Independent Living Facilities

Senior independent living communities help senior citizens continue living independently for a longer period of time than they may be able to achieve on their own.

Independent senior living communities provide less care than an assisted living facility but can offer a little more support with daily activities than a senior apartment complex or retirement community. Senior independent living allows seniors to enjoy the privacy of their own apartment while living among similarly-aged neighbors.

This senior independent living housing solution eliminates the stress of home maintenance, yard work and other tasks and frees up more time for social activities and rest. Review the following sections to learn whether a senior independent living community could be the best choice for you or your loved one.

Who is a good candidate for an independent living community?

Independent senior living may not be the best option for all seniors, but it is a great option for many older and retired adults. Senior citizens who need a small amount of support to live on their own can benefit from moving to an independent senior living facility, alone or with a spouse or friend. Ideal candidates for senior independent living communities will have few health concerns and be able to manage any health problems they do have through medication and home monitoring.

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Because of the lack of comprehensive care, senior housing independent living residents should be able to feed, dress and bathe themselves with little or no help. Senior independent living communities are a great housing option for seniors who are outgoing and enjoy engaging in social activities with others every day. Many seniors who live far away from friends and relatives can solve the problem of loneliness by moving into a senior independent living facility or community.

Benefits of Independent Living Facilities

Senior independent living communities offer a wide variety of benefits to older adults looking for a housing solution that honors their desire for independence and privacy but also meets the need for regular social engagement. Most independent senior living locations offer distinctive amenities and more luxurious living accommodations than other senior housing solutions. Although the benefits of senior independent living communities vary by location, most provide residents with the following benefits:

  • Little or no home maintenance or yard work
  • An expansion of one’s social network
  • Daily opportunities to socialize with other older adults
  • The pleasure of enjoying meals in the company of others or privately when desired
  • Restaurant-style dining without leaving home
  • Help with laundry and housekeeping
  • Transportation to doctor’s appointments and social engagements
  • Freedom to decorate your apartment as desired
  • Exercise classes, fitness classes and wellness programs
  • Regular fitness-related outings, such as golfing
  • On-site swimming pools, beauty salons and libraries

Disadvantages to Independent Senior Living Communities

Although there are many benefits to senior independent living communities, there are a few drawbacks. Most on-site recreational activities at the senior independent living center are included in the resident’s rent, but seniors must pay extra for off-site outings. Some senior independent living locations also charge separately for amenities such as housekeeping and laundry, often on an “a-la-carte” basis. These charges can quickly add up.

You will be required to move out of the senior independent living facility if your medical needs begin to outpace the staff’s ability to provide access to adequate assistance. In most cases, medical assistance is not included in the fees paid to the independent living facility, so there can be additional costs each month to have a home health aide or nurse visit your apartment on a regular basis.

Additionally, overall independent senior living costs can be prohibitive if you do not have ample savings accounts or a steady source of income to cover the monthly fee. Generally speaking, if you are looking for affordable independent living for seniors, that usually requires remaining in your own home instead of moving to an independent living community.

How to Find an Independent Living Community

Finding senior independent living arrangements may be difficult in small communities, while having more than a few choices in larger cities may feel overwhelming. To find a safe and comfortable senior independent living community, you must visit each location and do research to compare amenities. Try to visit each facility at different times of day to get a feel for how daily life unfolds at each location.

Be sure to check the Better Business Bureau for complaints filed against senior independent living facilities that seem like good choices. You may uncover complaints that make you think twice. You can also check for online consumer reviews of senior independent living communities in your area. Consider these questions when visiting a living center:

  • Do the interactions between residents and staff seem positive and friendly?
  • Is the food and dining area appealing? Can the food service staff meet your dietary needs?
  • How clean is the senior independent living facility?
  • What types of social activities are scheduled? Are they things you enjoy doing?
  • Are outdoor recreational or lounging areas well-kept and inviting?
  • Do the individual apartments have the amenities you desire?
  • What is the senior independent living facility policy if sudden medical needs arise?
  • Is the independent senior living community close enough for your friends and family to visit?

How to Secure a Place in an Independent Living Facility

Many popular senior independent living communities have waiting lists for applicants, while others simply require completion of an admission packet. When you have visited a senior independent living facility a few times, ask about the admissions process. Most require a fairly lengthy application process that includes financial information proving that you can afford to pay the often-high monthly fee for living there.

Before signing a contract with an independent senior living facility, have an attorney or a trusted friend or relative review the documents. Take note of residents’ rights, including contract termination rights and the eviction process. If you travel often, be sure to note any clauses stating the senior independent living company’s policies for those who temporarily leave the facility.

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