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

Note: While there is no authoritative source for Independent Living costs in Iowa, it’s possible to estimate its costs based on other available data. On average, Independent Living is about 30-40% cheaper than Assisted Living. Subtracting 35% from Assisted Living costs provided by Genworth Financial’s Cost of Care Survey for 2021 provides a useful figure for Independent Living.

The average cost of Independent Living in Iowa is $2,839 per month, which is comparable to the national average of $2,925 for this type of community. It’s also similar to Minnesota’s and Illinois’ average monthly costs of $2,930 and $2,917, respectively. Missouri has the least expensive median cost for Independent Living at $1,950, followed by South Dakota at $2,178 and Nebraska at $2,649 per month. 

$2839

Iowa

$2925

The United States

$2930

Minnesota

$2917

Illinois

$1950

Missouri

$2649

Nebraska

$2178

South Dakota

There is very little diversity in Independent Living prices between cities in Iowa. Des Moines is the most expensive at an average of $3,122 per month. This is only $426 more than the state’s lowest-priced location, Sioux City, which costs $2,696 monthly. Both big cities along the Mississippi River, Davenport and Dubuque, have similar Independent Living costs at $2,828 and $2,941 per month. Iowa City’s median monthly price is $2,867, which is very close to the state average. The City of Five Seasons, Cedar Rapids, has a monthly average cost of $3,086.

$3122

Des Moines

$2696

Sioux City

$2941

Dubuque

$2867

Iowa City

$3086

Cedar Rapids

$2828

Davenport

Independent Living is one of the most affordable types of senior living in Iowa. Adult Day Care is less expensive at $1,353 per month, though not technically a form of housing. Assisted Living, which offers help with daily activities and other services that Independent Living does not, costs an average of $4,367 per month. Seniors who hire people to provide care within their existing residences pay an average of $5,529 per month for In-Home Care and $5,577 per month for Home Health Care. Nursing Homes in Iowa have a median price of $6,874 per month. 

$2839

Independent Living

$5529

In-Home Care

$5577

Home Health Care

$1353

Adult Day Care

$4367

Assisted Living Facility

$6874

Nursing Home Care

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

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 Iowa.

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 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. 

Resource
Contact
Service
(515) 255-1310
Aging 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.
(866) 468-7887
There 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. 
(800) 351-4664
SHIP 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.
(515) 242-5655
The 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. 
(515) 252-4698
The 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.

COVID-19 Rules for Independent Living in Iowa

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including idph.iowa.gov. These rules apply to Independent Living Communities and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/8/2022, 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 Iowa 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

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 Iowa 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?

No (Conditions Apply)

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)

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for Iowa Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?

Yes

Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

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 (Conditions Apply)

Find Independent Living Communities in Iowa

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

2017

Holiday Beaverdale Estates

4610 Douglas Ave, Des Moines, IA, 50310

The person who toured me around Beaverdale Estates was real nice, very thorough, and empathetic towards showing me what I needed to see. She took me to a studio apartment, which was what I wanted, and … (read more)
The person who toured me around Beaverdale Estates was real nice, very thorough, and empathetic towards showing me what I needed to see. She took me to a studio apartment, which was what I wanted, and … (read more)

Ramsey Village

1611 27th St., Des Moines, IA, 50301

Ramsey Village is an assisted living facility based in Des Moines, Iowa just moments away from Buel Field, Cowles Library and the bustling downtown area. The facility earns praise for being well-kept … (read more)
Ramsey Village is an assisted living facility based in Des Moines, Iowa just moments away from Buel Field, Cowles Library and the bustling downtown area. The facility earns praise for being well-kept … (read more)

3801 Grand

3801 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA, 50312

3801 Grand, a Newbury Living community, is close to commercial establishments in the North Grand neighborhood of Des Moines, Iowa. Independent and assisted living residents enjoy plenty of activities … (read more)
3801 Grand, a Newbury Living community, is close to commercial establishments in the North Grand neighborhood of Des Moines, Iowa. Independent and assisted living residents enjoy plenty of activities … (read more)

