Guide to Independent Living in Illinois
With world-class museums and exceptional healthcare in cities like Chicago and Springfield, Illinois has much to appeal to its senior residents. Many who live in the Land of Lincoln want to stay for their retirement years, and around 16.1% of the 12,670,000+ people who live in the state are aged 65 and older. With a long list of senior services, the state makes it easy for retirees to enjoy a high quality of life.
Seniors who are still able to be physically active and don’t need much assistance to live on their own may choose independent living communities. These communities provide help with home maintenance and may provide dining and transportation options, along with community events and entertainment, while giving residents their own apartment or townhome to live in.
This guide introduces the costs of independent living in Illinois and compares it to neighboring state and national averages. It also discusses other senior care types and outlines resources seniors can use to make their Illinois retirement as comfortable as possible.
How Much Does Independent Living Cost in Illinois?
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.
Illinois seniors pay around $2,917 a month for independent living services. This is pretty close to the national average of $2,925. Illinois communities have a slightly higher cost for independent living than some of the surrounding states. In Indiana, the average cost is $2,784, while in Iowa it is $2,839. Wisconsin is the one nearby state that has a slightly higher average cost of $2,990.
The United States
The Cost of Independent Living in Illinois’s Top Cities
Independent living costs vary significantly throughout Illinois. In Chicago, the state’s biggest metropolitan area, the average cost is $3,136 a month, which is much higher than the state’s average. Rockford near the Wisconsin border has the highest average cost of $3,413 a month. Springfield, the state’s capital city, averages $3,322 a month. Yet some areas are much lower, such as Peoria, which averages $2,685 a month, and Carbondale, which averages $2,291 a month. Decatur in the state’s central area has an average independent living cost of $2,848, while just to the north of Decatur in Bloomington the average jumps to $3,354 a month.
The Cost of Independent Living vs. Other Types of Care
When considering options for long-term care in Illinois, seniors need to understand the various options they have. The least expensive choice is adult day health care, which averages $1,885 a month in Illinois. Assisted living, which provides more direct care than independent living, averages $4,488 a month. Seniors that need round-the-clock nursing pay an average of $6,266 a month for nursing home care in a semi-private room.
The option to remain in one’s home also exists, and homemaker services provide personal attention in the home. Home health aide services provide homemaker care along with basic medical attention. Both of these care types average $5,339 a month in Illinois.
Adult Day Health Care
Home Health Aide
Assisted Living Facility
Nursing Home (Semiprivate room)
Does Medicare or Medicaid Cover Independent Living in Illinois?
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 Illinois 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 Illinois.
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 Illinois
Seniors living in Illinois that want to utilize independent living services have a number of options to help make it more affordable. These include:
- Reverse Mortgages: These loans take out the equity in a senior’s home in a monthly payment, without the need to immediately sell the property.
- Long-Term Care Insurance: If a senior has long-term care insurance, it can cover a portion of independent living costs.
- Life Insurance: Many seniors can take out money against their life insurance policies, depending on how the policy is structured.
- Home Equity Lines of Credit: Taking out a line of credit against a home’s equity can be an option for some seniors.
- Annuities: Annuity funds can sometimes work towards paying independent living costs.
Free Independent Living Resources for Seniors in Illinois
Illinois offers a number of resources to help make independent living more comfortable for seniors and assist with the overall quality of life for its aging residents. Many of these are free or low-cost programs that address the unique needs of seniors in Illinois.
|Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs||(407) 514-1800||The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs provides access to resources and services for elderly veterans throughout the state. This includes medical benefits, veterans’ homes, financial benefits and advocacy. Seniors can access these benefits through their local veteran’s office if they are qualified military members.|
|Illinois Adult Protective Services||(866) 800-1409||Adult Protective Services works to prevent abuse and neglect for seniors in Illinois. The organization has 40 provider agencies based in the Area Agencies on Aging to help work with adults who suspect they are dealing with abuse, neglect or exploitation.|
|Senior Legal Assistance||(800) 252-8966||The Illinois Department on Aging offers legal assistance to seniors through 21 senior legal assistance provider offices throughout the state. Anyone aged 60 or older who needs legal help for abuse and neglect, financial exploitation, fraud, landlord-tenant disputes, nursing home resident’s rights and benefit programs can reach out to the program. It also provides help with simple estate planning needs.|
|Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly||(312) 461-0812||Many Illinois seniors are not native English speakers, the Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly offers professional interpretation and translation assistance to these individuals. With over 100 languages available, this organization is usually able to provide translation assistance when it is needed throughout the state.|
|Information and Assistance Services||(800) 252-8966||With so many programs available to help Illinois seniors, sometimes navigating the various options is not easy. The Information and Assistance Services department helps connect seniors with the services they qualify to receive, such as income tax assistance, Medicare, Medicaid and prescription drug help. Specially trained counselors are ready to share facts about available services to any senior or senior caregiver that calls.|
COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Illinois Independent Living Communities
The following rules and guidelines were obtained from dph.illinois.gov, 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?||Yes|
|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 (Conditions Apply)|
|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)|