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Guide to Independent Living in Minnesota

Minnesota is situated in the Upper Midwest and offers stunning views of Lake Superior, 75 state parks and recreation areas and numerous museums dedicated to science, art and history. Its 5.7 million residents, 16% of whom are seniors, are scattered across friendly small towns and sprawling metropolitan areas, letting retirees choose the environment that fits their lifestyle preferences. The state’s overall cost of living is slightly below the U.S. average, scoring 97.2 on a cost-of-living index based on a national score of 100, which may benefit those with budgetary constraints.  

Independent living offers a convenient solution for older adults who want to preserve their privacy but enjoy freedom from the burdens of homeownership. These communities are for those who don’t need medical monitoring or personal care services. They offer a range of services and amenities, such as transportation services, daily meals and chore services. In Minnesota, independent living rates are consistent with the national average at $2,930 per month.

This guide provides more information on independent living costs throughout the state, as well as an overview of ways to pay for services, organizations that serve seniors and tips for finding communities in Minnesota. 

How Much Does Independent Living Cost in Minnesota?

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 Minnesota, seniors pay $2,930 per month for independent living, which is consistent with the national median of $2,925. In Wisconsin, monthly fees are $60 higher at $2,990 per month, and in Illinois, rates are slightly lower at $2,917. Independent living facilities in Iowa charge an estimated $2,839 monthly. North Dakota and South Dakota have considerably cheaper rates, which average $2,204 and $2,178, respectively.  




The Untited States


North Dakota


South Dakota







The Cost of Independent Living in Minnesota’s Top Cities 

Independent living rates in Minnesota’s largest cities tend to be affordable, with costs in some cities coming in well below state and national medians. Mankato is the most cost-effective option for those seeking this type of care with fees averaging $2,038, and in St. Cloud, independent living communities charge $2,665. Rochester’s monthly rates are a little higher but still affordable at $2,717, and in Duluth, fees average $3,250. In Minneapolis, the most populous city in the state, independent living communities charge approximately $3,356 per month.  




St. Cloud







The Cost of Independent Living vs. Other Types of Care 

Several senior care options are open to older adults in Minnesota, enabling them to choose the setting that fits their needs, preferences and budgets. The cheapest care option is adult day health care, which costs $2,167 for daytime wellness services and recreational activities in a community setting. Independent living is a few hundred dollars more per month at $2,930, and those who want personal care services in a residential setting pay $4,508 for assisted living. In-home care agencies charge $6,673 for homemaker services and $6,912 for specialized home health aide services, and nursing homes charge the highest rates of $11,601 per month for semiprivate units.  


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 Minnesota?

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 Minnesota 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 Minnesota.

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 Minnesota

Seniors in Minnesota have several options for paying for independent living if their monthly retirement income isn’t enough to cover services. Some common ways that residents pay for care include: 

  • Reverse mortgages: Reverse mortgages enable seniors to use some of their home’s equity to pay for living expenses.   
  • Long-term care insurance: Long-term care insurance doesn’t provide full coverage for independent living, but some policies may cover services, such as housekeeping, meals and transportation.  
  • Life insurance: Some life insurance policies give individuals access to their death benefit to pay for long-term care, while others may be sold to third parties for a lump sum of cash.  
  • Annuities: Annuities are funds in which an individual deposits a lump sum of cash and receives a fixed stream of monthly payments.  

Free Independent Living Resources for Seniors in Minnesota

Older adults in Minnesota can contact numerous nonprofit organizations and government agencies for personalized help with finding ways to cover independent living and accessing community-based services. Through the following resources, seniors can find legal and financial advisors, social and recreational programs and options counselors. 

Resource Contact Description 
Senior LinkAge Line (800) 333-2433 The Senior LinkAge Line works in partnership with nonprofit agencies throughout the state to provide comprehensive information on age-related issues to seniors. Older adults can call the helpline on weekdays during normal business hours for one-on-one help with understanding their Medicare benefits and long-term care insurance policies and finding community-based resources, such as senior centers, congregate meal programs and transportation.  
Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid (612) 334-5970  (800) 292-4150 Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid has attorneys, staff and volunteers who provide free civil legal assistance to older adults in 20 counties. Through this office, older adults can get help with applying for public benefits that may help cover independent living costs, including Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income.  
AARP Minnesota (866) 554-5381 AARP Minnesota is a statewide nonprofit organization that provides up-to-date information on legislation that affects seniors, as well as recreational activities in communities throughout the state. Through this organization, seniors can also access exclusive travel and recreation discounts and the award-winning AARP The Magazine.  
Minnesota Community Action Partnership (615) 645-7425 Minnesota Community Action Partnership is comprised of two dozen Community Action Agencies and 11 Tribal Nations serving older adults throughout the state. Services vary by region but may include congregate meals, volunteer-based transportation services and health insurance options counseling.  
State of Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (888) 546-5838 The Department of Veterans Affairs has county offices throughout Minnesota where older veterans can get help with accessing state and federal veterans’ benefits, such as financial assistance, tax breaks, health care services and housing assistance.  
Minnesota Seniors (763) 780-8309 Minnesota Seniors, which is operated by DFS Communications, Inc., a private media company in Minnesota, is a free resource for older adults. Its website offers up-to-date directories of companies that serve older adults, including businesses, health care providers and organizations that help seniors age in place. 
Area Agencies on Aging (651) 431-2600 Minnesota has seven Area Agencies on Aging. These agencies serve those aged 60 and over through information and referral services, transportation services and congregate meals to supplement what they receive through independent living.  

COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Minnesota 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 2/8/2022, 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)
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