Montana is known as a retirement haven due to its senior-friendly tax policies and affordable cost of living. There’s no sales tax in Montana, and senior residents can save about 5.1% on their day-to-day expenses while enjoying life surrounded by beautiful and untouched natural scenery. The state has a population of just over one million people, and 19.3% of its residents are aged 65 and older, which is almost 3% more than the U.S. average.

Montana retirees have access to 65 hospitals and benefit from health care costs that are below the national median. The state is home to Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, and it’s a great place to enjoy a four-season climate. Billings, the state’s largest city, receives an average of 46 inches of snowfall per year but enjoys pleasantly warm summers, with July highs of about 88 degrees.

Independent living communities offer seniors individual homes or apartments with total autonomy but very little in the way of maintenance responsibilities. They’re ideal for seniors who don’t need help with daily living tasks but would prefer to have assistance options available if needed. The average cost of independent living in Montana is $2,738 per month

This guide provides more information about independent living costs, financing options and assistance programs available to seniors in Montana.

The Cost of Independent Living in Montana

Note: Assisted Living costs are generally 30%-40% higher than Independent Living costs throughout the United States. However, no authoritative source specifically tracks those Independent Living costs. In the following material, we estimate Independent Living costs at 35% lower than the Assisted Living costs in Genworth Financial’s Cost of Care Survey.

Montana’s estimated average monthly cost for Independent Living, $2,893, is just a tad below the national average of $2,925. However, that still makes Montana one of the more expensive states in its region of the U.S. on that metric. To the south, Wyoming’s average monthly costs come in at $2,709, and Idaho is a bit cheaper than that at $2,495. Just to the east of Montana, the Dakotas have the lowest prices in the area for Independent Living at $2,204 in North Dakota and $2,178 in South Dakota. 

$2893

Montana

$2925

The United States

$2495

Idaho

$2709

Wyoming

$2204

North Dakota

$2178

South Dakota

Prices for Independent Living across the state fall within a relatively narrow band, according to Genworth Financial’s data. The most expensive costs are on the far west side of the state in Missoula, where seniors can expect to pay on average roughly $3,023 per month for such lodging. Prices drop a little lower in Billings, which carries costs of approximately $2,967 a month. They’re at their cheapest in Great Falls, which runs around $2,698.

$3023

Missoula

$2698

Great Falls

$2967

Billings

Other options for seniors seeking long-term lodging in Montana include in-home care through Homemaker or Home Health Aide services. These are good choices for seniors who wish to age in place; both services cost roughly $5,339 per month. Assisted Living is slightly cheaper than in-home care at $4,450 per month. Adult Day Care is the least expensive option at $2,600 a month but generally isn’t a sufficient level of support for seniors who need observation on nights and weekends. Nursing Home care is the most robust but also carries the steepest price tag at $7,574 per month for a semiprivate room and $8,060 for a private one.

$5339

Homemaker

$5339

Hom

$2600

Ad

$2893

Ind

$4450

Ass

$7574

Nursing Home (semiprivate room)

$8060

Nursing Home (private room)

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

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 Montana.

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 Montana

Independent living may be offered in a stand-alone retirement community or a facility that offers a complete continuum of care including skilled nursing services. In addition to residential accommodations, independent living communities may offer services such as entertainment, transportation and prepared meals. Since independent living is designed for seniors who don’t need daily help, it’s typically not covered by insurance or government programs. Seniors may sell their home to pay for independent living. A reverse mortgage is an option that lets a senior retain ownership of their home while using their equity to finance the move. Long-term care insurance may also pay for some of the services delivered in these communities. 

Independent Living Resources in Montana

Making a major life change can be challenging, but Montana has lots of programs available to help seniors get comfortable and enjoy a healthy and safe retirement. Below are some free or low-cost resources that might help seniors make connections in the community or access local services. 

Resource
Contact 
Service
(800) 551-3191
Through a network of public agencies and private nonprofit organizations, Montana operates 10 Area Agencies on Aging to connect seniors with local resources. Some AAA locations may offer programs such as free transportation, nutrition, health benefits or other services. There may be eligibility guidelines for specific programs. 
(406) 444-5622
Elder Montana Advocates, which works with the Department of Health and Human Services, gives retirees a voice in their state and local government. This nonprofit organization regularly drafts and proposes legislation designed to address concerns of senior residents, and it currently has an 80% success rate at passing proposed legislation. Membership is open to all Montana seniors aged 55 and older, and members who wish to can seek leadership positions on the Board of Directors through internal elections.
(800) 332-2272
The Long-term Care Ombudsman program helps residents of long-term care communities resolve conflicts or handle allegations of abuse or neglect. An Ombudsman can explain resident rights to seniors, and provide advocacy and advice about issues that may arise in a community living situation. 
(406) 324-3742
The Montana Veteran Affairs Division can assist former members of the military with benefit applications and appeals. It can also offer assistance with applying for programs specific to Montana, such as free vehicle registrations for seniors who qualify. 
(800) 551-3191
SHIP connects seniors with trained counselors to discuss their available Medicare benefits. SHIP counselors can help seniors determine when they might be eligible to start receiving benefits and what the cost might be under each type of Medicare plan. Counselors can also explain coverage differences and expected out-of-pocket costs. Additionally, SHIP hosts presentations about long-term care insurance, which may cover some independent living costs.

COVID-19 Rules for Independent Living in Montana

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth. 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 Montana 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 Montana 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 Montana 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 Montana

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

2022

MorningStar Senior Living of Billings

4001 Bell Ave, Billings, MT, 59106

MorningStar of Billings is located on the western side of Billings, just north of the town of Yegen. It sits within walking distance of the Shiloh Ridge Trail, giving residents an easy option for gett … (read more)
MorningStar of Billings is located on the western side of Billings, just north of the town of Yegen. It sits within walking distance of the Shiloh Ridge Trail, giving residents an easy option for gett … (read more)

Holiday Aspen View

3075 Avenue C, Billings, MT, 59102

I went to Holiday Aspen View. The appearance was very, very good. Lisa, the sales manager, was very, very good. It’s new and clean. I learned everything from Lisa. They offer three meals, an apartment … (read more)
I went to Holiday Aspen View. The appearance was very, very good. Lisa, the sales manager, was very, very good. It’s new and clean. I learned everything from Lisa. They offer three meals, an apartment … (read more)

Sweetwater Retirement Community of Billings

3140 Sweet Water Drive, Billings, MT, 59102

Located one block west of Stewart Park and two from Rimrock Mall, Sweetwater Retirement Community of Billings is an assisted and independent living facility in Montana. Residents praise the food, fami … (read more)
Located one block west of Stewart Park and two from Rimrock Mall, Sweetwater Retirement Community of Billings is an assisted and independent living facility in Montana. Residents praise the food, fami … (read more)

Mission Ridge

3940 Rimrock Road, Billings, MT, 59102

Mission Ridge was fine. The only problem that we had was there’s a 6 to 12 months waiting period. That wasn’t going to work. It was also a larger community, and my Mom felt it was just too big for her … (read more)
Mission Ridge was fine. The only problem that we had was there’s a 6 to 12 months waiting period. That wasn’t going to work. It was also a larger community, and my Mom felt it was just too big for her … (read more)