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Independent Living in Pennsylvania

With its senior-friendly tax laws, highly rated hospitals and a cost of living that’s below the national average, Pennsylvania has much to offer retirees in their golden years. The state is renowned for its vibrant seasons and beautiful views of the countryside, where seniors can enjoy scenic drives, camping and other outdoor activities all year long. Some of Pennsylvania’s best places to live include Pittsburgh, Lancaster, York and Harrisburg, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Independent living is a housing arrangement that’s aimed exclusively at older adults, typically seniors aged 55 and up. Depending on the community, it can include home maintenance, transportation, security and meal plans. This option is ideal for seniors who don’t need 24-hour supervision or help with their activities of daily living. In Pennsylvania, the average cost of independent living is approximately $2,571 per month.

This guide covers the cost of independent living in Pennsylvania compared to other nearby states, ways to pay for independent living and several free and low-cost resources for retirees.

The Cost of Independent Living in Pennsylvania

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 Pennsylvania and its 43 cities.

The Cost of Independent Living in Pennsylvania's Top Cities

In Pennsylvania's most populous cities, independent living rates are higher than the state average. Philadelphia seniors pay an average of $3,693 per month for independent living services. Erie and King of Prussia have similar costs, coming in at monthly averages of $2,615 and $2,583, respectively. Pittsburgh is at the higher end of the range, with costs averaging $3,191 per month. These cost differences demonstrate the importance of planning ahead.







King of Prussia




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

Inflation has made it more expensive to access all types of senior care. In Pennsylvania, the cost of independent living increased by 4.2% between 2022 and 2023. Recent trends indicate that the cost of independent living may increase by another 14.3% in 2024. Currently, Pennsylvania is 8.8% more expensive than the national average.Pennsylvania also has some of the lowest costs in the region. Seniors in New York pay 4.9% more for independent living, while seniors in New Jersey pay 4.4% more. In Maryland, average costs are 8.4% higher than in Pennsylvania. Seniors in Ohio pay 12.4 % more.

Location2022 Cost (Historical)2023 Cost (Current)2024 Cost (Estimated)
U.S. Average$2,810$2,955$3,162
New Jersey$2,387$3,358$3,894
New York$2,793$3,372$3,875

The Costs of Other Types of Senior Living

The cost of senior care depends on the services, amenities and level of support available. Memory care facilities offer specialized care for seniors with dementia, so they have some of the highest costs, averaging $5,201 per month. Assisted living offers meals, activities and personal assistance for a monthly average of $4,653. Pennsylvania's independent living communities have average monthly costs of $3,215.

Assisted Living


Memory Care


Independent Living


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

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 Pennsylvania.

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.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Pennsylvania

There are many resources in Pennsylvania 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
Pennsylvania Area Agencies on AgingEach Area Agency on Aging in Pennsylvania operates under the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. Services available to seniors include legal assistance, Medicare counseling and prescription assistance. They can also access information regarding financial exploitation, protective services and the long-term care ombudsman program. Additionally, seniors can receive help with housing and meals. The agency runs the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which is open to qualifying Pennsylvanians who are 55+.

Cash Assistance Programs

Cash assistance programs in Pennsylvania 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
Pennsylvania 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, Pennsylvania 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
Pennsylvania Living Independence For the Elderly (LIFE)LIFE (Living Independence for the Elderly) is a Pennsylvania care program that offers an extensive package of medical and supportive services to seniors aged 55 and older. Care services include dental, audiology, in-home care and medical transportation. To be eligible for LIFE, seniors must live in an area served by a LIFE provider and meet the standard of care needed for a nursing home.
Pennsylvania Nursing Home Transition Waiver800-753-8827The Nursing Home Transition waiver is designed for Medical Assistance enrollees who are living in nursing homes and want to transition back to their homes and communities.

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 Pennsylvania seniors afford the nutritious food they need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania Meals on WheelsMeals on Wheels provides free home meal deliveries to seniors through local volunteers.
Pennsylvania Department of Aging Senior Meals717-783-1550The Pennsylvania Department of Aging Senior Meals program provides congregate noontime lunches at over 500 different senior centers in the state. In addition to the congregate meal programs, the state can also provide home delivery of meals to homebound seniors. To participate in either program, adults must be 60 years of age or up, or married to an individual who meets the age requirement. While there's no charge for this service, donations are accepted.
Pennsylvania Senior Food Box Program800-468-2433The Pennsylvania Senior Food Box Program provides supplemental shelf-stable foods to qualifying individuals aged 60 or older as a way to enhance their diets and overall nutrition. Boxes may contain pantry staples such as peanut butter, pasta, dry beans and canned fish. Pennsylvanians must fall within a specific income range to qualify. Individuals who have applied and are deemed eligible can receive the boxes via their local food bank.

Free Used Medical Equipment

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

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF)484-674-0506This statewide nonprofit organization helps seniors access necessary assistive technology. It provides information about possible sources of financial assistance, including private and public grant programs. PATF also offers zero-interest loans of up to $7,000 for eligible seniors. These loans may be used to purchase assistive technologies, such as hearing aids and vision devices.

