In an independent living community, residents are physically independent, but they like the idea of living with other people of the same age. Most of these communities consist of people who have undergone retirement, are independent, enjoy living with other people, and appreciate the community lifestyle. For many seniors, the thought of leaving their homes to move into independent living communities is unsettling. It’s widely assumed that the only other option when moving out of one’s home is to move into a nursing home. But, as you’ll soon see in this article, the benefits of these premier communities cannot be over-emphasized.
What Are Independent Living Communities?
The names independent living, senior living, and retirement community all refer to the same sort of senior living community. Residents in independent living communities live primarily freely in a residential setting, participating in community life but also enjoying the pleasures of private housing, typically in an apartment or villa.
These communities include a variety of amenities and services that make life more convenient than living alone. Life in independent living is carefree and hassle-free, from housekeeping to meal preparation and home upkeep. Senior living communities also promote healthy aging by providing a variety of physical fitness activities, travel, educational, and cultural experiences, and the opportunity to live life to the fullest with friends who feel more like family.
Independent living communities, which offer five-star cuisine and award-winning activities, are able to engage seniors at a level unprecedented in the history of senior care.
Who Should Move to Independent Living Communities?
If any of the following applies to you, you should think about moving to an independent living community:
- You like the notion of being with other seniors and participating in social activities organized by others.
- If you want to provide some extra protection and the ability to contact staff or others in an emergency, but you don’t require everyday support.
- You want to keep your privacy and independence, but your existing residence is simply too large, alienating, or difficult to maintain.
- You value your independence but would be willing to forego some everyday responsibilities, such as housework or cooking every meal for yourself.
Why Do Seniors Thrive In Independent Living Communities?
Today’s seniors want nothing less than the best, and today’s independent living communities are meeting those demands. Residents in these communities, which are more like resort-style living than retirement, enjoy a wide range of privileges, particularly those who move from living alone into a community.
Furthermore, many of these communities have an assisted living component, allowing members to transition into assisted living care if their needs change without having to physically relocate or look for a new community. This means that residents can stay in places where they are known and loved, avoiding the need for a traumatic move during an already stressful period.
Benefits Available In Independent Living Communities
The benefits of moving into a senior living community include:
#1. Social and Entertainment Opportunities
One of the reasons people hesitate to move into an independent living community is a fear of solitude. For starters, they may be concerned about being evicted from their current communities or social systems. Second, they may wrongly feel that a senior facility or community will be limited or depressing.
When it comes to most independent living communities, however, nothing could be further from the truth. They are designed to encourage active, social lifestyles, but you retain control over that lifestyle.
Here are just a few of the social and recreational perks that many independent living communities may provide:
- You can invite visitors to spend time at your home.
- You are free to come and go as you like, even driving if that is necessary for you to participate in your daily routine.
- Community staff create events both on-site and in the surrounding town or city, making it easier for you to make new friends, learn new hobbies, or visit local events.
- Many independent living communities feature common areas and additional amenities, making it simple to mingle or stay active on your own schedule. Options such as workout rooms, computer rooms, libraries, television and entertainment areas, salons or barber shops, and restaurants or coffee shops may be included.
- Some communities are located near clubs or parks, allowing you to participate in outdoor activities such as walking, golfing, tennis, frisbee golf, or swimming.
#2. Plenty of meal options, including DIY
Meal selections differ by community. Some senior living communities include three meals a day in a shared dining hall as part of the cost of living there. Others provide meal alternatives in facility dining halls that you can choose to use on a regular, semi-regular, or as-needed basis, and some independent living communities have more than one restaurant, café, or coffee shop on-site to meet a variety of dining and snacking needs.
But just because you live in one of these communities doesn’t mean you have to eat out all the time.
Many independent living facilities offer homes with complete or partial kitchens. This allows you to prepare for yourself or guests in the comfort of your own home. You may also be able to use common kitchens to prepare larger meals or hold family activities.
When it comes to meals and food, it’s critical to understand what you want because the possibilities can differ.
#3. The Ability to Have a Pet
This may come as a surprise to many seniors, but independent living communities are all about freeing you from whatever is preventing you from fully enjoying your retirement years. They aren’t interested in enforcing restrictions that limit people’s enjoyment. And, the ability to have pets is one way many communities ensure that.
Obviously, there are some rules to observe while sharing space with others in the community, and the size of the pet may be an issue. Cats and small to medium-sized dogs are welcome in most facilities. Larger dogs may be allowed in communities with more room. But, unless you live on a farm or in an agricultural community, you are unlikely to own a horse.
However, some communities do have community animals. Depending on the area and type of community, this may include dogs, cats, and even cattle. These animals are frequently cared for by staff in collaboration with residents. And they are enjoyed by all members of the community.
#4. Housekeeping Services to Free Your Schedule
According to senior experts, independent living often gives people more independence. This is because it relieves them of the majority of household tasks and maintenance.
People aged 65 and older who live in their own homes spend about three hours each day on household duties. This is according to an AgeWave consultant survey. On average, women spend significantly more time than men. This may explain why women frequently initiate the transition to independent living.
