Guide to Independent Living in Kansas
The Midwestern state of Kansas is home to 2.9 million residents and a large senior community that accounts for over 16% of the population. The state offers four distinct seasons with chilly winters and warm summers, and it gets about half the snow as the typical U.S. community, keeping the roads easy to navigate in the winter months. The overall cost of living is about 17% lower than the national average, and some types of retirement are tax-exempt, which may help older adults maintain a comfortable standard of living throughout their retirement years. Independent living rates in this state are roughly equal to the national average at $2,977 per month.
For older adults who don’t need medical monitoring or help with daily living activities but want to enjoy freedom from the responsibilities of homeownership, independent living provides a practical solution. These communities are comprised of private apartments and single-family homes, offering privacy for residents, and they feature services, such as transportation to local points of destination, daily meals and recreational activities.
This guide offers in-depth information on what seniors in Kansas pay for independent living and insight into how to find local communities and pay for services. It also highlights some nonprofit agencies and programs that serve older adults statewide.
How Much Does Independent Living Cost in Kansas?
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 Kansas, independent living rates are estimated at $2,977, which is slightly higher than the national median of $2,925. Of its bordering states, only Colorado has higher monthly fees at $3,088. In Nebraska, independent living is a little more affordable at $2,649, and in Oklahoma, fees average $2,506. In Arkansas, independent living communities charge $2,444, and in Missouri, rates are among the lowest in the nation at $1,950.
The United States
The Cost of Independent Living in Kansas’s Top Cities
Overall, local independent living rates in Kansas’s major cities exceed the national median. Wichita, Kansas’s most populous city, has the highest independent living fees at $3,526 per month. In Manhattan, rates are comparable at $3,509. In Lawrence, seniors pay $2,950, and in the capital city of Topeka, care costs are the lowest in the state and on par with the national median at $2,922.
The Cost of Independent Living vs. Other Types of Care
With monthly fees coming in at $2,977, independent living is among the most cost-effective senior care options in Kansas. The only type of care that’s more affordable is adult day health care, which provides health monitoring, daily meals and recreational activities in a daytime community setting for $1,788 per month. Assisted living rates are about $1,500 higher than independent living costs at $4,580. Basic homemaker services cost approximately $4,576 per month, and specialized home health aide services cost a little more at $4,671. Nursing homes, which provide the most intensive care, charge the highest rates at $6,296 for shared rooms.
Adult Day Health Care
Home Health Aide
Assisted Living Facility
Nursing Home (Semiprivate room)
Does Medicare or Medicaid Cover Independent Living in Kansas?
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 Kansas 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 Kansas.
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 Kansas
While some people pay for independent living expenses out-of-pocket, this isn’t practical for everyone. Kansas seniors have several options for funding independent living, depending on their assets. For those who have access to lump sums of cash from insurance settlements or inheritances, purchasing an annuity provides a steady stream of monthly income that can be used for living expenses. In some cases, seniors may use their life insurance policies to pay for services by accessing their death benefit or selling the policy to a third party. Reverse mortgages may be an option for those who want to use their home’s equity while maintaining ownership. Long-term care insurance may provide coverage for some independent living services, reducing the overall monthly expense.
Free Independent Living Resources for Seniors in Kansas
Several agencies and programs provide free and low-cost services to seniors in Kansas, helping them maintain a high quality of life throughout their retirement years. Through the following agencies, older adults get help with understanding their health insurance benefits and connect with community-based services.
|AARP Kansas||(866) 448-3619||The Kansas Chapter of AARP provides free information to seniors statewide regarding current legislation that affects their health care coverage and retirement benefits. It also hosts virtual and in-person events throughout the year where older adults access tax assistance, driving classes and fun activities, and it connects seniors with discounts for travel and recreation.|
|Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services||(855) 200-2372||The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services oversees Area Agencies on Aging throughout the state. These federally funded agencies provide free and low-cost services to older adults, including wellness screenings, transportation services and congregate meals, and they’re staffed with information specialists and options counselors who help older adults make informed decisions regarding their retirement.|
|Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas||(800) 860-5260||SCHICK is a statewide program that provides free, unbiased Medicare counseling for older adults. Through the program’s helpline, seniors speak with trained volunteers who help them understand their Medicare benefits, determine eligibility for Medicaid and find the right long-term care insurance option for their needs. SCHICK counselors can also help older adults review and understand medical bills and appeal denied coverage.|
|Kansas Legal Services||(888) 353-5337||Kansas Legal Services provides free civil legal services to qualifying individuals in Kansas. It works in cooperation with the Kansas Department on Aging and local Area Agencies on Aging to provide free assistance to those aged 60 and over. Through the agency’s senior programs, older adults get help with applying for public benefits that may help cover independent living, as well as resolve issues, such as Social Security overpayment and consumer debt issues.|
|Retired and Senior Volunteer Program||(800) 942-2677||RSVP provides exclusive volunteer opportunities to those aged 55 and over, letting older adults use their interests and experiences to serve their communities. Volunteer activities vary by location but may include serving as teacher’s aides in classroom settings, sharing knowledge in museums and ushering at performing arts centers.|
|Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs||(785) 296-3976||The Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs advocates for older veterans in Kansas and helps them access the state and federal benefits they’re entitled to, including financial assistance, health insurance and veterans’ and survivors’ pensions.|
COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Kansas Independent Living Communities
The following rules and guidelines were obtained from kdads.ks.gov/covid-19, 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 2/8/2022, 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?||Yes|
|Are visitors being screened for elevated temperatures?||Yes|
|Are visitors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?||Yes|
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)|