Health Insurance & Prescription Drug Coverage for Seniors

Pennsylvania 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
Pennsylvania Department of Aging's Health & Wellness Programs717-783-1550Pennsylvania's Department of Aging offers a robust selection of Health & Wellness Programs for older adults. Seniors can take various programs to benefit both their physical and mental health. Fitness programs focus on needs such as nutrition, strength, balance and fall prevention. Medication management and programs to help seniors cope with chronic illnesses or pain are also available. On the mental health side, seniors can work to prevent depression and make lifestyle changes to support wellness.
Pennsylvania PACE and PACENET Prescription Assistance Programs800-225-7223These Prescription Assistance Programs give older Pennsylvanians access to low-cost prescription medications. Eligible seniors pay a small copay for each drug, reducing out-of-pocket medication costs. Alternatively, PACENET offers low-cost prescriptions to seniors who exceed the income limits for the regular PACE program.

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

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)Pennsylvania's Weatherization Assistance Program provides funds for increasing energy efficiency and reducing energy costs. Participants may qualify for minor repairs, attic or window insulation, caulking, heating/cooling system replacement or other weatherization services

Many organizations offer free or low-cost legal services to Pennsylvania 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
Pennsylvania's Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program717-783-8975LTC ombudsmen fulfill several roles. They act as advocates for seniors in conflict with long-term care facilities. They investigate complaints of abuse and neglect made by seniors or caregivers, and when their investigations are complete, they attempt to negotiate a resolution between the senior and the facility. LTC ombudsmen also advise seniors on billing disputes and applying for Medicare or Medicaid. Ombudsmen can provide information on available resources and educate the broader community about the rights of seniors in LTC communities.
Pennsylvania Health Law Project (PHLP)800-274-3258The Pennsylvania Health Law Project works with low-income individuals, including seniors and persons with disabilities, to help them access publicly funded healthcare services and ensure their rights are protected. The project can assist with issues related to managed care, Medicaid eligibility, access to Medicaid services and long-term services and supports.
Pennsylvania SeniorLAW Center Access Services877-727-7529Pennsylvania seniors requiring help with civil law matters can turn to the SeniorLAW Center for assistance. The Center can provide direct representation on some issues and information on problems with housing, exploitation or abuse of seniors, powers of attorney, wills, advanced medical directives and many consumer issues. The Center cannot help with criminal matters, divorce cases or lawsuits.
Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network717-236-9486PLAN helps low-income seniors gain access to free legal services throughout Pennsylvania. Residents can get help with age discrimination, unlawful evictions, bankruptcy and many other civil issues. Services may include legal education and court representation. To receive assistance, seniors must have an income that's 125% or lower than the poverty level.

Senior Centers

Senior centers in Pennsylvania 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
Pennsylvania Help at Home (OPTIONS)717-783-1550The Pennsylvania Options Program helps seniors 60+ in the state to obtain financial aid for their care needs, whether it's home help, Meals on Wheels or nursing home care. The senior's health and physical abilities are assessed. The program then looks at funding options to cover some or all of their care.

Senior Engagement

Senior engagement resources and programs in Pennsylvania 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
Pennsylvania East Stroudsburg University Life Long Learner877-230-5547East Stroudsburg University is keeping seniors mentally sharp and connected to the local community by allowing them to enroll in courses tuition-free. The Life Long Learner initiative has been operating in the city since 1981, and accepts legal residents of Pennsylvania aged 60+ who are not employed full-time. Program participants receive free tuition as long as they are enrolled in no more than six credits (which is typically two courses) per semester and have a non-degree status.
Pennsylvania West Chester University's Senior Citizen Program610-436-3541Located about 15 miles from Phoenixville, West Chester University offers lifelong learning opportunities for seniors. Retirees who are 60 years of age or older can sign up for tuition-free courses, as long as space is available. Possible areas of study include art history, economics and mathematics. Seniors may be responsible for other costs associated with their studies, such as textbooks.

Social Security Offices

Social Security offices in Pennsylvania 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
Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania 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
Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program888-222-9190The Pennsylvania Department of Revenue offers a property tax abatement for senior homeowners and tenants. The maximum rebate ranges from $250 to $650 per year for homeowners. Renters receive a rebate of $500 to $650.

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

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Pennsylvania ​Heating Assistance/Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)866-857-7095LIHEAP offers cash grants to help low-income Pennsylvania residents pay their energy bills. The program also offers crisis grants to replace broken heating equipment, prevent service disconnection and address hazardous conditions.

Veteran's Services

Pennsylvania 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
Pennsylvania VA Benefits and Health CareVeterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses are eligible for services through the Pennsylvania VA Benefits and Health Care program. This agency can ensure veterans have access to all eligible benefits, services and programs. The state operates six senior living facilities for veterans that offer personal care, memory care and skilled nursing services, as well as several VA medical centers and dozens of VA health care clinics.

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