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Independent Living in Illinois

The Prairie State has a rich array of attractions for seniors who are moving to an independent living facility or continuing care retirement community. The state includes nearly 58,000 square miles of farms, forests and delicate ecosystems, ranging from the shores of Lake Michigan to the Shawnee National Forest in the southern tip of the state. The state’s 11 metropolitan areas give residents access to world-class shopping, cultural attractions and medical care. Although residents enjoy a high quality of life, the cost of living is slightly lower than the national average, which benefits retirees.

Illinois is home to 12.6 million residents, including 2 million seniors aged 65 and older. Adults who are active and independent but don’t want to contend with household maintenance and other responsibilities can transition to independent living. The average cost is $2,974 per month, although costs can vary, depending on the community and the type of apartment selected.

Because independent living is typically provided within a larger retirement community, residents can add additional services as their needs change. This guide explores average independent living costs in Illinois and neighboring states. It also includes information about payment options and details about statewide programs that help seniors plan for the future.

The Cost of Independent Living in Illinois

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 Illinois and its 43 cities.

The Cost of Independent Living in Illinois's Top Cities

Location often causes independent living prices to vary significantly across Illinois. Seniors pay about $2,051 in Aurora, well below the statewide average. Naperville is also relatively affordable, at $2,260, and even Chicago is not far behind at $2,692. Further north, however, those in Rockford have to spend $3,138 per month. Residents may need to evaluate on an individual basis if living in their desired city is worth the higher price tag.

Illinois

$2,775

Aurora

$2,051

Naperville

$2,260

Chicago

$2,692

Rockford

$3,138

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

The overall cost of living has been rising steadily due to inflation, and senior care services have not been immune to this trend. In Illinois alone, independent living fees increased from $2,535 in 2022 to an average of $2,775 in 2023, a difference of 9.5%. By comparison, rates across the United States have grown more slowly, with a 5.2% change over the same period.

Indiana also recorded an increase of about 7.2%, and Michigan’s price difference was even higher, at 11%. However, Missouri and Wisconsin were exceptions to the pattern, reducing their costs by 5.6% and 11.8%, respectively.

Location2022 Cost (Historical)2023 Cost (Current)2024 Cost (Estimated)
Illinois$2,535$2,775$3,102
U.S. Average$2,810$2,955$3,162
Michigan$2,270$2,515$2,678
Missouri$2,989$2,822$2,909
Wisconsin$3,130$2,760$3,217
Indiana$2,197$2,355$2,681

The Costs of Other Types of Senior Living

Seniors can choose from a range of care options depending on their preferences and health needs. Memory care providers in Illinois charge around $5,790 for dementia-specific services. Assisted living, at $4,742 per month, caters mostly to those who need help with daily tasks. Finally, independent living — which starts at $2,775 — might be a better fit for residents who want occasional assistance with housekeeping, as well as access to social and recreational activities.

Assisted Living

$4,742

Memory Care

$5,790

Independent Living

$2,775

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

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 Illinois.

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.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Illinois

There are many resources in Illinois 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.

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
Illinois Area Agencies on AgingIllinois' Area Agencies on Aging provide vital services and support for older adults and their caregivers. They offer a range of programs that promote independent living, health and overall well-being. AAAs assess needs, help develop care plans and connect seniors with services such as transportation, meal programs and in-home assistance. They also provide counseling on Medicare, Medicaid and other benefits. These agencies advocate for seniors and ensure they have access to the resources they need to age with dignity.

Cash assistance programs in Illinois 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
Illinois 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.

Financial Assistance for Senior Care and Senior Living

Whether living in their own home or in a senior living community, Illinois seniors can find financial assistance from numerous local resources. These organizations help residents cover some of the costs associated with in-home or long-term care and connect them with other helpful community-based resources.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Illinois HCBS Waiver for the Elderly The Waiver for the Elderly is a Home and Community-Based (HCBS) program that helps seniors who require a nursing level of care to access services and support in their own homes, thus helping them avoid institutionalization. The program pays for homemaker services and adult day care, as well as devices such as automated medication dispensers and personal emergency response systems.

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 Illinois seniors afford the nutritious food they need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Illinois Meals on WheelsThe Illinois Meals on Wheels Program provides nutritional dishes and safety checks for homebound seniors and others with a disability or mobility issue that makes it challenging to shop for food and prepare fresh, healthy meals. Participants pay based on income anywhere between free to full price. Illinois seniors who use Meals on Wheels receive regular weekday visits from volunteers who deliver meals. The program also serves meals at community gathering places for those with transportation.
Illinois Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)800-843-6154The Illinois Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, helps eligible seniors 60 and older and low-income families obtain healthy food. Seniors must be Illinois residents and meet income guidelines to be eligible. Benefits are provided on the electronic Illinois Link Card. The card can be used at grocery stores statewide for most food products, plus seeds and plants for home gardens. They can't be used for liquor, beer, wine or tobacco.

