Often times the term “senior-living,” or “retirement community,” carries a negative connotation or conjures mental images of hospital-esque facilities of yesteryear, but today’s communities are anything but!
Today’s Life Plan Communities (formerly known as Continuing Care Retirement Communities) are a place where baby boomers and older adults can age in place in a way that allows them to stay active and independent, but allows for the possibility of needing help down the road. Life Plan Communities typically include multiple areas of living: independent living, assisted living, memory care and/or skilled nursing. A Life Plan Community allows residents to age-in-place in a familiar setting without a significant move when they are ready for another stage of care.
In this article we will delve into one option within senior-living care, independent living, to squash any myths, and offer up a few questions to ask when considering independent living for yourself or a loved one.
What is Independent Living?
Independent living is a level of senior-care designed for adults who need little or no assistance with activities of daily living. Housing can range from rental apartment-style living to freestanding homes. In general, they offer more compact space, easier navigation and little maintenance or yard work to worry about.
Independent living within a senior living community welcomes those who may be empty nesters simply looking for low-maintenance living with a plethora of social and community activities from which to choose. Most communities offer amenities, activities and services, including recreational centers or clubhouses on site.
A focus on an enriched lifestyle and holistic wellness are key attributes of most independent living programs. For example, many communities with independent living offer fitness classes, nutrition assistance, community activities, scheduled group outings, personal transportation, and more. Communities that offer independent living should reflect the best in local interest, style, architecture, history and tradition, but not all do! Our community tailors services and amenities to local tastes and culture, and our emphasis on lifestyle, wellness and health services helps our residents feel right at home, right away.
The benefit to choosing Independent living within a Life Plan Community is the option for the resident to move to a more comprehensive level of care when it becomes necessary, without a significant increase in fees. Independent living at a Life Plan Community means aging at a personal pace and easily transferring to a more robust form of senior-care when it’s necessary.
Is it time to plan a move?
If you are wondering whether independent living is right for you or a loved one, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- How easy is it to maintain my current home?
- Is it difficult connecting to my friends and family?
- How easy is it for me to get around?
- How is my health (and that of my spouse)?
If you have a large yard or home that requires a significant amount of maintenance, rooms you don’t use, difficult access up a steep hill or stairs, it could present dangers as well as cause isolation. Independent living may give you more freedom from house chores and independence to safely come and go.
If you have mobility issues or trouble driving, you may not want to leave the house, resulting in missed time with family and friends. Independent living provides a built-in social network of peers as well as structured on- and off-site activities and trips.
Most independent living communities offer transportation options to doctor’s appointments and outside activities. This helps relieve the burden of constantly having to ask family and friends to drive you everywhere.
In regard to your health and that of your spouse, be sure to consider both current and future health conditions for both of you. Can you – or your loved one – manage daily activities like bathing, eating, handling finances, taking medications, etc.? If you currently only need minor assistance with these things, independent living may be the right choice for you.
And remember, as we mentioned above, Independent living within a Life Plan Community enables a senior to age in place and transition to a new care offering down the road should assisted living ,memory care or skilled nursing become necessary. A resident in a Life Plan Community stays in the same community, but in a residence that provides nurses, nutritionists and other caring staff to help assist you with specific needs.
Our community offers experienced staff who are dedicated to helping seniors live a vibrant, engaged life, every step of the way. Connect with us via our contact us page or call today to learn more.