Guide to Independent Living in Oregon
Oregon is part of the vast Pacific Northwestern forest and mountain range that draws in settlers from around the country. The region’s mild summers and cool, misty winters encourage seniors to enjoy an active life outdoors, with endless hiking and biking trails, camping areas and fishing spots that rival any in the nation. The state also offers plenty to do in the bustling cities of Portland and Eugene. Oregon has no sales tax, which can help keep independent living expenses under control, and seniors’ Social Security income is wholly exempt from state-level taxation, making Oregon an even friendlier place for seniors to choose to retire in.
Safety is always a concern for older adults, especially independent seniors who frequently travel or socialize outside of their homes. Oregon has a very low crime rate compared with other states, with violent crimes ranking especially low compared with the rest of the country. Seniors who’ve given up driving can enjoy more of that safe atmosphere in Portland and Eugene, which consistently rank among the most bicycle-friendly cities in the United States.
This guide is intended as an aid for seniors in Oregon who have chosen independent living for their retirement years. It goes over likely costs, types of care and the various free and low-cost resources available to help seniors of all ability levels thrive.
How Much Does Independent Living Cost in Oregon?
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.
Seniors in Oregon can expect to pay an average of $3,279 a month for independent living. This is somewhat more than the national average cost of $2,925. Oregon’s cost for independent senior living is also generally lower than that of neighboring states. For example, Washington averages $3,900 a month for independent living, while California’s average of $3,413 is nearly $200 a month higher than the Oregon equivalent. Idaho’s average cost is lower at just $2,495 a month for independent living.
The United States
The Cost of Independent Living in Oregon’s Top Cities
The cost of independent living varies considerably in Oregon. Depending on the specific location, monthly costs can fluctuate by several hundred dollars. In Portland, for example, monthly costs average $3,234, with similar costs in Salem ($3,575) and Eugene ($3,655). Grants Pass is in a similar range, at $3,621 a month for independent living, while lower costs can be found in both Medford ($3,016) and in Albany ($2,945).
The Cost of Independent Living vs. Other Types of Care
Independent living is not the best choice for every senior. For many, a different level of care is both more appropriate and even more affordable. In Oregon, seniors can expect to pay an average of $5,045 for assisted living, while adult day health care averages $2,654 a month. Homemaker and home health services are close in price, at $6,006 and $6,101 a month, respectively, while care in a semiprivate room in nursing care costs an average of $10,342 a month.
Adult Day Health Care
Home Health Aide
Assisted Living Facility
Nursing Home (Semiprivate room)
Does Medicare or Medicaid Cover Independent Living in Oregon?
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 Oregon 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 Oregon.
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 Oregon
Seniors who opt for independent living have a number of options to help them pay for the costs they face. Apart from cash on hand and the use of retirement accounts, consider these common sources of income to help pay for living and care expenses relating to age:
- Reverse mortgage: A reverse mortgage is a type of loan for seniors aged 62 and older that provides a payout based on the equity in a home.
- Equity lines of credit: An equity line of credit is a revolving credit line that uses a home as collateral, which can be used to pay for living expenses.
- Long-term care insurance: Long-term care insurance may pay for some services, such as housekeeping, transportation and meals.
- Life insurance: Many insurance policies allow individuals to cash out the present value of the policy for any reason.
- Annuities: Annuities offer regularly scheduled payouts that may be used to pay for long-term care.
Free Independent Living Resources for Seniors in Oregon
Oregon seniors have several places to turn when they need help remaining independent. Several state and nonprofit organizations offer free and low-cost support that can help meet seniors needs for aging in place and staying active in their communities.
|Oregon Prescription Drug Program (OPDP)||(800)|
|The OPDP does not impose age or income limits for participants, who can be Oregonians of any age that need discounts on their prescription drugs. Seniors in Oregon may save up to 80% of the cost of their prescription medications through the program. Applications may be made online and drug discount cards are accepted at pharmacies throughout the state.|
|Senior Law Project||(503) 224-4086||The Senior Law Project provides free legal services for seniors in Oregon on a variety of topics. Operated by the Portland Regional Office of Legal Aid Services of Oregon, the project is open to seniors aged 60 and over and can help with estate planning, health decision making and living wills. Age discrimination and other issues are also handled at no cost by the project staff.|
|Independent Living Services||(503) 945-5600||Independent Living Services in Oregon helps seniors with disabilities stay independent and continue to play a role in their communities. Programs include free peer counseling, life skills training and transition services. The Centers for Independent Living acts as a central coordinator for benefits offered by local nonprofits around the state.|
|Area Agencies on Aging||(503)|
|Area Agencies on Aging are located throughout Oregon and offer free help to enable independent seniors to thrive. Case managers working for the AAAs can help seniors find and apply for benefits they may be eligible for, and assistance is available for organizing an appeal after a denial of benefits. Programs provided by the AAA include a wide variety of federal, state and local programs seniors may need to meet their needs.|
|Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance (SHIBA)||(800) 722-4134||Though standard health insurance doesn’t help pay for independent living, health is still one of the biggest costs seniors face that can cut into their overall quality of life. The SHIBA program helps Oregon seniors with free counseling on Medicare, Medicaid and other health insurance-related matters. Program counselors are available over the phone or in person at program offices around the state. Advice is professional, confidential and impartial, as none of the counselors has a conflicting interest with an insurance company.|
COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Oregon Independent Living Communities
The following rules and guidelines were obtained from oregon.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 2/13/2022, 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)|