,170 per month, and assisted living is not far behind at a monthly average of $4,388.

Assisted Living

$4,388

Memory Care

$5,170

Independent Living

$2,840

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

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 Idaho.

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 Idaho

Seniors in Idaho have several options for paying for independent living. Many homeowners use their home as a way to finance independent living community expenses, either by selling it, renting it out or taking out a reverse mortgage. While Medicare doesn’t cover independent living, coverage may be available through other types of insurance, including Medicaid, long-term care policies and veterans’ benefits. These programs cover specific services provided in independent living communities, such as chore services, meals and maintenance, which may bring the individual’s monthly expenses down.  

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Idaho

There are many resources in Idaho that assist seniors in their retirement. Caring.com has compiled information on local organizations, programs and agencies and categorized them into care types for easy reference.

Area Agency on Aging

Retirees can find support and advice on various senior-related issues from their local Area Agency on Aging. The agency provides advice on topics such as financial assistance programs, in-home care and long-term care planning. It also connects seniors and caregivers with community-based resources.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Idaho Area Agencies on AgingIdaho's senior population can seek answers, advice and support services from six Area Agencies on Aging located throughout the state. These agencies are intended as the first point of contact for seniors (60+), caregivers and family members who need help navigating the various federal, state and local services available. These services include transportation, home-delivered meals, wellness clinics and recreational opportunities. In Idaho, the six AAAs are also the designated Aging and Disability Resource Centers.

Cash Assistance Programs

Cash assistance programs in Idaho provide financial support to help low-income retirees remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Seniors and caregivers can apply for tax rebates and reductions, discounts on vital services and help covering the cost of heating and cooling their home.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Idaho Lifeline Program800-234-9473The LifeLine Program offers a discount on landline or mobile telephone service, ensuring that participants can stay in contact with loved ones.

Food Assistance Programs

Local organizations help ensure elderly citizens have a balanced diet and receive essential vitamins and minerals to remain healthy. Through nutrition programs, congregate meals, home-delivered meals and food pantries, these programs help Idaho seniors afford the nutritious food they need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Idaho commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)208-336-9643Idaho Commodity Supplemental Food Program is an initiative providing nutrition assistance to low-income seniors aged 60 and older. The program aims to improve the overall health and dietary intake of vulnerable seniors and reduce the risk of malnutrition. Through CSFP, seniors receive monthly food packages containing nutritious staples, including canned fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and proteins, ensuring recipients have access to well-balanced meals. Shelf-stable items such as ready-to-eat cereals, rice, pasta and peanut butter may also be included.
Idaho Congregate MealsIdaho congregate meals are available at senior centers throughout the state, providing food-insecure seniors with access to regular meals. Seniors can visit these sites to enjoy a hot, nutritious meal with other residents. Each senior center follows a different schedule, so interested Idaho residents should contact their local center to learn when meals are available. Many of these programs also offer delivered meals for homebound seniors who can't easily visit a congregate setting.
Idaho Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)208-375-7382In coordination with the United States Department of Agriculture, Idaho's Emergency Food Assistance Program provides food for low-income seniors and others in the state who meet certain annual and monthly income limits. Food is delivered at a local level through Emergency Feeding Organizations at food banks, soup kitchens and pantries. To be eligible for the program, applicants must have an income that is 250% or less than the federal poverty line. Each local agency may have its own documentation requirements.
Idaho Meals on WheelsIdaho Meals on Wheels is a volunteer-supported organization that provides home-delivered meals to seniors throughout the state. Volunteers deliver hot, nutritious meals to homebound seniors Monday through Friday, with additional frozen meals available for the weekend. Homebound seniors ages 60 and older can apply for meals through their local Meals on Wheels organization or Senior Services Agency.
Idaho Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)877-456-1233Idaho Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps Idaho seniors and low-income families obtain healthy food. Formerly known as food stamps, this program provides seniors with an electronic benefits transfer card loaded with money from their SNAP account to purchase eligible food items, including bread and cereals, fruits and vegetables, meat, fish and poultry and dairy products. Eligibility for SNAP is based on residency, income and assets. Immediate food assistance is available within 7 days for those who are eligible.

Free Used Medical Equipment

Due to the high cost of purchasing new medical equipment, several organizations in Idaho collect lightly used medical devices such as wheelchairs, ramps and walkers and distribute them to local seniors and residents in need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Idaho Idaho Assistive Technology Project (IATP)800-432-8324IATP facilitates the Idaho AT4ALL Exchange, which allows people to buy and sell used equipment. The program lists some available equipment for free. The organization also loans equipment and has financial loans available to help people finance DME purchases.
Idaho Living Independence Network Connection (LINC)208-336-3335LINC mainly offers equipment loans for a wide range of products, including wheelchairs, walkers and bath seats. It may also provide a free option for some people and can help individuals access loans and financing.

