From big cities with world-class dining and entertainment to breath-taking mountain views and miles of pristine sandy beaches, North Carolina offers an outstanding backdrop for retirement living. It’s home to several large universities, including Duke University and North Carolina State University, providing an energetic environment for sports lovers, and sprawling shopping malls, such as Concord MillsCrabtree Valley Mall and Belgate Shopping Center, feature seemingly endless dining, shopping and entertainment opportunities. Nearly 10.5 million people live in North Carolina, about 17% of whom are aged 65 and over. A low cost of livingpleasant climate and outdoor amenities make the state a prime retirement option.  

Independent living is among the fastest-growing retirement options for active seniors. It’s ideal for older adults who don’t need personal care or medical services but want to enjoy a low-maintenance lifestyle. These communities offer a range of living options from studio apartments to spacious two-bedroom cottages with enough room to entertain guests. Residents enjoy amenities, such as housekeeping and linen services, transportation for events and appointments, scheduled social activities and meals and dining. On average, this retirement option is affordable in North Carolina, coming in below the national average at $2,470 per month.  

This guide provides more information on the cost of independent living in North Carolina, options for paying for expenses and statewide resources that help older adults maintain their comfort and quality of life.  

The Cost of Independent Living in North Carolina

Note: Although there aren’t any authoritative resources for referencing the cost of Independent Living facilities, our experience suggests that it’s anywhere between 30-40% less expensive than Assisted Living. We started with Assisted Living costs from Genworth’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey, then reduced them by 35% to calculate Independent Living costs.

Compared to the U.S. average, seniors living in North Carolina pay $318 less per month — or $2,607 — for Independent Living services. Compared to other states, North Carolina has average statewide Independent Living costs. North Carolina borders four other states: Georgia, which averages $2,298 per month; South Carolina, which averages $2,348 per month; Tennessee, which averages $2,668 per month; and Virginia, which averages $3,413 per month. Kentucky has the lowest average on the list at just $2,241 per month.

$2607

North Carolina

$2925

The United States

$3413

Virginia

$2348

South Carolina

$2668

Tennessee

$2298

Georgia

$2241

Kentucky

Across the Tar Heel State, citywide averages of Independent Living costs range substantially. The Research Triangle has the highest averages. At $3,502 per month, Raleigh costs nearly $900 more than the statewide average, and at $3,120 per month, Durham is over $500 more expensive than the North Carolina average. Outside of this region, Independent Living costs seem to have no correlation. In the Coastal Plains, costs range from as low as $1,950 per month in Fayetteville to as high as $2,998 in Greenville. Winston-Salem, located in the Piedmont Triad, costs $3,200 per month. Less than 30 miles west, in Greensboro, Independent Living costs dip below the state average to $2,470 per month. Charlotte, the state’s most populated city, averages just $2,860 per month. 

$2860

Charlotte

$3502

Raleigh

$2470

Greensboro

$3120

Durham

$3200

Winston-Salem

$1950

Fayetteville

$2998

Greenville

Most types of senior care in North Carolina cost more than Independent Living. Home Care and Home Health Care both cost $4,385 per month. Nursing Home Care costs between $7,483 per month for semiprivate rooms and $8,213 for private rooms. Adult Day Care is easily the most affordable senior care option, averaging just $1,197 per month.

$2607

Independent Living

$4385

Home Care

$4385

Home Health Care

$1197

Adult Day Care

$7483

Nursing Home (semiprivate)

$8213

Nursing Home (private)

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

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 North Carolina.

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 North Carolina

Determining how to pay for independent living over the long term requires a careful assessment of assets and income opportunities. Because independent living doesn’t include personal care or medical services, seniors can’t use Medicare to cover related expenses. However, long-term care insurance and Medicaid may cover some independent living fees, such as transportation, meal preparation and chore and errand services, although they generally don’t cover rent or buy-in expenses. For some, selling their home and using the proceeds to cover expenses is the most effective way for older adults to maintain their standard of living. Those who want to keep their home may rent it out and use rental income to pay for the home’s upkeep and their own living expenses. Reverse mortgages, which enable homeowners to borrow against their home’s equity, may also be a funding option.   

Independent Living Resources in North Carolina

North Carolina features a broad range of nonprofit organizations and programs to help older adults maintain their comfort and independence throughout their retirement years. The following table features free and low-cost resources to help older adults make the best decisions for their needs and budgets.  

