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Independent Living in New Jersey

New Jersey is a state filled with fun and easy access to amazing amenities. From the bright lights of Atlantic City to the crashing waves of Ocean City, this New England area keeps seniors on the go. Independent living is an affordable option for anyone considering retirement to the Garden State even though New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the nation because seniors often only pay a rental fee when living in a senior community. Other senior income at or below an annual total of $75,000 is not taxed or taxed at a low rate. The cost of living is generally below the national average throughout the state, particularly for healthcare expenses.

Senior apartments and independent living communities allow seniors to continue living alone or with a spouse, while also offering some help with more labor-intensive chores. For example, communities handle all outdoor maintenance, including snow removal and lawn care, allowing residents to enjoy garden time without the physical labor. Entertainment, social activities and meals may be included in the monthly rent.

This guide offers a look at how much independent living typically costs in New Jersey, along with free and low-cost resources that are of interest to many seniors.

The Cost of Independent Living in New Jersey

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 New Jersey and its 10 cities.

The Cost of Independent Living in New Jersey's Top Cities

Although inflation has kicked up the statewide average, several cities in New Jersey offer affordable independent living, including Voorhees at $2,157 and Burlington at $3,636 monthly. On the flip side, many cities have substantially higher independent living costs that are double, sometimes triple, the price of cities on the lower end of the scale. For example, the monthly cost in Bridgewater averages $6,465, and Montvale is even higher at $7,500.

New Jersey

$3,358

Voorhees

$2,157

Burlington

$3,636

Bridgewater

$6,465

Montvale

$7,500

Inflation's Impact on the Cost of Independent Living in New Jersey

Inflation has caused senior living costs to skyrocket in some states, including the cost of independent living in New Jersey. Monthly independent living costs rose from $2,810 in 2022 to $2,955 nationally, increasing by about 5.2%. However, New Jersey costs increased from $2,387 to $3,358, more than 40%.

New York also saw a significant increase of nearly 21% in its state average. Conversely, other states in the area recorded decreased independent living pricing during this period. Lower statewide costs included about a 3% drop in Delaware, nearly 11% in Pennsylvania and more than 30% in Connecticut.

Location2022 Cost (Historical)2023 Cost (Current)2024 Cost (Estimated)
New Jersey$2,387$3,358$3,894
U.S. Average$2,810$2,955$3,162
New York$2,793$3,372$3,875
Delaware$3,575$3,472$3,698
Pennsylvania$3,603$3,215$3,675
Connecticut$4,577$3,187$3,394

The Costs of Other Types of Senior Living

Seniors who can live independently without personal care or nursing assistance benefit from the lower cost of assistance, which averaged $3,358 in 2023 in New Jersey. However, aging adults that need daily care or regular nursing services should consider assisted living. This senior living option costs $5,175 in the state. For those with Alzheimer's or other dementia, memory care with specialized dementia support may become necessary and runs $6,289 in New Jersey.

Assisted Living

$5,175

Memory Care

$6,289

Independent Living

$3,358

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

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 New Jersey.

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 New Jersey

Independent living may come with a wide variety of support services, or it may be simply a community of folks at a similar stage of life all living in the same place. In general, there are a few resources available to help with basic rental costs for seniors. Some financing options might include a reverse mortgage. If a senior has dependents that wish to continue living at home, a reverse mortgage allows them to use their home equity to finance independent living without rehoming their loved ones. For seniors living alone or with others who also intend to move to senior housing, selling a house is another option. Long-term care insurance may also pay for some of the costs. 

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in New Jersey

There are many resources in New Jersey 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.

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
New Jersey Area Agencies on AgingThere are 21 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) in New Jersey, one in each of the counties in the state. They offer helpful, relevant programs and services geared toward senior New Jerseyans, such as the Hearing Aid Assistance Program and the Senior Gold Prescription Discount Program. Agencies also connect seniors to services including transportation, case management, homemaker and respite services, community-based meal programs and educational courses for caregivers.

Cash Assistance Programs

Cash assistance programs in New Jersey 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
New Jersey 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, New Jersey 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
New Jersey Assistance for Community CaregivingJersey Assistance for Community Caregiving is a statefunded program that covers the cost of services that can help seniors stay in their homes. As part of the program, eligible seniors may qualify for modifications to make their homes safer or more accessible. Participants may have to pay a copay for some services
New Jersey Managed Long-Term Services and Supports (MLTSS)800-792-8820Managed Long-Term Services and Supports is the managed care program administered by NJ FamilyCare. MLTSS uses a network of managed care organizations to coordinate services for Medicaid enrollees who need long-term care at home or in a residential care setting. Depending on a member's needs, MLTSS may cover home modifications, respite care, meal delivery, assisted living, nursing home care or community residential services
New Jersey Personal Preference Program609-631-2481The Personal Preference Program lets eligible members select and manage their own long-term care services. Each member is given a monthly budget and can choose any combination of covered services to increase their comfort and maintain their health and independence. PPP benefits may be used to pay for housekeeping, home health services, personal care and equipment that isn't covered by traditional Medicaid.

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 New Jersey seniors afford the nutritious food they need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
New Jersey Meals on WheelsAs part of the national Meals on Wheels network, New Jersey Meals on Wheels helps seniors who experience food insecurity. While the organization doesn't directly distribute or collect food, it can help seniors find free congregate meal sites, food pantries and home delivery options in their local area. Volunteer drivers also provide a regular welfare check for seniors on their routes. By MOW policy, seniors aren't turned away due to inability to pay, though donations are accepted.