Financial Assistance for Senior Living

Low-income elderly individuals in senior living communities can access financial assistance through local-run programs. These Illinois resources offer advice, guidance and support to help older adults pay for the services offered by long-term care providers.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Illinois Supportive Living Facilities WaiverSeniors who receive Medicaid coverage can take part in the Supportive Living Facilities waiver, which provides personal care services for those living independently in their own communities. The program is self-directed and ensures that participants have the opportunity to customize the program to suit their needs.

Free Used Medical Equipment

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

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Illinois Assistive Technology Program800-852-5110Illinois Assistive Technology Program offers equipment loans, funding for new equipment and training for assistive technology such as general household accessibility aids, handheld and desktop video magnifiers, TV amplifiers and vehicle modification tools.
Illinois Devices 4 the Disabled773-870-1553Devices 4 the Disabled collects donated equipment and redistributes it to those who need it. Available supplies typically include wheelchairs, hospital beds and walkers.
Illinois Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach217-525-8843Hospital Sisters Mission Outreach distributes medical supplies and equipment to low-income seniors and disabled persons throughout the globe; however, personal delivery is available to those living across the Midwest United States.
Illinois St. John's Community Care618-344-5008St. John's Community Care hosts a free lending program at its Collinsville location. This program makes supplies such as walkers, wheelchairs, canes and bath chairs available to anyone who needs it.
Illinois Village of Schaumburg Medical Equipment Loans847-895-4500The Village of Schaumburg offers its residents loans of medical equipment for up to 90 days, provided they can make a small security deposit. Available equipment includes canes, bedside tables, bathtub seats and rails, and wheelchairs.

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 Illinois have different eligibility criteria and often assist retirees by providing grants or loans.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP)217-785-2533Through this program, older adults can apply for assistance with upgrades to their homes that make them more weather-resistant. These include air sealing, insulation, HVAC repair or replacement, water heater repair or replacement and ventilation services.
Illinois Section 504 Home Repair Program800-225-5342The Section 504 Home Repair Program offers funding to very low-income seniors who live in rural areas throughout the United States. Funds may be used to remove health hazards from the home or make necessary home modifications. More information about eligible housing can be found online at the United States Department of Agriculture Eligibility website.

Many organizations offer free or low-cost legal services to Illinois seniors. Older adults can access advice on issues such as estate planning, living wills and power of attorney. Some firms also act as long-term care ombudsmen, advocating for the rights of seniors in senior living communities.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Illinois Adult Protective Services866-800-1409Illinois Adult Protective Services coordinates with 40 provider agencies through the state to investigate any claims of abuse and neglect of seniors or disabled individuals. This program looks into instances of abuse and neglect that are outside of the boundaries of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. If someone suspects abuse, exploitation or neglect of a senior, they can call the number 24-hours a day to get immediate help.
Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman ProgramThe Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program connects seniors living in assisted living and other long-term care facilities with advocates that will ensure they are receiving a high level of care. Representatives from the Ombudsman Program will help seniors and their families resolve issues or look into accusations of abuse and neglect with long-term care facilities. This program is free to any resident who needs it.

Senior Engagement

Senior engagement resources and programs in Illinois 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
Alzheimer's Association Illinois Chapter847-933-2413The Alzheimer's Association provides seniors, their family or their caregivers with up-to-date information on available Alzheimer's resources in the state, respite care resources and how to find appropriate memory care units. The Alzheimer's Association also regularly fundraises for continuing research into Alzheimer's and other dementia-related diseases.
Illinois Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center312-942-7100The Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center is one of 29 national centers funded by the National Institute on Aging. The center offers psychological and neurological evaluations and consultations with physicians treating patients with Alzheimer's. The center also researches ways to treat and diagnose dementia-related diseases.
Illinois SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline877-360-5428LGBTQ seniors can call the hotline for information about local support services, including memory care. Hotline staff members can talk with seniors about concerns they may have about aging as an LGBTQ senior. The hotline can also connect callers with crisis response care.
Illinois Senior Helpline800-252-8966The Helpline provides seniors aged 60 and older, their family or caregivers with information on programs and services. Staff can refer callers to appropriate services such as transportation, assisted living in mental care facilities and long-term care.

Social Security Offices

Social Security offices in Illinois 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
Illinois 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 Illinois 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
Illinois Property Tax ReliefThe state of Illinois offers a variety of tax exemptions and exceptions for seniors, persons with disabilities and Veterans. The eligibility requirements for these exemptions vary but for seniors, most require applicants to be at least 65 years old and considered a low-to-moderate-income household.

Utility & Energy Bill Assistance

Low-income seniors who are struggling to meet the costs of maintaining their homes can find support from organizations that offer assistance with utility and energy bills. Illinois retirees could also qualify for emergency funding programs if they're in danger of losing utility services due to unpaid invoices.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity833-711-0374Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity

Veteran's Services

Illinois 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
Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs800-437-9824Throughout the state, Veterans Administration centers connect veterans and their spouses to the senior care and residential options they qualify for, as well as other benefits earned through military service. There are several VA centers located throughout Illinois.
Illinois VA Benefits and Health CareIllinois VA Benefits and Health Care

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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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