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8 Hallmarks of a Top-Notch Independent Living Community for Seniors
Elizabeth Bemis

By: Elizabeth Bemis on October 19th, 2022

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8 Hallmarks of a Top-Notch Independent Living Community for Seniors

Independent Senior Living  |  senior living nutrition  |  senior living homes  |  Aging & Caregiving  |  dependent senior living

As seniors think about the kind of lifestyle best suited to their needs, and what they require to truly thrive in this stage of life, there’s typically a focus on independence—and the added support necessary to cultivate that independence. One of the most fundamental aspects of embracing this vision is choosing an environment that’s well-equipped for it.

That is why many older adults consider the prospect of living in an independent community for seniors. Unfortunately, not all options feature the same standard of quality. Throughout your search, be on the lookout for some of the following hallmarks of a top-notch senior living community.


1. Abundance of Activities


One of the biggest draws to independent living communities is the chance for seniors to be IN community with one another. That means participating in activities and events that promote connection, purpose, and fun. First-rate communities make this a priority, offering residents ample opportunities to engage when they feel inclined to do so.


An independent living community’s activity program should be designed to meet the physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, and vocational needs of residents. It should provide access to the things that are important to seniors in order to make their living experience as enjoyable as possible. From book clubs and gardening clubs to movie and game nights, seasonal celebrations, and so much more, the right place will have a full schedule of activities available. 


2. Transportation


Plenty of older adults plan to stay involved with their church and other community organizations, but they may not have the ability or desire or drive at this stage (and the busy schedules of family and friends could make it difficult for them to assist in this area). Because top-notch independent living communities understand this common challenge for seniors, they ensure adequate transportation to surrounding areas so residents can participate in the off-site events that are important to them. Some communities offer transportation to medical appointments, errands, shopping and other similar types of trips.


3. Pleasant Living Spaces


As you enter a quality independent living community, you should get a positive impression of the physical space. It should encompass an easy-to-navigate layout with spaces designed to accommodate implements like walkers and wheelchairs. It should feel clean, well-maintained, warm, and inviting—a place you’d feel comfortable calling home. From the individual apartments to the shared living spaces, it’s important to ensure the environment is a pleasant one.


sneior care options


4. Warm, Friendly Staff


The staff at an independent living community plays an essential role in fostering an optimal experience for residents. In some of the best communities, team members are one of the main reasons why residents feel so at home. They work hard to create a warm family atmosphere, and they understand the challenges faced by older adults.


Prior to move-in day and including every day thereafter, being able to rely on dedicated and hardworking people makes all the difference in the world. Good, qualified staff are always ready with a warm greeting and a smile, prioritizing the dignity and respect of residents above all else. From the front desk and administration to the culinary staff, nurses, transportation providers, and beyond, this team serves as a crucial touch point throughout an independent living community.


5. Preferred Amenities


Different senior living communities offer different types of services and amenities, so you’ll want to have a clear understanding of these offerings as you search for a top-notch place. Whether these provisions are included in the price or available for a separate cost, think about the kinds of preferred amenities that would make the living experience a quality one.


For example, home upkeep is a common reason active seniors choose to move into an independent living community. Maintaining a yard, keeping the house clean, staying on top of laundry, and managing other physically demanding tasks can become a burden. In a first-rate independent living community, seniors can shed these responsibilities and spend that time on more desirable activities or relaxation. Other amenities seniors may prioritize are on-site salon services, workout programs, and accommodations for pets.


6. Health & Wellness Services


When seniors move into a new place, health services are often a top priority. The best independent living communities feature health and wellness programs that can include anything from emergency care and medication management to physical therapy, medical clinics, and outlets for exercise.


Regular physical activity has been shown to help protect against heart disease and stroke, as well as reduce stress, manage weight and improve brain fitness. Therefore, a quality community is apt to provide ample access to these types of exercise and wellness programs. Whether you’re into swimming, aerobics, yoga, walking or something different, consider what options each independent living community offers for staying healthy and active.


7. Attractive Dining Options


A top-notch independent living community recognizes the importance of the dining experience for seniors. It’s not just about the food (though delicious, nutritious offerings are paramount), but also the chance to forge and maintain relationships through the socialization that can occur during mealtime. Meal times tend to be when seniors come together to talk and share thoughts or memories with one another. 


So check out the dining environment in the community and make sure it’s conducive to conversation and companionship. Inquire as to freedom of options as well. A quality community will offer both a shared dining room experience and the choice to eat in one’s apartment when they desire some privacy or alone time. They will have a full menu of culinary creations that are satisfying and cater to specific dietary requirements. 


8. True Transition Planning


The opportunity to live in a desirable community is exciting, and it can be an incredibly worthwhile move for a senior. It can also help ease any future transition to assisted living accommodations if/when changes in physical or mental health necessitate such a move. The best independent living communities support seamless transition planning by offering a range of care levels. 


It’s critical to have a distinct understanding of the community’s options for aging in place, as some may have a variable definition. If you begin in an independent living apartment, you should be able to easily move to another space within the community when the need for a greater level of care arises. Don’t overlook how valuable this ease of transition can be, given how stressful it is to move from one residence to another after a decline in health. 


These eight hallmarks of a top-notch independent living community are a great starting point for those considering the option. Ultimately, it’s about finding a place that speaks to one’s individual needs and creates a healthy, pleasant, home-like environment where seniors can thrive.


For additional tips on senior health and lifestyle issues, check out our blog. To find out how United Methodist Homes provides a wealth of offerings and opportunities to support the health and well-being of our residents, contact us today or schedule a complimentary visit now



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About Elizabeth Bemis

In 1998, I drove past an assisted living community construction site, learned that it was part of United Methodist Homes and realized the next stop on my professional journey was to work for a mission driven organization. Soon after, I joined the team as Executive Director of our Middlewoods of Farmington community and later served as Regional Manager for the Middlewoods properties before accepting my current role as Vice President of Marketing, Promotions, and Assisted Living Operations. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, reading, walking, and love working alongside our staff, residents, and families to build strong communities that reflect the mission, vision, and values of United Methodist Homes.

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.