Meanwhile, those same seniors are said to spend only 30 minutes per day chatting with friends and family. And they spend only 15 minutes per day exercising or participating in sports or physical activities. Those who choose independent living, on the other hand, report spending up to three hours a day socializing. They, in turn, spend two hours a day attending a class or engaging in an activity. What more? They spend only one hour on chores.
#5. Areas for Hosting Gatherings
Kings and queens of hospitality are not required to resign their thrones simply because they relocate to an independent living community. In fact, many of these communities are geared to encourage more socialization.
Amenities could include:
- Large common-area kitchens where you may prepare meals for your visitors
- When hosting a birthday or other celebration with family and friends, you can reserve dining areas, conference spaces, or party rooms.
- There are small nooks, seating areas, and libraries where you can sit with one or two friends or family members.
- Gardens or other outdoor locations where people can congregate for social activities
- Outdoor grilling and dining areas provide extra alternatives for party hosting.
If having relatives and friends stay with you for a nite or a few days is important to you, it shouldn’t be difficult to discover an independent living situation where this is not only possible but also comfortable. It’s pretty much up to you in terms of the room. It’ll be simpler to have houseguests in a detached unit or apartment than in a studio. But then, the rules usually allow it anyway.
Hosting family for meals is simple if you cook for yourself or eat at on-site restaurants. If you frequently eat in community dining rooms, most have a guest meal payment option. That way, your loved ones can participate in your regular meal routine.
Whether you’re used to hosting 20 people for dining extravaganzas or prefer having your children or grandchildren spend a few days with you throughout the year, you may choose an independent living community that fits your needs.
#6. Groundskeeping and Maintenance
Groundskeepers and maintenance workers, like cleaning, take inside duties off your plate and free you up for socialization and activity. This can be a great benefit for seniors who may not be physically able to perform activities like gutter cleaning or spring yard work. And they do not want to pay someone to do those things on a regular basis. And if you live in a location where winters are frequently white, living in an independent living community could free you from snow shoveling for the rest of your life.
However, some seniors may not want to give up all their outside jobs. Gardening, for example, is a popular activity and a stress reliever for many people. Often, senior communities feature community garden grounds. There, you can develop and grow flowers, herbs, or veggies to share with your neighbors.
General maintenance is another responsibility that is often performed by community employees. When seniors choose independent living in a retirement community, they no longer have to worry about plumbing, electrical, or other issues. They can generally call the front desk or a dedicated staff number to have someone attend to an issue. The matter will then be handled from there.
#7. Staff on Hand for Peace of Mind
Finally, most independent living communities have someone on duty or on call at all times. Unlike in assisted living facilities or nursing homes, the personnel are not usually medically qualified or licensed nurses. They will, however, be familiar with basic first-aid methods such as CPR. They will also very probably be trained to respond to emergency situations and assist in calling and communicating with EMTs. Additionally, the staff is ready to answer residents’ queries, verify that they understand how to use amenities, and arrange for maintenance orders as needed.
Finding Independent Living Communities Near You
Search your zip code in any Independent Living Directory to find an independent living community near you. Look for evaluations of independent living communities published by other residents or their loved ones.
After you’ve narrowed down your options, take a tour so you or your loved one can view the amenities for yourself. Request a comprehensive cost analysis that includes a breakdown of all charges. Also, be aware of any additional fees or hidden expenditures. Many independent living communities also allow you or a loved one to stay as a guest for a nite or two. That way, you get a better sense of what the lifestyle is truly like.
Remember that this is most likely not an emergency. Therefore, taking the time to locate the community that best suits your or your loved one’s needs is the best approach to assure long-term success and contentment with an independent living situation.
What Are The Challenges Of Independent Living?
Not so much age as a barrier to independence as bad health, frailty, greater need for medical treatment, handicaps, and difficulty with daily life activities that are more likely to occur with advancing age. Another key impediment is a lack of funds.
What Are The Barriers To Independent Living?
Mobility, wheelchair access, and the inability to travel large distances or stand for long periods of time are all evident physical limitations to independent living. People with severe developmental disabilities, on the other hand, may have movement challenges or rely on bulky equipment to get around.
Can You Be Independent While Living With Parents?
You may keep your independence by managing your finances, contributing to the household, and talking properly with your parents. Above all, respect for your parents and yourself will help you maintain your independence.
For many seniors, the thought of leaving their homes to move into a senior living community is unsettling. It’s widely assumed that the only other option when moving out of one’s home is to move into a nursing home.
Adult children, too, often put off discussions of moving their parents into a senior living community due to the misconceptions associated with nursing homes. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Never before have there been so many choices and solutions for retired seniors looking to make a move.
Independent living communities offer a solution for seniors looking to simplify their lives but who don’t need the individual attention found in nursing or assisted living homes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is independent living cheaper than assisted living?
Independent senior living communities are a lifestyle choice rather than a type of senior care. This implies they’re usually less expensive, but they’re unlikely to be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or insurance. As a result of these more extensive services, assisted living is typically more expensive than independent living.
What is the average age of independent living?
The majority of independent living individuals are quite active. The average age of inhabitants in senior living facilities is around 84 years old. While there are many couples in these communities, the majority of residents in independent living are women.
Why do people move to independent livimg?
Seniors generally choose independent living communities to escape the trouble of maintaining their current residence. Independent retirement living offers a variety of amenities to make residents’ lives easier and more pleasurable.