Resource 
Contact 
Service 
(866) 389-5650 
AARP is a national nonprofit organization that provides a broad range of services and informational resources to those aged 50 and over. Its membership-based services include exclusive information on local discounts and rewards programs for seniors, community events and up-to-date information on how state and federal laws may affect seniors. 
North Carolina is home to numerous senior centers that provide services and programs for older adults. These centers are located throughout the state and feature scheduled activities, such as games, movie afternoons, holiday parties, classes and hobby groups. Many centers host free or low-cost congregate meals and provide health and wellness screenings and services. Some centers also plan trips to local and overseas destinations exclusively for members.  
(855) 408-1212 
SHIIP is a statewide program that provides free health insurance options counseling for older adults. It’s administered primarily by trained volunteers who aren’t affiliated with insurance companies or licensed to sell policies but can help seniors understand federal and private health insurance options. Through this program, older adults can find ways to pay for independent living by comparing long-term care insurance policies, Medicaid waivers and Medicare Advantage plans.  
(844) 624-8387 
The North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs advocates on behalf of veterans in the state and promotes access to benefits that can help cover independent living, including pension programs and disability compensation. Local offices can also help veterans determine whether they qualify for VA health insurance, healthcare services and community-based transportation or social programs.  
(800) 662-7030 
North Carolina has a network of 16 local Area Agencies on Aging, each with its own designated service area. Services vary by region but include information and referrals for local services and programs, congregate meals, transportation services, legal assistance and health insurance options counseling.  
RSVP 
(800) 942-2677 
RSVP is a nationwide volunteer program for older adults aged 55 and over. Through this program, seniors work one-on-one with advisors who help them find volunteer opportunities that fit their interests and experience. Some opportunities include promoting adult literacy, tutoring and mentoring children, sharing knowledge in museums, hosting classes at community centers and providing administrative support for charities and nonprofit organizations.  
(919) 855-3400 
The state’s Division of Aging and Adult Services administers a range of programs to help older adults maintain their independence. It features an Elder Housing Locator, contact information for local agencies and up-to-date information on financial assistance programs for seniors. It also provides access to transportation services and options counseling. 

COVID-19 Rules for Independent Living in North Carolina

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including covid19.ncdhhs.gov. These rules apply to Independent Living Communities and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/13/2022, 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 North Carolina Communities

Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?

Yes

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

Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?

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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina Communities

Are staff members and contractors being screened for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are staff members and contractors being tested for Coronavirus?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are staff members and contractors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?

Yes

Are staff members required to regularly screen residents for coronavirus symptoms?

Yes

Are residents relied on to screen themselves and self-report potential coronavirus symptoms?

No

Are staff members required to take residents’ temperatures?

Yes

Are residents being tested for coronavirus?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Find Independent Living Communities in North Carolina

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

2021, 2022

Holiday The Gardens at Wakefield

12800 Spruce Tree Way, Raleigh, NC, 27614

I like a lot of things about Holiday The Gardens at Wakefield. I like the people here, the location, and the facility is nice and well-maintained. The staff is good. They’re attentive, polite, and hel … (read more)
I like a lot of things about Holiday The Gardens at Wakefield. I like the people here, the location, and the facility is nice and well-maintained. The staff is good. They’re attentive, polite, and hel … (read more)

2013

Brookdale North Raleigh

1200 Carlos Drive, Raleigh, NC, 27609

Brookdale North Raleigh was a very nice facility. I liked that they have facilities throughout the country. The facility was clean and welcoming. The staff was knowledgeable and professional. There wa … (read more)
Brookdale North Raleigh was a very nice facility. I liked that they have facilities throughout the country. The facility was clean and welcoming. The staff was knowledgeable and professional. There wa … (read more)

Independence Village Of Olde Raleigh

3113 Charles B. Root Wynd, Raleigh, NC, 27612

Updated, sunny, affordable apartments- great food. Fun activities.
Updated, sunny, affordable apartments- great food. Fun activities.

Capital Oaks

6498 Ray Rd, Raleigh, NC, 27613

I loved Capital Oaks. It’s an independent living and it was very, very welcoming, very clean, and very pretty. The apartments weren’t as updated as I thought they would be, but they were nice, clean, … (read more)
I loved Capital Oaks. It’s an independent living and it was very, very welcoming, very clean, and very pretty. The apartments weren’t as updated as I thought they would be, but they were nice, clean, … (read more)

Atria Oakridge

10810 Sandy Oak Lane, Raleigh, NC, 27614

The rooms are spacious, and the staff is accommodating. Both of my parents enjoy active lives as they like to play cards and there are plenty of card groups to join. The activities that Oakridge provi … (read more)
The rooms are spacious, and the staff is accommodating. Both of my parents enjoy active lives as they like to play cards and there are plenty of card groups to join. The activities that Oakridge provi … (read more)

Abbotswood at Stonehenge

7900 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh, NC, 27613

When you get an apartment in the independent living section of Abbotswood at Stonehenge, and then it gets to a point when you need assistance, you can stay in the same apartment and the assistance wil … (read more)
When you get an apartment in the independent living section of Abbotswood at Stonehenge, and then it gets to a point when you need assistance, you can stay in the same apartment and the assistance wil … (read more)

