Today’s independent living communities cater to seniors of all ages – sometimes even admitting individuals as young as fifty years old. Referred to as retirement residences, seniors’ residences or retirement communities, these housing facilities come in a variety of shapes and sizes – but all of them encourage residents to live as independently as they choose… all while enjoying a plethora of benefits which adult community life has to offer.
No more yard work!
An independent living community is the perfect solution for individuals who are no longer interested in house-related responsibilities. Why not have someone else do the yard work in summer and clear the snow in winter? Independent community living grants residents unrestricted freedom — so they can socialize, travel, and play without ever worrying about the security of their homes while away.
A sense of belonging
Feelings of isolation or disconnection from loved ones can result from decreased mobility, but in a reitrement community there are ample opportunities to mingle and strike up new friendships. Fitness centers, recreational activities and social outings are a large part of life in most independent living communities. Residents are free to participate as much or as little as they please.
Top questions about independent living
What services and amenities are available in independent living communities?
Light housekeeping, meal plans, laundry and transportation are usually available to community members – either as part of an all-inclusive monthly fee, or an additional services package which can be ordered at your leisure. When you meet with an advisor at the community you are considering, be sure you’re clear about all services and amenities you desire. They’ll be happy to clarify any additional or associated fees that you may incur.
Tell me about the food…
Healthy food choices are standard in most independent living communities. Food service professionals tend to focus on the nutritional needs of seniors with attention to reduced fat, low calorie, high fiber and low sodium foods. Be sure to mention food allergies or specific dietary needs – and the staff will be sure to accommodate you while you’re touring their facilities.
Communities may host restaurant style dining, with a variety of meal selections… and some even have private dining rooms available, which residents can reserve if they wish to host a family get-together.
Are there fitness facilities and can I get online?
Social, cultural and recreational activities areas are often available in most independent living communities. To encourage both a healthy body and mind, it’s not unusual to find reading rooms, libraries and Wi-Fi access – so residents will never be out-of-touch with friends and family. Fitness centers and wellness programs are also standard offerings.
Can I still receive care in an independent living community?
Independent living communities are well known for their fantastic 24-hour medical alert systems and emergency response programs. No one can predict if and when a medical emergency might strike – so these features are a primary consideration for both you and the support staff present at the facility.
Make yourself aware of the policies in place regarding home care and private duty nursing in the communities that you are considering. Some residences have pre-existing contracts with certain companies, and they may recommend or require that you subscribe to these particular service providers.
Can I arrange a visit?
When you have zeroed in on the communities that interest you, it’s time to call and arrange for a visit. You can stop by for dinner, or even spend a night if you’d like. Most communities invite prospective residents to take a ‘test drive’ and get a first hand feel of the environment. Relocating to a seniors’ community is one of life’s important milestones, so make your comfort a top priority and be sure to ask lots of questions when visiting potential communities.
By Alice Lucette
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