Guide to Independent Living in Missouri
Approximately 17.3% of Missouri’s 6.1 million residents are aged 65 and older, which is above the national median of 16.5%. The state has an average cost of living index that’s about 14 points below the national average of 100, suggesting the typical Missourian gets more for their money than most Americans. Missouri taxes Social Security but it doesn’t kick in until the senior earns $85,000 annually, and there are also reasonably generous private and public pension exemptions.
Missourians who choose independent living are relatively capable seniors who like residing in communities that have been designed with the needs of older residents in mind. Some live in apartments, others in duplexes or single-family homes that have been purpose-built or adapted for seniors, including features such as ramps, grab rails and smaller rooms that make cleaning easier. Neighbors often meet in their community’s clubhouse, which typically has at least one restaurant and multiple rooms for games, leisure programs and fitness classes. Some communities also have spas.
This guide looks at the costs of independent living in Missouri and some surrounding states. It also considers the costs of other types of care and lists some senior-friendly resources.
How Much Does Independent Living Cost in Missouri?
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.
Missouri’s average fee for independent living is $1,950, which is almost $1,000 below the national average and the most affordable in the Midwest. In Arkansas, the typical senior should expect to pay another $490 per month, while in Iowa, they would need an additional $399 on top of that. Costs rise further still in Illinois, where the average is $2,917, and Kansas, where $2,977 is the norm.
The United States
The Cost of Independent Living in Missouri’s Top Cities
The most affordable fees for independent living in Missouri are in Jefferson City, where $1,349 is the average. Costs in Joplin and Columbia are also below the state median, at $1,823 and $1,820, respectively. Among the more costly cities are Springfield, at $2,113, St. Louis, at $2,665, and Kansas City, at $2,980 — which is also the most expensive in the state.
The Cost of Independent Living vs. Other Types of Care
Seniors who need more care than an independent living facility can offer may wish to consider assisted living. For an additional $1,050 per month, these communities provide similar homelike and community experiences but also include personal care services. Those who need 24/7 care from skilled nurses may need to give thought to a nursing home facility, which will usually charge around $5,262 for a semiprivate room — the most affordable option available. Seniors who prefer to be cared for at home will need to consider their existing home costs and the additional care fees, which average $4,767 for homemaker and home health aide services, despite the latter also providing basic medical care. The most affordable option is adult day health care, which typically charges fees of $1,950 for support that usually involves wider staff-to-senior ratios and will require daily transportation to and from the center.
Adult Day Health Care
Home Health Aide
Assisted Living Facility
Nursing Home Facility (semiprivate room)
Does Medicare or Medicaid Cover Independent Living in Missouri?
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 Missouri 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 Missouri.
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 Missouri
All state and most private health care insurances don’t pay for independent living, so considering alternatives is prudent. They include:
- Long-Term Care Insurance: This can cover costs up to the policy’s value. Seniors should carefully consider the coverage provided and the affordability of premiums.
- Reverse Mortgages: This is a home equity loan paid either by a lump sum or installments that may cover independent living fees. The balance is only paid when the home is sold.
- Life Insurance: Various products can pay some or all independent living costs, such as Accelerated Death Benefits and combinations of life and long-term care insurance.
- Annuities: In return for a lump sum or regular payments, an insurance company sends the senior an annuity over a pre-established period of time.
Free Independent Living Resources for Seniors in Missouri
There are many resources in Missouri that help seniors cope with some of the challenges that come with aging. This list includes organizations that can advise on tax and legal matters, support veterans struggling to get benefits and arrange free transportation for those unable to access other means of travel.
|AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program||(888) 687-2277||The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program provides online and in-person support for seniors who need assistance preparing and filing their taxes. The Foundation’s trained volunteers are IRS-certified and located throughout Missouri. Seniors have several options available, which include dropping off their tax documents for volunteers to prepare on their behalf, although the senior will need to assist with finalizing them before submission.|
|Missouri Veterans Commission||(800) 273-8255||The Missouri Veterans Commission supports veterans and their dependents. It can help them access benefits provided by the state and federal governments and refer them to medical centers and clinics throughout Missouri’s VA health care system, including those that specialize in nonmedical conditions, such as depression and PTSD.|
|AmeriCorps RSVP Missouri||(800) 942-2677||AmeriCorps manages a wealth of programs for Missouri’s older citizens, with RSVP being among the most popular. RSVP matches volunteers with government agencies and nonprofit organizations that need help to fulfill their functions. Roles can vary from those the senior already has experience with to those where the volunteer needs training. As RSVP volunteers, seniors receive free accident and liability insurance while doing voluntary work.|
|Area Agencies on Aging||(573) 526-4542||Area Agencies on Aging are state-sponsored nonprofits that provide a wide range of services and supports for seniors. Each county has its own agency, although they all provide standard services. These include free legal assistance in case involving civil law and the provision of free or low-cost transportation.|
|National Council on Aging||Online Only||The National Council on Aging develops programs that help seniors maintain health and mitigate age-related challenges to their physical and mental abilities. It rolls out its programs to numerous centers throughout Missouri, where trained staff help attendees prevent falling and plan for their long-term health and wellness.|
COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Missouri Independent Living Communities
The following rules and guidelines were obtained from dph.illinois.gov/covid19, 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)|