Now that you are either retired or looking into planning more for your future, you might be wondering about the options available that support your lifestyle and provide services you will appreciate for years. For many older adults, senior living communities can offer convenience, new neighbors and activities, and better access to wellness resources.
Of course, not all senior living communities are the same. They are each as unique as the people who live there, and certain communities are designed to support residents with specific needs. A common option for active adults is an independent living community.
Let’s talk more about independent living communities, where residents enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle paired with plenty of opportunities to get as involved with community life as they would like to.
Here are a few of the questions we are asked most often about independent living at Cedarhurst communities, along with our answers. We hope this gives you a good understanding of what these vibrant communities can offer you now and in the future.
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1. What is independent living?
There are multiple types of senior living communities: independent living, assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing. When adults jump into the world of senior living to research the options that may be best for them, the first step is to determine which type of community could meet their wants and needs. With all the types available, it’s no wonder that one of the most common questions we get revolves around what exactly independent living is.
Independent living is quite similar to life at your current residence, but with lots of perks and amenities that make things more convenient and fun. Residents in independent living communities are typically active and self-sufficient. They may have a walker or cane, for example, but they can use it to get around easily and without any assistance.
Independent living communities are staffed with helpful team members who provide services ranging from housekeeping visits to maintenance calls to concierge services, but there are no caregivers on staff to assist with daily care tasks.
2. How much does independent living cost?
Now that we’ve covered what independent living is, the next question often revolves around the cost. Just like any real estate purchase, independent living costs vary from state to state and even from city to city. However, most independent living communities typically charge a monthly fee that includes more than just rent and utilities. The monthly fee includes access to the community’s amenities, a flexible dining plan, and other services.
Most people are pleasantly surprised to discover that an all-inclusive monthly fee is quite affordable and doable, especially after they take into consideration their monthly costs from living at their current residence. It is wise to take an inventory of your current monthly bills and compare them to the monthly fee of a senior living community to see how they compare. Savvy adults are also sure to schedule a visit with their financial planner to ensure independent living can fit into their financial goals.
3. What types of independent living residences are available?
Independent living communities sometimes have apartments available, whereas others have villas, townhomes, or even single-family homes.
Independent living floor plans often resemble a typical apartment or condo layout, with one-bedroom and two-bedroom options, as well as some with additional office space. Some may even have a private outdoor patio. The variety of residences available is one of the benefits of independent living, where you have plenty of choices on what your new residence looks like.
You can ask to see floor plans for communities you are researching so you can choose an option that meets your needs.
4. What are independent living apartments like?
Independent living communities work hard to ensure their residences meet the needs of the residents who live there. That means you will find high-end and modern finishes as well as full kitchens and bathrooms.
You’ll have the ability to style your residence to your own aesthetic, bringing in your own furniture, art, and decorations.
5. What amenities are available?
Independent living communities are all different, featuring different amenities and services. However, it is common for communities to include outdoor paths and trails, a fitness center, an on-site salon and spa, and multiple dining options, as well as community spaces such as libraries, living rooms, entertainment rooms, and movie theaters. You can also find saltwater pools and hot tubs in some locations, as well as tennis courts.
It’s important to find a community that has amenities that support your interests and your wellness goals.
6. Do I have to eat there?
Independent living communities often have multiple dining options for residents to choose from, typically including a restaurant-style dining room, a bistro or bar area, and a grab-and-go option.
However, independent living is all about choice, and you might not want to eat in the dining room a few times per day. Communities often offer flexible dining plans so that residents won’t feel locked into a specific plan and can make their own dining decisions daily.
Plus, residents can reserve a private dining room for catered events with family and friends, like birthday and anniversary celebrations. If a resident wants a smaller affair in their apartment, they can still tap into the culinary services offered at the community.
7. Can I bring my pet?
Many independent living communities are now pet-friendly. In fact, some communities even have a dog park on campus, where residents and their pups can meet up.
You should ask the community you are considering about their pet policy to make sure that you can bring along your pet if you move there.
8. Can I bring my car?
Sure! Many independent living residents bring their cars with them when they make the move.
Independent living communities often offer transportation services via a community vehicle or bus for those who would like to skip fighting traffic or finding parking while running their errands. However, residents are still invited to bring and use their cars as they wish.
9. What if I don’t know anyone?
The best part of independent living is living life among friendly neighbors who are always there to give a wave, say hello, or take a walk. However, it can feel intimidating to move to a community where you don’t know anyone.
The good news is that independent living community team members are intentional about their new-resident welcome program. You’ll likely be invited to attend events before you even move into the community, and once you do move, you’ll have neighbors stopping in to say hello and introduce themselves. They will likely be there to offer a tour and even save you a seat at dinner.
You can get to know your new neighbors in the hallways or in the dining room, and you can also create new friendships by attending events and programs in the community.
10. How do I choose a community?
Now that you are ready to explore independent living, the key is to find a community that meets your needs and supports your lifestyle. The best way to do this is to begin researching communities in your desired location. You can start to narrow down your choices by taking tours of communities to get a glimpse of their available homes, their event calendars, and even their dining menus. Make sure you ask the right questions so that you can make a confident decision.
You can learn more about independent living and its costs by downloading our free resource, The Insider’s Guide to Understanding Independent Living Pricing. Good luck as you start planning for your future!