What is Independent Living?
While there are different levels of care available for older people, such as nursing and assisted living facilities, there is another option that has garnered popularity over recent years – independent living. Seniors aged 55 or older can opt for this type of community to enjoy their golden years to the fullest. Read on to learn more about what kind of facilities, amenities, and support it offers that help seniors to maintain an active and fulfilling lifestyle.
Independent living is a lifestyle choice that allows people to maintain their autonomy and self-determination, while still receiving the support they need. It is an attractive option for those who want to live life on their own terms, without relying on others for assistance. Independent living communities provide the infrastructure and resources necessary for individuals to live independently, including housing options such as apartments or condominiums, transportation services, recreational activities and health care. By providing these amenities in one convenient location, independent living communities can make it easier for seniors or other adults with disabilities to stay active and engaged in their community.
What Are Independent Living Facilities?
Independent living facilities, also known as senior care communities, are designed for older adults who manage their activities of daily living (ADLs) well on their own without any assistance. However, hiring in-home help is always available if the need arises.
While residents live independently in this setting, these facilities offer various services and support to make daily life easier. They don’t have to trouble themselves with mundane tasks like housekeeping, maintenance, transportation, and meal plans, as the community takes care of them. There are also ample opportunities for socialization as these facilities organize social events and have shared spaces like game rooms, communal dining rooms, libraries, swimming pools, recreational centers, clubs, and more, which fosters engagement and gives a sense of agency to seniors.
Independent living facilities are ideal for older citizens who want to maintain their freedom. They provide a comfortable and safe environment that prolongs independence and fosters growth. These communities offer multiple housing options that cater to seniors’ needs and preferences. Additionally, the friendly and welcoming atmosphere provides a sense of security to aging adults, thanks to gated entrances, security cameras, and available staff that ensures peaceful living and enjoyable experiences.
Types of Independent Living Communities
There are two options for independent living communities: retirement communities and continuing care facilities.
Retirement Communities –
Retirement communities are age-restricted communities designed for seniors, typically 55 and older. These communities are perfect for active seniors who like minimal upkeep and can independently manage their day-to-day tasks without needing assisted care.
Retirement homes are ideal for older people who want to explore opportunities and enjoy other recreational activities that make life easier and more enjoyable. It’s an excellent option for older citizens searching for a community-focused lifestyle where they can socialize and have a good time without going into the despair of loneliness or isolation.
There are many housing options, from single-family rooms to apartments, cottages, and condominiums, that you can choose based on your own needs. The cost highly depends on the type of home you acquire and the services it offers. Many retirement communities offer various amenities and services to seniors, such as planned social activities, spas, fitness clubs, and other shared spaces that create a sense of belongingness and meaningful connections between the seniors.
This living arrangement ensures stress-free life, as you’re free from all the monotonous and chore tasks of maintaining and running the house. Many seniors use this time to pursue their long-lost passions or try new avenues and hobbies such as crafts, arts, and music to make the most of their remaining years.
Continuing Care Facilities –
Another type of independent living community is a continuing care facility. Also known as continuing care retirement community (CCRC), this facility offers older adults a full range of care options. As the needs of seniors change over time, these facilities provide a continuum of care that meets all their requirements. Its three levels of care are: independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care.
Many seniors start with independent care but gradually move up the ladder if their needs increase. Independent living is the first level of care and another term for retirement communities. Seniors who are at this care level can manage their tasks on their own without any assistance. They usually reside in single-family rooms, private apartments, or other accommodations that suit them and have access to various amenities and services.
The next level of care is assisted living. It is best for seniors who require help in activities of daily living (ADLs), like eating, bathing, dressing, and medication management. Residents in this care level live in rooms or private apartments within the community. They can access 24-hour care, support, and various services and amenities.
Skilled nursing is the third and highest level of care. This is suited for seniors that require ongoing medical care and support. 24-hour nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and rehabilitation centers are available in this care type. Residents reside in private rooms within the community and have access to various services and amenities that promote wellness and health.
By choosing CCRC, seniors can age in peace, knowing that they are in safe hands and that all kinds of help are available if the need presents itself. They don’t have to move places if their need changes, creating a feeling of home as they can live out the remaining years of their life in one place gracefully and peacefully.
Benefits of Independent Living Facilities for Seniors
Independent living facilities offer various benefits for seniors, offering a safe, secure, and inviting environment that welcomes them wholeheartedly. These facilities provide many benefits that seniors don’t usually receive if they continue living at home.
Active Lifestyle –
Independent living facilities offer various recreational activities that keep the seniors occupied. Their social calendar is packed with brimming events that allow older adults to socialize. They can be a part of multiple things, such as group outings, fitness centers, pools, and much more, that promote an active and engaged lifestyle.
Freedom From Daily House Chores –
The best part of moving into these facilities is the freedom from maintaining the house. Since the community cares for all the necessities, seniors can focus on other things that interest them.
Secure and Safe Environment –
Independent living facilities are gated communities that have skilled staff who manages everything. Features like 24-hour security cameras, emergency response systems, and proper management ensure a safe and secure environment for residents. Moreover, the availability of alert systems in each room provides that help is always a door away.
