Guide to Independent Living in Mississippi
Located at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and featuring vibrant coastal cities, history and culture museums and some of the country’s best barbecue, Mississippi is a popular retirement destination for active seniors. Of its nearly 3 million residents, over 16% are aged 65 and over, and that community is projected to grow significantly over the coming years.
Along with its diverse recreational and cultural amenities, the state’s generally low cost of living attracts older adults across the country seeking affordable retirement options. On a cost-of-living index based on a national score of 100, Mississippi’s cost of living is rated 81.1, indicating that local living expenses are about 20% cheaper than in the typical U.S. city. Mississippi also has among the cheapest independent living rates in the nation, with seniors paying just $2,275 per month for services.
Independent living is ideal for those who are seeking a low-maintenance lifestyle but don’t need daily medical care or help with daily living activities. These communities support residents’ quality of life by providing transportation services, social and recreational activities, housekeeping and meals.
This introductory guide offers key information on obtaining independent living in Mississippi, including how much care costs, options for making monthly rates more affordable and tips for what to look for in an independent living community.
How Much Does Independent Living Cost in Mississippi?
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.
Mississippi is one of the most economical states in the nation to obtain independent living services, with seniors paying $2,275 per month for this living option. This is $650 lower than the national median rate of $2,925. Alabama’s monthly rates are consistent with Mississippi’s at $2,277. In Louisiana and Arkansas, fees are a little higher at $2,436 and $2,444, respectively. Tennessee’s rates are several hundred dollars higher than Mississippi’s but still affordable compared to the national average at $2,668.
The United States
The Cost of Independent Living in Mississippi’s Top Cities
Mississippi’s overall monthly rate for independent living is considerably lower than the national median, but rates in its major cities exceed the state average. In Gulfport, located in the southernmost region of the state, care costs are about $200 more than the state median at $2,470. Independent living communities in Hattiesburg charge an estimated $2,681, and in the state’s capital city of Jackson, fees are closer to the national median at $2,828.
The Cost of Independent Living vs. Other Types of Care
Most types of senior care in Mississippi are very affordable, providing a range of cost-effective options to those with varying care needs and budgets. Adult day health care, which includes daytime services, such as meals and recreational activities in a community setting, is the cheapest option at $1,408. Independent living provides residential services and costs about $870 more at $2,275, and those who need personal care services pay $3,500 for assisted living. Homemaker services and specialized home health aide services are slightly costlier at $3,813. Older adults who reside in nursing homes pay $7,118 for shared accommodations.
Adult Day Health Care
Home Health Aide
Assisted Living Facility
Nursing Home (Semiprivate room)
Does Medicare or Medicaid Cover Independent Living in Mississippi?
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 Mississippi 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 Mississippi.
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 Mississippi
Seniors in Mississippi have several options for paying for independent living, even if their retirement income isn’t enough to cover monthly fees. The most common ways include:
- Purchasing an annuity: Those with access to lump sums of cash can convert that to a steady stream of monthly payments they can use toward living expenses.
- Accessing a life insurance policy’s death benefit: Some life insurance policies give enrollees access to their death benefit to pay for long-term care services.
- Taking out a reverse mortgage loan: Reverse mortgage loans enable older adults to use their home’s equity to pay for independent living.
- Filing a long-term care insurance claim: While long-term care insurance doesn’t provide full coverage for independent living, it may cover some services, such as transportation and meals, bringing down the total monthly fee.
Free Independent Living Resources for Seniors in Mississippi
Mississippi has numerous free and low-cost resources for seniors, helping them access a range of services that assist with age-related issues and enhance their quality of life. Through these agencies and programs, older adults can find community-based services, such as transportation and congregate meals, financial and legal advice and long-term care options counseling.
|AARP Mississippi||(866) 554-5382||AARP Mississippi is a nonprofit organization that serves seniors statewide. Through this organization, seniors can access discount programs, classes and seminars, tax preparation and social and recreational activities. AARP also publishes an award-winning magazine and provides up-to-date information on current legislative bills that affect seniors.|
|Area Agencies on Aging||(601) 359-4929||There are 10 Area Agencies on Aging in Mississippi. These agencies provide free and low-cost services to improve seniors’ quality of life, including health insurance options counseling, financial and legal advice and information and referral services. AAAs also supplement the services individuals receive in independent living by providing transportation, congregate meals and recreational activities.|
|Retired and Senior Volunteer Program||(800) 942-2677||RSVP is one of the largest volunteer organizations in the nation. It provides exclusive volunteer opportunities to seniors. Participants choose how much and in what capacity they want to volunteer. Opportunities vary by region but may include distributing food in food banks and soup kitchens, providing administrative assistance to nonprofit organizations and offering options counseling for Medicare beneficiaries and veterans.|
|Mississippi VA||(877) 203-5632||Mississippi VA administers veterans’ benefits to qualifying individuals throughout the state. Through this department, older veterans can access housing benefits, tax exemptions and hunting and fishing licenses. The department also helps veterans access federal benefits, such as health care services, TRICARE insurance and veterans’ and survivors’ pensions, which can help control out-of-pocket medical and independent living costs.|
|State Health Insurance Assistance Program||(601) 359-4500||The State Health Insurance Assistance Program provides free, impartial health insurance options counseling for older adults statewide. Through this program’s helpline, seniors talk to trained volunteers who help them understand their Medicare benefits, determine whether Medigap or Medicare Advantage is right for them and assess eligibility for Medicaid, which may cover some independent living expenses. SHIP counselors can also help older adults learn how to protect themselves from health insurance fraud and appeal adverse decisions regarding their coverage.|
COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Mississippi Independent Living Communities
The following rules and guidelines were obtained from msdh.ms.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?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|