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Maybe you’re an empty-nester, and your friends have left the neighborhood. Maybe the upkeep of an entire home and yard is too much for you. Maybe you want something new.
No matter your reason, once you’ve decided to explore your senior living options, you will likely feel a wide range of emotions.
We’ve created this guide to help you understand your options, teach you more about independent living for seniors, why more and more older Americans are choosing it each year, what you can expect, and more.
You can think of an independent living community as a retirement community; most residents are over a certain age (typically 55) and are retired, most live in single-family homes or apartments, and most are looking for the same thing you are: convenience and connection.
In independent living communities, your home maintenance, yard work, and sometimes even housekeeping and laundry are taken care of for you.
When you don’t have to deal with the day-to-day hassles of home ownership, you’re left with free time to enjoy retirement while living fully.
These communities are made up of single-family homes, townhomes, or condos built in a neighborhood-style with a clubhouse that typically offers community amenities, a fitness center, social activities, and services.
This community consists of apartment complexes with an array of services for dining, transportation, and social activities. Some offer more high-end amenities than others. Floor plans also vary.
This type of community offers options for independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care, which allows you to age in place.
This type of community consists of private homeowners working together to manage their property, maintain homes, carpool, and more.
Facilities comprised of studio or one-bedroom living quarters with shared living spaces; also known as a retirement home.
If you haven’t looked into senior housing options before, you may think most senior communities are like nursing homes, designed for people who require more personalized health care. However, there’s a significant difference between independent living and assisted living facilities.
The most significant difference between the two options is the available levels of care offered. Many assisted living residents are not capable of living entirely on their own, whereas independent living residents continue to live an active lifestyle without assistance. Assisted living residents need regular senior care, help with regular daily activities, and cannot physically and/or mentally care for themselves without some level of assistance.
Independent living communities are for active seniors who are capable of living on their own. Ask yourself (or your loved one) the following questions:
If you struggled to answer yes to the first three questions, you might want to consider assisted living or a nursing home. Those options provide more personalized care with all the resort-style benefits of independent senior living.
Independent living probably sounds great to you now, but you’re probably wondering what the catch is.
Well, luckily for you, a senior living community doesn’t have to be cost-prohibitive. Just like any neighborhood, apartment complex, or even hotel, there are a wide range of options to match any budget.
What you pay will vary depending on what type of independent senior housing you choose, which amenities you’re looking for, and where you’re located.
There are many ways to pay for senior living. Many seniors in independent living communities pay privately out of pocket. Look into your private health insurance and life insurance policies, Medicaid, Medicare, and veterans’ benefits to see if you qualify for assistance.
Now that you understand the ins and outs of independent living for seniors, it’s time to decide what option is best for you.
These questions can help you research various communities near you:
You may want to live in a seniors-only community, instead of seniors-mostly! Additionally, “seniors” is a wide age range, and you may want to ensure you’ll have neighbors close to your age. All the better to reminisce with!
What kind of amenities does the community offer?
If you plan on using your kitchen for cooking and your living room to entertain, you may not need a large clubhouse. On the other hand, if you’re looking for big common spaces or fitness programs, you should look into a full list of amenities.
Are you a social butterfly or more of an introvert? Make sure the activities that scheduled are things you’re interested in joining.
Again, if you still want to cook yourself, make sure that you’ll have a full kitchen in your new residence. If you’d rather eat in a dining room with other residents, take a look at the menu to make sure you’ll find meals you like. Additionally, if you have diet restrictions, ask about how they handle those.
If you have furry friends, find out if you can bring them along.
Asking this is an entirely fair question. Security should be around 24 hours a day, but be sure to ask about nights, weekends, holidays, and emergency services.
If there are any surprise charges, you’ll want to find those out before you move in!
If you are beginning to explore living options for yourself or a loved one, you may find out that aging is a balancing act of many different competing needs, such as:
Independent senior living is a great option that is a perfect balance between all of these things and more. The senior is still free to do as they wish, to come and go as they please, and to live the life they have grown accustomed to; the only difference is that they can get all the help and support they need to continue this lifestyle!
It is not a nursing home or hospital, but rather it is simply flipping the page on a new, exciting chapter in life. It preserves all the good things about aging—freedom, no longer having to do housework, a chance to continue growing and learning—while still offering security when it comes to the changing needs that arise when growing older.
Here at Caring Advisor, our representatives want to help kick-start the journey of choosing the senior living option that is right for you or your loved one. If you are looking at independent living near you, you probably have a lot of questions and things to consider before choosing a location. We’re here to help!
Independent living means many things to many people: freedom, security, comfort, wellness, and so much more. This level of care preserves a feeling of autonomy and security, all on top of offering a range of social activities, dining programs, and everything a senior could need to enjoy their golden years.
With independent living, residents that are typically aged 55 and up get all the benefits of living on their own while having the peace of mind of knowing that assistance is available whenever it is needed. Those who choose this type of senior housing generally live in their own private quarters with floor plans that vary in size from cozy studio apartments to spacious multi-bedroom villas. These living spaces are located on campuses that offer a myriad of activities and programs for residents to enjoy.
Overall, independent living is a safe and affordable first step in the retirement journey for many people across the country.
At most independent housing communities, you can expect care services for a broad range of needs. The items below may already be included in a monthly or yearly fee or you may opt into some items for an additional charge. Be sure to ask an independent living community near you what types of services they offer to help you or your loved one make a decision.
Seniors and their families are sometimes unfamiliar with the difference between independent and assisted living. Yet, this is an important distinction to understand.
While an assisted living facility focuses on providing support with personal care and activities of daily living, an independent living community is dedicated to providing services that support a thrilling lifestyle for an active adult. This senior housing option makes it easier for older adults to have the freedom they need to live every day to the fullest while giving them as much or as little support and medical care as they want.
When home care begins to be too much for caregivers, many people have described a move to senior living as a gift that seniors can give to their children. Knowing that an elderly parent is safe and secure provides adult children with peace of mind.
When an adult child is free from worrying about who will do a parent’s laundry or how to arrange
transportation for them to go to the grocery store, families are able to spend quality time together. Reconnecting over intergenerational activities instead of chores helps families build
For many seniors of various backgrounds, independent living is a realizable goal and is more affordable than one might think. For example, there is no need to pay for 24/7 nursing or other expenses associated with things like memory care, continuing care retirement communities (ccrc), or other senior living arrangements. Also, there are no longer additional expenses that might be a drain on resources, including mortgage, property taxes, home maintenance, cleaning costs, etc.
Many people may ask if insurance or long-term care pays for independent living. There are certainly many different programs that can help cover the cost of independent living for yourself or a loved one, such as employee retirement insurance, VA benefits, private health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, and more. Get in touch with your insurance to see if you qualify.
If you’re ready to make the switch to an independent living community, choosing the right one should come down to your needs, personality, and lifestyle. Here are some tips on how to find independent living near you that meets all of these requirements:
To learn more about our many different communities and the care options search Caring Advisor today!
Finding the right one for you can be overwhelming. Talk to the experts at Caring Advisor to find out more about what you need and where to find it.