As seniors, we have had a lifetime to accumulate experiences, knowledge, and resources. Now, in our golden years, it is a perfect time to give back to our communities and those in need. Not only is giving back a fulfilling way to spend our time and resources, but it also has numerous physical, mental, and […]
Senior Independent Living: What is it About?
If you or your loved one is considering moving into an independent living facility for seniors, you may be wondering what exactly it is, how it works, and what life will be like. Here we’ll give you a rundown of the most common questions about senior independent living and provide tips on what to consider before making a decision.
Take your time to consider all of the available options in your area. Finding a senior independent living facility is like picking a vacation home. You want to know all the details, so it is the perfect match.
What is Senior Independent Living?
Senior independent living is a type of housing for seniors who want to live alone in a community. Independent living facilities are usually non-medical and don’t require you to be in a wheelchair or bedridden. These kinds of homes also tend to offer plenty of activities, so you can keep yourself busy while staying active.
These are age-restricted communities that tend to have complementary facilities for assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing in case you need those services later on. You will get a vibrant residential community that provides you with the freedom to cook, play, live, and enjoy activities without needing any kind of oversight.
What is the Difference Between Independent Living and Assisted Living?
While senior independent living facilities are designed to give seniors some independence and control over their lives, assisted living communities offer additional support if needed. Assisted living facilities provide care such as medication reminders, assistance with daily tasks like dressing yourself or cooking meals from scratch, memory care services (if required), socialization opportunities in the form of trips out into the community or special events put on by staff members at your facility.
These services may be provided by staff members or through contracts with outside companies for these services. In addition to providing daily support services (such as bathing or dressing), assisted living facilities also provide hands-on care such as medication management or administering injections when needed by residents in order not just to maintain their health but also to preserve their dignity throughout the process of aging in place.
What are the Services and Amenities to Expect from an Independent Living Facility?
Independent living facilities provide various services and amenities to help you feel comfortable at home. The goal is to ensure your freedom of movement and choice while still providing you with the care, amenities, and resources to have a high-quality life. These services tend to include:
Recreational, Social, and Educational Activities
Activities are vital parts of independent living because they allow residents to interact with each other and work on the skills they need to thrive in their new community. They can be social or educational, but most often, they are both. Some activities take place at scheduled times, and others happen spontaneously as the mood strikes residents or caregivers.
In addition to helping you stay connected with others in your community, these essential events also provide opportunities for group discussions about current events such as politics or current trends in technology, health care, and entertainment.
Activities can be planned by either the facility staff or individual residents; however, most facilities offer some type of activity program that allows you complete creative control over what kind of activities you want to participate in during your free time.
Meals and Home Maintenance
Meals are a significant part of life. When you are in independent living, you must ensure that the food is nutritious and healthy for your body. You should also have a variety of food at all times. For example, if you like to eat breakfast at 11 am every day, then you should be able to do so without any problems.
Independent living means you can cook your own meals or attend a local dining option inside the facility, where meals are prepared for you according to a menu and special dietary needs. This is a popular reason for choosing one facility over another. An attractive ambiance that fosters the interaction of community is desired by many independent living seniors.
There are many housing options available to seniors. You can choose from apartments, condos, and townhomes, as well as single-family homes.
In most cases, you will find a resort or campus-style setting where there are different amenities and inside rows of apartments or surrounding infrastructures. Be sure to pay close attention to the floor plan of your living option so you know you can get around effectively at all hours of the day and night.
How Much Will a Senior Independent Living Facility Cost?
The price of a senior independent living facility can vary widely, depending on the level of care provided and other factors. Many facilities charge anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 a month. However, some do offer lower rates for individuals who qualify for government assistance.
If you're considering moving into a senior independent living community and are looking to keep costs as low as possible while still receiving the care you need, consider applying for Medicaid benefits before making any final decisions about where you'll live. While Medicaid isn't guaranteed to cover the total cost of your new home, it will certainly help pay some portions of your bill each month—especially if you have no other source of income coming in.
When to Move Into a Senior Independent Living Facility
There are many reasons to move into a senior independent living facility. Some people choose to move in when they have no choice but to leave their homes. For example, if you have lost your spouse or partner, you may not be ready to move in with family members who can help care for you and give you emotional support.
Another reason is when an older adult has medical issues that make it difficult to stay at home safely on their own, such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease. In this situation, it is crucial for the person to consider living alone with less supervision than would be available at home. You want a living situation that respects your freedom, privacy, and watches for any signs of future health-related developments.
Benefits of Moving Into a Senior Independent Living Facility
There are many benefits to moving into a senior independent living facility. For example, you will have the opportunity to reduce feelings of loneliness, as there will be other like-minded individuals around who can relate and understand what you are going through in life. You may also be able to relax, knowing that home maintenance work has been taken care of so that you’re not stressed out about it anymore. Other benefits include:
Cost-efficiency is a significant consideration for anyone considering independent living. Many seniors are retired, and those who remain in the workforce often have limited income. Independent living communities offer affordable housing options that provide many benefits to their residents.