Free Used Medical Equipment

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

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
New Jersey Assistive Technology Lending Center888-695-0845The Assistive Technology Lending Center is a free service that allows New Jersey residents with disabilities to borrow a wide range of assistive devices. Available items include transfer devices, wrist rests, call chimes and telephone amplifiers.
New Jersey Bikur Cholim Medical Equipment G'Mach973-472-1030The Bikur Cholim of Passaic-Clifton operates a medical equipment bank, making donated items available to anyone who needs them. Available items include scooters, canes, crutches, walkers and wheelchairs.
New Jersey Richard West Assistive Technology Advocacy Center800-922-7233The Richard West ATAC uses federal funds to make assistive technology more accessible to the people who need it. The center partners with Goodwill Home Medical to make certain items available for free.

Health Insurance & Prescription Drug Coverage for Seniors

New Jersey seniors who meet certain income criteria can apply to local resources to help them pay for prescription drugs. Eligible residents can also receive assistance through health insurance and other programs to access free or discounted medical services.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
New Jersey Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled Program (PAAD)800-792-9745The PAAD Program makes prescription drugs more affordable for seniors and younger adults with disabilities. Medicare-eligible individuals must enroll in Medicare Part D, but PAAD covers the monthly premium for a basic Part D plan, keeping out-of-pocket costs as low as possible. Once Medicare Part D benefits are applied, a PAAD participant pays a copay of $5 for an approved generic drug or $7 for an approved brand-name drug. If Medicare Part D doesn't cover a drug, the PAAD participant must switch to a covered drug or ask their doctor to request an exception due to medical necessity.
New Jersey Senior Gold Program800-792-9745The Senior Gold Program helps eligible residents of New Jersey pay for prescription medications, injectable medications for multiple sclerosis and insulin needles and syringes. Senior Gold discounts can be combined with Medicare Part D coverage, reducing a senior's out-of-pocket prescription costs. For each covered drug, a Senior Gold participant pays a $15 copay and 50% of the remaining cost once Medicare Part D benefits are applied.

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

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
New Jersey Weatherization Assistance Program609-292-4080The New Jersey Weatherization Assistance Program offers grants to help older adults and younger adults with disabilities conserve energy, protect their homes against the elements and increase energy efficiency. Funds may be used to add weather stripping, install insulation, replace inefficient water heaters and make energy-related repairs.

Many organizations offer free or low-cost legal services to New Jersey 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
New Jersey Community Health Law Project (CHLP)973-275-1175The Community Health Law Project advocates for frail seniors and those on low incomes. It specializes in several areas of civil law. For example, it can help seniors who were denied Medicaid or Medicare and refused public benefits, such as SSI. It also handles consumer law and living wills.
New Jersey Long-Term Care Ombudsman877-582-6995The NJ Long-Term Care Ombudsman is an independent advocate for seniors living in residential care facilities throughout the state. Its ombudsmen are directly appointed by the state governor. Their duties include visiting facilities to speak in confidence with residents, inform them of their rights and investigate any complaints they have with their care providers. The ombudsman can negotiate solutions but not impose its recommendations. However, if a complaint suggests criminal behavior, such as elder abuse, the ombudsman will refer it to the appropriate law enforcement entity.

Senior Centers

Senior centers in New Jersey 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
New Jersey 211877-652-1148211 New Jersey is the state's branch of a national organization. Within New Jersey, 211 can help residents locate and access agencies and nonprofits in their area dedicated to helping seniors within the community and in residential care. Whereas an Area Agency on Aging can directly help seniors by coordinating assistance from multiple state-sponsored agencies, 211 can refer them to nonprofits funded by donations and supported by volunteers who may offer help not provided by the state. 211 also has a 24-hour helpline, so seniors aren't limited to when they contact the free service.

Senior Engagement

Senior engagement resources and programs in New Jersey 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 Greater New Jersey Chapter800-272-3900The Alzheimer's Association is a nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing services and treatments for those living with memory loss. The New Jersey Chapter offers a range of online and in-person resources, including patient and caregiver support groups, educational sessions and advocacy services. Anyone can contact the AA for information about local resources.
Alzheimer's New Jersey888-280-6055ALZNJ was previously affiliated with the Alzheimer's Association and is now an independent nonprofit organization. It serves all of New Jersey from its headquarters in Roseland by providing information and connections to relevant services at the local level. ALZNJ hosts educational events and support groups across the state and provides care consultations to seniors and caregivers during the early stages. The organization can also connect residents with clinical trials, as well as legal and financial planning.

Social Security Offices

Social Security offices in New Jersey 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
New Jersey 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 New Jersey 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
New Jersey Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons Property Tax Deduction609-292-6400The Senior Citizens and Disabled Property Tax Deduction is open to those aged 65 and older or who are living with a disability and have been residents of New Jersey for at least one year. The program gives eligible residents a deduction on their property tax bill, with the amount currently set at $250.

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

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
New Jersey Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)800-510-3102The LIHEAP helps low-income residents of New Jersey cover their heating and cooling bills. It also makes provisions for emergency fuel assistance and heating systems via the Home Energy Assistance Program. The program is open to residents of all ages who meet the income requirements.

Veteran's Services

New Jersey 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
New Jersey VA Benefits and Health CareNew Jersey VA Benefits and Health Care offers health care services to senior veterans through its medical centers and outpatient clinics. Additionally, the dedicated staff can provide valuable assistance with claims at benefits offices or guidance for other sources of support or specialized services. New Jersey also has two National Cemeteries to provide a resting place of honor for departed veterans. Furthermore, any veteran can reach a crisis worker at any time by dialing 988 and pressing 1.

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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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