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Independent Living in Nebraska

Although Nebraska is not as popular for retirees as sunnier spots, the Cornhusker State has a lot to offer its senior residents. The low crime rate is a plus for safety-conscious seniors, and although winters are cold, the rest of the year has plenty of sunshine. In addition, the cost of living is around 10% lower than the national average, allowing older adults to stretch their budget longer in retirement. There’s also plenty for seniors to do, including golf courses, a strong arts scene and events throughout the year. With more than 16% of Nebraska’s 1.9 million people aged 65 and above, it’s easy to find a friend to explore with.

Independent living offers housing in a community designed for older adults, usually aged 55 and over. These communities are designed for people who live independently, so they don’t provide medical care or personal assistance. However, most take care of outdoor chores and may also offer meals and housekeeping services, allowing seniors to spend more time enjoying their retirement.

In Nebraska, the average cost of independent living is $2,722 per month. This guide provides seniors with more information about the cost of independent living in the state, funding independent living and resources available for older adults in Nebraska.

The Cost of Independent Living in Nebraska

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, 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 Nebraska and its 2 cities.

The Cost of Independent Living in Nebraska's Top Cities

When looking at the cost of care in Nebraska, Lincoln averages $2,239, whereas Omaha is a much larger city and reflects a higher rate of $3,800. Just across the river in Council Bluffs, IA, the rate drops significantly to $2,325 and only goes up to $2,725 in West Des Moines, IA. Omaha does have a lot to offer seniors, but if cost is a determining factor, other areas may be preferable.







Council Bluffs, IA


West Des Moines, IA


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

Although inflation continues to impact the cost of senior care across the nation, Nebraska has seen costs go the opposite direction. From 2022 to 2023, costs dropped about 9.1% from $3,343 to $3,040, compared to the nation's 5.2% increase. When looking at neighboring states, a slightly different picture emerges. Iowa and Wyoming both decreased, but Iowa only dropped by 4.1% while Wyoming had a 24.2% reduction. Colorado increased by just 1.2%, but Kansas saw the biggest change at 28% higher. With costs projected to rise, a proactive approach needs to be taken in planning for senior care.

Location2022 Cost (Historical)2023 Cost (Current)2024 Cost (Estimated)
U.S. Average$2,810$2,955$3,162

The Costs of Other Types of Senior Living

Many factors interact with each other when it comes to assessing senior care costs. The blend of such aspects as services and amenities, labor costs and geographic location all contribute. Independent living is the most affordable option at $3,040, as assisted living jumps to $5,043 due to the typical need for more staff involvement and services. Memory care often requires 24/7 monitoring, so it tops the list at $5,997.

Assisted Living


Memory Care


Independent Living


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

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 Nebraska.

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 Nebraska

Although medical insurance doesn’t cover the cost of independent living, there are many ways to fund a move into an independent living community. As housing, transport and food are often included, many seniors find their regular retirement income covers some or all of the monthly costs of independent living. Many people choose an independent living community when downsizing and use the proceeds from the sale of their homes to fund their new lifestyle. Seniors may also wish to consider renting their property or using its equity by taking out a reverse mortgage. Our guide to independent living has more information about funding options. 

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Nebraska

There are many resources in Nebraska that assist seniors in their retirement. 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
Nebraska Area Agencies on AgingThere are eight Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) throughout Nebraska. Help typically falls under one of five areas: nutritional services, access to services, elder rights, in-home services and community-based services. Seniors can receive assistance if they are aged 60+. Contact information for each AAA is available via the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services website.

Cash Assistance Programs

Cash assistance programs in Nebraska 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
Nebraska 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 Nebraska seniors afford the nutritious food they need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Nebraska Emergency Food Assistance ProgramNebraska seniors can turn to the state's Emergency Food Assistance Program to receive donated food. The EFAP distributes its food to two Nebraska food banks, Food Bank for the Heartland and Food Bank of Lincoln. Nebraska seniors in need of assistance may contact these facilities for information on food distribution points in their local area.
Nebraska Meals on WheelsNebraska Meals on Wheels provides well-balanced meals to eligible seniors statewide. To qualify, seniors must be aged 60 and over. Those mobile enough can enjoy meals with peers at their local congregate meal site, while those who are immobile receive daily meal delivery with an accompanying safety check to monitor their well-being. Services are offered on a sliding-fee scale. Additional services are also available and vary from program to program, including transportation to doctor appointments, telephone reassurance and pet food delivery.
Nebraska Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)402-471-6857The state departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services administer the Nebraska Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Seniors aged 60 and over whose income is at or below 185% of the federal poverty level can receive limited funds annually via this program. Older adults can use SFMNP coupons at markets to acquire unprepared fruits and vegetables, honey and other locally produced and seasonal foods.
Nebraska Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)800-221-5689The Nebraska Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program helps eligible seniors over age 60 obtain healthy food. To qualify, applicants must meet certain resource and income requirements. SNAP benefits are placed on an electronic benefits transfer card, and they can only be used for food. Most supermarkets and grocery stores statewide and some Meals on Wheels services accept SNAP funds. Liquor, wine, beer, tobacco products and prepared foods, such as restaurant meals, can't be paid for using SNAP benefits.

