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Guide to Independent Living in Arkansas

Arkansas is a beautiful southern state located on the Mississippi River. It boasts a significant amount of unspoiled wilderness areas and parkland and has a population of just over 3 million, of which 17.4% are seniors. Arkansas has fairly retiree-friendly tax policies. Social Security retirement income is not taxed, and property taxes are relatively low. These favorable tax policies are just one of many reasons seniors choose to spend their retirement years in Arkansas.

Seniors who are fortunate enough to be mobile and in generally good health have many options when it comes to independent living within the state. Arkansas is home to numerous independent living communities that offer support and convenient services such as housekeeping, dining, entertainment and basic medical support as well as social opportunities.

This guide looks at the cost of independent living in Arkansas, as well as other nearby states. It compares these costs with those of other senior living communities and care types and lists some useful free and low-cost resources for the state’s seniors.

How Much Does Independent Living Cost in Arkansas?

Note:There currently isn’t authoritative data on the average cost of Independent Living Facilities nationwide, so instead, we use the cost of Assisted Living to estimate it. Since the cost of Independent Living is typically 30-40% lower than the cost of Assisted Living, the numbers below were calculated by subtracting 35% from the cost of Assisted Living as reported in the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.

Arkansas seniors can expect to pay around $2,444 per month for a space in an independent living community. This is almost $500 per month lower than the national average and is similar to the cost in Louisiana ($2,436). Mississippi’s independent living communities are slightly cheaper ($2,275), while those in Oklahoma charge slightly more ($2,505) per month.




The United States







The Cost of Independent Living in Arkansas’ Top Cities

The fees charged by independent living communities vary greatly between cities. Pine Bluff, in the heart of the state, is one of the most affordable cities, with an average fee of $2,164 per month. In the north, seniors in Fayetteville and Jonesboro typically pay $2,373 for independent living. Fees are higher in Fort Smith ($2,503). Hot Springs is the most expensive part of the state, with fees in line with the national average of $2,925.


Pine Bluff






Fort Smith


Hot Springs

The Cost of Independent Living vs. Other Types of Senior Care

Choosing long-term care or senior living arrangements requires careful research. Seniors and their families must consider the support provided in each environment and the relative costs of care. Adult day health care services, which provide support during office hours in a communal setting, are the most affordable at $1,733. Assisted living facilities typically cost $3,760 per month.

Nursing homes are the most costly option, costing $6,692 per month for a semiprivate room and 24-hour skilled nursing care. Seniors who prefer to live in their own homes can opt for homemaker services or home health care, depending on their mobility and care needs, with fees averaging $4,185 and $4,195 per month for those services, respectively.


Independent Living


Adult Day Health Care


Homemaker Services


Home Health Aide


Assisted Living Facility


Nursing Home Facility (semiprivate room)

Does Medicare or Medicaid Cover Independent Living in Arkansas?

The short answer is no, Medicaid and Medicare do not cover the cost of living in an independent living community. That being said, those who need help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), may be able to take advantage of financial assistance programs in Arkansas to partially or fully cover the cost of care in Assisted Living. For more information about financial assistance for those who need help with ADLs, read our guide to Assisted Living in Arkansas.

For more information about other ways to make Independent Living more affordable, such as retirement funds, the sale of a home, etc, read the section below.

How to Make Independent Living More Affordable in Arkansas

Paying for independent living may seem difficult for families on a low income. Fortunately, there are several options available for Arkansas seniors:

  • Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC): This is a revolving line of credit that uses the senior’s home as collateral and can be used to cover living expenses.
  • Reverse Mortgage: These loans are available for older adults who are homeowners. Seniors can unlock the equity in their homes over a long period of time.
  • Long-term Care Insurance: Insurance may cover part of the cost of care in an independent living facility. For example, it might cover medical support, meal service or transportation, making the overall cost more affordable.
  • Annuities: The payouts from an annuity can be used for any purpose, including to cover the cost of long-term care.
  • Life Insurance: Some life insurance policies can be cashed out early for seniors who require long-term care, and the cost of independent living may count as a qualifying reason to take funds from a policy.

Free Independent Living Resources for Seniors in Arkansas

Seniors in Arkansas can access information and support from a variety of nonprofit and government organizations. These organizations can help with benefits advice and provide practical services such as help with transportation, meals or accessing health care.

Aging Arkansas(833) 707-1187Aging Arkansas is the Arkansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging. It coordinates the state’s eight AAAs, which serve older adults in specific geographic areas of the state. The AAAs provide a range of services including care coordination, local ombudsman programs, caregiver support and senior centers.
Arkansas Division of Aging and Adult Services(501) 682-2441The Arkansas Division of Aging and Adult Services oversees a variety of services for older adults, including mobility assistance programs, housing support and care provision. Seniors can contact the division for advice and support, whether they live independently or are currently in long-term care.
Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs(501) 683-2382The Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs works with former military servicemen and women and their immediate relatives, offering counseling, access to health care, housing support and help with filing claims for disability payments and benefits.
Long-Term Care OmbudsmanSee WebsiteEach region of Arkansas has its own Long-Term Care Ombudsman who supports individuals living in care communities and their loved ones. This person assists with complaints and concerns about standards of care, elder abuse and neglect.
Senior Community Service Employment Program(501) 320-6586The Senior Community Service Employment Program is a part-time program to help low-income seniors aged 55 and over. It helps older adults with poor employment prospects find work at community or government agencies. Seniors are given on-the-job training and compensated at either the state or federal minimum wage, depending on which is higher.

COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Arkansas Independent Living Communities

The following rules and guidelines were obtained from, as well as other state-level government sites. Among others, these rules apply to independent living communities and assisted living facilities.

This data has been most recently updated on 2/2/2022, but keep in mind that COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving crisis, so all of the below information can change at any time. For additional questions and up-to-date information, you can contact your loved one’s senior living facility or your local Area Agency on Aging.

Visiting Loved Ones

Can I visit my relative in person if he/she wants emotional support from me?Not Available*
Can I visit my relative in person for end-of-life compassion care?Not Available*
Will my loved one be required to self-quarantine after I visit him or her?Not Available*
Do I need to wear PPE and/or a cloth mask if I do visit my relative in person?Not Available*
Are Hairdressers and other non-medical contractors still allowed in senior living facilities?Not Available*
Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives? Not Available*
Are visitors being screened for elevated temperatures?Yes
Are visitors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?Yes

*NOTE: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.

Outings and Group Activities

Are residents allowed to leave the facility for non-medical reasons?Not Available*
Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?Not Available*
Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?No
Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?Not Available*
Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?Not Available*

*NOTE: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.

Safety Measures for Staff & Contractors

Are staff members and contractors being screened for elevated temperatures?Yes
Are staff members and contractors being tested for Coronavirus?Not Available*
Are staff members and contractors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?Yes

*NOTE: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.

Safety Measures for Residents

Are staff members required to regularly screen residents for coronavirus symptoms?Not Available*
Are residents relied on to screen themselves and self-report potential coronavirus symptoms?Not Available*
Are staff members required to take residents’ temperatures?Not Available*
Are residents being tested for coronavirus?Not Available*

*NOTE: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.

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