Located in the Midwest, Iowa is rich in history and home to many outdoor adventures, agriculture, shopping and tourist attractions. Seniors looking for things to do can explore the Amana Colonies, one of the oldest communal societies in the country. Iowa is also home to Pikes Peak State Park, which offers views of the Mississippi River and is one of the most photographed places in the state. Here seniors can hike and enjoy the scenery. The cost of living in Iowa is much lower than the national average, making it an affordable place for seniors to retire, and Social Security benefits are exempt from state income tax. Summers are mild, with average July highs around 84, but winters are cold and snowy with up to 30 inches of snow annually.

Active seniors who want to remain independent but prefer to live in a community designed for older adults may choose an independent living facility. These communities provide little to no medical care and usually do not offer home and community-based services, like bathing and grooming. In Iowa, the average cost of independent living is $2,647

This guide covers the cost of independent living in surrounding states and offers a list of common senior resources. 

The Cost of Independent Living in Iowa

Independent living costs between 30% to 40% less than the average cost of assisted living. We estimated the cost of independent living in Iowa by subtracting 35% from the average assisted living cost from the 2020 Genworth Cost of Care Survey

Independent living in Iowa costs $2,647, which is less than the national average of $2,795. To the north in Minnesota, residents pay $2,784, and to the northeast in Wisconsin, the cost is $2,860. Residents to the west in South Dakota and Nebraska can expect to pay $2,365 and $2,722, respectively, while those in Missouri have the lowest cost at $1,950. Illinois is the most expensive state in the surrounding area for seniors at $2,974.




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Paying for Independent Living in Iowa

The cost of independent living isn’t covered by Medicare or private insurance companies because it typically doesn’t cover medical care or assistance with daily living. For this reason, most seniors pay for these communities out-of-pocket. There are several options available for covering the cost. Annuity payments from an initial investment and Social Security benefits and pensions are common methods of payment. Some seniors choose to use personal savings accounts or reverse mortgages, which allows homeowners to borrow off the equity in their homes. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be available for seniors ages 65 and older and those who are blind or disabled, which can also be used to pay for the costs of independent living

Independent Living Resources in Iowa

The following is a list of available services for seniors throughout the state. Seniors can get help with health insurance, weatherization of their home and nutrition planning. 

Aging Resources(515) 255-1310Aging Resources connects seniors with programs and services that help them maintain their quality of life, stay independent and healthy and focus on safety. Some of these programs include nutrition and wellness, elder abuse prevention and the family caregiver program.
Iowa Association of Agencies on Aging(866) 468-7887There are six Area Agencies on Aging throughout the state of Iowa. The association helps strengthen these agencies by supporting their members and notifying them of new programs and services available to older adults. The association can help seniors locate their local office. They also advocate for change in policies that pertain to independent living and aging. 
Iowa Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP)(800) 351-4664SHIP is a free program for seniors to help them navigate Medicare and other forms of insurance. Counseling is offered by a team of certified volunteers that can help seniors save money by informing them of their available options. Counselors can also help individuals detect and report possible Medicare fraud, errors and abuse.
Iowa Weatherization Assistance Program(515) 242-5655The weatherization assistance program is a federally funded program that helps low-income seniors reduce heating and cooling costs by improving the energy efficiency of their homes. 
Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs(515) 252-4698The Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs helps prior military receive healthcare, benefits and compensation. They also assist with locating housing and transitioning from military to civilian life. The agency may also help veterans sign up to receive help paying for home and community-based services through the Aid and Attendance program.