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

Independent living is typically 30% to 40% less expensive than assisted living. The following estimated rates are based on the assisted living rates in Genworth’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey, minus 35%.

Independent living in Pennsylvania costs $224 less than the national average, which is $2,795 per month. Compared to independent living prices in surrounding states, Pennsylvania is more affordable overall. Prices jump by nearly $550 in New York, where seniors pay $3,120. New Jersey has some of the most expensive independent living costs in this region of the country. In this state, rates average $4,323, or $1,752 more than they are in Pennsylvania. Maryland is another coastal state with high prices; retirees here pay $3,250 per month. To the west in Ohio, the average cost is $2,828. West Virginia’s independent living rates are close to Pennsylvania’s at $2,600 per month.




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Paying for Independent Living in Pennsylvania

Seniors in Pennsylvania have several choices when it comes to paying for independent living. One option is a reverse mortgage, which lets homeowners borrow against their property’s equity while still allowing family members or others to live in the home. Seniors can also consider renting out a property to fund independent living. Income earned through employment and investment proceeds may be used as well. In some cases, long-term care insurance may cover certain services of independent living, although this varies depending on the policy. Visit our Independent Living page to learn more.

Independent Living Resources in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania seniors have access to a wide range of free resources, services and programs serving retirees throughout the state. Provided by government agencies and nonprofit organizations, these services include wellness programs, legal aid, veterans assistance and employment training for seniors seeking work.

Area Agencies on Aging(717) 541-4214Pennsylvania’s 52 Area Agencies on Aging aim to help seniors live independently in their home or community for as long as possible. AAAs provide vital services for seniors and caregivers, including public benefits counseling, health education, referrals to resources and unbiased information about options for long-term care. Pennsylvanians with complaints about elder abuse, neglect or exploitation can contact the ombudsman through their local AAA.
PennDOT Transportation(717) 412-5300Through PennDOT, seniors receive free transportation to any destination along their local bus route. PennDOT also offers a discounted shared-ride program for seniors who are unable to use the bus. This program provides curb-to-curb transportation and allows residents to schedule rides in advance. Both programs are open to those aged 65 and older.
Office for Veterans Affairs(717) 861-8910Pennsylvania’s Office for Veterans Affairs helps former military members obtain pensions and disability compensation, as well as other benefits they may be entitled to. Seniors can contact their local OVA to learn about tax exemptions, burial services and assistance programs for needy veterans and their loved ones.
Older Pennsylvanians Legal Assistance Program(717) 783-1550This program provides free legal advice and court representation for low-income Pennsylvanians aged 60 and older. Its volunteer attorneys can help seniors with issues related to Social Security, taxes, age discrimination and other civil matters.
Senior Community Service Employment ProgramContact Your Local AAASCSEP is an on-the-job training program for low-income Pennsylvania residents aged 55 and older. SCSEP recipients gain work experience and learn new skills that can help them find meaningful full-time employment. The program provides training at day care centers, hospitals, schools and other community service-based settings.
Senior Corps Volunteer OpportunitiesContact the Program in Your CountySenior Corps supports three volunteer programs for Pennsylvania retirees: Senior Companions, Foster Grandparents and RSVP. Senior Companions volunteers help other older adults who need assistance with performing daily tasks, and Foster Grandparents provide mentoring and tutoring to disabled children in the community. The RSVP program allows seniors to choose when and where they’d like to serve based on personal interests and skills.
Local Senior Community Centers(717) 783-1550At one of the state’s many senior community centers, Pennsylvanians can find recreational activities, games, health programs, special events and a full schedule of educational workshops. All activities at the senior centers are typically low-cost or free.