As people age, they often look into relocating. When an elderly person still has the physical and mental capacity to live independently, but wants companionship with others who are their age, independent living could be a good option. Independent living communities promote seniors' active lifestyles while offering a secure environment and providing specific services and amenities related to elderly people's needs.
Before spending time finding the right independent living community for your senior parent, first determine if your parent is a good candidate for independent living. Ask these questions:
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- Are they in good health?
- Can they manage medications and doctor appointments on their own?
- Would they enjoy living in a community with their peers?
- Do they want "hassle-free" living?
- Would they prefer the extra security provided by these communities?
- Can they afford the costs for this kind of living? If not, are they willing to live in low-income senior housing?
If your elderly parent is not in good health, or cannot care for themselves without assistance, they are not a candidate for independent living. Assisted living or a nursing home, which provide access to healthcare and emergency medical services, would be a more suitable living option.
Seniors have options when looking for independent living communities. There are three major types and although they are somewhat similar, there are key differences in each option.
There are other names for these communities. Look for these:
- Retirement Community
- 55+ or 62+ Community
These housing communities usually offer the least in services and amenities and as a result, this is the most "independent option" in independent living. These communities are called retirement communities because they are just that; homes for independent and active retirees who want to live among peers.
Grounds maintenance is usually the only service provided, while things like cooking and cleaning are still done by the elder. Social activities are usually organized by the residents. Homes can be single-family houses, condominiums or modular. Although it depends on the particular community, usually seniors own their home individually. If renting is an option in the retirement community, it is usually done by renting from an individual owner, or renting as part of a co-op.