What is Independent Living?

Independent living facilities provide a home like set-up for older adults who can go about their day-to-day activities without help; in the event that they do need assistance, they can always avail of it. At the same time, residents are afforded their own private living space and as such, live independently.

These facilities may also offer amenities such as a swimming pools, fitness centers, tennis courts, golf courses, interest-based groups, and more. Some offer services such as beauty salons, scheduled meals and snacks, laundry, and weekly housekeeping. Since independent living is geared towards older people who need little or no help with their everyday routines, a basic level of medical care is provided by qualified staff members. Additionally, there is also the option of hiring in-home help should the need arise.

Assisted living or independent living?

Choosing between assisted living or independent living should be determined by your loved ones' specific requirements. There are numerous communities that offer both supported and independent living options, allowing residents to decide as their requirements change. Enquire about available options in each community you consider, and be sure to ask about services that are included in the monthly and yearly payment plans, carefully accounting for those that may come at an extra cost. When considering elderly living options, it is generally a good idea to plan with the future in mind, for any potential changes in physical assistance needs, or possibly switching to an assisted living facility at a later stage.

Benefits of independent living

Independent living facilities aim to provide a relaxed environment for its residents. Some of its benefits are:

  • Adequate personal space
  • Apartment maintenance and housekeeping
  • A friendly neighborhood/community
  • Concierge services
  • Chef-prepared meals and restaurant-style dining
  • Recreational therapy
  • Events and weekly trips
  • Games and exercises

Different types of independent living

  • Subsidized senior housing: The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) maintains a program that subsidizes old-age homes, providing independent living options for those from low income backgrounds.
  • Congregate care housing: These are generally apartment complexes that are reserved for elderly individuals over a specific age, generally ages 55 or 62. The rent and fees could include additional transportation services, recreational activities and scheduled meals.
  • Retirement homes and retirement communities: These include mobile homes, townhouses, duplexes, single-family homes or condominiums. Additional fees may afford residents additional services and facilities such as apartment maintenance, recreational activities and access to clubhouses.
  • Community Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs): Your loved one may be healthy at this point, but if health issues particularly in terms of progressive difficulties are anticipated in the future, CCRCs are the ideal option to look into. Independent living services are provided in these facilities, but residents are closely monitored. Should they require additional support with daily living, they can always avail of Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing services within the same facility. The focus here is on facilitating maximum independence while also keeping track of residents’ general health and wellbeing, stepping in to help when needed.

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