If you’ve realized you need to move somewhere that makes things easier for you, but don’t want to give up your freedom, you’re like a lot of other seniors today. Independent living allows you to live in a place that meets your needs while maintaining your independence. For many seniors, independent living feels more like a vacation than senior care facility!
Independent living centers are age-restricted communities designed specifically to meet the needs of their residents so they can continue to live as individuals. From senior-friendly events to building design, everything revolves around providing a better place for seniors to live. And with someone always taking care of the garden, the lawn, laundry and cleaning around the house, you can focus more on enjoying the things you love the most!
More and more seniors around the country are choosing to live in independent living facilities. Whether they’re just tired of all the home upkeep or want to find more companionship, these communities provide a great option. They can also be a very good choice for those wanting to travel without worrying about maintaining their home year-round.
Independent Living vs. Assisted Living
Independent living communities include townhomes, apartments, condos or almost any other type of housing. They are simply there for like-minded adults of similar ages who want to live among each other. These communities provide an array of services, activities, and amenities, but residents are completely independent and able to take care of themselves.
While your home in an independent living facility will be totally private and functional, most of these places will also offer shared or common areas. If you need medical or daily living assistance while living in one of these communities, it would be up to you to hire help. In many ways, assisted living facilities are similar to independent living communities. The biggest difference is that, with assisted living, residents are no longer able to live on a completely independent basis. They require assistance with daily personal and/or medical needs. The facility includes this assistance in their monthly fees.
If you can still live on your own and just want to make life more simple, independent living is most likely the best choice for you!
Independent Living: Typical Services and Amenities
The assortment of services and amenities available will differ from each community. While cost plays a role, other factors like location and size also change the services and amenities the community may provide. Some independent living facilities also focus on specific types of senior residents. Below are a few common services and amenities in independent living communities:
Almost all independent living facilities include your normal bills. You won’t need to worry about paying the electric, gas, or water bill anymore!
This is a service people of any age can appreciate. Many of these communities include housekeeping so that you don’t have to spend all of your time cleaning.
Doing the laundry can be a pain. Most independent living facilities take care of this for you.
While you’re welcome to keep your own car, transportation can be a very helpful service for anyone who is a little stressed about driving, especially at night.
Social Programs and Special Events
One of the biggest reasons people live in these communities is to live with others of the same age. Almost every independent living facility organizes social activities and special events.
No matter where your independent living facility is located, it is great to have security surveillance included. It will improve your peace-of-mind, help to protect your things, and ensure your safety.
If needed, it is also very helpful to have a place to store some of your belongings. This way, your home stays uncluttered and you don’t need to get rid of anything that you love.
While these are the most common services/amenities offered by independent living communities, some offer restaurants, gyms, pools, spas, and salons. Remember that some of these may not be included in your standard rates. One place may include different services than another.
Biggest Benefits Of Independent Living
Opportunities to Socialize
As we grow older, isolation tends to become a bigger and bigger problem.This can, in turn, lead to severe loneliness and even depression. Even the most active seniors can find it difficult to remain social due to their living circumstances. Independent living communities naturally cause scenarios that promote new friendships and regular socialization.
Most facilities offer common dining areas so that you can enjoy meals with fellow residents. Activities like day-trips, dances, special social events, classes and shopping excursions also make it easy to join a network of seniors who you can share your life experiences with.
These social connections will help to keep you feeling young and active! Almost 90% of residents at independent living communities feel very satisfied with their situation and a lot of that satisfaction can be linked back to socialization.
No More Maintenance Worries
Many seniors experience a noticeable sense of relief and relaxation when they move into an independent living situation. They no longer need to worry about the endless maintenance of their home and most of these facilities provide housecleaning and lawn care services.
Just because you can still complete these constant tasks, doesn’t mean you really need to do them anymore. Think about all the extra time you will have to focus on the things that matter most to you!
Peace of Mind
Not only will an independent living facility help you relax, but it will also give your family peace of mind. They won’t need to worry about your safety or health—and neither will you. You’ve spent your whole life stressing over things and your family has stresses of their own, so why not live somewhere that makes everyone less worried?
You and your loved ones will feel more comfortable knowing that your health needs are in great hands in an independent living situation. This provides a priceless sense of security for everyone involved and you won’t have to give up any of the things you like to do!
Costs of Independent Living
Your monthly rate can differ greatly between different communities due to the wide array of different factors involved. While some communities are designed like luxurious resorts with expansive facilities, golf courses and more, others keep things small and simple. Services, amenities and location can also greatly affect the monthly rate.
Data on independent living housing rates is hard to come by. Most communities do not publish their rates.
The 2014 Consumer Expenditure Survey, separated seniors into three age groups to determine average spending rates on housing. The study found that:
- Housing represents the biggest single expense for seniors age 55 and older
- Seniors between 55 and 64
- Average Spending Yearly = $18,006
- Percent of Total Expenditures = 32%
- Seniors between 65 and 74
- Average Spending Yearly = $15,838
- Percent of Total Expenditures = 32.4%
- Seniors 75 and older
- Average Spending Yearly = $13,375
- Percent of Total Expenditures = 36.5%
While these numbers may be helpful, it is important to remember that they represent all types of housing including those who live in personal homes that have been paid off. Your independent living expense could be very different than the averages above—so make sure you review your budget before signing anything!
Some independent living communities require you to actually purchase your home and some do rental properties only. Either way, you should make sure that you know exactly what is included in your rate.
Finding The Right Place For You
Let’s face it, moving at any age is a BIG deal. You have to make sure that the independent living community that you choose is the right one for you. To do this, you will need to consider your needs both presently and in the future. Ask yourself questions like these:
Will I still be able to live independently five years from now?
Will this facility be able to meet my needs for the next 5–10 years?
Does this facility allow pets?
Is it located where I really want to live?
Is it close to my loved ones?
It is also important to consider certain essential aspects of your independent living situation. The accessibility both inside the community and to other places in the area can be a very important factor. You should spend some time with current residents to make sure you fit in. Also, make sure the staff is helpful and friendly!
Independent living offers an excellent option for many seniors and these communities are quickly gaining popularity around the country. If you find one that meets all of your needs (both currently and in the future), you shouldn’t be afraid to make the jump. You’ll still be free to enjoy the things you love, but now you’ll have fewer things to worry about and more opportunities to socialize!
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Average amount of total expenditures housing represents for seniors age 75 and older
Your monthly rate can differ greatly between different communities due to the wide array of different factors involved.
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