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Guide to Independent Living in Hawaii

Year-round sunny skies and balmy weather, a unique and welcoming cultural environment, and seemingly endless miles of beaches make Hawaii a top retirement destination. It’s comprised of 137 islands, seven of which are inhabited and six of which are open to non-natives. Of the state’s 1.4 million permanent residents, seniors make up about a fifth of the population. On average, seniors in Hawaii pay $3,494 per month for independent living. While Hawaii’s cost of living is high compared to the national average, exemptions are available to minimize what seniors pay in state taxes, and nonprofit agencies and programs help older adults access public benefits to supplement retirement income.  

Independent living communities in Hawaii support residents’ comfort and quality of life by providing convenient services, such as meals, transportation and housekeeping, freeing them up to enjoy everything the state has to offer. These communities are for active adults seeking a low-maintenance lifestyle and don’t offer medical monitoring or help with daily living activities.

This guide provides more information on independent living in Hawaii, including costs, options for paying for services, tips for finding the right community and ways to connect with community-based services and supports.  

How Much Does Independent Living Cost in Hawaii?

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.

In Hawaii, independent living fees come in at $3,494, which is several hundred dollars higher than the national average of $2,925. However, rates are consistent with fees in states on the Pacific Coast. In Washington, residents pay $3,900, and in Oregon and California, respective fees average $3,279 and $3,413. Those seeking a warm, tropical environment on a budget may consider obtaining services in Florida, where seniors pay a considerably lower monthly rate of $2,600 for independent living.  




The United States









The Cost of Independent Living in Hawaii’s Top Cities 

Of the two surveyed cities in Hawaii, Honolulu has the costliest independent living fees at $3,494. Kahului has much more affordable rates of $2,486, which is considerably lower than the state and national medians. In another Pacific coast city, San Francisco, California, seniors pay $4,107 for this type of care.


Urban Honolulu




San Francisco, CA

The Cost of Independent Living vs. Other Types of Care 

Compared to other senior care options in Hawaii, independent living is affordably priced at $3,494 per month. Adult day health care is cheaper at $1,625 and is for those seeking daytime services. Seniors in assisted living pay $5,375, and those who obtain in-home care pay $5,720 for basic homemaker services and skilled home health care. Older adults who need around-the-clock medical monitoring pay $12,501 for semiprivate accommodations in nursing homes.  


Independent Living


Adult Day Health Care


Homemaker Services


Home Health Aide


Assisted Living Facility


Nursing Home (Semiprivate room)

Does Medicare or Medicaid Cover Independent Living in Hawaii?

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 Hawaii 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 Hawaii.

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 Hawaii

Seniors in Hawaii have several options for funding independent living, even if their retirement income isn’t sufficient for community expenses. Those who own their home but are not interested in selling can take out a reverse mortgage loan, which enables them to use some of their home’s equity to supplement their monthly income. Purchasing an annuity provides a steady stream of income that may be tax-free, depending on where the original funds came from. Long-term care insurance policies may have coverage for services, such as meals and transportation, bringing down the overall monthly cost. Finally, seniors with certain types of life insurance may be able to access their death benefits for long-term care services, such as independent living. 

Free Independent Living Resources for Seniors in Hawaii

Seniors who live in Hawaii have access to numerous statewide agencies and programs that can help them make informed decisions regarding their long-term care plans. The following resource table features contact information for financial planners, legal advisors and options counselors, as well as information regarding community-based services.  

Resource Contact Description 
Hawaii State Health Insurance Assistance Program (808) 586-7299 SHIP is a statewide program that provides free health insurance options counseling for those who qualify for Medicare. Its trained volunteers aren’t affiliated with any insurance companies and aren’t licensed to sell policies, but they can answer seniors’ questions on Medicare benefits and available Medicare Advantage and Medigap programs. SHIP counselors can also help older adults file appeals for denied health insurance coverage. 
Hawaii Aging and Disability Resource Center (808) 643-2372 The ADRC serves as a single point of contact for accessing a broad range of programs and services for seniors in Hawaii. It offers evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention programs, as well as help with making decisions regarding health insurance and long-term care. 
Hawaii Office of Veterans’ Services (808) 433-0420 The Hawaii Office of Veterans’ Services operates offices throughout the state where older veterans and their dependents get free assistance with accessing state and federal benefits, including pensions, emergency financial assistance, tax breaks and specialty license plates.  
Retired Senior Volunteer Program (808) 768-7700 RSVP is the largest volunteer organization in the nation for older adults. It provides exclusive opportunities to those aged 55 and over, including distributing food in food pantries, providing administrative or managerial assistance to local charities and tutoring or mentoring school-aged children. In Oahu, the City & County of Honolulu Elderly Affairs Division hosts the RSVP. Seniors on other islands can find their local RSVP here
​Kupuna Legal Aid Services (808) 536-4302 (Oahu) (888) 536-0011 (Outside Oahu) Kupuna Legal Aid Services is a service of the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii. It provides free civil legal advice, information and assistance to those aged 60 and over. Seniors can contact the program for one-on-one help with determining eligibility for public benefits and resolving problems related to independent living communities and consumer debt issues.  
AARP Hawaii (866) 295-7282 AARP Hawaii offers free webinars for older adults in Hawaii to help them make informed decisions regarding their budgets during their retirement years. It also hosts in-person and virtual educational events and provides tax preparation assistance and safe driver courses. 
Aloha United Way 2-1-1 2-1-1 (877) 275-6569 Aloha United Way 2-1-1 is staffed with information specialists who listen to seniors’ needs and help them identify solutions in the community. Older adults can call the free helpline for personalized assistance with finding social and recreational activities, wellness screenings and options counseling.  

COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Hawaii 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 2/7/2022, 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?Yes (Conditions Apply)
Can I visit my relative in person for end-of-life compassion care?Yes
Will my loved one be required to self-quarantine after I visit him or her?No
Do I need to wear PPE and/or a cloth mask if I do visit my relative in person?Yes
Are Hairdressers and other non-medical contractors still allowed in senior living facilities?No
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?Yes
Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?No (Conditions Apply)
Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?No
Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?Yes (Conditions Apply)
Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?Yes (Conditions Apply)

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

Safety Measures for Residents

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)
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