Encourage Socialization –
Since these facilities are designed with a community-focused style, these centers are great for promoting socialization. Various activities allow seniors to engage with each other, which can lead to deep and meaningful bonds. It’s one of the top reasons that kickstarts the process of moving into a senior living facility. From joining book clubs, fitness centers, and arts and crafts classes to spiritual groups and coffee meetups, seniors have a full-on engaging calendar that keeps them occupied.
Focus on Nutrition –
Preparing three meals daily is tiresome, especially if the person in the account is an older citizen. The hassle of buying groceries, cutting up vegetables and meat, cooking, and washing is too much. But by moving into the independent living facility, you can say goodbye to all these draining tasks. Experts chefs prepare delicious food for you three times daily with a high nutrition value that meets your body’s needs. Plus, restaurant-style dining rooms encourage conversation and serve as a good bonding time that you can utilize to make meaningful connections.
All-Inclusive Rent –
Managing finances becomes difficult at this tender age, but you can free yourself from these financial worries thanks to facilities like independent living communities. The monthly fees take care of all the finances as you get a specific figure to pay based on your floor plan and can enjoy all other things that come with it without worry.
These communities offer a range of floor plans to suit different needs and preferences. You can choose the housing setting that resonates most with you, from single rooms to apartments, condos, townhouses, and villas.
Peace of Mind –
Moving into an independent living facility that is highly inclusive eases many concerns of seniors, as it is their next abode for the remaining years of their life. The availability of all the basic requirements, along with access to a vast range of services and amenities ensures that seniors will be happy and satisfied. Plus, when your family or loved ones see you happy in your new place, they also become more relaxed and carefree as they start to believe in the services of your new home.
Considerations When Touring Independent Living Communities
As home conjures up a different meaning for all, you must reflect on what it means. Some like having friends and family close, while others prefer to be near nature. Some desire activity in life and enjoy physical stimulation like exercise. In contrast, others relish relaxing and carrying out relaxing activities. Therefore, you need to think about its meaning in your life.
Before deciding which independent living facility you will move to, ask yourself what you want near you. What excites you, and what brings you peace? The best way to know whether a facility suits you is to spend some time there to get first-hand experience of its dynamics. Below are a few things that you should keep in mind when touring your new home:
Facility Amenities –
Ask around what facilities and services they offer on-site. Do they cater to your favorite interests and hobbies? Do they involve the things that excite you? There may be some activities that you’ve never tried. Ensuring they offer a wide array of facilities, such as housekeeping, transportation, wellness programs, fitness centers, and more, would provide a world of amenities you can try to make your life easier.
Community Activities –
When on tour, ask the current residents what community activities they enjoy most. Doing this would give you an insight into the independent living facility’s social calendar and how actively they engage their residents. Plus, pay close attention to how they reflect on their experiences, as it’d give you an idea regarding connectivity, inclusivity, and fun. If they reminisce about the times with a smile, the community does well in its purpose of keeping the seniors happy and fulfilled.
Available Support –
One of the crucial things to make sure of in independent living centers is the availability of support. Ask questions like what kind of levels of care the center offers. Match it with your current needs. Doing this would ensure you make an informed decision based on your care requirements. You can also ask questions regarding the timely intervention of support services. If the residents are pleased with the facility’s response time, it serves the seniors well.
Staff Qualifications –
The qualifications of the staff members are crucial to ensure that residents get the best care possible. When choosing an independent living facility, it’s essential to consider the qualifications of the staff members, including their training, certifications, and experience. Staff members should be compassionate, respectful, and caring, and they should be available 24/7 to provide help and assistance to residents whenever needed. Additionally, the staff should be well-trained in handling emergency situations and be able to communicate effectively with residents, their families, and other healthcare professionals. By ensuring that the staff members are qualified and experienced, seniors can enjoy a comfortable, safe, and fulfilling lifestyle in an independent living community.
Proximity to Family –
Another vital thing to consider is the location of the independent living facility. Is it near your loved ones? If yes, that’s great because no one can replace the bond you share with your family. Having their emotional, financial, social, and practical support brings peace of mind for you and your loved ones, as you know they are only one call away and can be with you in your time of need.
The cost of living in an independent living facility varies from community to community. For instance, renting or purchasing a house is available if you go to retirement communities. Monthly fees must also be paid, as it takes care of some essential maintenance and amenities. On the other hand, if you choose CCRC, additional fees are required due to the presence of skilled nursing staff, medical care, and more.
As far as insurance comes in, medicare doesn’t cover independent living costs, but if your next home is CCRC, there is an option for long-term care that you can utilize to help cover the costs. You can also leverage your retirement savings to help yourself out. Other than this, downsizing, rent subsidies, or sharing a room with some other senior also helps you manage independent living costs.
St. Dominic Village Offers Every Level of Care
If you are looking for an affordable yet amenity-filled independent living facility here in Houston, look no further than St. Dominic Village. We provide every level of care, from independent living to skilled nursing (and everything in between). We’re a senior care community you can trust, and our reputation speaks for itself.
If you are looking for accommodations for yourself or one of your loved ones, schedule a tour today so we can show you all that St. Dominics has to offer.