Verena at Bedford Falls

1580 Dunn Rd, Raleigh, NC, 27614

Verena is a friendly place with residents that enjoy each other at meal times, activities and Happy Hour!! The manager, Vinson, is a "get it done and communicate about it" guy. The staff are very help … (read more)
Verena is a friendly place with residents that enjoy each other at meal times, activities and Happy Hour!! The manager, Vinson, is a "get it done and communicate about it" guy. The staff are very help … (read more)

UpsideHōM Raleigh

200 Park at North Hills St, Raleigh, NC, 27609


Whispering Pines Gracious Retirement Living

7501 Lead Mine Road, Raleigh, NC, 27615

Whispering Pines Gracious Retirement Living is close to my dad’s sister and friends. It is a first-floor apartment and a newer place. It is close to the cafeteria, and you will be taken care of there. … (read more)
Whispering Pines Gracious Retirement Living is close to my dad’s sister and friends. It is a first-floor apartment and a newer place. It is close to the cafeteria, and you will be taken care of there. … (read more)

2012, 2013

Magnolia Glen

5301 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh, NC, 27612

We toured Magnolia Glen, and it was beautiful. We really liked it, especially the outdoor area that was very pretty. I toured the independent living. That is what people are mostly interested in at … (read more)
We toured Magnolia Glen, and it was beautiful. We really liked it, especially the outdoor area that was very pretty. I toured the independent living. That is what people are mostly interested in at … (read more)

Overture Crabtree 55+ Apartment Homes

4408 Marriott Drive, Raleigh, NC, 27612

Overture Crabtree 55+ Apartment Homes is a nice community. It’s built maybe five or six years ago, it’s not that old. I like their apartment. I’m taking a one-bedroom apartment in that community. Sinc … (read more)
Overture Crabtree 55+ Apartment Homes is a nice community. It’s built maybe five or six years ago, it’s not that old. I like their apartment. I’m taking a one-bedroom apartment in that community. Sinc … (read more)


The Cardinal at North Hills

4030 Cardinal at N Hills St, Raleigh, NC, 27609

We toured The Cardinal in Raleigh last week. It was excellent; it’s a wonderful place. The staff was tremendous. They’re very helpful and very caring. I like everything: the staff, the apartments, and … (read more)
We toured The Cardinal in Raleigh last week. It was excellent; it’s a wonderful place. The staff was tremendous. They’re very helpful and very caring. I like everything: the staff, the apartments, and … (read more)

Overture Centennial 55+ Apartment Homes

600 Bilyeu, Raleigh, NC, 27606

We toured Overture Centennial 55+ Apartment Homes. The staff was very professional, very knowledgeable, and very helpful. I was worried about security because of the location, and they gave me a very … (read more)
We toured Overture Centennial 55+ Apartment Homes. The staff was very professional, very knowledgeable, and very helpful. I was worried about security because of the location, and they gave me a very … (read more)

Treeo Senior Living – Independent Living

2722 Spring Forest Rd, Raleigh, NC, 27616

Treeo Senior Living – Independent Living was outstanding and much newer. They have a theater for sports fans, pretty nice therapy, and a nice restaurant with tablecloths and everything. It was a very … (read more)
Treeo Senior Living – Independent Living was outstanding and much newer. They have a theater for sports fans, pretty nice therapy, and a nice restaurant with tablecloths and everything. It was a very … (read more)

The Oaks at Whitaker Glen

501 E Whitaker Mill Road, Raleigh, NC, 27608

My sister-in-law’s mother is at The Oaks at Whitaker Glen, and it is a very nice facility. It is very clean, operates well, and the staff is nice and helpful. They adhered very well to the COVID proto … (read more)
My sister-in-law’s mother is at The Oaks at Whitaker Glen, and it is a very nice facility. It is very clean, operates well, and the staff is nice and helpful. They adhered very well to the COVID proto … (read more)

Capital Towers

4812 Six Forks Rd, Raleigh, NC, 27609


The Cambridge at Brier Creek

7780 Brier Creek Pkwy, Suite 410, Raleigh, NC, 27617


Jordan Oaks

10820 Penny Rd, Cary, NC, 27518

I had an in-person tour of Jordan Oaks. I like the location and the cost. I liked the services included for that cost. I like the cleanliness and friendliness of the people there. We saw some resident … (read more)
I had an in-person tour of Jordan Oaks. I like the location and the cost. I liked the services included for that cost. I like the cleanliness and friendliness of the people there. We saw some resident … (read more)

Woodland Terrace

300 Kildaire Woods Drive, Cary, NC, 27511

We’re currently at Woodland Terrace. The rooms are very adequate. When they have enough staff, they clean once a week. However, we haven’t been cleaned this week. They’re short of staff. So there is c … (read more)
We’re currently at Woodland Terrace. The rooms are very adequate. When they have enough staff, they clean once a week. However, we haven’t been cleaned this week. They’re short of staff. So there is c … (read more)