Edencrest at Beaverdale

3410 Beaver Ave, Des Moines, IA, 50310

Edencrest at Beaverdale is a retirement living community in a peaceful neighborhood just minutes from downtown Des Moines, Iowa. Loved ones are impressed with the facility’s restaurant-style dining, … (read more)
Edencrest at Beaverdale is a retirement living community in a peaceful neighborhood just minutes from downtown Des Moines, Iowa. Loved ones are impressed with the facility’s restaurant-style dining, … (read more)

Luther Park Apartments

2824 E 16th Street, Des Moines, IA, 50316

Most important is the rent is raised ever year! Apartment is 40y/o, so is smaller size with quite small bathrooms. Floors squeak. Some updated appliances. No onsite security, no door alarms. Food okay … (read more)
Most important is the rent is raised ever year! Apartment is 40y/o, so is smaller size with quite small bathrooms. Floors squeak. Some updated appliances. No onsite security, no door alarms. Food okay … (read more)

Scottish Rite Park

2909 Woodland Ave, Des Moines, IA, 50312

My parents-in-law are in Scottish Rite Park. They’ve been there a little over a year. They have both independent living and assisted living. If one requires one care and the other one requires another … (read more)
My parents-in-law are in Scottish Rite Park. They’ve been there a little over a year. They have both independent living and assisted living. If one requires one care and the other one requires another … (read more)

2017, 2018, 2020

Holiday Illahee Hills

8308 Colby Pkwy, Urbandale, IA, 50322

We looked at Holiday Illahee Hills, and it was nice. I like the fact that they have 450-some units across the United States, and you can stay with them two weeks out of the year at different places if … (read more)
We looked at Holiday Illahee Hills, and it was nice. I like the fact that they have 450-some units across the United States, and you can stay with them two weeks out of the year at different places if … (read more)

Elite Lodge of Ashworth

909 Ashworth Rd, West Des Moines, IA, 50265

I was very impressed with my tour at Elite Lodge of Ashworth. They do everything possible to keep people there in terms of meeting their needs. When we toured, somebody asked about a different table t … (read more)
I was very impressed with my tour at Elite Lodge of Ashworth. They do everything possible to keep people there in terms of meeting their needs. When we toured, somebody asked about a different table t … (read more)

The Arbordale

2727 82nd Pl., Urbandale, IA, 50322

We’ve toured The Arbordale and we were impressed with it. We liked the rooms. We liked the fact that they had a chef that makes the meals three days a week, so that’s available if you choose to purcha … (read more)
We’ve toured The Arbordale and we were impressed with it. We liked the rooms. We liked the fact that they had a chef that makes the meals three days a week, so that’s available if you choose to purcha … (read more)

Prairie Vista Village

2785 1st Avenue South, Altoona, IA, 50009

Prairie Vista Village was very good and the staff was very good and helpful. They gave us information that we needed and answered all our questions. It’s only a four-year-old building so everything is … (read more)
Prairie Vista Village was very good and the staff was very good and helpful. They gave us information that we needed and answered all our questions. It’s only a four-year-old building so everything is … (read more)

Bishop Drumm Retirement Center

5837 Winwood Drive, Johnston, IA, 50131

We toured Bishop Drumm Retirement Center and we looked at both the independent and the assisted living. Although, I probably spent more time looking at independent living. It’s very nice and welcoming … (read more)
We toured Bishop Drumm Retirement Center and we looked at both the independent and the assisted living. Although, I probably spent more time looking at independent living. It’s very nice and welcoming … (read more)

Copper Shores Village

1500 Edgewater Dr, Pleasant Hill, IA, 50327

Copper Shores Village is advertised to be more than it is. The activities are poor, the food is horrible, and there is a problems with bullying among the residents. Front desk staff is rarely friendly … (read more)
Copper Shores Village is advertised to be more than it is. The activities are poor, the food is horrible, and there is a problems with bullying among the residents. Front desk staff is rarely friendly … (read more)

Edencrest at The Legacy

2901 Cedar Street, Norwalk, IA, 50211