Free Used Medical Equipment

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

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Nebraska Methodist's Equipment Loan ProgramThe Equipment Loan Program, offered by Methodist Health Partners, accepts donated used medical equipment, inspects and sanitizes it according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, and offers it for free or on loan to Nebraskans who need the equipment but cannot afford it or get it covered by their public or private health insurance plan.
Nebraska ReUse NetworkThe Nebraska ReUse Network helps seniors retain their independence at home by providing access to needed medical equipment that might not be covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the individual's private health insurance plan.

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

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Nebraska 504 Home Repair ProgramRural Development housing repair loans and grants help low-income and elderly Nebraska homeowners procure funds to remove health or safety hazards from their homes, and modernize or weatherize their dwellings. The funds from these loans or grants can be used on projects such as HVAC repair, insulation and water supply repair or replacement.

Many organizations offer free or low-cost legal services to Nebraska 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
Legal Aid of Nebraska877-250-2018Legal Aid of Nebraska helps seniors with various civil law issues, including disputes regarding evictions, disability and Medicaid benefits and utility shutoffs. Walk-ins are welcome at LAN's Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island and Scottsbluff offices. The Omaha office is open Monday through Wednesday, 1 to 4 p.m., and the Lincoln location is staffed Monday and Wednesday during the same hours. The Grand Island and Scottsbluff offices hold hours on Tuesdays, 12 to 3 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m., respectively.

Senior Centers

Senior centers in Nebraska bring together residents through recreational activities and events. Many also offer advice and support on senior issues, run wellness and nutrition programs, and connect older adults with other resources in the local area.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Nebraska State Unit on Aging402-471-2307A division of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the State Unit on Aging offers a variety of services to help older adults, individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities, and caregivers. The center has a list of supportive resources for those with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. Guidance with insurance coverage and Medicare is provided, and legal services are available for low-income seniors. An elder abuse awareness program is also offered.

Senior Engagement

Senior engagement resources and programs in Nebraska 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 of Nebraska Chapter402-502-4300The Nebraska chapter of the Alzheimer's Association helps individuals with dementia-related impairments. Seniors and their caregivers have access to early-stage services, such as care consultations, safety programs and social engagement activities. In-person and online workshops are offered, and there are support groups available for those impacted by cognitive conditions.

Medicaid Resources

Navigating the Medicaid system is often difficult and confusing. Several Nebraska resources help older adults by providing advice on Medicaid options, waiver programs and eligibility criteria to help seniors receive the right health care benefits.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Nebraska Aged and Disabled Medicaid Waiver877-667-6266Nebraska's Aged and Disabled Medicaid Waiver provides funding for seniors who require a nursing home level of care. This funding can be used to pay for nursing home or assisted living costs. If the recipient prefers to live independently, the Aged and Disabled Medicaid Waiver can cover the costs of home or vehicle modifications to enable them to age in place.
Nebraska Traumatic Brain Injury Medical Waiver877-667-6266The Traumatic Brain Injury Medical Waiver provides financial assistance to Nebraska residents who require nursing home or assisted living care because of a traumatic brain injury that was caused by an external mechanical force.

Social Security Offices

Social Security offices in Nebraska 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
Nebraska 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 Nebraska 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
Nebraska Homestead Exemption402-471-5984The Homestead Tax Exemption provides property tax relief for Nebraska seniors as well as for homeowners who fit into several additional categories, such as disabled veterans and individuals with physical or developmental disabilities.

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. Nebraska retirees could also qualify for emergency funding programs if they're in danger of losing utility services due to unpaid invoices.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Nebraska Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)800-383-4278The Nebraska Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides financial assistance to low-income Nebraskans, helping them offset the cost of high heating and cooling bills. Residents can turn to LIHEAP for help with HVAC and furnace repair, along with home weatherization services.

Veteran's Services

Nebraska 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
Nebraska VA Benefits and Health CareNebraska VA Benefits and Health Care supports qualifying senior veterans through a range of clinical services, medical equipment supply, benefits assistance, loans and more. Alongside Omaha and Grand Island VA Medical Centers, it operates an outpatient clinic in Lincoln and seven community-based outpatient clinics throughout the state. Vet Centers are located in Lincoln and Omaha, with advice and assistance also available from Papillion Community Living Center.

Independent Living Facilities in Nebraska

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