Independent living communities are for those who need limited or no assistance. They're ideal for those who want to do for themselves, keep their sense of self, and enjoy their retirement with relative freedom and autonomy. However, an independent living community isn't right for everyone.
You have to evaluate your needs. And when you evaluate your needs, you have to make sure you're honest with yourself. Most people want independence, even those that know they need assistance. Here's how you can tell if independent living is right for you.
Mobility – Can you get around on your own with little or no help? If you require help to move about short distances then independent living might not represent a good choice for you.
Activity – Are you active? Do you have that "get up and go" energy? If you are a self-starter and able to participate in some physical activity, then you're probably okay for independent living. If you are not active, or if you cannot participate in physical activities, then independent living communities won't do much for you.
Agency – When you do act, can you act on your own agency? For example, do you need constant reminders to take medications or keep important appointments? Do you need monitoring? If you do, then an independent living community might not work for you.
If you can't satisfy these requirements, then you may need an assisted care community instead. If you need constant help with mobility, activity, or agency, then you may want to consider a nursing home. These other types of facilities and communities are not worse options, they're just different. A desire to remain independent is understandable, but it shouldn't get in the way of receiving the type of care you require.
What Does an Independent Living Community Offer Seniors?
If you or your loved one finds that an independent living community sounds like a good option to look into, here's what many of them offer.
- A community of like-minded adults
- Privacy and a place to call your own
- No maintenance or yard work required
- Food preparation
- Frequent and various activities
Most importantly, these communities offer independence. Of course, not all independent living retirement communities are the same. They vary in size, look, and environment. Some even offer on and offsite options. So just knowing you want to look into an independent living community doesn't mean you won't have to do some research.
Other factors will come up as well, such as whether your medical benefits will cover some or all of your care while you're in a retirement community. You will have to consider future care considerations as well. You may have to transition from independent living to assisted living over time. Some independent living communities also offer services that take your future into account.