It becomes important to find living arrangements that support your physical, emotional, and social well-being as you age. There are different choices of living arrangements for seniors, including assisted living, retirement homes, memory care, and independent living. Seniors who still have the physical and mental capability to live independently can consider independent living. This can be in an improved home, an adult community, or independent living (IL) communities. Living in IL communities promotes seniors’ active lifestyles with onsite living amenities, socialization with people of the same age, and recreation. Let’s look at independent living as an option for senior living.
What Is Independent Living?
Typically, independent living is the type of living arrangement for active seniors (aged 55 to 75 years old) who can still live independently but benefit from access to assistance when needed. It gives seniors the freedom to maintain their social and recreational lifestyle but with the added convenience of essential services such as prepared meals, housekeeping, transportation, etc.
The key difference between independent living and other seniors’ housing options is the level of services and assistance offered for seniors’ daily living activities. Independent living requires minimum daily assistance and services. However, if a senior requires round-the-clock assistance with activities such as moving, eating, using the bathroom, or medical assistance, other options like assisted living facilities may be a better fit. Retirement homes and communities such as Riverview Retirement Community usually offer both living arrangements.
Is Independent Living Right for You?
Unlike other changes, independent living focuses on making a senior’s life easier and safer without affecting their independence. As a senior citizen, it’s important to acknowledge your limitations, for example, that you’re physically unable to manage your home’s upkeep. With independent living, you’ll still enjoy your social interaction but get assistance in some daily home maintenance and any service you may need, such as convenient access to dining, entertainment, laundry, medical care, and more. To determine if you or a senior loved one is a candidate for independent living, here are some factors to consider:
- Health: Are they in good health? Can the individual manage doctors or medical appointments on their own?
- Memory: Is the individual of sound mind and remember essential things like their house number, dining areas, or recreational areas?
- Living assist: Does the person require assistance with different activities of daily living (ADLs)? Will they need extra services provided?
- Socialization: Will the person enjoy socialization and living in a community with peers?
If a senior needs assistance and care for activities of daily living, then they may benefit from an assisted living facility instead.
Independent Living Choices
If independent living or independent living community is a good fit, you need to understand the three major types of independent living:
- Retirement communities: With varying housing models, independent living in retirement communities or homes can be apartment-style living, single-family detached homes, shared areas with sleeping units, or a combination with supported living.
- Senior apartments: Also called congregate care housing, these apartment complexes are restricted by age, usually, 55+ and the rent includes community services such as meals, communicable dining, or recreational programs.
- Low-income housing: These are subsidized housing units by the US Government Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for low-income earners.
Independent living is the best fit for active seniors who can benefit from minimal assistance. Independent living communities offer different housing configurations for seniors to live among other active, engaged, and social peers in residences of their choosing. With a focus on safety, autonomy, communal living, and engagement, independent living should be the first consideration for active seniors.
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