The majority of seniors who live in independent living communities are active and mobile. Generally, less than 10% of all residents living in independent communities use walkers or wheelchairs. It is important to know that independent residences do not provide healthcare services.

There are several types of independent living communities ranging from age restricted apartment complexes and cottages, to planned retirement communities catering to active older adults. For many independent communities amenities include a club house, library, community center or fitness room. Independent communities differ from senior apartments or 55+ communities in that most provide meal service, housekeeping or transportation.

Typical Amenities Found in Independent Communities

– Community events
– Daily activities
– Concierge service
– Local transportation
– Linen and laundry services
– Library
– 24-hour security
– Computer access- Swimming pool
– Fitness facilities
– Golf or tennis courts
– Beauty salon/barber services
– Garden/walking paths

Selecting an Independent Living Community

In selecting an independent community, seniors should use the same decision making process they used in selecting a new home. Location of the community is one of the first key factors, one must consider if the community is close to a shopping center, golf course or park, and entertainment venues. Generally, transportation that is provided is offered only within a specific mile radius.

The price of the independent community is an important factor, seniors should consider if they will use all of the services provided to justify the monthly cost.

Will you need the monthly cost of a meal plan if you are planning to cook some of your own meals? The monthly cost of living in your community may be a shock after the many years of not having to pay a mortgage, however you will no longer be paying for utility, property taxes or home upkeep repairs.

Touring Independent Communities

Narrowing your choices of communities and conducting tours at varied times of the day is highly recommended, this will give you the opportunity to observe the staff members interacting with their residents. Talk to the residents to gauge their thoughts and impressions. Look to see if there appears to be a true sense of positive community feeling among the residents.

It is not only important to tour communities, but it’s equally important to check the local code enforcement agencies to look for any past recorded health or fire violations of the particular community.

Life in Your New Community

Your pre-planning strategies before moving into your new community will soften your move-in adjustment period. Just as it took you time to adjust to a new community when you moved into a new home, this transition won’t be easy at first. Once moved in, you will discover new community support groups, staff and friends who will help you ease into your new life of independent community living.

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