When you planned for retirement, did you hope for a life that included less lawn maintenance and more time to pursue your passions? Were you hoping your retirement years would be full of new friends and adventures? Although not everyone shares the same retirement goals, one thing is certain: Independent living communities can be the perfect backdrop to whatever you want to make of your time and lifestyle.
Independent living communities can provide you with the conveniences you’ve always wanted and the vibrant retirement lifestyle you deserve. But how can you know if independent living is right for you?
Here are a few questions to consider as you begin planning your next step.
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1. Are household chores taking too much of my time?
Independent living communities are maintenance-free, which means you can stop adding household tasks and chores to your to-do list. Instead, enjoy all that extra free time because you aren’t in charge of scheduling or performing tasks like weekly housekeeping, lawn maintenance, and snow removal.
Maintaining a large home can be physically taxing and just downright exhausting, but when you choose independent living, you can let those tasks go. Team members are happy to handle these chores for you so that you don’t have to.
2. Would downsizing be beneficial?
Many times, choosing to rightsize your living space can bring a breath of fresh air to your home and to your life. Although downsizing can initially seem like a daunting task, it often ends up improving your mood once it is complete.
If you are only actively using half of your large home daily, rightsizing to a home that is less square footage might be just what you need to feel less overwhelmed and more energized. Independent living homes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and floorplans, so you won’t have to sacrifice any essential and favorite spaces.
3. How much time do I spend running errands?
Are you spending too much time going to the post office, grocery shopping, picking up dry cleaning, and performing other tasks? Driving through traffic and finding places to park while running errands can be frustrating.
Independent living communities often have amenities on-site that can make life a bit more convenient. Look for a community that has a salon and spa, a post office service, and even concierge services that help you find what you need, when you need it.
If you’re sick of driving all the time, find a community that features a robust transportation program. Community buses often run routes to local spots so you can get to your grocery store, bank, or even the doctor without needing to find parking. However, you definitely don’t have to get rid of your car just because you move to independent living. You are always free to come and go as you please. Look for a community that has convenient parking options for residents, too.
4. Do I feel lonely sometimes?
Social isolation is a real phenomenon, even if you feel like you are an active and busy senior. Due to shrinking social circles and decreased daily opportunities to get together with friends, older adults around the country tend to feel lonely at least a few times a month. Unfortunately, isolation and feelings of loneliness can lead to a litany of health problems ranging from increased anxiety to heart disease and even premature death.
Independent living offers the benefit of friendly neighbors everywhere you turn, making connecting with others an easy daily occurrence. Look for a community with a calendar of monthly events, programs, and excursions that are interesting and varied. Before moving in, you might even be able to attend a few programs at the community to have a bit of fun while getting an insider’s look into life there.
If you don’t consider yourself a social butterfly, that’s okay. Independent living means you can find meaningful connections with neighbors without needing to attend every available activity. Instead, you can begin by waving hello to neighbors in the hallway, striking up a conversation with someone during breakfast, or asking someone to meet up for a cocktail at the community’s happy hour. You get to choose how you invest in new friendships, and there’s never any pressure.
5. Am I eating as well as I should?
Preparing three meals per day, every day, can be taxing for even the most seasoned cook, let alone seniors. As an alternative, many older adults end up relying on processed foods or eating out often as a way to feed their stomachs without extra planning and preparation time.
At an independent living community, residents always have the choice of cooking in their home or putting the ingredients down and heading to the dining room instead. Thanks to chef-styled seasonal meals, you’re more likely to eat well throughout your day, which will make meeting your health goals easier in the long run. Even better: You don’t have to worry about keeping up with your grocery list or washing the dishes.
A bonus? You’ll be able to catch up with neighbors over a shared meal.
6. How can I meet my health and wellness goals?
If you are working on meeting health and wellness goals—whether keeping your blood sugar levels intact or increasing your walking time to improve the range of motion in your knees—it’s easier to meet those goals in an independent living community. Exceptional independent living communities offer services and amenities designed to keep residents feeling their best.
Look for a community that has group fitness classes and a robust offering of exercise opportunities, as well as lectures and visits from local health professionals. You can even find independent living communities with onsite swimming pools and fitness centers staffed with knowledgeable team members who are ready to help you get moving so you can feel great.
7. Am I tired of planning every activity and event on my social calendar?
Are you the social planner for your group of friends or family? If so, you might feel exhausted from trying to plan every coffee meet-up, book club discussion, and other social event. Take a well-deserved break by choosing independent living.
Communities have entire departments devoted to planning and executing daily social programs, events, activities, and trips. You can simply sit back and enjoy—no planning required.
Independent living communities feature a variety of planned programs and excursions that may include beer tasting classes, art workshops, live concerts, and more. Calendars change regularly based on resident feedback and interests, which means you’ll likely be able to regularly find something to attend.
Get started with independent living.
If you’re curious about independent living and how it might fit into your retirement plans, learn what life is like from a real Cedarhurst resident! You’ll find a bit more information about what to expect when you choose a vibrant Cedarhurst senior living community and how you can begin to consider your retirement options.