What Is Independent Living for Seniors?

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The decision about whether to move to senior living can bring up dozens of questions and comparisons. Independent living vs. assisted living, retirement homes vs. nursing homes, nursing homes vs. residential care facilities. With all the options for senior care that are available, what is the right choice? The answer is, it depends on the level of care required.

Today, we’re diving into independent living to share what you can expect, who could benefit from it, and more.

Independent Living FAQ

What is independent living?

Independent living offers a community atmosphere where older adults can live independently, actively and socially. These communities remove the need to worry about housekeeping, maintenance, cooking meals, and even getting yourself to the gym. With your choice of residence, many on-site amenities, full calendars of events and activities, and even more, seniors can live their best retirement exactly as they choose.

Who is independent living suitable for? 

Independent living communities are for seniors who are independent and care entirely for themselves. They may need some slight assistance, but often none is needed. They may want to downsize their home but upsize their lifestyle with a wide range of opportunities just outside their door.

How is independent living different from other forms of care?

Independent living differs from other care types mainly in the care that’s provided. 

  • Assisted living communities provide support with activities of daily living while focusing on an enriching lifestyle with many of the services and amenities independent living offers.
  • Memory care offers specialized support for those with memory impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, or other forms of dementia. This is provided in a specially designed environment with programs and activities tailored to their individual needs.
  • Skilled nursing provides 24-hour care for long-term care needs or chronic conditions.
  • Short-term rehabilitation is for older adults who are recovering from illness, surgery or injury and provides services to help them return to their normal life.

Why do people choose independent living?

Many older adults choose independent living because of the range of services and amenities provided.

Benefits of Independent Living

While the wants and needs of older adults can vary, most find that the benefits include:

  • Maintenance-free apartments
  • Delicious chef-prepared meals and varied menus
  • Security, transportation, and support if or when it’s needed
  • Opportunities to enhance physical health
  • Lessened risk of isolation and depression
  • Freedom from having to pay multiple bills
  • Friends nearby
  • New experiences every day
  • No need to worry about driving in bad weather because of on-site services and amenities

Amenities and Services in Independent Living

Senior living communities offer access to a range of amenities and services. Some of the most common you’ll find include:

  • Theaters
  • A variety of dining venues
  • Arts and crafts studios
  • Game and billiards rooms
  • Putting greens
  • Libraries and computer centers
  • Outdoor spaces, walking paths and courtyards
  • Beauty salons and barbershops
  • Common spaces
  • Weekly entertainment
  • Scheduled outings
  • Fitness center, classes and wellness programs
  • Swimming pools
  • Life-enrichment programming
  • Rehabilitation programs
  • Concierge services
  • Gift shops
  • Dog parks (for pet-friendly communities)
  • Gardens

When is it best to move to independent living?

Though this answer may differ for everyone, we believe the best time is sooner rather than later. Not only because you’re still independent and active, but also because you’ll be able to make the most of your independent living experience.

Instead of worrying about home maintenance, housekeeping, cooking or yardwork, you’ll have the freedom to enjoy a range of services, amenities and programs; you’ll be able to make new friends and socialize; and you can choose how you’d like to spend each day.

Where can I find an independent living retirement community?

There are many different places where you can find independent living. It just depends on where you’d like to live, what your financial goals are, and whether or not you prefer access to care in the future.

Some people decide a Life Plan Community is right for them because they want access to multiple levels of care in case their health needs change in the future. Some people, however, will not choose this option because it requires a large entrance fee and a monthly fee, making it a substantial financial commitment.

What do people choose who don’t want to live in a Life Plan Community? They lean toward options like stand-alone independent living or independent living communities that offer other services like assisted living and memory care. 

Many of Cascade Living’s communities provide an array of care levels and services to meet seniors’ changing needs.

We are here for you.

Selecting an independent living community doesn’t have to be a challenge. Our Cascade Living experts are always here to help you. Reach out to schedule a tour or learn more about the vibrant and engaging lifestyle our residents lead.