Health Insurance & Prescription Drug Coverage for Seniors

Idaho seniors who meet certain income criteria can apply to local resources to help them pay for prescription drugs. Eligible residents can also receive assistance through health insurance and other programs to access free or discounted medical services.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Idaho Senior Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA)800-247-4422SHIBA is a free program managed by the Idaho Department of Insurance that provides seniors in Sandpoint with information and advice on various health insurance options. Those old enough to apply for Medicare can get detailed information from the advisors, who can also suggest suitable private health insurance to cover any shortfalls in their state health insurance plans. As the advisors are unbiased, seniors needn't worry about being sold policies. The advisors can also support those denied Medicare by helping them draft and submit their appeals.

Home Repair and Modifications

Seniors and those with disabilities can access a variety of local resources to help them pay for home repairs and modifications. Programs in Idaho have different eligibility criteria and often assist retirees by providing grants or loans.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Idaho Rural Development State Office800-292-8293The Section 504 Repair Program provides single-family housing repair and loans and grants. It's offered in rural Idaho by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Low-interest loans of up to $40,000 are available, but people aged 62 and over may qualify for a grant of up to $10,000. Recipients can combine grants and loans to provide $50,000 in funding.
Idaho Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)877-375-7382WAP is another program offered by local CAPs. Qualified homeowners and renters can get a range of repairs and improvements to enhance the energy efficiency of their home, including insulation installation, heating system testing and minor repairs.

Senior Engagement

Senior engagement resources and programs in Idaho help older adults remain active and ensure they contribute to the community. Resources include wellness programs, volunteer opportunities, support groups and organizations that help residents connect with the community to live fulfilling lives.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Idaho Commission on Aging877-471-2777The Idaho Commission on Aging administers a wide range of programs to promote healthy, safe aging. These include senior nutrition services, congregate meals, transportation, case management, legal advice and relief services for unpaid caregivers. Adult Protective Services are available to those who have experienced abuse or neglect, and Senior Medicare Patrol helps beneficiaries combat fraud and billing errors. Many of these programs are administered by the state's Aging and Disability Resource Centers and Area Agencies on Aging.
Idaho Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)208-454-8555The Senior Community Service Employment Program connects low-income adults 55 and older with training and employment opportunities should they wish to reenter the workforce. The program connects them to the training they need to gain real-world work skills.

Social Security Offices

Social Security offices in Idaho help seniors and disabled people access the benefits they're entitled to. Older adults can contact their local office for information about receiving retirement benefits, disability allowance and Supplemental Security Income.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Idaho Social SecuritySocial Security is a source of income available to retirees and people who can no longer work because of a disability. The money for Social Security comes from a payroll tax levied on employers, employees and self-employed individuals. When you retire, you'll receive monthly payments based on how much you earned when you were working.

Tax Assistance

Seniors can apply for tax assistance from several Idaho resources. Elderly residents and those with disabilities could be eligible for tax exemptions on medical expenses, reductions on property tax and other tax assistance programs.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Idaho State Tax Commission208-334‑7736Idaho's Property Tax Reduction program is also known as the Circuit Breaker program. It reduces property taxes for eligible homeowners by up to $1,500, depending on income. Idaho also has a property tax deferral program, allowing people to defer taxes on property and up to one acre of land. The participant must pay these taxes when the property ownership changes or it no longer qualifies for deferral.

Veteran's Services

Idaho retirees who have served in the U.S. military can find support from local veteran services. These offices and organizations help vets access the benefits they're eligible for and provide advice and information on a variety of issues.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Idaho Veteran ServicesIdaho Veteran Services offers specialized health care and social assistance for seniors aged 65 and over. Senior veterans in Idaho can receive quality care through outpatient locations and clinics in Kootenai, Mountain Home and Salmon, as well as at a full-service medical center in Boise. The agency offers funding for in-home care, support with daily living activities, visiting nurses and skilled nursing and memory care placement.

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Caring.com

Caring.com is a leading online destination for caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones. We offer thousands of original articles, helpful tools, advice from more than 50 leading experts, a community of caregivers, and a comprehensive directory of caregiving services.

 

The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal, financial, professional, or medical advice or diagnosis or treatment. By using our website, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

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