As seniors age, they are faced with the likelihood of having to change their living arrangements. Because thinking about moving can be stressful, planning allows seniors to have more control over their circumstances. Thinking ahead allows them more independence. Often, they are having trouble maintaining their residence or keeping up with their yard work. At this point, seniors may decide senior independent living is right for them.
What is Independent Living? It is any type of living arrangement geared towards seniors age 55 or older. The housing styles can vary from apartment-style living to single-family dwellings. They are in a community and may be called:
- Retirement communities
- Senior housing
- Senior apartments
- Retirement homes
- Congregate living
Regardless of name or type, most communities accommodate seniors by providing their own private living quarters and have shared space for:
- Community halls
- Laundry rooms
- Recreation rooms
- Transportation pick-up and drop-off points
- Some may offer swimming pools and golf courses
Seniors who reside in independent living housing are responsible for their own personal care. However, housekeeping and laundry may be offered in some styles of senior housing. Upkeep of the grounds and general maintenance is always provided.
Social events and other outings are sometimes provided and arranged. Some centres offer a variety of classes, designed to keep the mind and body active. Senior housing can be age inclusive, meaning they are open to all retirees, or they can be age exclusive, meaning only seniors who are over the age of 55 can live there.
The difference between this type of housing and other senior options such as assisted living, continuing care and nursing home care is senior retirement communities and apartments do not provide dressing help, medication reminders and toilet help.
Those requiring in-home care may use family caregivers, home caregivers or home health aides. Rules and regulations are set by the management company that owns the community and should be reviewed very carefully for consideration.
As opposed to senior apartments, an independent living centre is similar to a resort. Each senior has his or her own condo or single-family dwelling. The homes are located within gated communities and often include extra amenities such as:
When looking for a high-end living centre of this sort, take the following into account:
- Does the community provide a gated entrance?
- Is public transportation in the immediate area?
- Are the living units on ground level?
- How close are family and friends?
- Are doctors and pharmacies near-by?
- Is there plenty of parking?
- Are the kitchen and bathrooms senior friendly and equipped with lowered counters and grab rails?
- How are emergencies dealt with?
Assisted independent living usually involves a senior living in a senior living centre or in senior housing with a home health aide coming in for a set number of hours each day. Often, a senior who has this may hire a in home caregiver to come in and help with bathing and dressing.
Seniors may also choose to live in a retirement community that provides all levels of care. They may live independently with no help and then move to assisted living to skilled nursing care as needed. This living style enables seniors to stay within the same community for the duration of their life.