The cost of care, home maintenance, and transportation are all reduced when you live in an independent living community. You also receive lower utility bills because you're not paying for utilities at your own home.
In addition to providing meals for residents who require them, independent living communities can provide access to grocery stores and other resources that allow individuals to purchase groceries on their own terms instead of going out every day or relying solely on dining services from the facility itself. This gives seniors more purchasing power while still providing them with many conveniences they'd otherwise need without such access.
Reduce Feelings of Loneliness
Loneliness is a major problem among the elderly population, and it's something that can be addressed in senior independent living communities. A lack of social interaction can lead to depression, which is why social interaction is essential for mental health. If you're looking for ways to reduce your feelings of loneliness, spending time in a senior living community might be the best option for you.
No More Home Maintenance Work
With an independent senior living community, you no longer have to worry about maintenance work. You can spend your free time doing what you want, when and how you like. And for those of us who are good at home improvement projects, it’s a welcome change from all the yard work, cleaning, and repairs that go into maintaining our own homes.
Improved Nutrition Management
As our bodies age, different nutritional needs become more critical. Many seniors may not be used to adjusting meals to compensate for needs like low sodium, high cholesterol, and other concerns. An independent living scenario often involves:
- Resources for eating healthier.
- Food preparation.
- Working with fellow seniors who understand how to read nutrition labels and make delicious meals.
Safety and Security
While you are visiting the community, take a look at the safety features of the community. Are there handrails and grab bars in the bathroom? Is there an emergency call system in place to alert staff if you need help? Do they have a fire exit plan?
Next, ask about the staff. If a stranger should come into your home, who would respond and protect you from them if needed? You will want to know if there is an on-site nurse or medical professional that can assist with medications or other health issues, as well as whether or not they offer 24-hour care.
Advanced Care Options
When it comes to senior independent living, there are a variety of options that are available for your loved one. These options include but are not limited to:
- Personal care services
- Hospice care services
- Assisted living services
- Memory Care
You want a facility that has a seamless transition from independent living to more assisted situations, depending on your health and quality of life expectations.
How to Choose a Senior Independent Living Facility
Before you start looking for a senior independent living facility, it's important to know what you're looking for. This might be easier said than done as there are so many different types of communities out there, and some may have their own unique qualities that can't be found anywhere else. If you do your research, however, it will become much easier to narrow down your choices.
Do Your Research
When you are looking for independent living facilities, there are several different factors that should be taken into consideration. One of the most important things to do is research the reputation and services offered by these facilities. The following questions will give you an idea of what research should be done regarding senior living facilities:
- How well known is this facility? If it's not listed in any directories or databases, then it may not have a good reputation.
- What services does this facility offer?
- Do they provide meals?
- Medical care?
- Transportation to doctor appointments and shopping trips?
- What activities do they offer residents on a daily basis (i.e., exercise classes or clubs)?
Check Their Transportation
You should also check the transportation options. You might think that independent living facilities are all close to public transit, but that's not always the case. If you're going to be driving around, make sure there is a car and that it is safe to drive.
You can't just ask them about the transportation options in general—you have to make an appointment with those who are available for that day. Call ahead and ask if anyone has been using this service so far. Do some research online about it too.
Check the State of the Community
Once you've determined that you are ready to move, it's time to visit the community. You'll want to make sure that the community is clean and well-maintained. It should also be safe, with good lighting and a reputation for being friendly and welcoming. The community should be in an accessible location with easy access to public transportation such as buses or trains. If possible, try visiting during different times of the day so you can see how busy it gets during rush hour versus after work hours, on weekends versus weekdays, etc.
Housekeeping and Maintenance
When considering independent living, it is important to understand the difference between housekeeping and maintenance. Housekeeping is the cleaning of the facility on a daily basis, while maintenance refers specifically to the upkeep of equipment in your own unit. Maintenance may also entail any repairs or replacement parts needed for these items.
Be sure to ask about housekeeping, laundry, and maintenance services ahead of a visit.
Ask About the Staff
You can also ask about the staff's credentials, experience, and philosophy. Are they trained in gerontology? Do they have a holistic approach to health care? Are they encouraged to be creative and think outside of the box when it comes to activities?
In addition, ask if the community is locally owned or managed by a national chain. If it's managed by a national chain, that means it may be more likely that you will get consistent care because there are standards across all facilities.
Don’t Forget the Important Forms
Next, ask what forms you will need to fill out. You may be asked to give some basic information, like your name and address. If it is not a government-funded program, then they may also ask for income information or other financial details that can help them determine if they can afford the services at this time.
The facility may also have different types of agreements that they would like you to sign in order for them to provide their care services. Don’t be afraid to ask about menus, activity lists, and a copy of the Resident Bill of Rights.
Senior independent living is a fast-growing sector of the housing market. It's also one of the best ways to reduce your cost of living while maintaining your independence and ability to continue enjoying some semblance of an active lifestyle.
However, not all senior independent living facilities are created equal. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a facility for yourself or a loved one, including
With the increasing awareness and availability of senior independent living, seniors who wish to live on their own can now find suitable options. This is a significant development, considering that staying in one's home for as long as possible is very important for seniors.