What Exactly Is Independent Living?

Jun 8, 2016

What Exactly Is Independent Living?

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Perhaps you’ve reached a point where the house and yard are just a bit too much to keep up with – the kids have moved out and you have a bit more space than you need. Now you’re looking for a more manageable lifestyle that will help you enjoy the freedom of your golden years, especially if your health isn’t what it used to be.

For many people looking to move on to the next phase of their life, independent living represents an option that is flexible, efficient, and packed with features which are invaluable to aging. Although it can be difficult to leave a familiar home that you may have lived in for decades, moving to independent living communities can quickly feel just as secure and provide exciting new opportunities. There are many benefits for seniors in independent living.

So What Exactly is Independent Living?

Most commonly, this living option is found as communities of seniors living in townhouse campuses or apartment style homes. It’s uncommon to find anyone under 65 in these communities, so you’ll be surrounded by your peers. These settings are designed for people who can do most things on their own but could use the added security of a trained staff.

Your monthly rent will likely include the majority of communal amenities, a meal plan, housekeeping and laundry services, as well as transportation. Most facilities have fitness areas, open outdoor spaces, and a variety of other activities to engage in. Because staying social is great for your health, independent living communities feature events to help residents stay active and connect with one another.

The independent living spaces are fully furnished, complete with the necessities as well as your utilities being included in your monthly payments. With emergency call systems and 24-hour staff, you can rest assured that if any problems do arise you’ll have a quick response. Eliminating chores and living safely provides the free time to pursue your passions and enjoy your retirement!

Why is it Important?

This type of senior living can also be found in continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) which allow easy transitions between independent and assisted living, to nursing home care, all on the same campus. For Alzheimer’s or dementia patients, it is possible that these facilities also feature memory care, although it is not guaranteed everywhere.

There are plenty of reasons that independent living is a viable option for seniors – between the ability to come and go as pleased and the available amenities, it’s easy to see why so many people are choosing to retire this way.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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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Ok, I don’t know anything about this stuff. What are some things I should look for or consider when choosing an independent living community?

The best way to figure out if an independent living community is right for you is to visit the community yourself! You’ll get a first-hand look into the living environment, the staff, and possibly your future neighbors. When you're visiting the community, it is also a great chance to ask current residents what they specifically enjoy about their community. What do they think could improve? It’s also a great opportunity to explore what amenities are available and how you can envision yourself leading a happy life there. 

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