Guide to Independent Living in Kentucky
Kentucky is a vibrant state with a mix of bustling urban areas and quiet suburban and rural communities. The state is home to approximately 4.5 million people, nearly 17% of whom are aged 65 and over. It boasts 45 state parks with seemingly endless fishing, bird-watching and picnic opportunities, along with a dozen shopping malls, the largest of which is Fayette Mall in Lexington. In general, crime occurs less frequently here than in the typical U.S. community, and affordable health care benefits older adults and those managing chronic conditions. Overall, the cost of living in Kentucky is 15% below the national median, and tax laws are retiree-friendly, which may help older adults maintain their standard of living throughout their retirement years. This state is also one of the cheapest places in the United States for independent living, with rates coming in hundreds of dollars below the national median at $2,241.
Independent living is ideal for those who want a low-maintenance lifestyle but don’t need medical monitoring or help with daily living activities. These communities provide amenities, such as restaurant-style dining, transportation and yard care. This guide provides information on independent living costs in Kentucky, options for covering services and tips for finding communities throughout the state.
How Much Does Independent Living Cost in Kentucky?
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.
Compared to independent living rates in the nation as a whole, which average $2,925, care costs in Kentucky are affordable. On average, independent living residents in this state pay $2,241 for monthly services, making it one of the cheapest places to obtain care. All of Kentucky’s bordering states have higher independent living rates, including Tennessee, where rates come in at $2,668, and West Virginia, where seniors pay $2,704. Older adults in Ohio pay $3,013 for independent living, and in Virginia, rates are nearly $1,200 higher at $3,413.
The United States
The Cost of Independent Living in Kentucky’s Top Cities
Of the surveyed cities in Oklahoma, Owensboro has the cheapest independent living rates at approximately $2,007 per month. In Elizabethtown, rates are a little higher but still affordable compared to state and national averages at $2,096. Seniors in Bowling Green and the Louisville/Jefferson County region pay $2,275 for services, and in Lexington, rates are on par with the national average at $2,969.
The Cost of Independent Living vs. Other Types of Care
Independent living is among the most economical senior care options in Kentucky, with seniors paying approximately $2,241 per month for services. Adult day health care is several hundred dollars cheaper at $1,690 but doesn’t include living expenses, such as housing and housekeeping. Those seeking residential care services pay $3,448 for assisted living, and older adults who obtain home-based care pay $4,767 for both basic homemaker services and skilled home health aide services. Shared rooms in nursing homes cost approximately $7,178 and are for those who need extensive care and around-the-clock monitoring.
Adult Day Health Care
Home Health Aide
Assisted Living Facility
Nursing Home (Semiprivate room)
Does Medicare or Medicaid Cover Independent Living in Kentucky?
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 Kentucky 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 Kentucky.
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 Kentucky
While health insurance doesn’t cover independent living, older adults unable to pay for services out-of-pocket may have several funding options available. For those who own their homes and want to maintain ownership, a reverse mortgage loan lets them use their home’s equity to pay for services. Those who’ve received lump sums through an inheritance or insurance settlement may purchase an annuity to receive regularly scheduled monthly payments, which can be used toward living expenses. Some life insurance policies enable customers to access the death benefit to pay for long-term care. Alternately, seniors may have the option of selling their life insurance to a third party for a cash settlement. Finally, long-term care insurance may cover some services seniors obtain in independent living communities.
Free Independent Living Resources for Seniors in Kentucky
Kentucky seniors find community-based services and options for paying for independent living through a range of nonprofit organizations and government agencies. The following table features top resources in the state, helping older adults navigate their long-term care options.
|Retired and Senior Volunteer Program||(502) 574-1530||The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program in Louisville provides volunteer opportunities exclusively to those aged 55 and over, letting them serve their communities in a way that fits their schedules, prior work experience and interests. Through RSVP, seniors can donate their time to local museums, schools and performing arts centers in exchange for benefits, such as supplemental insurance and invitations to annual recognition events.|
|AARP Kentucky||(866) 295-7275||AARP Kentucky provides virtual activities for seniors statewide, including the Kentucky Derby Experience and webinars that cover topics on age-related issues. It also offers a database of arts and entertainment venues in communities throughout the state, travel discounts and a subscription to the award-winning AARP The Magazine.|
|Area Agencies on Aging and Independent Living||(502) 564-6930||There are 15 Area Agencies on Aging and Independent Living throughout Kentucky. Each agency serves those aged 60 and over in its designated region through information and referral services, advocacy and options counseling. Through their local AAA, seniors can get one-on-one help with finding independent living options in their communities and identifying options for paying for services.|
|Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs||(502) 564-9206||The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs administers state benefits, such as financial assistance, housing benefits, state income tax exemptions and recreational benefits. It also has offices throughout the state where veterans get personalized help with applying for federal benefits, such as TRICARE and pensions, which can help reduce overall living costs.|
|Kentucky State Health Insurance Assistance Program||(877) 293-7447, option #2||The Kentucky State Health Insurance Assistance Program provides free over-the-phone information and options counseling for Medicare-eligible individuals. Through this helpline, seniors can learn more about their Medicare benefits, private Medicare options and how to qualify for Medicaid. SHIP counselors can also help older adults review their long-term care insurance policy’s coverage for independent living.|
|Kentucky Legal Aid||(270) 782-5740||Kentucky Legal Aid provides free civil legal services to those aged 60 and over within the state. Its licensed legal professionals help older adults resolve issues, such as Social Security overpayment, denied health insurance claims and problems related to fraud and identity theft.|
COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Kentucky Independent Living Communities
The following rules and guidelines were obtained from chfs.ky.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 2/8/2022, 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?||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.