What is Independent Senior Living?

There’s a common misconception that senior living communities are only for long-term care. It’s one reason many older adults don’t consider moving to a community until they need care. But that attitude can mean missing out on all the benefits independent living has to offer.

What is Independent Living?

The term independent living covers a variety of housing options for seniors. There are age-restricted communities that offer housing only to those age 55+. Many of these are rental communities that don’t offer care services. There are also Independent Living Communities that have living options with more services and amenities.

Typically, these residential communities offer an active lifestyle and freedom from the hassles of home maintenance and help with daily chores like housekeeping, laundry and cooking. You’ll find residence options in a variety of floor plans and sizes.

Independent living services and amenities are designed to make things easier and more convenient. Housekeeping, linen service, dining plans, transportation services and security are common. Amenities often include a fitness center, pools, restaurant style dining options, beauty and barber salons, and entertainment spaces, game rooms, pool tables, or movie theaters.

You’ll also find an abundance of programming and activities to choose from, often with a focus on the dimensions of wellness.

  • Fitness classes are adapted for seniors and range from chair yoga, and balance training to water aerobics, dancing, weight training and more.
  • There are opportunities for creative expression in art, music and writing.
  • You can keep sharp through lectures, seminars and classes offered by lifelong learning institutes or local colleges.

Why Choose Independent Living Sooner?

Why sell your house and move to a community when you’re healthy and active? If you get the chance to talk with residents of senior living communities, many of them will tell you they wish they’d made the move sooner. Here are some common reasons why:

  • Simplicity and freedom – They don’t have to deal with the expense and hassle of taking care of the house or yard anymore. If they don’t want to cook, they don’t have to – or do dishes. They have more time to do the things they love and to pursue new interests. And if they’d moved in sooner, they could have been enjoying it for even longer.
  • Staying active – A comment you’ll hear a lot is, “There’s so much to do here you can’t fit it all on your calendar.” It’s not uncommon for residents to realize just how little they were actually doing when they still lived in their house. With so many opportunities right at their fingertips, they can be as busy as they want.
  • Social connections – The effects of social isolation can be devastating to your physical and mental well-being. As an independent living resident, social opportunities are built in to daily life, from informal get-togethers with friends to resident clubs, outings and parties.
  • Access to care – As healthy as you may be now, you just don’t know if or when your health (or the health of your loved one) will change. If you move into an Independent Living Community and your health needs change, it is easy to have a little extra help brought in through a Home Health Agency right there at the community. Making the choice to move early has been a blessing to many residents who had an unexpected health problem. They didn’t have to worry about where to find the care they needed, and didn’t have to move out to get it.

What Does Independent Living Cost?

You’ll find a range of prices that depend on factors such as your city, size of your residence, number of occupants, and whether or not there is an entrance fee. Rental communities tend to have lower monthly rates, which can be appealing in the short-term. But not everything is included in that cost.

Independent Living Communities often bundle all your living expenses plus the services and amenities they offer into one low monthly price. Some may even offer a way to lock in that price when you move in so you don’t have to worry about rent increases in the future.

According to the National Investment Center, the average independent living monthly rate is around $3,200 – although monthly fees can range from $1,500 to $5,000 or more. As you compare your options, make sure you are looking at the whole value, not just a single price point.

See For Yourself

To truly understand what today’s independent living could offer you, you should visit one near you. They’ll be happy to arrange a tour and introduce you to some residents. When you do visit, use this list of helpful questions to ask with you so you know what to look for.

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