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Moving to Independent Living

Aug 31, 2016

Moving to Independent Living

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The transition to independent living requires a lot of thought, planning, and communication. You and/or your elder will need to decide if, when, and how you plan to make the transition to an independent living community. 

Although your or your loved one may be hesitant at first, moving to an independent living community can make life easier for not just seniors, but their families as well. Independent living can allow the same sense of self-sufficiency, while still maintaining the safety and health of residents.

Signs It's Time to Move to Independent Living

Burdensome Chores

Some early signs that seniors might prefer independent living usually occur when carrying out daily tasks. Grocery shopping, retrieving the mail, and cleaning the house are just a few chores that may become overwhelming as we age. Retirement is supposed to be a time filled with rest and relaxation, so there’s no shame in changing the living situation to ease the burden of these daily activities.

Fuzzy Memory

There’s no shame in admitting that you or your loved one's memory isn’t what it used to be. Although there are a variety of ways to keep one's brain health in excellent condition, sometimes our memories begin to get a little hazy. If you or your loved one begins to forget names, personal items, or appointments, it might be time to move to an independent living community. An independent living community has staff that can assist in scheduling appointments, remembering daily medication, and will even provide exercises to help boost memory.

Aggression and Irritability

Aggression and irritability are common with age. It’s most likely because frustration ensues when the mind and body are not what they used to be. When one takes pride in their independence, asking for help might be tough.

It’s important to understand where they’re coming from and to ease them into the conversation about independent living. Many seniors feel like their home is the last sense of independence they have. You’re asking them to move out of the home they worked their whole life to maintain, so be mindful when broaching the subject.

Moving to Independent Living

Plan Ahead

It might sound like common sense, but implementing a plan of action when making the transition can limit stress for everyone. Simple tasks, like labeling boxes properly, can save a lot of time (and headaches) in the future. It’s also important to communicate with your loved one when and how the transition process will be. Just suddenly telling them that they will be moving into an independent community can create a variety of stress and other related issues. Creating a new home can be a highly personal and potentially emotional process, so it’s important to be sympathetic towards your loved one.

Pack Wisely

Remember that your loved one is not just packing away things, they’re packing away memories. It can be a tough balancing act when deciding which items to take and which ones to leave behind, or worse, get rid of. While it’s important to have a familiar environment when entering their new home, it’s also not feasible to take everything.

Have your senior choose a few personal items (pictures, jewelry, antiques) so they still have a piece of home to take with them. The rest should be appliances and necessities to make their transition to independent living more comfortable.

Keeping the “I” in Independence

Independent living will usually allow your senior to come and go as they please. The only difference will be that they will now have a whole team of staff members dedicated to helping with any issues that arise during their time in the community. Your loved one will be able to maintain his or her independence while still getting the assistance they deserve.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between independent living and assisted living?

Independent living communities are available to seniors who are still healthy enough to live on their own schedules. Most independent living communities still offer assistance with things like housekeeping and other custodial tasks, however, they don't usually provide very in-depth medical care. Assisted living is more for seniors who require daily assistance with their tasks, but aren't ready for full-fledged skilled nursing care. This can include help with personal hygiene, medication management, or things like memory care for dementia and Alzheimer's patients. 

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How much does independent living cost?

Based on the location and size of the apartment, costs for independent living facilities range from $1,500 to $3,500 a month on average. Depending on the available amenities, this can be quite the bargain for many people – especially for those with depleting funds.

Medicaid and Medicare don’t usually cover independent living, although it’s possible to receive coverage for in-home care after moving into a community. Long-term care insurance may also cover certain costs depending on your policy, however, it’s most common for people to pay out-of-pocket at least the first several years.

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Finding the perfect senior care community is only part of making your loved one’s senior living transition smooth. At SeniorCaring, we know that it is also equally important to be aware of what other community services and resources are available to your family’s senior. Choose your location and find local resources for your senior.