Is Independent Senior Living Right for Your Loved One?
For seniors, independent living represents both a structural setting and a physical ability. You may have heard the "structural setting" described by other names such as retirement homes or senior apartments, but they’re one and the same; and residents of independent living communities are healthy enough to live on their own and take care of themselves.
Out of all the different senior housing choices out there, what makes this type of senior living the most suitable for certain seniors?
A Closer Look: Why an Independent Living Facility is Ideal for Some Seniors
You would have chosen an independent living community too if the living arrangement felt right for you. Many seniors who’ve chosen this living option have looked at every possible choice before making this decision. Their reasons might be unique or personal to them, but may resonate on some level for you too. Here are a few reasons:
Ready to Take the Next Step
Oftentimes it takes a life crisis or milestone change to provide the impetus to make a change. Many seniors will tell you that the passing of a spouse, not having their grown children close by, and feeling alone in an empty house is what prompted them to take action. Although some seniors have options to move in with their children, many are not willing to compromise their independence. Being healthy and active, they make up their minds that living independently is most fitting to their needs.
Independent living communities are well-known for the amenities they offer to their residents. These perks make senior communities stand out above and beyond regular apartment buildings or town homes by offering more chances for activities, socializing, and improving health.
So you may be asking yourself, well wait a minute, can't I live independently at my own home? The answer is yes, but what you might not know is that there are certain "retirement communities" that allow for complete independence but offer various social and medical perks if you're interested.
Fitness centers are often available, featuring workout equipment, classes, and even competitions – all specifically designed with senior health in mind. If your loved one has been avoiding the gym because it seemed too crowded or intimidating, they'll love this new option. As retirees get older, the risk of injuries due to falls increases, so many fitness centers will focus their activities around improving both balance and muscle tone to lessen that risk.
Lastly, salons in these communities offer hair and other pampering options for both men and women. Everything from a basic trim to an updo for a special occasion can be expertly handled right there in your senior community. This means that your loved ones can continue looking and feeling their best.
Your parents or loved ones have worked their whole lives to make it to retirement. These are the golden years they've been looking forward to since they first punched a time clock. Yet so many retirees can begin to lose their way once they're suddenly faced with the cost of independent living.
The cost of independent living facilities can vary dramatically. Knowing your financial situation is vital in making a decision about this type of housing. Many seniors chose this option because they possess two great assets: good health and financial security.
However, don't get discouraged if your finances aren't positioned quite as well as you would have liked. There are some independent living options that can be affordable. Some are set at a market-rate price and options like Wesley Village's independent living cottages may be more affordable.
Additionally, many assisted or independent living facilities bring entertainment into the community for residents. Whether it's a guitarist, barbershop quartet, the local school choir, an exercise class geared for seniors or pets that serve as companions for the afternoon, many of these social events tend to liven the spirit of residents who would not otherwise experience this if they were living on their own at home
Social events and celebrations are at the heart of every independent senior community. These special occasions bring residents together, helping to form new friendships and strengthen existing ones.
If your parents were the concert going types in their youth, there's no reason for them to stop now. Musicians and artists of all kinds come to play special shows within these independent communities. Seniors get the chance to hear some of their favorite music, while also discovering something new – all without the hassle (and price!) of traveling to nearby big cities.
Of course, music makes most of us want to get up and dance, and there is ample opportunity for that too. Community-wide dances are held frequently, allowing retirees to show their best moves, or to share a special slow dance.
But perhaps the most special events of all center around the holidays. Many caregivers worry that their loved ones may feel isolated or lonely during these times, but the events in an active senior community will leave them feeling anything but. Meals, shows, crafts and gatherings of every kind are centered around these special times of year. Retirees and their families can enjoy these fun celebrations right there in the community.
For many retirees, travel is at the top of their list. But the daydreaming we do about seeing new and exciting places doesn't quite match up with the realities of what travel can mean. The biggest hurdle faced by many is that they feel tied to a home. Some seniors might prefer to split their time – perhaps avoiding ice and snow and the winter, and seeking breezier climates in summer – but owning a home can add difficulty to that.
This is one of the best parts of an active senior community. Travel is made easy, because everything is taken care of while the residents are off having their adventures.
Dining with Friends
As people get older and loved ones pass on, many older people find themselves eating alone in the evening. This can lead to a sense of isolation. However, at assisted and independent living communities, they may have the opportunity to eat several meals a day with other residents. This allows seniors to form new friendships and create a social network within the community.
Activities and Trips
As people get older, some tend to stay home more. It's not that they're reclusive necessarily; it's simply that the thought of driving, being amongst crowds and exploring a new place might seem overwhelming. However, facilities that specialize in assisted and independent living for seniors offer trips to local restaurants and attractions. They'll bring residents to places such as shops, movie theaters, sporting events, plays and musicals, even museums. This encourages people who were formerly home-bodies, to get out and enjoy all of the wonderful things the world has to offer.
Shuttles, or occasionally personal drivers, can also be available to take your loved ones to appointments, shopping trips, or other social engagements. Many seniors opting for independent living are perfectly capable of driving on their own, but the transportation option is always nice, especially when concerns like weather arise.
Caregivers have many options when it comes to their loved ones, and independent senior living is just one of them. For some, a community like the one described here might be absolutely perfect for their parents, while others might want the assurance of extra medical care.
For a more in-depth breakdown of your options when it comes to senior care, please download Your Guide to Senior Care Options. The more information you have, the better equipped you will be to make this important decision.
About Chelsea Sayegh
I started working as a Marketing Coordinator for United Methodist Homes in October of 2016. I work on public relations, website management and community planning for their award winning independent and assisted living communities. As a graduate of Ursinus College with a degree in Media and Communications and a passion for serving nonprofits, United Methodist Homes has become my home away from home. I spend my days working in a community filled with smiling faces, helpful hands and wonderful residents. I have a passion for assisting seniors and take great pride in being able to promote a company with such a positive mission and values. As an individual committed to learning and growing, I have jumped right into this exciting career!
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.