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Independent Living

As we age, many home responsibilities may become more of a burden. The benefits of an independent living community for seniors can enhance and elderly person's lifestyle while giving that added level of support.

Live independently

Independent housing for seniors provides unique communities of homes for people who are generally 55 years of age and older. Occasionally referred to as senior retirement communities, the style and format will vary depending on the type of facility and may include freestanding homes or condominium- and apartment-style homes.

The overall costs for independent housing are based upon several factors, including the types of services and amenities. Homes that are more luxurious and include premium upgrades will have a higher price tag than a basic home. They consist mostly of rental properties such as apartments or condos, but can sometimes be purchased. Residents often pay a monthly fee for access to dining facilities, as well as other luxuries such as housekeeping, transportation and recreation. The majority do not provide help with daily activities such as medication or bathing.

Housing communities that cater to older people offer a variety of services including, but not limited to, transportation, handicapped accessibility and shopping as well as recreational and community programs. Some senior housing complexes offer enhanced safety and security with around-the-clock monitoring of the entire complex. Other facilities may have medical personnel on staff to help seniors with health problems that require ongoing medication.

Independent living transition

May factors may necessitate a transition to the services that a senior housing community can provide. Memory problems can make us more forgetful to the point that we don't take daily medications. It may take more effort to shower and bathe and it may be difficult to get dressed. Vision may be impaired to the point that driving is difficult or even impossible, so assistance from a caretaker would be needed to get to doctor's appointments and do general errands.

Maintaining a level of independence is important throughout our lives, even more so as we get older. Many retired people look forward to having more time to focus on hobbies and interests. As our bodies age we may not be able to do many of the activities we were accustomed to during our younger years.

If you or your loved one is still are in good health and doesn't need the comprehensive services of a nursing home, your best bet is to consider independent living for seniors.

Choose the right community

You'll want to do some research of different communities and locations to find the one that feels comfortable to everyone. Check area listings on Angie's List to review the experiences and ratings from members. 

Above all, you'll want to visit potential independent housing complexes and meet with staff. Ask for a tour of the facility. If you have any concerns about the quality of a potential housing community, do a little more research to see if there have been any complaints or problems filed with the state where it is located. Do you want to have access to an on-site dining room where residents can get all their meals? Are the utilities for telephone, electricity and heat included in the monthly rates and fees?

Many facilities may have fitness centers or access to sporting activities such as golfing and swimming. Additional perks may include on-site beauty shops and community meeting rooms with games where individuals can mingle and socialize with their neighbors. Depending on the location of the housing complex, the facility may be adjacent or very close to downtown shopping, antique shops, restaurants, and cultural activities such as museums and libraries.

Living within a senior housing community should enable you to stay independent and have immediate access to a variety of programs, services and amenities to enhance your lifestyle for many years of enjoyment.