Independent living refers to residential communities intended exclusively for those who have reached retirement age, but remain active and independent. These communities can be as affordable as a contemporary apartment community, or as lavish as a resort with nightly five-star dining. They all feature housing options designed for seniors; in addition, some include social activities, amenities, and services for a more carefree lifestyle.
Unlike assisted living, independent living communities generally include full kitchens; they are generally designed for those who do not need assistance with daily tasks such as eating, bathing, and medication administration. However, most independent living communities will allow onsite home care companies to work with their residents if care needs change over time.
There are a wide array of housing options in independent living communities. These can range from apartment buildings and condos to duplex cottages and detached garden homes. Regardless of the type, many will include added features designed for the safety and ease of senior living. These may include:
These types of communities come in various sizes and layouts. They are often part of a larger community that also offers housing for seniors that require more extensive care, such as assisted living or skilled nursing care. This type of larger community is called a Continuing Care Retirement Community, advantageous because residents don’t have to move off campus even if they eventually require more substantial care.
Independent living communities are typically located in or near residential or urban areas, giving residents easy access to outside establishments, shops, and restaurants.
Residents in independent living communities have the freedom to come and go anytime, while still enjoying the privacy of their own home or apartment. There are no limitations on visitors or visiting hours, and some communities even allow pets.
Meals are often included in the monthly fee, although most community housing includes individual kitchens so that residents can cook on their own. Transportation is also typically offered, but residents still have the option to drive.
In addition to communal spaces such as dining rooms, common areas, and clubhouses, communities typically offer a variety of regularly scheduled activities for social engagement. These can include:
Most independent living communities incorporate basic services in their monthly fees. These could include:
Communities also offer around-the-clock security for the safety and comfort of their residents.
The cost of independent living can vary greatly based on amenities and area of town. Typically the cost of independent living will fall between $1500-$6200 a month. Other things that could influence the cost are:
Here are some questions to ask when determining whether a specific community is right for you or your loved one:
Consider these statements:
If most or all of the above statements apply to you, then an Independent Living Community may be a good option. You could also consider the following living options:
If you need a bit more help with day-to-day living, some more supportive options may be a good fit for you:
If you need more hands-on care, the following options may be a better fit for you:
Still not sure? Take our Care Assessment to see what care level may be best.
– Mother Teresa