Whether you are searching for independent senior housing for yourself or a loved one, cost is one of the top-cited concerns. Understanding the types of housing that are available and what is usually included with the cost can help you stay within your budget and anticipate upcoming fees associated with this type of housing.

Also known as retirement communities, retirement villages or 55+ communities, independent senior housing is ideal for seniors that are still able to function independently and offer a variety of benefits to standard housing. In many cases, the homes are smaller, with one to two bedrooms, since seniors generally don’t need as much space and smaller homes mean less upkeep. Since these communities don’t usually include medical care, the cost is often lower than assisted living facilities or nursing homes.

Of course, the cost of independent senior housing will be dictated by the size of the housing unit and the city/state that it is located in. Some states will have higher fees associated with them, such as the Northeast, while southern states, especially Florida, have a larger variety of more affordable housing for independent seniors. On average, however, the cost of independent housing ranges from $1,500 to $3,500 per month. In most cases, the majority of residents in 55+ communities are private-pay, meaning that most residents will be responsible for assuming the bulk of financial responsibility. However, there are some communities where residents can apply for federal funding through Section 202.

So what do these costs cover? Your monthly fee will include rent for the studio, apartment or home that you are occupying, as well as landscaping fees and any HOA fees associated with living in the community. Since the average cost of living in an independent senior community is not unlike a mortgage payment, it is an affordable option for many senior citizens. Some communities also include meals for the residents, which can be beneficial for those seniors that are still able to cook on their own but don’t want the extra hassle of doing so. This could include one or all three meals during the day depending on the community. In addition, many communities offer the add-on options for housekeeping, laundry services and transportation within the local area to doctor appointments and grocery shopping trips.

When deciding which independent senior community is best for you or your loved one, it is important to first determine your available budget. With this in mind, you can limit your options and find the retirement community that is best for your personal needs.