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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!
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.